Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Aware of the other side of your application ?

Logged in from eBuddy
For the past few months, I left office at sharp 6 p.m. I felt I should not invest more hours just because someone's estimate was wrong. So, I always took the 6 p.m. cab to home instead of the 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. cab.

To be connected to my colleagues and other friends who want to contact me on Google Talk, I enabled eBuddy on my mobile. Even when I was away from computer, I was able to respond to my friends and anyone who pinged me. I like to keep my status message simple such as a ':)' unless there is a particular link to be shared or I need information quickly.

Last evening, my colleague pinged me asking for some information.
I replied to it after two hours. This morning, I pinged him again and asked why he pinged me and did he get the answer to his question.

He replied that he got the message but the status message seems to repeat nearly 8-10 times. Wow, I never knew this. I had seen similar issues when the recipient was on a vacation or was online from mobile. I never paid much attention to this behavior.

Today, when my colleague highlighted this issue and also named the screenshot as 'SPAM', I understood that he was not happy with this behavior. I was totally unaware that my friends got such messages from my account.

I'm Sorry. I thought:

Are we aware of the side-effects of any application?
How many customers complain if they face a problem?
How many times we learn to live with the problem?
How can we train ourselves to see what others might see?
Do we keep silent if the value outweighs the problem?

Finally a thought from Jerry Weinberg's book - "Are your lights on?" struck me:

The trickiest part of certain problems is just recognizing their existence - Jerry Weinberg
Have you faced such problems - which you were not aware of unless someone else pointed it out?

6 comments:

Thomas Ponnet said...

Only today have I had a similar experience with http://twifficiency.com/ (I don't recommend using it)

It sent out a tweet apparently coming from me without me knowing it. That could be classified as a spam bot.

Needless to say I disabled the application again. I only found out because another tester, Anne-Marie notified me that this happens.

Michael Bolton http://www.developsense.com said...

The trickiest part of certain problems is just recognizing their existence - Jerry Weinberg

Since a problem is always a problem to some person, I perceive that resolution to the trickiest part of the problem starts with recognizing people.

---Michael B.

Gerald M. Weinberg said...

Michael is right. It starts with people. And guess who is the first person to recognize?

Yourself, of course.

The very first thing that struck me about the (quite fine) post was the regularity with which you come and go to work. Ordinarily, such regularity is a highly valued trait. For example, people can count on knowing when you'll be there and when you won't. Very good contribution to communication--and thus very high on every tester's list.

However, as an experienced tester, you already know that too regular, too predictable, behavior is a way to miss a great many bugs--and that's true of the regularity in attendance, too.

I would suggest you come in a couple of hours early on some random day next month, and (on a different day, probably) leave quite late. And, if you have people who work night shifts, arrange to be around for one or two of those.

I probably don't have to explain why, but some of your readers may be less experienced. Experienced testers can probably all tell you stories of when they came in early or left late (or were somewhere they weren't usually expected to be, or even prohibited to be) and because of that noticed something that led to a bug they never would have seen otherwise. (Perhaps something they were totally unaware of.)

I myself can tell many such stories, including one that may well have save astronauts' lives, so I regularly practice being somewhat irregular in my behavior (yes, I know that's a paradox).

Once again, great post. Thanks for reminding me.

Ajay Balamurugadas said...

Jerry Weinberg,

I'm honored to receive your comment on my blog.

>> "However, as an experienced tester, you already know that too regular, too predictable, behavior is a way to miss a great many bugs--and that's true of the regularity in attendance, too."

I agree. Too regular, too predictable = A certain kind of bias and a pattern.

And as good testers, we must be aware of the bias.
I'm reminded of this quote - If you are not finding bugs, it might be time to change your test techniques.

Thanks for your comment and your blog post: http://secretsofconsulting.blogspot.com/2010/08/attendance-too-regular-try-this.html

>> Once again, great post.
Thanks :)

Ajay Balamurugadas said...

Thanks Thomas. I too tried it. i found quite a few applications which ask for the permissions 'Allow' or 'Deny' in Twitter sending out a tweet without our knowledge.

Sometimes, we do not know unless we try and fail.

Regards,
Ajay

Anonymous said...

Let me add my two cents to this.

How many customers complain if they face a problem?
I found this question thought provoking. As a customer i would seldom complain to the company. I would either get irritated, stop using the app and switch to a competitor's app or i would just get used to the problem and just ignore it. I wonder how many customers do this and a lot of damage can happen by word-of-the-mouth bad publicity. And if the company gets no complaint from the customer, they rest assured thinking that the app is well received, which might not be true.

How many times we learn to live with the problem?
I guess, we become blind to the problems in due course of time unless it is really irritating and persistent. And as humans we tend to avoid problems and somehow find a way to work around the problem.

Have you faced such problems - which you were not aware of unless someone else pointed it out?
Innumerable number of times. Most of those times was when i felt some behavior was weird and the coding team told me 'It is as per design' and i said 'ok fine'. Later on when someone else reported a defect for the same (with concrete reasons), i would wonder why didn't i think 'why'. Why is it designed that way? Why is it supposed to work like that?