quality

Use Case best practice: Test your Use Cases with real data

Quite often when I’m asked to review a UML “Use Case” that someone else has written, I ask “Have you tested your Use Case with real data?” Sadly, the answer is usually “no.”

I don’t know why people don’t do this, but they don’t, and it seems like a very logical thing — essentially a unit test for Use Cases.

Seven benefits of automated GUI testing

Table of Contents1 - Benefits of automated GUI testing2 - Keys to automated GUI testing and continuous integration3 - Beware automated GUI testing software sales pitches and recorders

Introduction: I first wrote this article about automated GUI testing many years ago, but I find that it still holds today.

I just wrote most of the following note on the Apple Mac Java-dev mailing list, and I'd like to share it here as well, because I think it captures my thoughts on the benefits of automated GUI testing and GUI testing software.

I ran automated GUI tests part-time (4-6 hours per week) on a project with 8-12 developers, and saw some good benefits. True, in the 80/20 rule, 80% of the problems were due to UI changes and communication, like “We forgot to tell you we split the Name field into First Name and Last Name,” but with a good automated GUI testing tool, one test may fail, but the rest of the automated GUI test suite keeps running (see Fowler’s continuous integration). Furthermore, with a good GUI testing tool, something like this is also a minor change to get the test running again.

Software development process standard operating procedures

Some long time ago I was working on a large software development project, and I wasn’t happy with either the quality or the velocity of our programming effort. So one night I sat down and tried to work out an activity diagram to show what our software development process needed to be, to improve both speed and quality. It turns out that a lot of this is just common sense, but for some reason or another team members would try to circumvent the process, which always led to more pain for everyone involved.

Jonathan Ive focused on design, again

As I’ve written about before, I assumed that Apple’s Jonathan Ive had his hands full with the completion of the design of Apple Park, and that was affecting the design and quality of Apple’s recent product offerings. This quote comes from bloomberg.com: “With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design,” Amy Bessette, a company spokeswoman, said Friday in a statement.

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

Be good at what you do

“Chop wood, carry water.”

Zen saying

This point seems obvious, and I hesitate to mention it, but if you want to be an excellent consultant, you should be good at what you do. To be clear, I’m not saying that you have to be great, but you certainly should be good. (Put another way, how can you possibly provide competent advice to others unless you’re good?)

One thing a business analyst should ask about any requirement

As a business analyst (or any person interested in writing software requirements and quality), there is one thing you should always ask yourself whenever you write a business requirement:

Is this software requirement testable?

I’ve seen some business analysts write some crazy things and call them requirements, but IMHO, if you can’t test it, it’s not a requirement.

A few meditation notes (calming, quality)

When I first sit down to meditate, my mind is often too busy to get into it well, so one thing I’ve learned to do is to try to meditate for about eight minutes, then get up, stretch a little bit (a few yoga stretches), then sit back down to meditate normally. My second attempt is usually significantly better than my first attempt. There are other things you can do to calm the mind, but this works well for me.

Another thing I was reminded of again today is that the quality of meditation often changes over time. Today there was something new, and I thought, “Cool ... this is different,” before getting back to the meditation at hand. For me that happens a lot, so I assume it happens for other people as well.