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How to make work atmosphere friendlier?

There is no right answer to that question. However, the Fora Soft team is willing to share our knowledge with you. The knowledge that we have been nurturing for several years.

We also provide some COVID-era solutions, so make sure to check them out, too!

Make communication between employees less formal

When there are no barriers that formal communication brings, it’s easier for your team members to share things about their problems and say their opinion on things during Scrum meetings.

We tend to demolish those barriers with the help of monthly office parties with a ton of pizza involved. Formality becomes a difficult concept to maintain when you are sitting at the same table consuming that saucy pizza 🙂

Как сделать так, чтобы в коллективе было комфортно работать, image #1
Doesn’t look too formal, does it? 🙂

Fun fact: it’s easier for people to start a dialog after they’ve established a visual contact, hence our choice of food. To get a bite of that delicious thing, you just have to hold the slice near to your face. Thus, we do not only have a great time eating pizza during the working day but also improve the working atmosphere.

In COVID times, we meet in Zoom instead, but weekly, not monthly. 

Make your workspaces comfortable

Place them so that there is a distance of 1,5-2 meters between employees. That way the coworkers will find themselves within each other’s social distance. Read more about proxemics, the study of human use of space, on Wikipedia.

Comfortable distance between workstations allows employees to be open for discussion while still having enough private space around.

There is no correct way of setting devices, it all comes down to personal preferences. Your task as a manager is to give your team the furniture that they can easily adjust.

Эти довольные лица говорят сами за себя!
These happy faces speak for themselves!

In COVID times, we work remotely. Each project team meets in a video call daily to compensate for the lack of communication. Effectiveness has even improved – we now talk more.

Lower distance between the boss and the team

In some companies, the boss doesn’t get enough trust and may even be feared by employees instead of respected. To make the relationship less formal, our CEO goes around the office and greets every and each employee face-to-face.

He can do this all day

We also have an Open Door principle: if the CEO’s door is open, you can come into his office and rap with him about life ask some questions, or suggest a way to improve the processes in the company.

In COVID times, it’s Open Skype principle instead 🙂 (poor CEO)

Be clear about the company’s / project’s aims

Every member of a project team needs to know where the project or the company is going. It helps them plan their development and stay updated on perspectives.

In Fora Soft project members discuss upcoming features, their feasibility, and possible improvements together in a comfortable conference Skype room. In COVID, we do that on daily video meetings.

Тут зарождаются легенды
Legends are born here

The company’s aims for the year are announced at the New Year’s party and monthly objectives are hanging in the dining room, which is – no surprise here! – the most visited venue in our office. In COVID, the CEO shares company’s aims at Thursday’s general company video meetings on Zoom. We post recordings on Instagram – catch a moment to see 🙂 They are in Russian, but you can feel the atmosphere.

That’s all, folks! Feel free to use our methods to establish a great working relationship with your colleagues! If you have any other questions on the topic or just wishing to share your secrets, don’t hesitate to contact us via the Contact form!

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How to report on testing

The article is based on How is the testing going by Michael Bolton.

Imagine that a Project Manager has approached you with a question “how is the testing going?”. We will let you know how and what to answer in this article.

An inexperienced tester will dive into numbers straight away, and his answer will sound like this: “Why, everything’s cool. I’ve completed 234 test cases out of 500. 16 automated tests out of 100 have gone down”. This here is a bad answer. Dry numbers with no context whatsoever do not reflect the state of the product, thus, useless. They do not help the manager decide what to do next and how the team should proceed. 

An experienced tester has to provide his team with useful information that will help assess risks correctly and set up the priorities.

How to present information?

At Fora Soft, we present the useful information in this order:

  1. Explain the state of the product. What serious problems we’ve encountered, why they are serious, and how they can affect our customers. This information helps the team understand what to deal with first
  2. Explain how the testing is going. What still needs testing, what has already been tested, what we will not test and why is that. It’s important to mention how the testing was being done, what environment was used and why. This data is mandatory to assess the risk of receiving problems in the untested product areas and correct the testing plan, should the need arise
  3. Explain why we test the way we do it. Why the tests we’ve chosen are more effective than those we haven’t. When time and resources are limited, it’s crucial that we choose the right testing areas and sort out priorities
  4. Let the team know about the problems we’ve encountered during testing. Namely, what makes testing harder, what may cause us to miss bugs, what could help us make testing faster and simpler. If your team knows about your problems, they can help you

The main task the tester has is finding problems that put the product’s value in danger and reporting on those problems to the project manager and the team. Providing this information in a timely manner allows creating a high-quality product without missing deadlines.

To catch any problem that endangers the product’s value quickly, we use test plans and test strategies. Stay tuned to find out how the plan and strategy are created!

Do you want to learn more about our processes and how we do things? Do not hesitate to contact us via our contact form! It is right here 🙂

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Emulation of slow connection when testing iOS and Android apps

When testing mobile apps, newbies QA frequently forget to check the app with an unstable Internet connection. But in many cases this is critical: connection speed directly influences user experience and workability of the main functions. It is especially true for applications where geolocation and mobile Internet are heavily in use. For example, video chats, messengers, and other multimedia products we specialize in.

In this article, we’ll show how to spoil the Internet on a test device with no hassle. 

iOS

Let’s start with a standard utility Network Link Conditioner for iOS apps testing. It lets the QA adjust the Internet connection as he needs.

To switch on this function on iPhone, you need a Mac OS device:

  1. Download and install Xcode for Mac
  2. Open Xcode on Mac
  3. Connect iPhone to Mac
  4. Allow Mac access iPhone
  5. Open Settings on iPhone
  6. Scroll down
  7. Tap “Developer”
  8. Tap “Network Link Conditioner”
  9. Pick network preset or create your own
  10. Switch on the toggle “Enable”

iOS lets us choose one of pre-installed presets of connection quality – or create our own preset.

For our own preset these settings are available:

Here we see that Apple took care of testing apps with different levels of connection quality and gave us almost all the needed settings.

Having got acquainted with Network Link Conditioner for iOS, we’ve been sure such a feature would be on Android too. God, how much we’ve been mistaking.

Android

It appeared to be impossible to emulate a slow or unstable connection on a real Android with the help of standard tools. Therefore, I faced 2 paths: download some apps from Google Play that emulate slow connection, or use a specifically precise adjustment of the Internet connection access point.

Apps didn’t work out for me ☹ All the apps that give this function require Root access, and this breaks the concept of testing in real-world conditions.

So, having left the Root access as the last resort, I decided to closer look at path #2 – adjustment of the access point.

In the past, when being a student, mobile internet traffic was ending up quickly (and we needed to read, watch something while on the lesson), and we used iPhone as an access point. The idea came to mind: to mix the student experience and recently gathered knowledge.

If we use Network Link Conditioner and access point made of macOS or iOS devices does not require any extra knowledge and is easy to adjust. Exactly what’s needed if we want to save time. 

So, to emulate bad connection on Android we need the Android device and… iPhone with Developer Tools switched on.

  1. Make iPhone the access point (Settings > Modem regime)
  2. Adjust connection with Network Link Conditioner
  3. Connect to the access point with the Android
  4. Ready. You’re awesome 🙂

Of course, the ways to break the Internet we considered in this article are not the only solution. We’ll tell about more complicated options, such as Android and iOS emulators, in the next article.

Thanks and see you soon!
Always yours, 
Dima and Fora Soft QA team ?