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Newsletter - Mar 2015

 
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PM Essence

Work Life Integration not Work Life Balance

 

By - Ms. Ananya Pani
How often have u come across this infinite struggle between work and personal life, it always seems to come exactly at the same time.
 
The customer meets always seem to coincide with your most important date in personal life, like your anniversary day or your child's performance in school.
 
Your child seems to have planned to be sick only when you have a critical delivery in your project.
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All of us have come across this in our life so often. So here comes the new magic term which seem to be solving all this problems with its magic presence, that's work life balance.
 
This term has pretended to come to the rescue of most of us. We keep demanding this from our employers and the bosses pretend to give this more and more.
 
Has it really solved our perpetual struggle?
 
Let me describe what has seemed to work for me, that's not work life balance but work life INTEGRATION.
 
For me there is no time where it is one or the other, for me work and life coexist always.
 
I take care of work as much as possible even when I am in a personal commitment of course with the help of technology (smart phones/email) And same goes with personal life, that takes precedence during work based on need.
 
Keeping in our demanding lives and work, I can hardly think of a scenario when I can segregate these two.
 
For most of working moms work and life coexist as equal priorities most of the time and we seem to be juggling them.
 
The key is to prioritize and take up as needed at the moment. The key for most of working moms is work life integration and lets not feel guilty about having not living the moment fully its living everything altogether.
 
Its fine to take the call from a key client in the middle of your family dinner and also absolutely ok to take your mom for the doctor appointment during work timing.
 
Its time to integrate our roles.
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PM Essence

Overlooking The Cloud

By - Rajesh Dangi, PMP
While technology companies adapt to newer technologies in the ever changing landscape of development tools, testing metaphors and usability frameworks it is imperative that bare metal IT infrastructure calls for it share and piggy back on these projects and program managers with complex workloads, shrinking timelines and instant go to market dreams.It means that the datacenters in the traditional way could no longer cope with manual allocation of technology resources, configuring environments, deal with operating systems, keep-them-running patches and excel driven capacity management micros for additional resources to deal with demanding compute, memory, storage at runtime.

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The exhausted crowd then invented a term called “cloud” that now provides simple justification of our unknowns.
 
"Cloud computing, by its very nature, is uniquely vulnerable to the risks of myths. It is all about capabilities delivered as a service, with a clear boundary between the provider of the service and the consumer," said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow. Taking this epicenter of today's jargon to next level of ambiguity rest of the world started adding their unsolved business problems that demands technology solution with optimized, available, economical, maintenance free, pay as you use and scalable desires into the brawl. The “Cloud” is now confused.
 
Who's capacity is it anyway? Being in the industry for more than two decades I have witnessed the EDP rooms translate into server rooms, engineering labs and production datacenters ; everything about the unplanned changes ( read business needs) and last minute procurements and purchases and long nights and weekends to pull it through were the admin days of reality. Those who rose for the occasion and started scripting and automation that ran programs / scripts on it's own and initiate self-recovery, failed job re-runs into a solid and golden virtualization world.
 
The stacking and stalking of grids, automation of provisioning is not well set trend and are baselines of the “cloud” as we know. So does this “Cloud” resolve it's own issues of provisioning as businesses pour more complex workloads and interrelated algorithms to so called software defined world, not a reality yet.
 
The very fact of provisioning is limited by the allocated resources, the accruals of the hungry loads demand the resource movements but are limited to silos of the domains and brands who strategically do not talk to each other and open standards are born to enforce protocols over each other. The capacities are carved out and kept ready for allocations from respective resource pools, typically compute (allocate more app instances on the fly when peak load exceeds or reaches 85% etc or resize the instances to manage database queues waiting to commit to the disks or as easy as migrating the app server instances to near shore location of the user based on the 'work demand'' etc) such test scenarios and use cases are endless yet more or less functional while customer demos are carried out but the self-healing of the failed instances, unclean or partial transaction recoveries runs continue to create havoc and more jobs in the dynamic work.
 
There is definitely no fool proof answer on running complex and interconnected production applications over cloud without anyone's intervention and those who claim to having done so are not beyond POCs.
What's a cloud then?
 
Essentially there are three types of “Cloud” setups, first private cloud ( no, not your current datacenter as is), then a Public cloud and last but no least “Hybrid Cloud” for getting best of both worlds.

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The “Private cloud” provides you with all benefits of optimizing your hardware hosted within the confines of your own datacenter and offers integration, flexibility and Security / Control. The tenets which define a private cloud as beautifully put by @chuckhollis of EMC/VMware…What makes it a "cloud" is three aspects: (1) it's built differently -- dynamic pools of virtualized resources, (2) it's operated differently -- highly automated low-touch and zero-touch models, and (3) it's consumed differently -- convenient consumption, sometimes pay-as-you-go. What makes it "private" is that the IT organization is under complete control -- how it's used, how it's protected, how it's managed, how it's secured, etc, Well put.
 
The “Hybrid” mode is where you process the stuff on “public” cloud and store in “private” cloud mode. It provides benefits across the spectrum and leverages all drivers of cloud adaptations possible for an enterprise.
 
Enough said about the cloud, the futuristic cautious optimism about the cloud and the outlook is positive yet no tracks are seen on large scale transformation of legacy data center. I assume till we look at three fundamental angles such as Technology, Strategy and Compliance we will not see the light at the end of the tunnel. CIOs often get caught in the act here, Strategy that is generally driven by “businesses” and tagged to the Goals drive them for early adaptation and “show me the money” (read, cost saving) couple with ISO27K, PCI-DSS compliance drives where isolation, auditability and access remain prime the technology ball game played by every cloud vendor or orchestration tool player does not take off. Having a right strategy for adapting right type of the cloud is key here, for example of the organization is in development, testing and innovations then a 'hybrid cloud' will be the answer wherein “Code” remains in the “private” cloud with data repository with Dev Environments and staging and stable (read test) environments get hosted on “Public” cloud for quicker client POCs, making this a true hybrid setup. The production environments split horizontally with Web servers and CDN (read peripheral zone) remains on “public” cloud and Application Servers and database servers (read, business and restricted zone) resides on “Secured Private Cloud”. Ultimately cloud deployment strategies will defer based on the DNA of the organization and right sizing the cloud metaphor for “business” users will be the key criteria for success and security.
 
In summary, the “price” being the low hanging fruit and remains competitive as long as standard features are availed while deployment. In InformationWeek's 2014 Private Cloud Survey, the only perceived cloud issues that affected more than a quarter of respondents revolved around cost and complexity. In InformationWeek's 2014 Private Cloud Survey, the only perceived cloud issues that affected more than a quarter of respondents revolved around cost and complexity.
 
According to the RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Survey, compliance is a top challenge – cited by 30% of respondents at the “Cloud Beginner” stage. Compliance remains a challenge even as the organization's cloud maturity increases; among “Cloud Focused” enterprises, 18% cited compliance as a top challenge. 31% of Cloud Beginners cite security as a significant challenge, while just 13% of Cloud Focused organizations do. “As organizations become more experienced in cloud security options and best practices, the less of a concern cloud security becomes.” Interestingly no one raised any concerns about Technology where lot many Cloud providers are placing their bet!
 
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PM Essence

Testing Technique in Agile – Pair Testing

 

By - Mrs.Rama Komarabathini, PMP, PMI-ACP
Introduction
Software projects, especially the product development teams, today are fast moving away from the traditional development methodology and adopting Agile for obvious advantages. However, advantages are accompanied by a number of challenges especially to the testing team.
 
Agile projects introduce time-boxed development – hence clearly time is the most important constraint. 
 
Agile brings in faster pace of development hence squeezing the QA team's ability to develop and maintain test cases.
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With Agile's principle of “welcome changing requirements even late in development cycle”, the test scripts need to be kept updated with changing requirement.
 
Development spill overs - The development team over commits thereby squeezing the time available for the testers.
 
New features developed in sprints, churn out code to such an extent that it increases the risk of regression.
 
In short, time available for testing is limited; use whatever is available efficiently and effectively.
 
The power of two
It's not for nothing that people from time immemorial have talked about the power of two people working together. The wellknown proverb in English states it all – “Two heads is better than one”.
 
This notion is also expressed in the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. The two verses 9 & 10 of the Chapter 4 from the book Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) quote,
 
9. Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work
10. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
 
Wondering what has Bible got to do with Agile testing techniques? Read on…
 
The other day, I overheard a conversation of two college going girls. Apparently they had to walk quite a distance to go to the nearest bus stop. One was saying to the other – “You know, when I walk alone to the bus stop, it so boring and appears to take eternity to reach there. But when we walk together time flies so fast and it appears that we have covered the same distance in a jiffy”. So what's happening here? In a nutshell, the work (of walking to the bus stop) is getting done efficiently when two people are involved.
 
This got me wondering – Can I not apply the same concept to testing? I was determined to start Pair Testing in my project. Whilst pair testing is not a new concept, it is surprising that not many testers use or know about it.
 
So what is Pair Testing? It is a technique in which two people test an application at the same computer by continuously exchanging ideas.
 
The pilot, who is in charge of the keyboard and mouse, is responsible to perform the actual testing tasks, whilst the co-pilot analyses, reviews and guides the pilot. The two members involved could take turns to be pilot and co-pilot at alternative instances.
 
How to apply Pair Testing? Don’t over complicate. Keep the process simple, straightforward, flexible and easy to use. The following steps have been very effective for me in implementing Pair testing,
 
Determine the duration of testing – Working in pairs, sometimes deprives the members of thinking individually. It also leads to one being over dependent on the other. So work in short bursts – 60 to 90 minutes per session is ideal.
 
Identify scope of testing – Decide what should be tested in a session.
 
Establish a goal – My goal, “No software is bug free, let's find at least one”.
 
Determine the pilot and the co-pilot – and rotate the responsibilities.
 
Execute the tests – Book a room for yourselves for the duration of the session.
 
Stick to the scope – Do not deviate from it.
 
Applicability of Pair Testing Pair Testing need NOT limited to “test case execution”. It can be applied almost all QA activities. This includes functional analysis, test case designs, exploratory testing and bug reporting. However, introduce the concept by starting with test case execution.
 
Advantages of Pair Testing Pair testing brings in efficiency thereby reducing time due to following reasons,
 
Better knowledge - Lower chance of functional misunderstanding. Hence time taken to redo the test cases is avoided.
 
Inherent test case reviews – Test case reviews not required since they already have been written by two people.
 
High creativity – Brainstorming between the two members leads to better creativity and test coverage.
 
Increased productivity – Limits interruptions leading to better focus, high productivity and better testing.
 
Improved testing methodology – Sharing of past experiences leading to improved testing and hence reduced time for test cycle. 
 
Time saving – Use of pilot-copilot mode resulting in sharing of tasks and responsibilities.
 
Better bug reporting – Reduces time spent in discussing bugs with developers.
 
Effective training technique – Hence, reduces the time for a separate functional training session.
 
Better coordination – Generates positive energy and increased coordination.
 
Better reproduction of bugs – It becomes easier to reproduce tricky bugs because you start seeing patterns when working in pairs.
 
Factors for successful implementation You may start thinking that Pair Testing is probably the next best thing after sliced bread. However, as always there are challenges. You will need to put appropriate steps in place.
 
Time, practice and adaptation – Don't expect the process to work the first time. Adopt and adapt processes continuously to suit your project.
 
Social inclination – Allow the member to spend as much time as possible with each other.
 
No Jealousy/ego factor – The members involved should be open to criticism. Pair members with care.
 
Team work – The members should work as a team with a combined goal.
 
Don't measure individual performance– change the pairs to find the best combination.
 
Conclusion Having practically used it, I have shared my experiences of Pair Testing. However, it is not a magic wand for all your testing problems. It is complementary to the other testing techniques. Use it wisely and carefully.
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PM Essence
Faster Time-to-Market for Industrial Manufacturing companies

Economically, things seem to be getting better, but slowly. For manufacturers, it's a climate of opportunity. New measures of economic value are emerging that make the supply chain a key indicator of growth. Manufacturers that can accelerate their new product development (NPD) process, and reduce time-tomarket, will establish strong and sustainable leadership positions. How to gain visibility, collaboration and control for agile NPD? http://goo.gl/NrTDvT

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PM Essence
DidYouKnow
Q. This is the method used to narrow down a large list of possibilities to a smaller list of the top priorities or to a final selection and allows an item that is favored by all?

A. Multivoting narrows a large list of possibilities to a smaller list of the top priorities or to a final selection. Multivoting is preferable to straight voting because it allows an item that is favored by all, but not the top choice of any, to rise to the top. Multivoting is also called as NGT voting or nominal prioritization. Multivoting is used majorly for below: • After brainstorming or some other expansion tool has been used to generate a long list of possibilities. • When the list must be narrowed down, and • When the decision must be made by group judgment..

[Source - Internet]

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