Show me the money, I mean feature

Evaluating the product

Evaluating the product is what testers, product managers, internal users and actual users do when they look at a product. These people that evaluate the product from individual perceptions on how it looks, feels, and what they expect. When people are explaining things to us, we try to imagine and internalise what they’ve said but this does not compare to feeling the product.

In this piece of writing we will talk about showing the users the product. This type of evaluation requires human experience and instinct and increases the confidence levels to deliver high-quality software.

Collaborate with the programmers

Testers and programmers working together enhances the team’s ability to deliver the right product and foster communication on testing scenarios that no one person may think off. Programmers will learn new ways of looking at a product and after time, become better at testing their code. Testers learn more about what mindset gets into coding and how giving the programmer the right tests help frame their mind on how they expect the product to behave.

Developer paired with Tester

Programmer John has completed the user interface for allowing the users to get a better visibility on the status of their data, whether it’s being processed, still being pulled, or ready to be analysed. John asks Jane the tester to sit with him to demonstrate the new feature. John changes the status of their data in the back end and sees the new status appear. He updates another status and is not showing the correct status in the interface.

Jane (Tester) allows John (Developer) to drive the demonstration by not having access to the mouse and Jane suggesting a few scenarios to have a look at and watch what happens.

The simple act of showing the UI to another person helps the developer realise that they might have implemented some weird user behaviour. Showing someone else a problem and going through it together is more effective than filing a bug in the defect tracking system waiting for someone to look at it.

Show the users

Showing the users what's being developed early allows good feedback so a reiteration will be done quicker rather than later. As soon as the basic UI is available during the development, show it to the product manager and one or two end users.

I worked on a project where certain manual tasks of our internal team would be semi-automated. The UI was done and the product was in the testing phase, I found the usability to be quite clunky but it was done to specifications. I took a couple of internal users to see what they think of the new feature and they came to the same conclusion. Feedback was given and changes were required before the internal users used the feature.

Another thing you’ll find is that upper management will gain more confidence in the project. When we are working in somewhat of a waterfall structure, we see nothing until the end and we may end up not building the product that we actually wanted. Agile development and showing the users the feature early allows faster feedback and gives a better feeling on the value of this project.

Choose a time that is suitable for both the business user and the developer to ensure feedback and any changes can be added to the nearest release.

Have a look at this book for more information on how to succeed with agile: Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum

Happy Testing!

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