Posted in development, mobile testing, production bug

Development in rapid-delivery era.

This post will consist of some thoughts that bother me for some time now. It won’t be about testing only, but about the whole modern process of software delivery. Reading shall take some time, so grab some sandwiches, coffee and come along with my story ūüôā

Development in rapid - delivery era

We produce more and more software

Several years ago, it started to be visible that we live faster. We eat in a hurry, don’t care about cooking or running out of global resources. We became dedicated to meaningless things, such as smartphones, watches and gadgets to impress our society.

On the other hand, at some point, people noticed that the quality and durability of equipment they have at their homes: cars, washing machines, mobile phones etc. is lower than in used to be. It became more efficient to buy a new thing than to repair the old one. We started to produce lot of waste, polluting the environment and thinking that we have another Earth to move to. It took some time to notice, that, in fact, we don’t have a spare one. Simple, but surprising thought, made us be more eco-minded and aware of human’s impact on the planet.

Slow lifestyle, vegan food, bikes instead of cars, repairing old furniture, producing new items in more environmental friendly way – it is all happening now, and we keep on changing our lifestyles in order to save the planet for the future generations.

What has software industry to do with it?

The more devices we produce – the more software it requires. Modern fridges, microwaves or even toys tend to be equipped with some sort of software, can have WI-FI connection or are prone to be hacked. It means, that IT industry is no longer separated branch on the marked, or there that there is a bunch of guys somewhere, who produce software for your computer. Internet of Things enabled us to have software almost everywhere, furthermore, someone must write and test it.

Here is the point of my first doubt – if some device consists of some sort of software – does it mean that is has to be tested by somebody?

We test, but we don’t fix

My career as a software tester is not very long now, but since now, I had an opportunity to work is several projects related to various parts of the global market. As you probably know already, I also like to talk to people and exchange ideas and gain some other peoples’ experience regarding their projects. In addition, I am also an internet addict,
I do admit that – I shop online, read blogs and watch movies on the internet.

In a contrary, as a software tester, I am also quite picky user and when something on the website pisses me off – I don’t use the service anymore, unless I have no other choice.

What I would like to emphasise here is the matter of choice, in fact.

In my short software tester’s career (too many times!) I came across with the approach that when we know about the bug – our job is done. It takes too much effort (MONEY) to fix it, so we collect non-critical ones in our backlog and struggle to have them fix for end users. Does it sound familiar to you, Dear Reader?

It made me cry so many times observing my projects sinking in the sea of spaghetti code and UI issues.  Unfortunately, it was often way too visible, that I had been the only person, who bothered.

And here we are – software testers – doing the best we can to expose flaws of our products,¬† to protect our users, being angry and powerless at the same time. Product managers, product owners don’t listen to us, they just sell and expand the products worldwide.

Is it bad? It seems to be short-term profitable, but sadly, we may end up with piles of hideous software as we end up with polluted air, rivers and garbage in Indian Ocean.

When talking about the choice – there are branches on the market – which benefit from not having a competition. In Poland, where I live, this would be a public sector’s case – schools, national insurance, security. There is usually a tender in order to choose
a supplier of a software for certain public organisation, but in most of the cases the cheapest offer wins.
How do people manage to obtain the cheapest offer? They don’t include quality in their estimations. Simple.
Who will be the most impacted by the poor quality of the software here? Us. Hopefully, the person who made all bad decisions as well. An employee, who uses this software on daily basis has NO CHOICE. He is forced to use CRAPPY software, because it’s a part of his job. He must struggle, because somebody a few months back – was thinking just about his own profit. This is just against work ethics – but it happens in most of the cases.

We sell more than we have coded

Quality – not quantity – this is the sentence we teach newcomers in testing industry.
However, sometimes I think, that there is literally nobody, who cares about software quality. What’s the point of testing, if we don’t fix our mistakes?
During my last speech at SeeTest I said, “as a result of selling non-existing software” and, frankly, there or wherever I said that – the audience shared same feelings and knew exactly what I was talking about.

Are we in software delivery era, in which quality doesn’t matter anymore?

Out ‘businesses’ sell features, which are in their minds only, claiming it’s already existed and after that push us to write code faster, without impediments. What I mean by distractions – bug fixes for instance. I was in such projects, I know how that feels and how hopeless people are in such crazy circumstances.

We deliver faulty software in enormous pace

What do we have in return?
Faulty websites, online stores which display 503 or 404 on daily basis, dramatic UI, crashing mobile applications or just literally – non-usable software.

I don’t mind fast pace of work – it is stimulating and efficient, but I miss the care about end user. We produce fast-food software rather that slowly cooked pieces which would make us proud. I don’t think that a software tester is glad when his team receives bugs or complaints from production, but how could he help in the first place?

I am angry, because during my online shopping it happens more often that I receive errors, UI issues, drop-downs without items or my mobile applications just crash. When
I want to be kind and nice РI report those issues Рbut usually nobody responses and the issues  still exist.

We keep on racing each other – neglecting quality.¬†‘Fast’ is the new black.

Sadly, I don’t think that even persistent testers are able to fight with the approach. Maybe, there has to come a moment, as it was with coal usage or waste in the oceans,¬† when it will be obvious for us to stop and think.
I hope, there will be this moment, once more, in software industry, when ‘business’ would start to think not only about their fast profit but also about the end user.

Sorry for melancholy today, it just bothers me.

What do you think?
Feel free to comment down below, on Twitter or Facebook. Cheers.

 

 

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Posted in exploratory testing, mobile testing, production bug, tools

(Live) slow connection mobile testing

(s)lowconnection (2)

Holidays are these times when we go outside, fly abroad, spend a lot of time on wasting it and basically doing nothing. What is a common feature of such places?
Slow internet connection – no matter if it is within your network or WiFi.
I, an addicted smartphone user, find it as a one of the most annoying things EVER!

As I probably wrote at least once, I use my smartphone (Android) as a mother ship ūüėÄ
(It would really be a pain if I lost it).
Anyways, I use my phone for shopping purposes as well. What is more, taking into account a ‘typical woman‘ stereotype – I do a lot of shopping. 90% of which I do online. The conclusion is simple – the more time I have to waste – the more I buy ūüôā Having said that, imagine my frustration during online shops explorations, when I do experience slow internet connection.
In addition, I am not talking about websites only, but about well-known native apps, which , as it turned out, are not supposed to handle limited network range.

Today, I would like to present you a true wall of glory, basing on my holidays explorations. I’ve called it – the¬†SlowCo Art Gallery of inspiring issues.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it to be pure hate only, but maybe an inspiring feature to test for all of you working with any kind of mobile application or websites.

How to handle such testing (to avoid irritating me in the future)? Short introduction down below or in one of my old posts here.

Shall we begin?

Pic.1. Where is my CSS? –¬†Example from douglas.pl

Screenshot_2017-08-12-14-24-30

Pic.2. A journey through classes? –¬†Example from H&M Android app

Screenshot_2017-08-16-09-15-07

Pic.3. We don’t know what the hell just happened, so we’ll provide you with a random message –¬†Example from native Twitter app
(
Translation from Polish: An important service, without which this application is not able to run, is currently not available. Try later.)

Screenshot_2017-08-15-21-02-44

Pic.4. We are creative in producing 404 pages –¬†Example from jednosc.com.pl website

Screenshot_2017-08-11-11-00-31

Pic.5. At least one of those messages is valid. Hopefully. –¬†Example from Google Play app

screenshot_2016-08-12-23-11-04

As you can see – the range of failure possibilities is really vast BUT the issue is the same in each example. In the end, all those bugs may seem funny ūüôā

On the other hand, we are able to protect our applications and websites against SHAME by performing sets of basic network connection test cases.

How to stress the app, pretending slow connection?
My favorite option is to open Chrome, click F12 on your computer and go to Chrome Developer Tools.
Navigate to Network -> Throttling and select a connection version that you are interested in. Slow your connection down, and see the magic ūüôā
You can also connect your mobile app with Chrome Dev Tools and stress it.

throttling

It may sometimes seem as an edge case, but imagine all the people, who live most of their lives in the area of slow internet connection. How frustrating might it be for them?
Hey mobile testers – Let’s make apps great again! ūüôā

Like!, Share, Hate, Comment on Facebook
Stalk me on Twitter
or comment down below ūüôā

Cheers!

Posted in production bug

Allegro: How production bugs killed small business.

the killer

After first publication of this blog post I was accused for lying, being not honest and unprofessional.

No, ¬†I don’t work for Allegro.

No, ¬†I didn’t contact technical team before publication to hear their side of the story.

No, I don’t know the Wide context of current layout changes.

No, I didn’t write a lie. It’s a story from end User’s – retailer’s- point of view. Not from allegro tester’s point of view.

Yes, I am a mean person.

I have nothing against Allegro as a company.

I just feel that testers and developers should fight for bug-free deliveries.

All examples are real.

Each new tester, at the beginning of his journey through ISTQB requirements, is being thought a series of major production bugs that have caused financial loses or could have damaged someone’s life. At the same time, when people¬†hear about safety issues or hacked bank accounts – they¬†feel worried.

What about us – testers and developers – what do we think when we experience some major production issues on someone else’s website? Does it bother us? Do we feel harmed or rather smile with a triumph thinking about some lousy testing?

This post¬†won’t be about tools and pure testing stuff today. It will be different, based on friend’s of mine – Polish retailer – a true story – his experiences and struggle. It also will be a tale about some bad marketing decisions, too rapid changes and about severe production bugs on Polish most known auction platform – Allegro.

I would like you to get familiar with a series of production issues on a platform, which most of you, readers, may have never heard of. Those issues damaged or ruined several local companies, harmed hard-working people and their families. In the end Рno one feels responsible for it.

If you ever wonder how your production bugs might impact business – keep on reading.

What is Allegro

allegro-oszust-oszustwo-falszywa-wiadomosc

Allegro is a younger brother of Amazon and Ebay.

At first, ¬†for several years, Allegro¬†operated exclusively on the Polish market – now it’s a really big player in eastern Europe.

It started from being an online flee market and evolved into platform dedicated mostly for local retailers. It offers a space for selling and buying products and become a beating heart of Polish small business.

However….

Selling products on Allegro was always expensive for retailers, and really profitable for the portal itself. Some shops, apart selling products in their own e-commerce spaces, were using Allegro more as a commercial tool than main sell target. On the other hand, there were shops, that were selling things on the platform only and became very dependent. That made Allegro  huge player on Polish e-commerce market Рit is the best known, it made also Polish market resistant to Ebay or Amazon influence. This quick overview will help you understand how strong position it has at the moment.

The Retailer

A friend of mine РGarry Рis a small retailer. He sells small electronic parts online. Garry owns an online shop Рbut majority of the sales goes through Allegro. He runs his business for several years now with a great success. Last year he even received a prize for being such successful brand in e-commerce market.

Issue No1

work safe

One day Garry wakes up, logs into Allegro and realizes that his auctions doesn’t work.

He checks all of them – all switched off. He checks all his bills – everything is fine – checks his timetables – all auctions should be on – but THEY ARE NOT.

Garry tries to switch one auction on and receives a popup:

” Account¬†locked.
Your bill was not payed.
Amount : 0,00 PLN”

You could just imagine how Garry was … surprised.

In the background – I can just imagine this failing database or fantastic live migration left by devops for the weekend.

Account locked: 3 days
Garry’s loss: several thousands PLN
People feeling guilty or apologizing from Allegro site: 0

Funny fact: It wasn’t one time event.

Issue No2

work safe (1)

Strictly connected with the first one.

After writing and calling to Allegro without success (well done you, Support Team!), Garry decided to transfer small amount of money to his Allegro account Р in order to have his account unlocked.

Guess what?

He was not able to transfer any money to his account, because there was no debt.

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Account locked: 1 week
Garry’s loss:¬†First time his costs were grater that his income
People feeling guilty or apologizing from Allegro site: 0

You can only imagine that Garry was not the only person harmed with those issues. Unfortunately, it was just the beginning of his troubles.

A chain of disasters

work safe (3)

At the beginning of 2017 Allegro decided about UI changes and strict regulations for all retailers. I believe (this is my assumption) that it is also connected with their mobile app that is being constantly improved for several months now (well done Allegro mobile Testers – the app is really cool – like… Really).

Spider’s web wrote some doubts about logotype changes here.

All retailers were obliged to change the overall look of their auctions:

  • remove logotypes
  • remove watermarks
  • remove branding
  • make¬†all picture’s backgrounds pure white¬† (RGB 255, 255, 255)

Imagine retailers having over 1000 items on a sell, mostly using AI to renew the auctions, facing this one great challenge now: prepare all of your auctions from scratch. Enjoy.

On one hand I understand Allegro – white – in mobile design – is the best you can do. Agree.

On the other hand – removing all logotypes and retailer’s names from the pictures, auction names and so on – made them invisible.
Before that time Рif you had 10 identical items on the list Рyou was able to distinguish the sellers and buy several items from the same person  Рor Рfrom your favorite retailer. Now Рthe only distinguish factor is THE PRICE.

As you can imagine – this extremely brilliant PR (or whoever decides about it at Allegro’s site) decision – promoted the biggest players – who can offer prices below the market rate. All other offers went down the list. What is more, the rumours said, ¬†that those who can afford promoting on Allegro homepage – gain the most at the moment. (I don’t know the exact prices, as it’s top secret).

If you go to Allegro app right now – you’ll find just list of pure white identical images – and a sea of boredom. But they achieved what they wanted. Probably…

I also like Allegro’s sense of humor when replying to people complaining on new design and requirements (this information comes from Allegro’s support:

FB_IMG_1493819584223

“We are testing the new design. We switch it on for random group of users, examine the influence on buyers. We compare the results, and improve if necessary or change the look of certain elements. For the next couple of weeks you’ll see your offers in different versions. We’ll choose the one, which will be the most convenient for the users”.

I miss “Enjoy” at the end.

Issue No3

work safe (2)

Layout change¬†caused some “unexpected” issues – missing auctions.

Due to constant improvements¬†(and probably some migrations) random items kept disappearing from retailer’s list of items. They were able to see them from admin site – but they were not visible for Allegro users.

Oh, two missing items? No one notice, we’ll fix it in the next sprint. – Does it sound familiar?

For some of the retailers – auctions were available – but their new images were missing for days (sic!). It seems like testing images on production is not always the best practice, isn’t it?

Some people skipped their orders, because not all of the items they wanted were available.

Garry’s loss:¬†several thousands PLN
People feeling guilty or apologizing from Allegro site: 0

Summing up

Garry has already lost a lot of money.

His company started to fall, as all new regulations and constant production issues damaged his income. He had to dismiss his employees, as there was not much work to do for all of them. He has closed his office and had to look for some additional job.
This is not just a story – it’s a fact.

Your production issues – Allegro testers – caused someone’s unemployment.

It seems just unreal – because Garry’s¬†company was successful for several years! All happened because of too rapid and reckless changes on the¬†online platform. Imagine youtubers, dependent on their one and only communication channel, facing some unexpected platform changes. I bet some of them will loose their audience and income as well.

The sad fact is – Allegro doesn’t care. No apologies. No regrets. They’ll get the income anyway.

Will hundreds of people like Garry influence the general income of Allegro? I have no idea.
I just feel sorry for Garry – a hard-working person who lost (for some time) his life joy. Because of bunch of production errors and rapid marketing decisions.

I’m not against Allegro testers. I believe it is a good lesson for all of us to think wider. Not only within the sprint or release frame.

There is a real user out there.