Customer Satisfaction as the new Marketing

5starsLately, I’ve been receiving an increasing number of customer satisfaction emails. Let me give you an example on how extensive this can get. After bringing my car to the dealer for maintenance I got three ‘small’ questionnaire requests via email to make sure I was satisfied. Initially, I only got one questionnaire from the dealer on how they performed, but soon after that I got one from the lease company too.  Finally the third email came in with another questionnaire request from the car brand. All three would just take a couple of minutes of my time.

Remember the times when this kind of performance feedback on satisfaction was extremely simple? The baker around the corner would bake all kinds of bread you would buy on a regular basis. He noticed you were buying a different kind one day and he was sincerely interested in knowing why. Genuine attention. Where did we let this slide away? [Read more...]

In the Architecture Office #7: It doesn’t make sense if it just makes sense…

Per1Previously in the Architecture PracticeChief architect Herbert Birchbranch (called Herb in the text) got a new friend, the business architect James Berry. Together they started to build a reference architecture with the business process framework as the foundation. Herb felt that the future looked a lot brighter. He had finally managed to bring the business perspective into the architecture.

Herb’s got a new mantra

In the beginning, Herb was challenging his architects and stakeholders with questions about quality. What quality shall architecture contribute to? What architecture is needed to support achievement of quality goals? The term quality got a little worn out and sometimes seemed to make it more complicated in people’s minds. [Read more...]

My watch told me to write this post

Based on my sleeping cycle, my health bracelet woke me up this morning. After checking the profile of my night, I received the information that I had a good night sleep. Not sure that I agree, but my bracelet knows better than I do, so I had a good night. After walking a few meters I receive a kudos from my watch: my weight is stable, good job. Now time to walk the dog. Too bad for him he doesn’t have any wearables, so I don’t know if I am waking him up during a profound sleep cycle. After a few minutes of walking, I receive my exercise objective for the day: I need to walk 10% more than yesterday because I didn’t achieve my goal. [Read more...]

It’s the platform, stupid

Microsoft Azure Cloud PlatformIn software development the platform you build on has always been a key piece of how you build applications. For a long time the platform was the system you were developing for, like a PDP-11 or Commodore 64. You were stuck with the processor, memory, and I/O capabilities of the platform. If your application didn’t run well, you had to change your application. Beefing up the hardware was virtually impossible. [Read more...]

How Many Defects Are Too Many?

iStock_000038465306LargeThere once was a project manager that pitted departments against each other. The Business Analysts were rated on their requirements defects. The testers were rated based on could not reproduce defects. The developers were rated based on coding defects found by QA (Quality Analysis) testing. As you can imagine, the development team had the most number of defects. The project manager was always disappointed with the amount of coding defects. He wanted zero defects. Obviously this is an apples to oranges comparison. Although the teams worked together on the same project, the activities, complexity level, and defects are completely different.

So how many coding defects are too many? [Read more...]

The Power of Prediction

PredictionIf there was a way for your business to predict the behavior of its customers, would you seize it? In late December of 2013, Amazon was granted a patent. This fact alone shouldn’t be surprising – tech giants can file for thousands of patents each year. What you should pay close attention to is what this particular patent was for. Amazon wants to develop a system to ship products to customers before they’ve even bought them. [Read more...]

Too Much is Never Enough

Facebook-Messenger-LogoTechnology practitioners spend entire careers simplifying, be it removing complexity to make code more “elegant” or rationalizing bloated application portfolios accumulated over time. The driving factors behind this push are self-explanatory: ease of maintenance, scalability, flexibility and cost. Is there ever a time in technology circles, however, when more is actually better? [Read more...]

Design not to?

France_road_sign_B1.svgMost of what we, I.T. people, do is designing systems and software to be able to provide features, to add a capacity to an information system. Even negative requirements are mostly the ability to restrict access to information. Moreover, years of hectic requirements made designers careful to let some doors opened for future new features.

This has been very useful to add many traceability features later on in many systems which is good for testers. And we can often trace every step of a system behaviour in its data (including sometimes prolific logs).

But what if we need not to be able to do something? [Read more...]

Apple bets on mobile payment

Apple-Pay-logoLast September 9th, the new iPhone and the Apple Watch drew the attention during the Apple’s CEO keynotes. But none of them were a revolution: the new iPhone is an incremental innovation and the Apple Watch will find its usefulness only with the applications we will develop for it.

No, the real “revolution”, or at least the most interesting novelty was elsewhere: in the launching of the Apple Pay service and the systematic integration of a NFC chip in all Apple devices that allows everybody to pay without contact with his smartphone. [Read more...]

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” A testing professional!

doctor-02“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Becoming a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman or an architect are examples of popular answers to this well-known question, since all of these jobs have been traditionally conceived as contributors to social challenges. Nowadays, testing is also a profession that impacts society, although this fact is not so evident at first sight. Over the last decades, software has become an intrinsic part of business and society. In the United States, for example, the National Institute of Standards and Technology reported in 2002 that software errors cost the U.S. economy an estimated $59.5 billion annually. [Read more...]