Coffee Thoughts: The Right Way to Recover from a Quality Failure

Coffee Thoughts: The Right Way to Recover from a Quality Failure

Quality failures happen although in nearly every case it is because of a choice a company made to cut corners or make assumptions not supported by facts to devalue quality assurance practices. QA works. Period. But when quality failures do happen, there is a choice a company can make about how to handle the failure: deny the problem and hope for the best, or confront it head on and slingshot around the failure to greater success. In this company blog, we’ve written on several occasions about the spectacular quality failure Samsung had with the Galaxy Note 7. Now, we’re here to give Samsung an equal measure of praise. Why? Because, after a few initial missteps in the handling of the battery problem, Samsung has confronted the problem head on and appears to be poised to slingshotting themselves to greater success. Samsung used their keynote speaker platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in January to address in detail the web of failures in business practices and technology that lead to the battery problem. This act in the largest consumer product forum of the year effectively ended the story and enabled Samsung to reset the focus to what’s next. And what’s next is a new line of phones that – in the new narrative – have been enhanced by the lessons learned through the Note 7 debacle, lessons for all to see. See, confronting a problem is actually the only viable strategy in today’s connected business world, although many companies try to act otherwise. A head-on mea culpa greatly reduces the power of the crowd to create drama by surfacing the truth...
Coffee Thoughts: Store Closings Another Sign of Seismic Shifts in Retail

Coffee Thoughts: Store Closings Another Sign of Seismic Shifts in Retail

Consider this list of retail companies and store closings in 2016 and early 2017 (compiled from articles on the BizJournals.com family of sites): Macy’s, 68 (as many as 10,000 jobs eliminated) Aeropostale, 100 American Eagle Outfitters, 150 Limited, 250 (as many as 4,000 jobs eliminated) Express, 50 Sears/Kmart, 34 Ambercrombie, 50/year Meanwhile, Amazon expects to add as many as 100,000 jobs over the next 18 months. This list represents an interesting cross-section of the retail industry, spanning value, mid-price and premium stores, and a diverse group of management teams and business/operational styles and practices. Add to this the fact that our economy is not in recession (with positive GDP in all four quarters), unemployment is down, wages have seen small but real increases, and 2016 holiday shopping season metrics saw new highs in several key categories, especially growth in eCommerce sales at the apparent expense of bricks-and-mortar sales. In earlier eras, this kind of economic environment would see high numbers of store openings, not closings. The point? Really, nothing more than piling onto the consensus observation that a fundamental shift is underway in the retail industry, driven substantially by technology and made intractable by a generational shift in our relationships with technology. Retail is facing a transformation as profound as the move from whale oil to gas to electricity, from horses to cars, from paper to PCs, the Internet and smartphones. In many ways, the seismic shift in retail is a slow motion earthquake. Drag on the pace of change is created by the very different shopping habits of the Boomers, GenX’ers, and Millennials. Drag is also created by certain...
Big Deals at the Big Show: iBeta attends NRF17

Big Deals at the Big Show: iBeta attends NRF17

Representatives from iBeta attended the National Retail Federation “Big Show” for the first time as the initial step in a year-long program to expand iBeta’s presence in the retail industry, and formalize iBeta’s expertise and standing as a retail technology quality assurance leader. Said Mike Stark, Director of Sales and Marketing, “We have worked for years with companies across the retail industry, from brands to retailers to agencies to technology products and service providers. After an account and technical review last year, we discovered that we had organically accumulated a substantial footprint in the retail industry already, including skills, knowledge, experience, and technical capabilities that constitute a genuine specialization in retail technology. The NRF 2017 show was the best and biggest place to formally introduce iBeta as a quality assurance leader in retail technology.” All Commerce is eCommerce Technology drives every aspect of retail today, not just web and mobile eCommerce. Stores are wired with sensors and analytics. Sales staff are enabled with sophisticated mobility tech to enhance and enrich sales and customer service. Products are enhanced with IoT and situated in an ecosystem of mobile and web application technology. Signage is dynamic, customized, and contextualized. Big data flows from every stage of product and customer journeys, and is matched with other databases to provide insights retailers have never had before. And every single piece of that technology needs to work flawlessly for brands and retailers to achieve success in an environment of unprecedented competition, and sky-high customer expectations. That’s where iBeta comes in. iBeta systematically breaks technology, and reports on the how and why, enabling companies to polish their technologies...
iBeta to Attend Retail’s BIG Show 2017

iBeta to Attend Retail’s BIG Show 2017

What: National Retail Federation – Retail’s BIG Show 2017 Where: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center New York, NY When: Jan 15-17, 2017 More information: http://nrfbigshow.nrf.com/ They don’t call it the BIG show for nothing! 33,000+ attendees! 510+ exhibitors! 300+ speakers! More name brands than you shake a stick at! A who’s who of thought leaders in the retail industry! iBeta: Experts at QA for Retail iBeta has a long history performing QA on retail technologies (web and mobile ecommerce solutions; all-platform advertising and marketing tech; security testing; load/performance testing; and more) for companies big and small. With competition intensifying in 2017 and more retail sales moving to ecommerce channels (look at those Black Friday through Cyber Monday 2016 numbers!), we anticipate a big increase in the need for QA to polish technology for a competitive edge and reduce risks from quality failures. NRF Retail’s BIG Show is the perfect place learn more about retailers’ development and QA strategies, and discuss how we can help. Will you be there,...
Where Do You Live in “The Agile Landscape”?

Where Do You Live in “The Agile Landscape”?

Agile software development has come a long way since the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was published in 2001. The original twelve principles still largely hold today: Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software Welcome changing requirements, even in late development Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months) Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location) Working software is the principal measure of progress Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly Now 15 years later, everyone – and we (almost) literally (well, somewhat figuratively) everyone – has taken a wack at molding the essential clay of Agile into a new, branded philosophy often with a dictionary of unique and incompatible TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) and other terms-of-art. A culmination of this evolutionary radiation can be found in the graphic accompanying this post (click here for a larger version). So where does your organization fit in this completely easy-to-read, simple-to-understand roadmap of the modern Agile landscape? And where do you fit Quality Assurance into your Agile...
NEW eBook: “7 Questions to Ask Outsourced QA Service Providers”

NEW eBook: “7 Questions to Ask Outsourced QA Service Providers”

iBeta Quality Assurance, a leading full-service software quality, security, performance, and biometrics testing lab has released the eBook “7 Questions to Ask Outsourced QA Service Providers” for download at: http://www.ibeta.com/download-7-question-ask-qa-service-providers/ The “7 Questions” eBook was written to be a practical tool for mid- and high-level technology company managers to help them successfully select the right quality assurance partner from a diverse service provider marketplace. The book describes the four categories of QA service providers (Crowdsourced, Offshore, IT Generalist, and QA Specialist), and analyzes their relative merits through the lens of seven questions that a buyer should ask: “Who does your testing?” “Can I talk to you?” “Can you keep up? “How much will I have to do for you?” “Can you work with our tools?” “Do you have the gear?” “Can you help me achieve my business and technical goals?” “7 Questions” was written in response to a confluence of factors this year: The exceptional number of high-profile, quality-related technology failures in 2016 across a broad spectrum of companies – including top-tier mobile device makers, major search providers, and several car makers to name a few – that, together, reveal an overall pattern of quality slippages. The pattern raises questions such as: Are organizations struggling more than is generally understood to incorporate Agile, DevOps, and other high-speed development strategies, i.e. letting the need for speed compromise quality? Are organizations misapplying concepts such as Minimum Viable Product which can become pseudo-strategic justifications for minimum work effort? Are organizations running aground on the inherent limitations of test automation technology and discovering (as iBeta has long known) that there are consequences to over-reliance on automation technology? Are organizations also relearning the...
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