Saint Patrick: Patron Saint of Software Quality Engineers

March 17th is Saint Patrick’s day, a celebration for the Patron Saint of Software Quality Engineers. Today will be a great day to lift a glass for your efforts in chasing snakes out of your software.

Saint Patrick, Patron Saint of Software Quality Eningeers

Saint Patrick, Patron Saint of Software Quality Eningeers

Of course, Saint Patrick lived before computers and software (he died in 464 AD).  He is known as the patron saint of engineers because he brought innovations to the way churches were constructed in Ireland. Saint Patrick is more famous for chasing the serpents out of Ireland.

Imagine if Grace Hopper found a small snake, instead of a moth, in the Mark II computer, we might call defects “snakes” instead of bugs. In this world, the connection to software quality and Saint Patrick would then be more direct.

Who better to represent software quality than the man who chased all of the serpents out of Ireland?


Book Review: Present Yourself

Present Yourself book coverI have a speaking gig coming up, and wanted to pick up tips on making a better presentations.  Also, I wanted to learn how I can more effectively share these presentations on the web and my blog. These goals led me to Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business by Kit Seeborg and Andrea Meyer.

The book description seemed perfect for my needs: “This practical book demonstrates how you can use this visual language to make the story of your organization, brand, or initiative effective and entertaining—and how social sharing networks like SlideShare, Prezi, and Scribd can present your story to a worldwide audience.”

Did the actual book meet these expectations? The results were mixed for me.  I found the chapter on creating and delivering presentations to be pretty light on practical advice. The concept of “Generation C” was thought provoking, but the book didn’t provide many examples or strategies to deal with multi-taskers in the audience.

Chapter 2, Getting Started with SlideShare, felt like a waste. The chapter was largely composed of screenshots for the sign-up workflow of This could have been streamlined with a pointer to SlideShare and a checklist of suggestions for setup.

Enough complaining, the rest of the book was pretty valuable to me. These chapters showed how to use SlideShare to get your message out to a wide audience, whether the audience is an industry trade show, internet marketing, research, or careers (job hunting & recruiting). Especially valuable was the section on social networks and the value of content curation.

Overall, I’m glad that I read the book. At first glance, it appeared scattered and I was put off by all of the screenshots, but after the first read, I learned a lot from chapter 3 onwards.

Note, I received a free copy of this book for review. I will not receive any other benefit or compensation.


Quality Hierarchy: Relating Agile Testing with Customer-Driven Practices

Emily Bache has an excellent post describing a Maslow-like hierarchy for quality, inspired by Gojko Adzic. She relates the quality hierarchy with Lean Startup test concepts. I found the integration of these two models to be a very useful way to think about an overall quality strategy, combining agile practices with customer-driven practices.

Emily Bache's diagram relating Quality Hierarchy with Agile Testing Quadrants & Lean Startup Testing Concepts

Emily Bache’s diagram relating Quality Hierarchy with Agile Testing Quadrants & Lean Startup Testing Concepts

The Quality Hierarchy was developed, and explained well, on Gojko’s blog.  The Quality Hierarchy relates quality attributes to the Maslow Hierarchy of needs. In this model, attributes like deployability are equivalent to Maslow’s Physiological needs (such as breathing, food/water). The higher level needs, like successful products equate to self-actualization.   In this model, if you can’t build you software, there is no need to worry about how many stars your app earned in the app store.

Emily extended this model by relating testing practices from the Agile Testing Quadrants and testing practices derived from Lean Startup concepts.

Agile Testing Quadrants

Agile Testing Quadrants

Recently, I’ve been writing about practices for engaging with customers, and found Emily’s post to be a great way to integrate this customer-driven thinking with all of the other things we do in software development to ensure high quality. I’ll be using these ideas to build (and communicate) the context for our quality strategies.