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Quality Assurance in Agile Software Development

The approaches to and opinions about quality assurance in an agile software development are varied and contentious. Some teams would argue that there is no role for quality assurance in a properly run agile software development team. Others would push back and state that it’s impossible to guarantee quality without having dedicated quality assurance agile team members.

Quality assurance in agile software development can be considered a grey area. There is no definitive – do this, don’t do this, and always make sure this. Just like everything in agile, quality assurance and how it does or doesn’t happen is up to the team and company. But one thing is guaranteed – quality has to happen – it’s how this is achieved that makes the discussion about quality assurance a hot topic.

You don’t need to be told that you need people on your agile software development team who are responsible for ensuring a quality product. You don’t need to be reminded that agile tries to minimize processes and tools and focus on the individual. You don’t need to be told over and over again that done has many different meanings and applications.

There is no right or wrong way to succeed with quality assurance. It’s in the doing, adjusting, and calibrating that your team will find the right approach to quality assurance. It could be a variation of pair programming, a focus on test driven development, a complete focus on test automation, end-to-end testing, or a combination of the best of each approach.

Since we can’t tell you exactly what to do, we want to give you some ideas on how to use quality assurance within your software development team. Whether you’ve got a new team or are new to agile or are struggling with defining roles within your agile software development team, use this article as a conversation starter, jumping-off point, or blueprint of quality assurance ideas.

The Agile Manifesto and Quality Assurance

At first glance the principles of the Agile Manifesto appear to be in polar opposite of quality assurance methodologies. However, as with all things agile, the Agile Manifesto is open to interpretation.

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Team, team, team – this is the very essence of agile software development. When your quality assurance specialist are part of the agile software development team they can be involved, collaborating, and communicating – all with a focus on ensuring quality.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation. Traditional waterfall quality assurance relies on heavily detailed test plans and documentation. In an agile team, this translates to the quality assurance experts spending their time doing testing and providing feedback, rather than writing test plans. Of course, there does need to be a way to track testing, but this can be done with one-line test scenarios, error checklists, risk-based testing, exploratory testing sessions, or user stories with integrated test markers.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation. In an agile quality assurance team, the focus is 100% on the customer – both external and internal customers. Often times because the quality assurance expert knows the product better than anyone else on the team, this person becomes an advocate for the customer. Think of the quality assurance team as a customer and you’ll get some real insight into the software quality.
  • Responding to change over following a plan. Change can be hard for anyone on an agile team, but with a well-organized approach to quality assurance, change is welcomed and encouraged. After all, it’s through quality assurance that areas for improvement are identified, blockers are found, and in some cases the need for a complete redesign – all of which drive change in the product, iteration, and company.

There is a reason why the Agile Manifesto remains relevant – it is the foundation for how agile companies think, respond, communicate, and thrive. The key is in making sure that there is flexibility in how these guide posts are interpreted and applied. There is nothing absolute or rigid in the Agile Manifesto, making it an ideal springboard for thinking about how quality assurance fits into your agile software development approach.

Four Ways to Integrate Quality Assurance in Agile Software Development

Your team is asking for advice on how to improve the role of the quality assurance team. Your managers are asking why you need to hire more quality assurance staff. You want to make sure that quality is still the focus and driving principle of your entire agile software team.

Sometimes it takes knowing how to do quality assurance better – the following four points can serve as a way to get your team thinking about how quality assurance can and should be integrated.

  1. Understand agile software development. As we highlighted above, team is integral to agile success. Make sure your entire team understands agile software development – the intentions, foundation, and guiding values. Knowing this helps keep the focus on the team, communication, and quality.
  2. Remember to collaborate. In waterfall, testing and quality assurance happens at the end of the development cycle. The opposite is the case with agile software development, quality assurance can happen concurrently and from the very beginning when requirements and user stories are defined. Keep your developers and quality assurance people working together to support communication and collaboration.
  3. Flexibility to different approaches. All too often teams get stuck in doing development and testing with one prescribed methodology. Agile software development is designed to allow for more – support your quality assurance team in being involved from the beginning, in testing features before they’re code complete, getting quality assurance involved in UX reviews, and in any other area. Be flexible in how you think of the role of quality assurance in your team.
  4. Nothing is perfect. You’re not going to get it right every time. Just because the last iteration was a success, doesn’t mean this one will be. Just because pair programming helped eliminate defects on another project, doesn’t mean the same will happen for your project. Remember, to be open and ready for change, challenges, and rooms to improve. Learn to look for the root causes rather than focusing on the obvious glaring problems.

Successful agile software development is a journey. There are twist and turns, missteps, and second chances. Don’t get caught up in getting things done perfectly – people are going to react differently to change, people won’t want to try pair programming or end-to-end testing, people won’t want to collaborate freely – this is all part of figuring out how to make agile work for your team.

It is important through-out the discussions on how quality assurance fits into your agile software development team that you remember that the customer and quality must be the focus. How you get there is up to you – just make sure you’re doing it in the way that is best for your team, your customers, and your organization’s goals.

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3 Vastly Different Career choices suitable for those with a Degree in Law

Those who obtain a degree in Law will have lots of opportunities upon Graduation. The Law degree is a well rounded and respected qualification which does not only help you become a qualified lawyer but provide you with opportunities to work in a number of areas. Law Graduates should be sure to use an agency to find the right legal job.

Below are 3 careers, the first obvious and the other two less so to show the broad spectrum of jobs available to Law Graduates.

law degree

Barrister

Starting Salary Upon Qualification: £25,000+

5 years of experience working privately: £50,000 – £200,000

One of the most obvious roles available to those educated in the field of Law is to become a Barrister. As the most high profile kind of lawyers Barristers will appear in court, arguing cases and defending their clients. The job requires a strong attention to detail since Barristers must prepare how will they present their client’s case and deliver it carefully with confidence and authority.

Solicitors are the ones who usually hire Barristers to represent court cases but is common for clients both individuals and organizations to directly seek out well established and experienced Barristers who they would like to represent them in court. Many barristers work on a self-employed basis while others directly represent law firms, governments & agencies.

 

Tax Advisor

Starting Salary Upon Qualification:  £26,000 – 36,000

Senior Management Positions: £95,000+

Those interested in numbers and finance will likely make good candidates to become Tax Advisers. Those with experience in studying law will likely have developed the people skills which will come in handy in a job consulting with and advising clients. Graduates who have completed Financial Law modules will likely already have a decent knowledge of taxation law and will be in a good position to qualify as chartered tax advisers as the cross over into this field is not so vast.

Upon qualification tax, advisers will advise clients how they can use legal tax-efficient strategies to ensure their clients have the knowledge to make the right decisions. There will be those who focus on assisting individuals on a personal level as well as corporate tax advisers who deal with companies.

 

Coroner

Part-time Salary: £50,000

Full-time Salary Expectations:: £83,000-£104,000

The job of a coroner is of course not for the faint-hearted. You will be dealing with ‘the dead’ on a constant basis. However, the job is very important and can also be extremely rewarding financially for those who opt for this kind of career. Your job as a coroner would be to investigate the cause of death when it is unknown or suspicious. The tasks involved are varied with coroners required to consult medical professionals and conduct a post-mortem as part of their investigation.

While this is unlikely to be the career that most Law graduates picture when coming out of university it is actually quite a common career path for Barristers to move into. Those with a forensic law background will be the most suited to the job. What attracts most people into this line of work this is, of course, the salary. Unfortunately, death is something which is always going to occur making this an emotionally difficult yet very stable career.

The Best Advice for Getting Through Your Divorce and Moving On

 

When we get married we vow to love our significant other forever. And for the vast majority of us, we take this commitment very seriously and so wall we can to keep these vows. Unfortunately however, marriages often end in divorce and when they do it be contentious and draining.

When we go through a divorce however, because the stakes are so high, we need to do all we can to remain calm and collected and focus on the present and the future even though the past seems like it is what is most important.

Here is some great advice for anyone going through a divorce on how to get through it and come out whole on the other side.

Pick the Right Type of Attorneys

In terms of picking the right attorneys, you need to select a law firm that has all of the attributes to get you the best settlement and also help you through the toughest parts of the divorce. If you are looking for a great divorce and family law firm in the Sydney Australia area, try Prime Lawyers.

To get you the best settlement, the law firm you select needs to be knowledgeable about family law in your state and have a proven track record for satisfying their clients. They should also be very communicative with you and keep you abreast of everything that is going on with your case at every stage. They should communicate with you in common language and allow you to ask any questions whenever you see fit. They should also give you an entire breakdown of the process and what will likely happen when. IF they recommend any actions you need to take including a settlement, they should clearly state your options and tell you why they are recommending the one they choose. This level of professionalism is what will make you feel comfortable and confident while going through your divorce.

The toughest parts of the divorce will likely be dealing with any of the issues around your young children, and having to get into what will be a tense situation with your soon to be former significant other. In terms of the young children if any are involved custody will be a major tension point. Neither party will ever feel comfortable no matter the arrangement.

Most divorces come about because of a series of issues that are very hurtful and emotional. One party feels wronged and is angry and very vengeful. The other party might share these emotions or at least feel misunderstood and defensive. This combination of attitudes and feeling can be explosive.

Your attorney must understand these very sensitive issues and how to guide you in a way that takes into account that they play a major role in any settlement reached.   In the case of young children the attorney must be mindful that you and your spouse will be in each other’s lives for a long time and for the good of everyone calm is the best approach. Regarding the reasons for the divorce, whether it was infidelity, or some other emotionally charged reason, the focus should be on moving on and putting the past behind you. Attorneys can play an important role in these issues and need to take the lead by setting the right tone for the divorce proceedings.

Keep a Good Relationship with Your Children

Divorces can often get so nasty that the couple completely forgets that thee are young people caught up in this process that have no idea what is happening. They know that mommy and daddy are angry and that things are about to change, but they cannot fully process the meaning behind what is occurring. During a divorce, especially a nasty one, one or both of the parents tend to retreat and pull away from the kids and this is a big mistake. In fact the opposite should occur. Children can often feel as if they are the cause of a divorce and this can stay with them for a long time. The parents need to both be there to talk them through what is happening and to let them know that it is not their fault and that you will both continue to love them as always. Make sure that you take extra time and as much as you can keep a routine with them. This will make all the difference to them as custody arrangements become clear.

Remember That the Bad Times are Temporary

When you are going through a divorce it will likely seem that the good times in your life have come to an end and all that remains is pain and misery. This might be bolstered by arguments between you and your spouse that get really nasty, threats that are made and an understanding that you will have to start over completely when the divorce goes through. There is no denying that it will be a bad time for you and your emotions will take quite a beating.

But remember that given time the bad times will pass and things will become less intense and stressful. You will also likely move on and find a new love.