As the end of my contract with Alaska Airlines winds down and I’m getting read to move to Ecuador again in January, I’m starting to revamp the One Shore website in preparation for actively searching for freelance QA and development work.

Besides the visual overhaul it’s badly in need of, and some code cleanup I’ve been avoiding, what the site needs most is some targeted, personal content to replace the impersonal jargon and unfocused scattershot ramble of bullet points in the services description.

My first goal is to get rid of the standard links (products, services, about us, contact us) as much as possible or at least eliminate them as the primary means of discovery. To do this, I’ll try to provide concise, text describing each of these is a visually pleasing way on the home page, with links to details.

My second goal is to have a clear focus on what One Shore I can provide. That means I need to think about what I want to offer, which in turn means deciding what I like.

I came up with the following 3 point list (because I wanted to limit it to 3 points):

  1. Open Source tools
  2. Agile methods
  3. Distributed teams

I was originally going to title this post “What I like” and then go over those three things, but that will have to wait for another day when I’m more ambitious. I might write a few sections such as “What I like”, “What I’m working on”, & “What I can do for you”.

My third goal is to have regularly updated, relevant content on the website. That could mean putting my blog feed on the home page, or just links to the more relevant and better written posts (note to self: write better, more relevant blog posts) or creating a separate work blog. Maybe this will go back to being my travel blog. It also means writing (and fleshing out existing) tutorials and articles. It should probably also include relevant links, perhaps with a bit commentary (the way a blog is supposed to be.)

So, to reiterate, I will need to come up with content sections for:

  • What I like
  • What I’m working on
  • What I can do for you

Include regular blog posts with summaries,
Have articles and tutorials (which I need to write or revise from my blog):
Provide links to interesting, relevant sites and stories on the web
and move my contact information to the home page. (The contact form could potentially be a modal/lightbox)

First reaction to Stevey’s Rant

First reaction to Stevey’s Rant

Google pays him more than Amazon did. But since he hasn’t worked at Amazon in 6 years his thoughts on Amazon nowadays don’t matter much. Oh, and he’d like to try this new SOA thing he read about in a 2006 infoWeek article.

Amazon’s UI is successful because they test it with real users, not a 1980s UI expert. It’s evolutionary, so not pretty, but it sells product.

Stevey completely misunderstands the concept of dogfood, and so it’s value. He also confuses product and marketplace.

Steve Jobs failed because he didn’t understand marketplace and tried to predict what users want. But he succeeded by stumbling into standardizing a marketplace on iPod & iPhone (through greed) and won developers to his platform despite iOS.

Microsoft hasn’t “gotten it” for a whole decade. They’re running on fumes. Coincidentally this was about the time that Bill Gates discovered politics and stopped taking an active interest in his company.

Facebook gets it the same way as Amazon. Give the customer what they want. Ignore the code to the point you have to distribute for stability

Before you get all nostalgic for Larry&Sergey’s pristine code, remember Google was hacked together by a 5th grader, and they stumbled onto their clean UI because they couldn’t afford a designer (even a bad one) so left the home page blank & discovered that’s what users want

Humble people don’t get angry when they’re accused of arrogance. And they don’t claim to be 99% humble. and 99% perfect

99% of the secret of Google’s success, not brilliant search algorithms akin to Apple’s virus free claim.

Google’s product is, not search

Stevey misses the point that success is often accidental. Zuckerberg didn’t have to have a brilliant design. Facebook beat Myspace because it had a simpler interface–the same reason Google beat Yahoo. And because your mom wasn’t on Facebook yet.

If you want a distributed platform, hire worse coders–you’ll be forced into it. If you want visual appeal & usability, ignore designers.

Anything that your mom uses is ripe for being overtaken by something new, just for the sake of kids wanting to be different than parents

The one thing Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, & Facebook have all had in common is single owner with an intense interest in the success of his company.

This was orginally written as a post-blast on Twitter. I’m sure I annoyed lots of people. Sorry about that. Guess Google+ would be good for something — if only anyone used it.

Thoughts on Agile Testing & Automation

This post was based on a comment on another blog post about the StarWest 2011 conference.

Automation should primarily be used for regression testing & other scenarios that require repetition and accuracy.

The point I try to stress is that the goal of test automation is to create time for exploratory testing. In that perspective, a good measure of the effectiveness automation is that it:

1) doesn’t take more time than manual testing would — thus allowing time for manual exploratory testing,

2) catches and prevents defects. And it should do it very quickly. Ideally with each build.

If you’re not accomplishing both of these, I’d question the value you’re getting from automation, but even more, the value you’re missing from neglecting manual tests.   But there’s also a balance that it takes time to get to the point where automation pays off, both in experience and in infrastructure.

So while effective automation is essential to successful agile, the process of implementing automation is difficult to accomplish in an Agile way.