The Toyota Production System in software development: Lean, Agile, and Effective.

The Toyota Production System in software development: Lean, Agile, and Effective.

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

Software development is a notoriously unpredictable process. Even the most experienced developers can find themselves facing unexpected challenges and surprises which can lead to frustration, as new requirements pop up, deadlines change, and unanticipated bugs can throw everything off course, especially as projects grow in size and scope, and a tighter collaboration and approach is needed.

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As a result, in such a volatile industry, it’s important to avoid waste whenever possible; anything that doesn’t add value to the end product, from inefficient code to unused features, should be left off, as it helps to keep development costs down and ensures that the final product is as high-quality as possible. 

However, due to how unpredictable software development can sometimes be, a good approach is to use lean practices. Lean practices in software development aim to create more value for the customer while minimizing waste. This is achieved by constantly improving the process and eliminating anything that doesn’t add value, helping to reduce the risk of errors and defects by catching them early on.

Our current model of lean development comes from the Toyota Production System, a manufacturing approach that seeks to make the whole process as efficient as possible in seven key areas: overproduction, inventory, motion, defects, over-processing, waiting, and transport. And although the material processes involved in manufacturing cars and developing software look very different from a distance, applying this same logic brings even better outcomes; common lean practices include things like continuous integration, continuous delivery, and test-driven development, in addition to reductions in the cycle time and batch size, so developers can ship working software more frequently and get feedback earlier, allowing them to make course corrections sooner, leading to a more efficient process overall. 

As a result, lean practices can lead to significant improvements in software quality and developer productivity by promoting continuous improvement and efficient use of resources. By identifying and removing unnecessary steps, lean practices help to improve quality and speed while reducing costs. In an industry where time is always of the essence, lean practices can play a vital role in helping developers deliver high-quality software on time and within budget.

Lean Manufacturing and Agile Methodologies, hand in hand

The Toyota Production System in software development Lean, Agile, and Effective. 3

Both approaches have their strengths that complement each other very well. On one hand, lean manufacturing is all about efficiency and minimizing waste, and on the other, Agile focuses on flexibility and responding quickly to changes”, says Luis Aburto, CEO, and Co-Founder of Scio. “Together, these two methodologies can help to create a process that is both efficient and adaptable; for example, Agile can help to identify areas where lean manufacturing could be improved. And lean manufacturing can help to streamline the Agile process and make it more efficient, enabling developers to create a process that is both responsive and efficient – the perfect combination for today’s ever-changing landscape.

But what do these lean practices look like in an Agile environment? By adapting the Toyota System into a software development process, we can come up with a series of key areas or steps where it’s possible to avoid waste, and thus create products that accomplish the goals of the client, the team, and the project in the least wasteful way possible. Such key areas are:

1. Unnecessary Features.

There is an oft-cited study by the Standish Group that famously says that “45% of the features in a given application are never used”. If that number seems too high, you may be right (it was based on four internal applications, which is a small sample), but trying to keep requirements in check is a key point of lean development. If your requirements team tries to anticipate everything a client might want in their product, it’s easy to add features that will not matter to the final user. An Agile methodology, then, which prioritizes the most critical features, is the best strategy to save resources otherwise wasted on elements nobody needs or wants.

2. Unnecessary Value.

Following the last point, there is such a thing as unnecessary value, also known as “gold plating”, which is devoting too many resources to polish a product in places where it’s not necessary, risking the cost-effectiveness of a project. “Good enough” is not a bad approach, especially in software where a finishing point tends to be nebulous at best, and continuous support, debugging, and updating is a normal part of the job.

3. Unrealistic Expectations.

Most of the problems of these last two points stem from overestimating the resources, time, and effort needed to accomplish a project, and thus overpromising on a result. Trimming down requirements to their most basic and critical not only helps a team to get going with development but also ensures they can make the necessary progress on each sprint, focusing on a narrow set of variables easy to control and correct. Going beyond that only ensures problems down the road.

4. Unnecessary Innovation.

Ready-made solutions to challenges and obstacles in development are not forbidden; getting stuck “reinventing the wheel” is an easy way to waste resources and delay a product in search of a completely new approach that might or might not have benefits in the long run. No-code solutions to prototype applications, AI-based tools to look into coding solutions, and the like are tools that can have a marked positive outcome when striving for timely delivery each sprint.

5. Unnecessary Downtime.

Waiting for a team, or even a single developer, to deliver to another to continue development is seldomly a process that results in efficiency. One of the key points in Agile methodology is to structure development to avoid this downtime, with short overlapping steps that ensure no one gets stuck and delays the contributions of the rest of the team and splitting development into blocks where “the business owners can identify the next set of features while the development and QA teams can implement the last requirements.

6. Over-relying on QA.

Going back to our “good enough” philosophy, achieving this result doesn’t mean that developers can let their guard down concerning bugs and errors in the codebase of the product; good lean development has quality implementation at each step of the process, with QA as a continuous process that audits development at each step. Code reviews, unit testing, and constant communication are key to reducing the time and resources necessary in QA to achieve the best possible product.

7. Underused Creativity.

The Agile methodology knows the value of creativity and problem-solving as a tool during development, letting each member of the team add their knowledge, experience, and insight into the perfect solution for any programming challenge. Treating development as a machine where every cog has a specific function, without context, collaboration, or communication, is a sure recipe for negative outcomes if the individual developer doesn’t have the flexibility to bring any useful input they might have.

Bringing Agile talent to your team

The Toyota Production System in software development Lean, Agile, and Effective.

When it comes to software development, the lean approach is all about doing more with less, having the goal is to reduce waste and increase efficiency by streamlining the development process and choosing the right talent and collaborative environment that can be conducive to that, with Nearshore augmentation offering an alternative that brings the best of both approaches.

One of the benefits of Nearshore development is that it is easier to implement a lean software development process. This is because the team is already in place and there is no need to go through the hassle and expense of setting up a new office or hiring additional staff, saving on time and resources when starting a new project. In addition, nearshore teams are typically more flexible and responsive than offshore teams, making it easier to implement changes rapidly. 

As the software development landscape evolves, more organizations are turning to lean and agile methodologies to streamline their processes and deliver better results. And while these approaches can offer a number of benefits, they tend to work best when teams are nearshore”, explains Luis Aburto. “Nearshore teams tend to have a better understanding of the local market and what customers are looking for. This knowledge can be invaluable when it comes to developing software that meets the needs of the target audience. Additionally, nearshore teams are typically more responsive to changes and feedback, which is essential in an agile environment.

As a result, lean software development processes can be more effectively implemented with a Nearshore team in place. This can lead to quicker turnaround times and reduced costs, making it an attractive option for businesses that are looking to improve their bottom line. In addition, it is important to build flexibility into the development process, being willing to adjust plans on the fly and make changes when necessary. By remaining flexible, developers can ensure that their projects stay on track, even when faced with unexpected challenges.

The Key Takeaways

  • The unpredictability of software development can create situations where avoiding “waste” (of time or resources) is the main obstacle to productivity and the effectiveness of a development cycle.
  • The “Toyota Production System” can offer some guidance for a lean development approach that can help alleviate these challenges.
  • Lean development is as its most effective when paired with an Agile methodology, feeding each other to achieve peak effectiveness and the least waste during any given project.
  • Working with Nearshore talent to augment your staff is also a great option to avoid waste, as an organization doesn’t need to commit time or resources to build a team and start development right away.

Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!

Good Test Case design in QA: Quality at every step of the process

Good Test Case design in QA: Quality at every step of the process

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

Creating software can be compared to solving a big, complex puzzle. A developer needs to take a bunch of pieces (code, algorithms, requirements, deadlines, etc.) and put them together in the right way to create a functioning product that satisfies everyone involved, from clients to final users. And just like with a puzzle, there is no single “right” way to develop software; it depends on the individual developer’s preferences and style, where some may start by laying out all of the pieces and looking for patterns, while others may start assembling pieces and then adjust as they go along. 

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And the biggest challenge is that if even one piece is out of place, it can throw the entire system off balance. This is why, besides having a good team of developers able to see the big picture and break it down into manageable tasks, a good QA Tester is so critical to obtaining the best possible outcome during development. Only then can you hope to create a successful piece of programming.

That’s why having a good approach to QA is so important; having experienced testers whose toolset matches the requirements of the product, capable of coming up with a plan for how they will test the code as they write it, as well as having a deep understanding of what “quality” means for the project, is a must in any team. 

So, in that sense, we want to take a look into one of the most important processes of QA: test cases. Because beyond running automated tests and manual testing, QA involves a systematic approach where developers can avoid costly mistakes and create products that meet customer expectations. And in practice, how can you design the perfect test case? What considerations should you have, and what’s the best approach to document and keep track of the sometimes messy process of QA?

Test cases are simple: Just think of everything

When it comes to software development, well-designed test cases are essential. By carefully planning out each test case, developers can ensure that their code will be thoroughly tested for errors, and taking the time to design comprehensive test cases can save a lot of time and effort in the long run. But how should you approach this task in practice? Is there a trick to designing a good Test Case?

It depends on the project”, says Angie Lobato, a Quality Assurance Analyst at Scio with a wide range of expertise in everything QA. “The ISTQB already mentions that 100% thorough testing is not something that is possible, so it comes down to the priorities of the team, the requirements, the severity of the bugs, and the timelines set to deliver the product, as well as how much time the person in charge of QA has.

This is why knowing how to design a test case is so important; considering all the challenges that software development already faces, being able to write an efficient, timely, and thorough test case is a valuable skill, keeping in mind things like… 

  • Thinking about the expected behavior of the system under test. What should it do in various scenarios?
  • Choosing input values that will exercise all relevant parts of the system.
  • Designing tests that will detect errors, but also verify that the system behaves as expected.
  • Keeping track of all tests performed, including pass/fail status and any observations made.

However, saying this is easier said than done; it can be difficult to create comprehensive test cases that cover all possible scenarios, and as software becomes more complex, replicating customer environments to test for all potential issues requires some intuition and minute attention to detail. That’s why the design of your test cases has to start with a script as the basis of the test, documented and shared to see exactly what you are trying to accomplish. For this process, Angie tells us that…

I first need to validate that the Test Case (TC) related to the specific item I’m checking doesn’t exist yet, and do whatever is necessary, like adding, taking out or updating steps to not end up with a suite of repeated test cases”, she explains. “To design the script, it’s always good to create them in their respective suite, with a link to the requirement so everybody in the team can easily find them (I’ve personally used TFS, Azure DevOps, and Jira) depending on the tools utilized during the project. For the script itself, I define the objective of the Test Case, as well as the preconditions and postconditions it needs. Once that has been taken care of, I start to retrace the steps necessary to reach the item I need to test. I add each needed step to achieve the objectives of the test case with their expected result, and finally, I validate the final results where the change needed to be reflected.

As you can see, there’s a lot of documentation involved in designing a test case, and having the proper formats to keep everything in order (like this one) helps to make sure that each test is accomplishing what it needs to. And according to Angie, a good test case needs a couple of characteristics to make it good:

  • A good test case has a clear objective stated and is updated to the latest version of the project. 
  • Has all the necessary testing data to execute it without creating repeated information. 
  • Has defined all the preconditions and postconditions of the product. 
  • And most importantly, don’t try to test more than one thing in a single case.
  • However, if you need to, changing the parameters of the test is necessary to make that clear. 
  • An ideal test case shouldn’t have more than 10 steps in total.

Ensuring quality at a distance

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As anyone who has ever been involved in software development knows, QA is a critical part of the process, and a good test case can help to ensure that the final product meets the requirements of the customer and is free of issues, especially in the current development landscape where remote collaboration is becoming a given. 

For a Nearshore development team like the ones at Scio, a well-crafted, carefully designed test case is invaluable, helping to ensure that the team and the client is on the same page concerning the expected results of the testing process, and providing a clear and concise way to communicate those expectations to everyone involved. 

In other words, a good test case can help to streamline the testing process and make it more efficient, so taking the time to create a good test case is well worth the effort for any remote software development team. 

Any company that outsources software development knows that collaboration is key to success. A good QA team is essential to ensuring that the final product meets the standards”, says Adolfo Cruz, PMO Director, and Partner at Scio. “In a Nearshore setting, they are especially beneficial because they ensure that any problems are found and fixed quickly before they have a chance to cause major problems. As a result, well-designed test cases play a vital role in ensuring the success of a remote relationship.

The Key Takeaways

  • Quality is necessary at every step of the process of developing software, not only a concern in the final product.
  • A good example is test cases, how important they are to the process of QA, and what good practices get involved in designing one.
  • A well-designed test case is straight to the point, meticulous, and tries to think of all the context around the product in order to ensure the best quality possible.
  • Also, the process of designing a good test case is doubly important when working on a project remotely, helping keep everyone on the same page and track all the changes and corrections necessary to bring the best possible outcome. 

Scio is a Nearshore software development company based in Mexico where we believe that everyone deserves everyone should have the opportunity to work in an environment where they feel like a part of something. A place to excel and unlock their full potential which is the best approach to creating a better world. We have been collaborating with US-based clients since 2003, solving challenging programming puzzles, and in the process showcasing the skills of Latin American Engineers. Want to be part of Scio? Get in contact today!

Developing FinTech applications: A puzzle of high stakes and many pieces.

Developing FinTech applications: A puzzle of high stakes and many pieces.

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

When it comes to software development, the core principle of “Know Your Customer” is as important as ever; after all, you can’t develop a truly useful application without a deep understanding of your user base. And when it comes to the world of Financial Technology, this is especially true, as the stakes are higher, so to ensure safety in your product, there’s simply no substitute for due diligence. And by collaborating closely with our clients and understanding their unique risks, we at Scio can develop FinTech applications that are both useful and safe.

DevOpinions Is the Python language here to stay

With FinTech apps constantly flooding the market, FinTech app design might seem like a pretty sweet and easy job to do. But, in reality, designing a FinTech app is probably one of the toughest jobs out there, as it carries a number of unique challenges that can significantly impact the efficiency and adoption of the final product. One such challenge is the “KYC” or “Know Your Customer” requirement that all financial services providers need to comply with”, explains the article “The pain of KYC in FinTech”.

In other words, developing financial software is a challenge that requires regulations and laws that avoid any serious issues for the user. It’s a puzzle of many pieces, and getting them to fit together can be a tricky situation, but when everything comes together, the result is a beautiful thing. So by taking the time to get to know your clients inside and out, you can develop a much better FinTech application that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations.

However, when it comes the time to expand your team, and choose to collaborate with a Nearshore partner like Scio, what are the challenges faced during the project by our teams, and what are the best ways to ensure the products we helped create are the best they can be, and guarantee that KYC checks are followed properly?

Keeping Your Compliance: The other meaning for “KYC”

Keeping Your Compliance: The other meaning for “KYC”

Very few industries have higher stakes than FinTech, and that’s a core belief that any team developing financial service software has to internalize down to instinct: money is no laughing matter. Be it transferring, keeping it, or doing important operations with it (such as insurance, or billing), regulations on money and banking are an issue taken seriously by all, both private and public organizations. This is, then, what poses the biggest challenges faced when developing FinTech products, summarized so well in the initialism “KYC”: Knowing Your Customers.

KYC is a regulatory requirement for financial institutions. By law, they are obliged to verify the identities of their clients to prevent fraud and constrain the service access of users who don’t fulfill certain standards of credibility”, says the article Keep Your Compliance: The FinTech’s Guide to KYC. “But Know Your Customer policies are not just regulatory boundaries. They also act as competitive factors. KYC yields insightful data on one’s own services and customers.

So mastering KYC is critical for any FinTech related-product, although it should be noted that this concept doesn’t establish a concrete set of guidelines, and different types of clients (from a single person to an entire corporation) may have different requirements for their projects, with varying levels of detail, based on the type of transaction needed from the application. This, in turn, can have an extra layer of complexity by building an application meant to work in different territories, each with its regulations, laws, and context, which means that profound knowledge of the financial sector is often required to successfully develop such products.

And although following KYC to achieve the best outcome in FinTech products is necessary for any successful project, the truth is that the costs of these procedures add up, with the average cost of a single KYC check between 13 and 130 dollars (depending on the personnel number, as well as the cost of the particular platform used to do the checks), and up to 25% of FinTech platforms abandoned it due to friction in the customer’s end, which can require a long process to verify one’s ID. 

This poses FinTech as a notoriously risky venture, where tight regulations, costs, and market demand for easy interaction that, nonetheless, also require a rigorous procedure to avoid issues like fraud and money laundering, so any organization attempting it is incentivized to look for any help that might alleviate development, and Nearshore development might hold an answer.

Nearshore and FinTech: Easier than you may think

Nearshore and FinTech: Easier than you may think

When it comes to software development, a FinTech company has options; either choosing to do everything in-house or looking to augment their team with the help of a Nearshore organization. There are pros and cons to both approaches, but it can be a particularly good option for FinTech companies, helping them access the expertise they need to build a successful product by working with a partner with a deep understanding of the financial sector, with the skills they need close by. 

Opting for team augmentation this way allows companies to tap into a larger pool of talent, or “Adding workforce the Nearshore way” in the words of Rod Aburto, Service Delivery Manager, and Co-Founder at Scio, ensuring that communication and progress overview is done in a timely and convenient manner. This ability to collaborate in real-time is another key advantage of Nearshore partnering, and critical to ensuring that KYC is followed, with the final product meeting all the requirements needed. 

Ultimately, there are many reasons why these partnerships are a good idea for FinTech companies, and the biggest one is that you can get the best of both worlds: someone who knows the ins and outs of the industry and can help you navigate the regulatory KYC landscape and also shares a passion for developing amazing software.

After all, FinTech companies are under constant pressure to release new features and products quickly, without compromising on quality or security, so to meet these demands, many firms are discovering that by expanding their team resources with a Nearshore organization, a Fintech company can access some expertise that might otherwise be unavailable, and in the case of the financial sector, the proximity between the US and LATAM means that companies like Scio already have a close understanding of all the culturally and legally relevant details that are so important for the correct implementation of KYC checks.

As a result, FinTech companies stay ahead of the competition, speeding up the development process, easing the costs of KYC in the project, and all in all, getting all the talent and expertise you need to develop FinTech applications. So if you’re looking to develop FinTech applications, don’t be afraid to reach out and collaborate with a Nearshore partner: with the right team in your corner, anything is possible.

The Key Takeaways

  • Although FinTech solutions are in high demand, developing applications for it is full of challenges and obstacles that need a critical eye.
  • One of the biggest is KYC, or Know Your Customer, which dictates plenty of the requirements of any software, platform, or app.
  • KYC can be costly, so most FinTech organizations need to proceed with development in an especially careful way, and seek the best support available. 
  • Nearshore development can offer plenty of solutions for the FinTech sector of the US, as the geographical, economic, and cultural proximity between North America and LATAM can ease many of the challenges of KYC.

Scio is a Nearshore software development company based in Mexico where we believe that everyone deserves everyone should have the opportunity to work in an environment where they feel like a part of something. A place to excel and unlock their full potential which is the best approach to create a better world. We have been collaborating with US-based clients since 2003, solving challenging programming puzzles, and in the process showcasing the skills of Latin American Engineers. Want to be part of Scio? Get in contact today!

The significant impact of Green Coding on the environment: Is balanced software development possible?

The significant impact of Green Coding on the environment: Is balanced software development possible?

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

With the need to be more environmentally focused every day, we look at an approach to software development that can help our industry utilize its resources better and more efficiently: Green Coding.

With the need to be more environmentally-focused every day, we take a look at an approach to software development that can help our industry to utilize its resources better and more efficiently: Green Coding.

When it comes to good practices in software development, there’s more to it than just efficiency and delivery of results during every sprint; there’s also a lot to consider about the impact caused by the products we make, both for our clients, final users, and the world at large. 

After all, we all know that software development can be a resource-intensive process. First, it generally requires a significant amount of development time to create robust and efficient applications. And second, developing software often requires the use of multiple tools and technologies, which can add to the cost of development. However, beyond these normal cases of resource investment from any software development company, what many people don’t realize is that coding can have a significant impact on the environment. After all, software development has always been a complex and time-consuming process, but in recent years this process has come into sharp focus, as the effects of global warming (and the time we have left to mitigate its effects) have become more and more pressing. 

In the case of technology, the creation of new software often requires the use of powerful machines, which consume large amounts of energy, and generate considerable amounts of heat and noise, in addition to the involvement of dozens or even hundreds of software development tools, each of which has a footprint. As a result, the environmental impact of software development can be significant.

Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the environmental impact of software development, like using more efficient development tools that consume less energy or developing software in collaboration with other developers, which can help to reduce the overall number of development tools in use. However, all this could be for naught if our approach to software development doesn’t include a responsible mindset, which is the origin of a new way to approach the creation of new applications: Green Coding.

Green Coding: Efficiency in balance

The significant impact of Green Coding on the environment Is balanced software development possible

By taking these steps, developers can help to protect the environment while still creating high-quality software products, which is why more and more companies are adopting “Green Coding” practices. Green Coding is all about developing software in a way that minimizes its environmental impact, and that means anything from using energy-efficient hardware to writing code that is easier to recycle or reuse.

There are a lot of reasons why green coding is becoming a necessary practice in the software industry. For one, it’s simply the right thing to do: we have a responsibility to take care of our planet, and Green Coding is one way we can make a difference. But there are also practical reasons for adopting these practices; energy-efficient hardware, for example, can save developers money on their electric bills (an essential concern in remote setups), and code that is easier to reuse can save time and resources in the long run. So no matter what your motivation is, there are plenty of ways to go, so let’s review some techniques to ensure your code is as environment-friendly as possible.

  • Efficient writing: Before going into coding itself, let’s take a step back and think about the physical tool you use to write: your keyboard. How much energy does your keyboard spend during the day? Although the amount might seem negligible (around 1W per hour on average, maybe even less), most USB keyboards increase around 5 times the amount of energy they consume the older they get, depending on their build type and brand. And going along with the energy used by the whole computer setup, this energy adds up, which is why using wireless, rechargeable keyboards is getting popular in Green Coding circles, as it only needs a single 3-hour charge to work most of the day, and doesn’t consume energy directly while you use them. It may seem like a very small change, but considering how, on average, 600,000 people hit a space bar at the same time every 1/10 of a second, saving energy will have benefits in the long run.

  • Efficient coding:Coding, for the most part, can become greener almost instantly if we adopt the same software development processes as our industry did 20+ years ago, when coding was confined to strict lengths and sizes”, is an interesting point mentioned by Dean Clark, Chief Technology Officer at GFT, regarding the idea of implementing Green Coding practices. The truth is that, while our ability to code today is virtually limitless, the lean way of writing code when you had to make the most with limited space also meant that no waste of resources was allowed, and optimization was a day-to-day practical concern. “Nowadays, with a lot more leeway in the way we write code”, says Adolfo Cruz,  Project Management Officer, and partner at Scio. “And these approaches to making software could still teach us a thing or two in regards to taking care of our resources, allowing us to create more environmentally-responsible applications whose efficiency could save us a lot of energy and time in the long run”. 

 

  • Efficient debugging:Coding will inevitably result in bugs, and the act of debugging is, by itself, a way to improve the energy efficiency of software”, is the opinion of the blog TechXplore, which is why having a strong QA department with the appropriate tools is so important to achieve a true Green Coding approach. Following the last point, making sure that our applications are using resources responsibly, and wasting the least amount of energy possible at every step, could go a long way toward making software development more friendly to the ecosystem, and leading to more environmentally responsible practices overall. 

Collaboration as a key to Green Coding

The significant impact of Green Coding on the environment Is balanced software development possible_2

So to recap, Green Coding is the process of developing software in a way that minimizes its impact on the environment. We already mentioned some ways to achieve it, but a key practice in environmentally-friendly coding includes collaboration, Nearshore development, and expertise sharing. Collaboration is essential to Green Coding because working closely with others helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that no one is duplicating effort, allowing for more efficient use of resources, which can help to reduce a company’s carbon footprint. 

In the specific case of Nearshore development, working with developers in countries closer to their clients and end-users helps reduce travel emissions, allowing you to take advantage of different time zones so work can be done around the clock, which combined with good Green Coding practices, can make a difference when it comes to leaving a carbon footprint. 

You might not think that Nearshoring your software development would have anything to do with the environment, but the truth is it can be very beneficial, helping to improve efficiency and cut down on waste”, is the summary Adolfo Cruz offers about the advantages of collaborating within your same time zone, as expertise sharing is crucial to Green Coding, helping to raise the overall level of expertise in the industry to not only improve the quality of software but also help it reduce the need for training and support. 

Development involving a team of experts can often get the job done faster, with fewer errors, and less need for constant testing and development, saving a lot of time and resources. As a result, expertise sharing is an essential part of green coding. All in all, there are many good reasons to consider outsourcing your software development – even if you’re worried about the environment.

In the software development industry, going green is not just about being eco-friendly; it’s also about being efficient, effective, and collaborative. When development teams adopt Green Coding practices, they can work faster, and more efficiently, and as a result, have a positive impact on the software development process. In addition, by adopting green coding practices, development teams can help to make the software development industry more sustainable, and in turn, help the march towards a better future.

The Key Takeaways

  • The technology industry as a whole is very resource-intensive, and thus, a good starting point for more environmentally friendly practices.
  • However, beyond adopting hardware that spends less energy overall, there are practices in the software side of things that could help to be more responsible with resources.
  • Green Coding is an approach to software development where code is as efficient, light, and bug-free as possible, helping to run applications that overall leave a smaller footprint in the environment.
  • Nearshore development is a good approach to green coding, reducing the need for long travels (and thus, the emissions they involve), as well as sharing the necessary knowledge to always improve software, achieving a better balance with our environment.

Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies to help you reach new heights. We have been developing since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – we’ll be happy to help you achieve your business goals.

The quality in Quality Assurance: What does a good approach look like?

The quality in Quality Assurance: What does a good approach look like?

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

The process of QA testing came into prominence, at least within more mainstream audiences, when stories about it came out regarding the popular (and some might say) infamous videogame Cyberpunk 2077, which has become known as one of the most high-profile disasters of shipped software products.

Is your talent distributed or remote?: A new way to look at inclusion in the workplace.

And as bugs were some of the most notorious problems of this game, it also presents the opportunity to talk about a very important part of software development, which can make or break a product: Quality Assurance. What does a good implementation of QA look like? What does it aim to find, and what are the best ways to go about it? And more importantly, what makes a good QA process?

1. Quantity of over quality (assurance)

The quality in Quality Assurance What does a good approach look like

An anonymous source within Quantic Labs, one of the firms in charge of QA in Cyberpunk 2077, told journalists about a “bug quota” imposed by management on their testers. With the requirement of reporting at least 10 bugs per day, the logic seemed to make sense: encourage your testers to be as thorough as possible, and thus ensure the final product will have the highest quality. However, if you are familiar with how the QA process works, you are already wincing because you know where this is going.

Quality Assurance is an important part of software development that, by ensuring that code is well-tested and meets standards, helps to improve the efficiency of a development team, and several good practices can help to ensure a successful quality process. Quotas can have the precise opposite effect, slowing down development by flooding developers with meaningless reports. Which, should be said, is no fault of the tester; after all, what is the result if they fail to meet them?

I’ve worked in QA since 2011, been a Team Lead for the last three years, and bug quotas are a bad system which achieves absolutely nothing good”, explains one of the comments in the aforementioned article. First, your testers enter a load of unproductive bugs, because they will divide one issue up into as many possible JIRA entries as they possibly can. And on top of that, they don’t have time to properly investigate the more complicated issues that they find — you get a lot more crash bugs with horribly elaborate reproduction steps because testers can’t afford to spend two hours nailing down exactly what triggers them.

So with measures like these, the management of a project can unintendedly encourage bad QA, as it makes it more about the number of bugs found and less about their importance. So instead of quotas, a better method could be to ensure that everyone knows the priorities of the project, and have a clear definition of what constitutes a bug or issue (to let developers know when they need to fix something). Understand that QA is an important part of the development cycle from beginning to end, and enough time to do proper research and testing on bugs and issues is crucial in the planning of any successful project. Speaking of which…

2. Not a step, but an ongoing process

The quality in Quality Assurance What does a good approach look like_2

One of the biggest myths about QA testing is that it’s a one-time event that happens at the end of development. This simply isn’t true. Even if many people think it’s just a matter of catching bugs before a product is released, QA testing is an essential part of the software development process, and it should be treated as an ongoing collaboration between developers and testers.

This means regularly testing code and providing feedback to developers throughout the software development lifecycle; after all, effective QA testing is about making sure that a software application meets the requirements of the end-user. This means ensuring that the app is easy to use, bug-free, and performs well under real-world conditions, and QA testers play a vital role in ensuring that these standards are reached by working closely with developers throughout the whole project.

Companies that realize the importance of Quality Assurance encourage employees to look at every part of the software development process as a “product” that has its consumer”, is a good explanation given by this blog from the QA firm Syndicode. “Defects are possible at each stage, so it’s important to ensure all participants adhere to the quality standards.

After all, QA testing needs to be a collaboration between developers and testers, but it can also be heavy on time and resources. One way to improve efficiency and reduce costs is to ensure that a team, by working together, can quickly identify and fix errors, saving time and money in the long run. 

3. Good communication between the QA team and developers is everything.

The quality in Quality Assurance What does a good approach look like

In any line of work, good communication is essential to collaboration, and this is especially true in the field of QA Testing, where clear and concise communication can mean the difference between a successful project and a costly mistake. 

This means setting expectations, outlining the scope of the project, and establishing a clear process for reporting bugs and feedback. Without good communication, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page, leading to frustration and delays. By taking the time to establish good communication early on, you can save yourself a lot of headaches down the road. 

Also, this is where the advantages of a different approach in collaboration can shine, like the option of working with a Nearshore organization to find the QA talent your project needs. There are many benefits to this, like the increased diversity you get when expanding your scope (important to get as many fresh perspectives as you can when solving a particularly thorny bug), as well as efficiency and communication. With Nearshore proximity, it gets easier to build strong working relationships with other team members, whose cultural closeness makes work smoother in general, while also being flexible and scalable, making it a good option for businesses of all sizes. This way, teams can work more closely together to identify and resolve issues more quickly. 

The result is that, with a Nearshore QA department, collaborative testing can also help to improve communication and build trust between team members; when everyone is on the same page, it leads to better quality software and a better user experience.

 

QA: More than meets the eye

The case of Cyberpunk 2077 we mentioned at the beginning is a great example of a QA process done wrong, and thankfully, any future product development can learn from it and understand how to approach an area of IT that sometimes doesn’t seem as valued as it should. The main thing is that proper QA is critical for success, and having a good approach towards it is the first step to guaranteeing a useful product that meets the expectations, and preferences, of a user base.

The Key Takeaways

  • QA is a critical part of software development, and any successful product has a strong quality process in place.
  • However, it’s very easy to choose the wrong approach to QA, compromising the functionality and success of any application, no matter how good it is.
  • Collaboration, communication, and a proper system that encourages looking for big issues during development are crucial, keeping everyone on the same page and with the same goals.
  • And when it comes to remote collaboration, a Nearshore partner is the best choice to bring the best QA talent to your team, as the close cultural fit and ability to communicate are invaluable to ensure a quality application.

Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies to help you reach new heights. We have been developing since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – we’ll be happy to help you achieve your business goals.

What does modern career growth look like in software development?

What does modern career growth look like in software development?

Curated by Sergio A. Martínez, 

with contributions by Ivan Guerrero Cardoso & Víctor Ariel Rodríguez Cruz.

It may seem like a pretty simple question, but how will your career look five years from now? What is your current goal? Because no matter if you are a junior, senior, or lead developer, the landscape of career progression is looking less like a straight path, and more like an open field of possibilities in which unexpected talents and skills can flourish.

So even if you are just starting out and trying to figure out your best course of action, or are a veteran whose path was full of unexpected twists and turns, we would like to ask you: what’s the shape you want your career in to take?

The Peter Principle

Now, before we start, here’s some context on why career paths have been getting more and more fluid, with skill sets becoming more diverse than ever during the last decade, and a good starting point is the infamous “Peter Principle” described by the Canadian educator Laurence J. Peter, which analyzes an issue that companies and organizations have been struggling with since times immemorial.

To put it in simple terms, the Peter Principle states that “a person that keeps getting promoted will eventually end up in a position beyond their competence, which will prevent them from further promotions, and thus keeping them in positions they fail at”, meaning that we all have a “competence ceiling” in our talents that we’ll probably hit sooner or later, depending on the career progression chosen. In more traditional companies this was a common issue when promoting people to a leadership position, like Management, where the best worker in a given department (let’s say, Sales) will be the first in line to get promoted when the opportunity presents, even if their best skill (selling) has nothing to do with the responsibilities of the promotion (in this case, managing people).

However, since this was the obvious career path for such a job, and rarely there was an alternative within the same organization, this meant that a person would have to “climb up” even if they had to stop doing the thing they were good at. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t, and you can still see it today in programming and software development, where your best engineer, coder, QA, or tester excels because they are good and passionate at what they do, but, unless they explicitly seek to become leaders or managers, there is no guarantee of good performance in a new role with very different responsibilities.

Good companies, though, recognize this pitfall. “Careers are more organic today. Many organizations need a greater breadth of expertise and are encouraging employees to branch out, experiment with different functions, and become generalists rather than specialists. All of this opens new – and more – opportunities for people to grow, become engaged, and thrive at work”, says Skip Richard about the new realities of careers in the blog “Promotions are so yesterday”, which analyzes how career development is getting away from these traditional models, towards a more flexible approach. But what does this flexibility mean, and what does it look like in action?

The new realities of a career

What a lot of modern workplaces are trying to do nowadays is to get away from a linear concept of progress, offering their collaborators the chance to explore and develop new skills along with the flexibility to put them to use during a project. What if, for example, a senior Full Stack developer is interested in branching out to QA? Or if a member of the IT department wants to get into programming? Or what if a member of the marketing team is interested in learning to code? 

Career development used to be linear. It was all about that upward progression. Lateral – or God forbid downward – moves frequently reflected poorly upon ambitious professionals. […] Now, career development is much squigglier. People can move up, down and all around. They can go away and return – not something that was typical in the past”, continues the aforementioned blog. 

And we are sure you have a pretty good guess on why this is the case; our relationship with work (and thus, careers) is changing, and following a single, inflexible path “forward” is less practical and realistic in a world that requires so much more from us, and the smartest organizations are those realizing that offering opportunities to explore new paths benefits us all.

Until recently, I’d heard stories on the internet about software developers with peculiar paths, but never knew anyone like that. But then, one of my friends from high school, who studied Automation Engineering, started working as a software developer. Our CEO [Luis Aburto] has a background in Environmental Engineering, and some of the developers giving classes on the Apprenticeship told us about a couple of developers here with non-traditional paths, coming from Accounting or Chemistry. All these persons have inspired me to keep pursuing the career change I want”, says Iván Guerrero Cardoso, a Pharmaceutical Chemist who is currently an Application Developer Apprentice, a career he was able to pursue at Scio after discovering (and falling in love with) software development.

Stories like these are not uncommon at Scio and the software industry at large, and we will start to see how the ability to change paths not only will result in stronger organizations but in people less likely to get trapped in the Peter Principle, giving alternatives that let them explore their talents thoroughly.

About a year and a half ago, I didn’t know anything related to software development as a profession — although I was already programming since a few years ago — and I found in Scio a place to learn, practice, and develop my skills even further. I’m also a follower of different web development personalities who has inspired me to try new things; I’d love to explore Web Development fully, Cyber Security is a topic I want to start leaning towards, and Videogame Development is an area where I’m constantly in the loop of the newest technologies”, says Víctor Ariel Rodríguez Cruz, a full-stack Application Developer at Scio, which touches on why this diversification is so attractive, beyond pure technical prowess: it lets us be part of a bigger whole.

The many dimensions of a career

Humans have a deep need to connect, build relationships and be part of a community. Approached with intention, this can drive powerful career growth”, says Richards, and in the case of Scio, this idea of human connection [LINK] drives a lot of what we try to accomplish as an organization.

The reason is simple: in today’s world, where the ways we approach work are becoming more diverse than ever, Scio believes that investing in the personal growth of our collaborators, offering, among other things, paid technical courses, technical certifications, English classes, and our very own Leadership, Apprenticeship, and Sensei-Creati Coaching & Mentoring Programs to develop the hard and soft skills necessary to ensure the best collaboration between every developer, is the best way for a Nearshore Software Development company to foster the very best talent in Latin America. 

This is a core part of the ways Scioneers can build their career prospects, encouraged by a culture of mutual support were learning a new skill can go from full-on coaching with someone with a vast experience to draw from, to simply asking for tips and pointers at informal meetings. 

Let me highlight the development dimension of ‘connection.’ This is one of my favorites, in large part because it’s become increasingly important in today’s distributed workplace”, continues the article by Richards.  And this connection is built by also offering ways for our collaborators to develop the soft skills necessary to work on, collaborate or lead a team. Coming back to our example of the salesman becoming a manager, would it make a difference if such a promotion came with the coaching and tools necessary to learn how to handle a leadership position? The best way to give feedback, offer criticism, correct the trajectory of a project and balance the wants and needs of a team is not innate to many people, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be learned and developed. 

Careers now need more than one dimension of growth, and Scio tries to offer the support to do just that: grow in the areas you want to.

Or as Ivan Guerrero puts it, about his own experience in the Scio apprentice program: “Not every company opens its doors to people without a strong computer science background, or without a related degree (which I understand, as it could be risky), therefore I’m hugely thankful with Scio for letting me join the team of apprentices where, as I see it, how passionate and willing we are to learn matters more than having an enormous amount of previous knowledge”. 

The Key Takeaways:

  • Hitting the “Peter Principle” meant that a company didn’t offer enough options to choose from to advance a career, and that could lead to poor outcomes.
  • Today, a good company has multiple paths a collaborator can take, from traditional career advancement to coaching, to giving the opportunity to explore alternative options.
  • Career growth cannot happen in a vacuum either; a culture of collaboration can foster relationships that cross-pollinate knowledge and helps to open new paths to explore in a career.