Winning the #KaepernickingWorldwide Contest

In July of last year my then-girlfriend and I spent three weeks traveling mostly around the Philippines with a few days in Hong Kong and Singapore. We made the most of our trip to Singapore when we randomly stayed one night at the Marina Bay Sands hotel. (When I say randomly I mean we booked the hotel and flight the day before we left!) We chose the Marina Bay Sands thanks to my future brother-in-law’s recommendation of it looking like a spaceship (and who doesn’t love spaceships?).

The hotel boasts the world’s largest infinity pool, essentially stretching from one end of the roof to the other. In person it’s such an amazing experience to be sitting in the pool at night (or day) looking out onto the Singaporean skyline and beyond. The flip side view is equally amazing as you look out into the very, very busy harbor and the gardens below. As “tourists” we probably took more photos from the Marina Bay Sands than from the rest of the Singapore trip combined (even counting our trip to the massive aquarium).

Both my wife and I are HUGE San Francisco 49er fans. She, more than I, enjoys posting and following people on Instagram but we both follow the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s account. I think it was August of this year, when we noticed he was holding a photo contest called #KaepernickingWorldwide. Participants would take a photo of themselves or someone they know “Kaepernicking” (see the featured photo), post it on Instagram, tag Colin Kaepernick, #kaepernickingworldwide and their location. We were excited because we had a photo from our stay at the Marina Bay Sands where I was Kaepernicking in the pool. Neither of us figured we had a chance to win.

A few weeks after the post went live we got a direct message from Kaepernick (Kap) saying we had won! I think we jumped for joy for about 10 minutes before we responded saying thank you and providing our shipping address. A follow up search on the hashtag revealed about a half dozen or so winners – so we joined in on the fun. At the time it wasn’t entirely clear what we had won (it looked like a bobble head, some t-shirts, socks, and wristbands), we were just happy to be part of the contest!

Roughly 9 weeks later, we arrived home from our wedding in Napa to find a package sitting at our doorstep from Kap. What a great wedding gift! We were amazed when we opened it:

Among the great items Kap sent us was one of his Jerseys signed along with the tag #kaepernickingworldwide. Wow! This isn’t the kind of Jersey you can buy online (we have a few of those), this is the heavy duty version with the short sleeves he wears on Game Day. Again, wow! Also included were a signed copy of GQ Magazine, signed football card, a signed action figure from his Nevada days, some clothing and a few wrist bands. We put some of the items together into a case and hung it on the wall.

As 49ers fans we’d like to formally say thank you to Colin Kaepernick. Often being a a fan of a team or a person (sports, business, tv, whatever) is a one-sided affair so thank you for briefly changing the dynamic. We are even bigger supporters than before. Go 49ers!

Cross published on Medium.

Throw someone else in to help QA it faster!

“Throw someone else in to help QA it faster!”

A former boss (or two) of mine

I’ve heard this statement many times in my career but it happened again just recently and it got me thinking. Aside from the poor choice of words, about “QAing” something (is that really a verb?), why would someone say this?

This seems to happen when management realizes it will take longer to test something than they initially planned and/or some client demands a product sooner. The most recent occurrence came when management didn’t communicate the expected release date and freaked at the estimated test duration. My response was you can have the product whenever you want but let me tell you what won’t be tested. This elicited the response “no we don’t want to not test it, how about we… throw someone else in to help QA it faster.” Clearly someone hasn’t heard of Brook’s law.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Fred Brooks

Brook’s Law is a term coined by Fred Brooks in his book The Mythical Man-Month which states “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”. It also appears the person saying this doesn’t understand what Quality Assurance (or QA) means.

If the role of software testing is to help the team understand vital information about the product and you bring in someone who doesn’t understand how this is accomplished, the value both will be providing is diminished. You slow down the primary tester as they coordinate with the person being brought in as work is divided up based on skill and comfort level. Configurations of different machines, problems local to the users and a whole host of other problems can crop up as well. In other words it takes time for people to become productive on a project.

Anyone who does time-based work (has a deliverable) can tell you it’s helpful to know when you need to be done. Crazy, right? Testing a product is a never ending journey but specific periods of testing can end, for example when the product is needed in the field. There will always be more testing to do but you don’t always have time nor is it always a good use of resources. Dates can help. If this statement comes up often either Management or the Team has problems communicating with each other about when things need to be done. Setting dates isn’t a sure fire method since dates can change but so can the decision on what needs to still be tested and what’s acceptable risk for the field.

While it’s possible to get an additional person to add some incremental value into a project (they might have some unique perspectives that can help, especially if they are subject matter experts) it’s going to take them awhile. Don’t assume “throwing someone else in” will do anything other than make the testing duration longer.