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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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Choosing a Granite Memorial for Your Loved Ones

It’s going to get easier with time, it’s not going to be quick, but you’ll get there. Losing a loved one is something that can’t be compared and will forever leave a mark in your life.

The first advice you can take from this article is that you must actively seek to heal, to slowly recover from the pain that loss brought by bringing closure to this transition.

The best way to do this is by remembering those treasured times you spent with your loved one and replace the pain and grief with those happy and warm moments.

Once you’ve begun this process, you might want to gift a memorial to embody the love you have for this special person.

We might not be able to help with much more in your emotional distress, but we can aid you choose a nice granite memorial to provide closure to this cycle and leave an everlasting memory that will forever carry your love and memorialize the life of that person.

Why Choose Granite?

Choosing this material will guarantee that, with proper care, your memorial will outlive you, everyone in else in your family, and several generations to come, holding the memories and the particular message you engraved to withstand the test of time, perpetually immortalizing the memories you shared with your loved one.

Types of Granite Memorials

Although the traditional granite memorial is known as a headstone, there are several different kinds of memorials available that you can place in a cemetery.

However, keep in mind that depending on the local cemetery or churchyard there might be a specific set of rules and guidelines on what sort of memorial you can install. Making headstones the standard and commonly accepted choice amongst different locations.

If the regulations permit it, you can also look for a kerbed, a lawn memorial, and traditional vases, that will exalt the beauty of the granite and spruce up the dedicatory.

Kerbed memorials and lawn memorials cover the whole grave and allow you to install larger decorations, flower vases, and even creating a small personal garden on the grave.

Always look for a stonemason’s previous work to see if you genuinely like his craft since these investments are filled with emotions and care, and each detail should carry be considered to create the most exceptional commemoration possible.

Engravings

The message that you wish to etch in the memorial is something very personal and should be chosen carefully, as it will convey your feelings and memories.

Depending on the size and work of the stonemason you can engrave words, designs and even pictures into the memorial, so you have a wide range of options available.

From the common message of remembrance from its beloved, a lovely poem written especially for the occasion, or a happy image of the deceased, these details can be arranged by a professional craftsman.

Immortalizing the Live of a Person

The most important aspect about choosing a nice granite memorial is that you try to forget the pain of loss and instead celebrate the life and great memories you shared with that person, engraving them into the granite and creating a soulful dedicatory that will forever speak about the love you shared.

Remember that it will slowly get better, that stinging feeling of pain and loss is something that will gradually wane, and the first step to recovery is giving a proper closure to the cycle of life. What a better way of commemorating that love and those beautiful memories than with a nice granite memorial that will forever evoke those great moments.

Discussing the Many Benefits of Having a Stair Lift Installed In Your Home

If you have issues with your mobility, for whatever reason, it makes a great deal of sense to ensure that your home is designed in such a way that you can get around far more easily. For some this may mean changing home to a bungalow, for everyone else it means making modifications to their existing homes to ensure that you don’t have too much trouble when you are carrying out daily tasks at home. One such installation which can bring with it many benefits, at least for those who live in a house with more than one floor, is a stairlift. These fantastic gadgets involve having metal brackets placed on your stairs, along with a strong rail along the wall, attached to this rail is a seat which you simply sit down on, and then using a remote control you will be automatically transported up and down the stairs.

If you aren’t sure whether or not this is something that you need, here are just some of the many benefits which you will enjoy after installing one in your home.

Independence

One thing which mobility issues can almost guarantee is a diminished level of independence and you will find yourself calling on others for help in a number of situations. Stairlifts can help you maintain your independence in the home, by allowing you to head up and down stairs with ease, and without the help of anyone else.

Injury Risk

Because of the physical restrictions which limited mobility can bring, there is often a risk of injury from falling or tripping. When it comes to the stairs, falling here can come with some terrible consequences because of the height from which you may fall. You can completely remove this risk through using a stairlift, giving you more confidence, and putting the minds of your loved ones at ease.

Less Stress

It is not just the risk of injury itself which can be a problem when moving up and down the stairs, but also the stresses which this activity will put on the body. When you have a mobility issue, your body will naturally use other muscles and joints in the body to compensate for the area which is struggling, and this only serves to put undue stress on areas of the body which are not used to it. Climbing stairs is an effort which requires much strength for those with mobility issues, and it could have painful consequences.

More Action

You will be amazed at how many people put off going up or down stairs because of the difficulty which is involved, and the tiredness that they feel afterwards. Many people will go upstairs to collect something and then leave it a long time before coming back down, because they feel tired. When you have a stairlift installed, this will be a thing of the past as you will feel happy to whizz up and down the stairs whenever you see fit.

Having mobility issues is tough enough, why not make your life easier with a stair lift?