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The first TEAM meetup of 2016 – starting as we mean to go on

The seventh TEAM meetup and first of 2016 was held on 21st January, in the offices of Education Services Australia (thanks to them for providing the venue). Our membership stood at just over 300 before this seventh event and we had a sell-out of 60 RSVPs.

After a short introduction from me, it was time for the first presentation from Paul Crimmins (from AHPRA), “Introduction to Session-based Test Management (SBTM) and use of Rapid Reporter”. Paul gave an excellent talk on his experience of learning and applying session-based test management, with some practical recommendations around management buy-in and reporting within the constraints of existing toolsets (e.g. HP ALM). It was also good to see a case study of using Rapid Reporter and how that helps Paul to more easily take and accumulate his notes from sessions of exploratory testing. A great presentation and lots of Q&A followed – it was wonderful to hear from others who are also actually applying SBTM in their organizations, this is no longer a lunatic fringe and is considered mainstream now in agile teams.

A short break allowed the group of about 35 to network and and clean up what was left of the pizzas. It was another passionate and engaged group so the conversations flowed easily and it was good to see some newcomers getting involved too.

The second presentation came in two parts, from two guys working at Education Services Australia, Chatham Vidanagamage and Chandra Kesarapu. They talked about introducing test automation as a practice within ESA with Chatham focusing on the challenges involved (management buy-in, budgets, choice of technology, etc.) while Chandra talked in more detail about the technical implementation of the automation.

Lee introduces the meetup  Lee introduces the meetup  Paul talking about SBTM  Discussion arises  Chatham talking about automation at ESA

For further meetup announcements, remember to follow our meetup.com page at:

http://www.meetup.com/Test-Engineering-Alliance-Melbourne/

Also keep an eye on our website, http://www.testengineeringalliance.com, where you will find all of our different offerings – including the opportunity to take the Rapid Software Testing course with the one and only Michael Bolton and a brand new testing conference, Australian Testing Days, all happening in May 2016.

Values and principles define us

There are few joys involved in regular long haul economy class travel for business. The airport security lottery (is it shoes off today?), immigration queues and lengthy waits in faceless airports (filled with fancy shops that sell nothing I ever seem to need).

The modern seat-back entertainment system has certainly made such travel more bearable – but even these systems are beset with their own unique sources of frustration. The tester in me doesn’t have a hard time finding bugs in these systems and the cabin crew regularly resort to the classic “turn it off and turn it back on again” reboot fix.

One such bug I’ve noticed in the Emirates flight tracking system shows the “distance traveled” decreasing as you near your destination, this bug has been there for a couple of years across different plane types in their fleet.

Another source of frustration in these systems is the constant replaying of the same set of adverts before every TV show or movie. A nice exception to the rule was when traveling last year on Cathay Pacific, the exception not being the lack of ads but that one of the ads was so enjoyable to watch.

The ad was for the United Overseas Bank and follows a young boy and his father going to the fair to ride the carousel. It’s a beautifully shot ad with a great message, reinforcing this bank’s brand idea “our principles define us” – check out the Carousel ad. (The bank has another ad with a similar theme, the Vase ad.)

Their general brand advertisement is around the message that “Our values define us” and is again worth a look. It feels like the same agency were responsible for all three of these ads and I really enjoyed them, maybe you will too.

In thinking about both our work and personal interactions, their messages are worth keeping in mind, focusing on honesty, trust and respect. Our values and principles define us.

 

Optional extra: not knocking over pedestrians!

I only just came across this story from May 2015 about an accident involving a Volvo car during a demonstration of its auto-braking features:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/self-parking-volvo-plows-into-journalists-after-owner-neglects-to-pay-for-extra-feature-that-stops-10277203.html

Although the article is not correct in talking about self-parking, the response from Volvo spokespeople is still incredible. It turns out that although these cars have auto-braking features, they are only designed to stop them crashing into other cars. To avoid crashing into pedestrians, there is an optional extra known as “pedestrian detection functionality” – yes, the buyer needs to pay extra to enable the car to detect and not knock over pedestrians in its way!

In an era where progress towards self-driving cars is seen as promising, stories like this should make us think hard about whether that’s a good thing or not. The idea that someone decided avoiding pedestrians could be a source of additional revenue in such an advanced car almost beggars belief.

Next time you are working through stories (or whatever means you use to decide what features make it into your product), take some time out to think what really makes sense to the user of your product and what their realistic expectations might be – this seems to have been lost at Volvo based on the separate treatment of pedestrians in the functionality of this auto-braking feature.

There are further comments from Volvo officials in this related article, remarkable reading:

http://fusion.net/story/139703/self-parking-car-accident-no-pedestrian-detection/

(This post was inspired by a tweet from Michael Bolton on the same subject.)