our posts tagged “communication”
We recently were a part of a project with what was, in many ways, a
typical successful startup. The company makes hardware for a niche
market, powered by their own firmware and driven by a suite of web
applications running both on a server and locally as
Electron apps. They make a great
product that is disrupting the space and they’re growing rapidly, both
in company size and number of users.
What started as a small integrated team has spun up to several groups
overseeing various aspects of the product and as that happened the
developers became somewhat siloed from the QA folks. Each group had
its own process for keeping the quality high in the face of rapid
growth, namely thorough unit tests on the development side and a
series of step-by-step documents used by a number of testers to
manually go through every page and every button of the web
applications. Releases were coming quickly and the testers were
spending hours upon hours methodically testing only to have to start
all over again when another release came out of development. They were
overworked and almost overwhelmed, and called Infinity for help.
Here at Infinity, one of our core precepts — coined by former
Infin-ite Shawn Moore — is the notion that “tickets are free”. The
idea is that you should never waste time wondering “should I make a
ticket for this?” Instead, just make the damn ticket! In the immortal
words of John Blutarsky, “it don’t cost nuthin’.”
With an opening paragraph like that, you’re probably expecting some
sort of listicle of all the ways adopting our “tickets are free” credo
will help make your software development efforts better and
turbocharge your coders to new heights of productivity. That is not
what you’re gonna get, however. Nope! Instead, I’m going to talk to
you about how tickets are free… because they’re not free like beer,
but instead are free like puppies. And then I’ll share ways to make
sure your freely created tickets are usefully propelling your project
forward, instead of bogging it down.
Are you trying to bring modern development practices to a
…less-than-modern software development environment?
When working with non-technical clients, often their preferred means
of exchanging structured data is via spreadsheets. Using a custom tool
is not always practical due to cost or training time constraints, and
using a type of document that doesn't have its own standard editor
(such as XML or JSON) will generally result in having to deal with
malformed files on a regular basis, since these files are often edited
Excel is the only program for managing structured data that is widely
used by both technical and non-technical people, and being able to
leverage that structure can make the whole data exchange process much
smoother, even though it can be frustrating at times.
I joined Infinity a little over two years ago. Came from a much more
traditional corporate culture. A culture contained in traditional
brick-and-mortar buildings. You could stop by a coworker’s cube and
bump into folks in the lunchroom. Infinity has no brick-and-mortar
home. We’re a distributed workforce with our ~25 people spread out all
across the US. Each of us works from our home. Our water cooler is an
IRC channel called #general.
Any industry that relies on "communication" is at risk of failure, or
partial failure, due to mitigated speech versus direct speech. That
failure can be as simple as a missed deadline, or as catastrophic as a
complete failure of the project.