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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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Tips on Helping You Find The Best Lawyer

Whenever you are faced with a legal situation it is vitally important that you put the effort into finding the best lawyer for you. There are many lawyers all over the place who may be trained, but may not necessarily be the best fit for you.

I want to share with you then, the process which I went through last year when I had to select a lawyer for an employment case that I was going through. My final selection was the guys at Dolan law firm, a choice which turned out to be a great success. If you are looking for a lawyer, here is how to find the best one.

Specialization

The first step is to assess what kind of lawyer it is that you need. Lawyers will specialize in a certain aspect of the law, and so it is important that you pick the right one for your case. A divorce attorney is not going to be able to help you very much if your case is about a personal injury so make sure that you make the right choice.

Making a List

Once you know what kind of lawyer it is that you need, you should start making a list of potential candidates. First check the BAR association website to find local, licensed lawyers. Once you have done this, it is time to start whittling down your options.

Reviews

Online you can find a huge amount of reviews of law firms, which have been written by previous clients. It is important that whilst you pay attention to this, that you don’t take it as gospel. The reason for this is that many people will take to the internet to leave negative views, over positive opinions. Equally it can be easy to manipulate reviews, so use them as a measure rather than as fact.

Reputation

Next up you need to check out the reputation of the law firms on your list, to see what their track record is like in cases such as yours. Naturally you will want the very best lawyer that you can afford, so aim for one which has a high rate of success. You can find previous case information and success rates on the BAR association website.

Making Appointments

Once you have checked the reviews and the reputation of the firms on your list, you should have cut your choices down to around 3 or 4. In order to work out which of the remaining candidates will be the best choice, you shod start to make appointments with each one. During your appointment you should speak about your case, and what kind of strategy the lawyer plans to take. During the appointment you should see how comfortable and how confident you feel with the lawyer, and whether or not you feel that they believe in your case. Trust your instinct during the meetings, and go with the firm which gives you the best impression.

Why is Summer Camp Good for Your Kid?

Has your child ever been to summer camp? If not, do they and you for that matter know what they are missing out on?

Attending summer camp can be a great experience for the whole family.

For the children, they learn new skills, have fun when out of school, and often return home a more confident kid.

For the parents, it is good to see one’s child grow and mature in such a short amount of time. Even better, mom and dad get a little break from their loved one if even only for a week or two.

So, should your child be heading off to summer camp?

Many Advantages to Your Child Going to Camp

If you have not taken time to think about why summer camp would be good for your son or daughter, there are many reasons.

First, he or she gets to be around other kids their age. Yes, while this is the case with going to school, being at summer camp is a little bit more of a relaxed setting. As such, your child may come to find that summer camps for kids are a great thing.

Second, think about all the different activities your child can partake in when at camp.

Among some of the offerings can be:

· Sports

· Computers

· Science

· Arts and crafts

· History

· Gardening

· Making different foods

You may be quite surprised when your child returns from camp. He or she may have picked up some skills they did not have when they left for camp not all that long ago.

Some of those skills may well transfer over to school when they return there in the fall.

In the event your child has struggled with grades, camp could help them turn things around in class.

Another advantage of camp is that they can interact with some great counselors.

In some cases, one or more of your child’s school teachers has not connected with them during the school year.

A great camp counselor or two may be able to get through to your kid sooner than later. In the process, your child may become more open to working harder in the classroom moving forward.

Last, some parents know all too well how long the summer can drag on.

With that in mind, going off to camp for a week or longer can be a great opportunity for your child to get away.

Instead of boredom at home, your child can go off to camp and have some experiences they’ve never had before. When this happens, it can open up a whole new world for them now and moving down the road.

Given you know your child better than anyone; do you think a week or more at camp would be the right experience for them?

If so, get going in finding the right camp for them.

Although camp is not for all kids, millions have discovered it was the perfect way to spend part of summer.