freedom-0

My Musical Freedom is over now. Through the past year – most of my time I’ve spent on rehearsing, practicing, talking, dancing, acting and singing. Quite large chunk of work, I’d say, especially for newbies on a stage.

I have to admit – we made it. Probably even better that anybody expected.
I am proud of myself and all of us separately. I had this unique opportunity to sing on the stage, in front of 800 people gathered in the Theater – feeling that something big is going on. And feeling great.

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Agnieszka Franus – a girl who did fantastic visuals for our show – did this galactic piece of art with my face (twice) on it. Originally it is me singing Star People song 🙂 Impressive!

Here is me rehearsing my song –> YouTube –> you can watch the entire movie about improving yourself and the whole event done my Marcin Pławnicki – the movie is in Polish but has English subtitles 🙂

Wait a minute – but we are talking tech here, right?

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Right!

Summing up the musical – the closer we were to our premiere date – the more we’ve been rushing.
It sounds like

EVERY

IT

PROJECT…

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True.

I believe that each (Agile) project has those three phases:

  1. We have to deliver product x somewhere in the future.
    1
    We know our deadline – more less what to do, but think also about huge timeline in front of us.
  2. We have a month to the release date.
    MOmeow2.adapt.945.1
    All hands or deck, saving the deadline, doing over hours, fixing tons of bugs 🙂
  3. After several patches it is finally in production. 😉
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    You can rest now.

With the musical it was pretty much the same. We’ve started form small scenes, exercises, vocal warm ups. We did a lot of those, as the premiere date was far ahead from us. We’ve been practicing for several moths, but still “had plenty of time”. We took our time to learn lyrics, scenes, prepare our roles, stenography and costumes, did it slow with no rush, some people came up to every rehearsal, some did not. We knew our deadline, but did’t feel it yet.

When the premiere’s date emerged – I’d say during a month before The Big Day – we were able to finish all the scenes, which has been half-done for months, have all decorations and costumes prepared (at least several times in a row, because our director was tend to change her mind often), learn lyrics and songs by heart, do new vocals, record them, record them again, as they were not good enough, do it all in our  rehersal place and to it all again on the real stage in the theater. We’ve spend multiple over hours, night hours, morning hours and lunch hours rehearsing in order to make us and the audience happy.

How many times were you able to spend your extra time just to make sure that your production code work as requested? Just to make sure that the release went smooth, just to make sure that there is no issue with production database, customer data or performance? We did pretty much the same with our theater performance.
I’d say we were extremely agile and I assume that every actor, singer and performer is agile as well in the IT – agile way.

We had different conditions in our rehearsal hall than in the real theater and we had to adjust really quick.

Our director demanded changes in the play all the time – it was too slow, too shy, too quiet, needed more moves, less moves, more people, less people, different entrances… We had to respond to all changes at once. Each of us in individual scenes and all together as a choir, a team.
I was stunned that it all looked like big IT project. With the same dose of chaos, energy and motivation. People with no, quite and lot of experience and skills, speaking different languages, having different habits and customs. Together with one goal. I think that every scrum master I know would be pleased taking part in it.

We had no daily meetings – so some of you would say – oh, so it’s not Agile, it’s not Scrum.
We were having just moving speeches done by hour director about what was good and what needs to be improved. I would compare it to a retro meeting – done daily 🙂

I believe that it is not the matter of IT project – this whole 3-stage approach. Maybe it is not even the matter of Agile, Waterfall or any other fancy way of work you choose. It is rather a way of how we – the people – tend to work. If you are a Tester, PO, Scrum Master or any Actor on a stage – you will be dedicated to your project if it matters to you.

When we have:

A GOAL that  is understandable for every member of project team (it may include the deadline or release date as well),

COMMON APPROACH – done in different way by different people but overall helping us act together as a team,

GOOD TEAM – they may have not equal stage of expertise in the subject – but have to be dedicated to a task

RESPONSIVE CUSTOMER, who gives instant feedback of what to improve, what to change, what doesn’t look good.

In the end – you all can rest and celebrate the success together with the customer (or your audience).

We are on a good path to achieve success. Either in a theater, movie or within an IT project.  We’re not always right but we have to keep on it.
What do you think?

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Theater is agile. Agile is a theater.

BlackFriday (1)

My name is Kinga Witko and I would like to tell you about accessibility testing, how important it is and about the event that revealed some completely new layers of testing for me.

Accessibility is what we should focus on in all software application – no matter if they are web, mobile or desktop. They should be accessible for everyone, especially for people with certain mental or physical disabilities, because they are not supposed to be limited by the software.

Do you remember – there is over 1 billion people with disabilities in the world, who might be the users of your application – either web or mobile. Basically, it depends on your testing, if they would feel comfortable with this applications or not.

To make my point, I would like to tell you about and event that has really made
a difference for me.

This short story is about discovering new fields of software testing. It is also about brave woman, who wants to use software as any other person, but most of the time she can’t. From time to time, she feels excluded, because someone forget about her needs during development or testing.

About a year ago, when I had a bit of experience as a software tester, especially in
a mobile testing field,  I had a chance to spend some time with a distant relative of mine – a fantastic person. She works from home, using her PC, regardless her visual impairment, and she uses different software at her PC with help of Ivona (text-to-speech tool). She also loves to take part in bowling tournaments and is very active person.
What is so special about her – she also cannot see. I just never realized that she uses
a smartphone as well.
I’ve literally faced by biases.
It was such surprising for me that a person, who cannot see, uses touch screen device, rather than old school Nokia, what is more – not only for talking to people but also as everyone does that. Imagine my surprise, when I saw her using buses timetable app, complaining about how horrible these apps are.

We had a quick chit chat and I said to her –  I don’t want to be rude, but how do you use
a smartphone?
She explained to me that there is an underlying helper, that you have to run on your device – it would be TalkBack on Android and VoiceOver on iOS and it would help you operate and navigate through the applications. She uses also a special application that makes her screen black all the time.

I am a tester, so I took her phone and play around for a while 😀
Believe me, it was terrible experience. I was constantly getting lost, there were items missing in almost every application I tried. I was cheating, of course, because the screen was visible for me. I was just checking if VoiceOver is doing well or not. At the end of the day, I was disappointed and angry.

It is just not fair that we exclude other people from using the software due to their impairments. There is no label on the applications at Google Play or App Store that “this is the application for people who can see only” or “this is the application for people who don’t have hearing issues”, but in fact THERE IS. There is an invisible label which excludes quite significant part of our society from the rage of app users.
For me – this is just not fair.

Everyone, no matter of their preferences, age or needs would like to stay social, keep up with friends, receive messages, news or post information on the internet.
Think about it 🙂

We are developers, we are testers, we are UX designers – WE CAN CHANGE IT.
What I want you to do is to go back to your project, run your application on mobile device, run it on a PC with an assistant of your choice turned on and try to navigate.
Find out how accessible your product is.
How does it feel for the user to act with it.
Feel it.

I believe that this is our responsibility to make it work.

Let’s make IT accessible for everyone.

 

Quick update from one of my readers – Dorota – who wrote about an incredible youtuber – Molly Burke. Check Molly’s videos out and have a look at how blind people use technology https://youtu.be/TiP7aantnvE

Cheers!

Make IT Accessible