SOGETI UK BLOG

Recently, I read in the news that Facebook declared many users dead, including the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a massive memorial ‘remembering’ profile bug.

When logged onto their accounts, Facebook users would come across a “memorialised account” informing people who visited their profile that they are dead – but they were alive, of course!

What a bug!

Posted on Mark Zuckerberg’s profile, there was a statement saying: “We hope people who love Mark will find comfort in the things others share to remember and celebrate his life.”

Facebook’s explanation

Later the same day, Facebook representatives explained what had happened by issuing the following statement: “For a brief period today, a message meant for memorialized profiles was mistakenly posted to other accounts. This was a terrible error that we have now fixed. We are very sorry that this happened and we worked as quickly as possible to fix it.”

Facebook characterised the bug as “terrible” but they didn’t explain why it happened. Could it have been a hack attack?

Are all bugs important?

…this is a good question, there are bugs which are more important than others. There are bugs that if you notice them at the development phase means that they will cost nothing (or just a little) to be fixed, however if found after deployment then they may cost a lot of money. The one thing that is certain though is that every working software should have no defects when being deployed.

What did this bug cost for Facebook? Maybe just a bit of embarrassment this time but was it a critical bug to find quickly? Well, many people had to call their relatives and confirm they were not dead, so of course! Moreover, if my grandma had looked at my Facebook profile and it said I had passed away, that could cause enough stress to make her really ill. Luckily, my grandma doesn’t have a Facebook account (and my profile wasn’t affected by the bug)! Therefore something like this should be tested thoroughly before going live.

We must always be thinking about how we treat our bugs, how thoroughly we should look for defects in software testing and when this testing should start/ at which phase of the SDLC.

I think the right answer here is that testing should start as soon as possible and we are all responsible for that.

Anthoula Poniraki AUTHOR:
Anthoula is an IT consultant at Sogeti UK who has been involved in automation testing, test analysis, scripting and test script enhancement. Anthoula is also part of the DevOps support team with a focus on facilitating DevOps delivery.

Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Business Intelligence, Fighting Layout Bugs, IT strategy, Risk, Technical Testing, Test environment, Test Plans, Testing and innovation      
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After passing the iSQI Certified Agile Essentials when I joined Sogeti three months ago, I was trying very hard to remember where I had first heard the word “agile”. I was sure it was not at university – but where and when was it?

Recently, I managed to remember as I came again across a TED talk by Bruce Feiler, author of “The Secrets of Happy Families” among others. This time I watched the video with much greater enthusiasm! Let me now walk you through it…

Agile Programming – for your family

In Bruce Feiler’s talk, he suggests incorporating agile methodologies into modern family life in order to deal with stress. Inspired by agile software programming, he illustrates how an “Agile Family Manifesto” can help families find happiness. Interesting, isn’t it?

The word “agile” entered the lexicon in 2001 when the 12 principles of Agile Manifesto were developed as opposed to the existing waterfall model.  But what is “agile” in simple words? It is when people are organised into small groups to build efficiencies through carrying out tasks in very short spans of time and from this the team manages itself providing constant feedback and daily update sessions (the so called daily stand-up meetings).

The more I think about it the more I believe that agile can be a part of our home, not only our businesses.  How is this possible?

Feiler introduced agile methodology to his family’s practices by holding family meetings once a week. Sitting around the table with his wife and two daughters, they discussed what worked well that week, what worked less well and what could be improved for the next week. Then, every member made suggestions of improvement and they agreed on the next steps together. Let’s think deeper on that! Surely this approach improves communication and decrease stress in daily life just like it does in business life? Isn’t it important for every family member to feel useful for family practices as it is essential for team members to feel valuable in business project’s operations?

My childhood agile experience!

Motivated by this TED talk, I thought back to my childhood and surprisingly, I realised that I too had been part of an agile environment. There was a specific family project: “Housekeeping Chores” and a team (my family) who needed to deliver an end product (a clean house). My mother was, of course, the Scrum Master.

The very first time, my sister and I sat down with her and specified the requirements and the different tasks. That was our “kick-off meeting” as we created a list of all the housework that needed to be done every week. We wrote a list and stuck it on the fridge so that everyone could see it – that was our backlog! Washing the dishes, tidying the room, setting the table, making the bed… My sister and I were assigned some of these tasks for every day. We both had to make our beds before go to school, I was responsible for washing the dishes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; my sister on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I was lucky enough not to take Saturdays as I am the oldest and I chose first – siblings’ rules! My mum had still to do the toughest chores, though!

As the Scrum master, my mum also supervised the process making sure that everything worked according to the plan. She also had to adjust the plan if either of us were sick and had to stay in bed or if we were on a school trip. That is, adapting to change and flexibility, right?! While we were getting older, more tasks were being added to our task board because we were able to undertake more responsibilities – this is a form of reviewing and adapting again, isn’t it?

Did my mum know anything about agile methodology? No… Did she attend the Certified Agile Essentials course as I did? No… However, she was able to implement some of the core principles of agile into our family. Did it work? Yes! Our house was clean and everyone was responsible for this outcome.

Concluding…

Do families operate the same way as businesses? Maybe yes, maybe no… But, can agile improve communication at home as it does in businesses? Definitely, yes!

Eventually, my retrospect helped me reach the same conclusion about daily life as Feiler did about well-run organisations: “Greatness is not a matter of circumstances, it’s a matter of choice. You just need to take small steps, not grand plans, not waterfall”. Is agile your choice?

Anthoula Poniraki AUTHOR:
Anthoula is an IT consultant at Sogeti UK who has been involved in automation testing, test analysis, scripting and test script enhancement. Anthoula is also part of the DevOps support team with a focus on facilitating DevOps delivery.

Posted in: Agile, Collaboration, communication, Human Behaviour, Human Interaction Testing, IT strategy, Software testing, Test Environment Management, Test Methodologies      
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This was my first program when I was only 8 years old.  I received my first “PC” for Christmas, a Sinclair ZX81 with a 16kb of memory and a tape recorder for saving and loading software and programs.  As you can imagine, it was quite limited in its computing power. Unlike the computer magazines of recent years, the games came as code printed in the pages which I had to type into the computer, not DVD’s full of demos.  So very early on, I had to code if I wanted to do anything on my PC.  But not many people owned a computer and even less coded.

software

CoderDojo (coderdojo.com) is a registered charity in Ireland, which has spread across the world.  Each Dojo is a volunteer-led, programming club for young people between 7 and 17.  They work in HTML, CSS, PHP and more.  They also do some game development and Minecraft Mods and experiment with hardware and robotics such as Raspberry Pis, Arduino boards and Intel Galileos.  There are also a large number of toys on the market which aim to teach children coding: Lego, Robotiky, Kano, Blockly, Alice and more.  All this is much more advanced than my first program above.

This generation will grow up knowing how to code.  Software development is changing to give others greater access anyway.  Typically SaaS allows people to configure and produce their own solutions, without requiring a lot of technical skill.  Frameworks like .Net, Java and Rails are becoming more advanced and allow developers to do more, quicker and easier.  So in the Future, everybody will be a developer of software.

If everyone could be a developer in the future, does it mean they should be?  Who in your organization is thinking about Quality and Testing?  What about security?  Who will maintain this solution in the long term?

Of course, business has a greater need to be agile, so we might need others developing software but there has to be an engineering approach.  Organisations will need standards and frameworks which democratize to the tools to develop new solutions quicker but maintaining or improved high quality, security, user experience and more.

John McIntyre AUTHOR:
John McIntyre is a Consultant/Solution Architect for Sogeti Ireland since 2013. In this role, he is responsible for designing solutions for Sogeti customers. Previously, John has worked for many different Consulting companies, both big and small, including companies like DEC/Compaq, Sage Technologies and CapricornVentis, over the last 18 years. With these companies he has worked with many customers in Finance, Pharma, Government, Health, Retail and Tech among others. In 2007 he setup his own company, Hypertech, and was a County Enterprise Award Runner Up in 2008. In more recent years, John has advised CTO’s, Directors and Company Owners as a Solution Architect. John moved to Sogeti because he wanted to work in a large innovative organization. He is a Microsoft developer and advocate. He is interested in Data, the Cloud and trying to remove the complexity from IT solutions and development.

Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Agile, Developers, Digital, Digital strategy, e-Commerce, Human Behaviour, Innovation, IT Security, IT strategy, Opinion, Technical Testing, Technology Outlook      
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IT Outsourcing is a very mature business. The benefits are well known and, in today’s competitive environment, it is still very attractive for the C-suite. Typically, these benefits are of a pure financial nature achieved primarily through labor arbitrage with an icing of “process and operational excellence” on top accounting for some additional savings over time. Often there is an element of rationalization which may reduce the managed portfolio and again account for some savings.

accelerate

Outsourcing can also function as a catalyst to get bloated IT organizations, unable to make changes themselves, to the next level of maturity and performance by virtue of forced adaptation of the outsourcers’ industrialized processes, tools and wholesale replacement of personnel. It’s like the old adage: “sometimes, when you cannot change people, you have to change people”.

And, since most outsourcing arrangements are SLA-driven, there is much more objective measurement of performance and productivity that is usually directly tied to financial penalties.

So, better, faster, cheaper. What’s wrong with that?

Today’s IT is in incredible flux. Cloud transformation is probably driving most of this right now on the cost/agility side but there is obviously also a lot of rethinking of the role of IT in the Digital world and the value IT should be contributing to the growth of the business. The question that naturally arises with regard to outsourcing in this environment is whether outsourcing is the right thing to do. Assuming your IT organization is not immune to these forces, do you really want to lock in your capabilities for a period of 3-5 years while your competition is transforming? Below are three options as practiced today.

Outsourcing to reap savings (outsourcing the past)

Presuming that the organization has a transformation plan, I have seen organizations make the argument that legacy capabilities should be outsourced to reap savings, so that these savings can then be utilized to invest in future capabilities and IT transformation. While that is certainly an option, it requires tremendous discipline. Because, if outsourcing improves the numbers in the short term, it may be challenging to actually reinvest these savings. Everyone agreed on the cost reductions, not so much the investment/transformation agenda. Besides, any outsourcing vendor may have a vested interest into maintaining the status quo and be less interested in e.g. a cloud transformation that would drive down its fees. So, better may be to look at a more comprehensive and strategic sourcing strategy as described below.

Strategic sourcing to improve capability (outsourcing the present)

A second option is to look at outsourcing deals as making “trades”. This view is encompassed in the role of modern IT as a “services broker”.  In this model, IT can find partners that represent opportunities to buy services for less than IT could provide these themselves and can then capture the value in the form of cost reductions or improved capabilities. In this scenario, IT does not see itself as having unique capabilities as a source of competitive advantage. Rather it is the tapestry of “deals” that make it unique.  While a viable strategy, it requires serious thought with regard to the strategic skills the IT organization will invest in and hone. The danger is obvious: unless there is an in-house managed critical strategic portfolio left, there is no unique skill set required and IT will source itself out of existence with a couple of “traders” and 2 or 3 compliance/security guys left standing.

Outsourcing technology-led business innovation (outsourcing the future)

It is a long standing practice in many organizations for the “business” to approach IT consulting organizations directly with business problems, bypassing internal IT. The consulting organizations will apply their experience, specialization and standard solutions or design-ware to the problem and help create an effective solution to the business problem in less time than in-house IT. In the Digital realm, when trying to stay ahead of the next market disruption, even the business may not know exactly what it is looking for. A more advanced model of innovation/business consulting in this scenario is the Capgemini/Sogeti Applied Innovation Exchange. In this model the consulting organization (Capgemini/Sogeti) itself plays a brokerage role and puts the business organization directly in touch with a network of technology innovators (start-up companies) that has the potential to create a technology-led business ecosystem driving market disruption.

So what does this all mean for IT organizations with regard to outsourcing and transformation? Unless IT transforms itself, IT will be transformed by others with very little left standing. To survive as a relevant entity, IT must

  1. Set and drive the transformation agenda
  2. Be very clear on the strategic role IT seeks to play long term
  3. Be relentlessly engaged with the business and the customers of the business

Kasper de Boer AUTHOR:
Kasper de Boer is a Vice President in Sogeti US, where he is currently responsible for the Infrastructure Practice. Kasper has 25 years experience in IT Consulting and is particularly interested in IT organizations and how to make these more efficient and effective.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Budgets, Business Intelligence, Capgemini Group, communication, Digital, Digital strategy, Innovation, Managed Testing, Open Innovation, Opinion, Outsourced testing, project management, Technology Outlook, Testing and innovation, Transformation      
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The latest issue of the World Quality Report shows that more and more organizations and teams are struggling to get the right level of focus on all the rapid changes we are facing. The realities of the speed of change driven by Digital and the shift in IT functions towards Agile and DevOps have exposed the fact that people are falling behind the pace of change.

Even when IT moves to the faster delivery model, the rest of the organization lags behind or doesn’t want to shift its way of doing business (there’s a term for companies that don’t adapt : bankrupt)

Here at Sogeti, we don’t see this pace of change slowing down anytime soon. In fact, there is a very good chance that it will increase even further as more IT functions are driven to adopt continuous delivery to support their business needs. If your client takes two weeks, then it’s going to be a brave (and probably soon unemployed delivery manager) that remains committed to a six months release cycle.

With IoT and ever more connected devices adding to the information and the complexity, how is the IT function going to cope?

Automation is going to be key. But not functional automation. It’s got to be automation across the entire life cycle, everything that can be re-used needs to be re-used. Everything that can be done faster by a machine needs to be done that way. Development and Operations need to embrace the automation. Testers should be writing a script once and then the automation takes over. Testing will be wrapped around the ideas and shift to the left even more than we have already seen.

More automation, more points of connection to the systems will mean more data. A lot more data. More than we humans can process in a reasonable amount of time. There will be more patterns that need to be explored and examined. Traditionally we have had to report on what happened. Perhaps a day ago and by the time we had a meeting we had gone several days. In a two weeks release cycle, that means your information is very out of date. In a one week cycle, it’s worse. But if you are delivering every day. Or every hour or less. Then that data is so out of data that it isn’t meaningful and worse, is likely to lead to out of date being used to make the one decisions, possibly with results that are BAD™

So what are we going to do? The answer is in the code. Machine learning, AI, call it what you want. The volume of data increases at a frightening rate. But data is useless if we cannot make sense of it. We need to reach the information that is in the data and human brains are very good at seeing patterns. Unfortunately, they will see a lot of patterns where there are none and confuse correlation with causation. We need help. A lot of it. And that’s going to come from the next generation of intelligent machines to help us in the increasingly fast changing and fast delivering world. Looking at what we have done, where we are now and where we want to be. The winners will be those who get a quality product out ahead of their rivals. It doesn’t have to be the best. But it has to work. Get to market sooner, with few defects means a better revenue stream, with a lower risk profile, and you don’t have to be best. Just don’t give people a reason to change.

Andrew Fullen AUTHOR:
Andrew is a managing consultant who looks after strategy for technical aspects of testing in the quality centre.

Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Automation Testing, Behaviour Driven Development, Big data, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, communication, Developers, DevOps, Digital, Digital strategy, functional testing, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, Opinion, Shift Left, Technical Testing, Test Automation, Test Driven Development, Test environment      
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