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Struggle and Enlightenment. A Tale of Clarity in the Midst of Chaos courtesy of Excel. John N. Daughety Team Lead, Development HBK Investments, L.P. jndaughety@yahoo.com. The Scene…. A small, old office building backing up to a car dealership

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Struggle and enlightenment l.jpg

Struggle and Enlightenment

A Tale of Clarity in the Midst of Chaos courtesy of Excel

John N. Daughety

Team Lead, Development

HBK Investments, L.P.

jndaughety@yahoo.com


The scene l.jpg
The Scene…

  • A small, old office building backing up to a car dealership

  • Tight quarters, furnished affordably by other startup failures

  • Dozens of busy bees dreaming up telecom software and talking idly of retirement

  • Airplanes carrying banners offering “more than they pay you” to all who pass below

  • Less than 10% unoccupied office space at Nortel, Alcatel HQ


The challenges l.jpg
The Challenges…

  • Startup company – no money or time (or desire) for formal process

  • No money for test support software

  • Requirements not defined, scattered throughout the brains of several

  • “Hallway design meetings”

  • Hard to hear near the windows – pages for service techs at the dealership

  • Very short delivery schedules…in theory


The hero l.jpg
The Hero…

  • New to the industry

  • One of two testers in the company

  • Release testing starts in two weeks

  • The hero must prepare for testing the GUI…alone!

  • It is really hard to get on the service road for 75 when he goes home each night


The villains l.jpg
The Villains…

  • Developers with $$$’s in their eyes

  • CEO with $$$’s in his eyes

  • Marketing truly believing they don’t have to do anything to succeed

  • These offices really are cramped…

  • “I think I’ll buy one of those new S2000’s when I sell my stock.”


It s not all bad for the hero l.jpg
It’s Not All Bad for the Hero

  • His partner has extensive industry experience

  • They have no problem communicating – typing at the same time is tough, though

  • He has his own PC… with MS Office

  • Much of the GUI has been created

  • That dealership does great work on his car


Goals enter stage left l.jpg
Goals Enter Stage Left…

  • Set of test cases that must cover the GUI

  • “Document” that people can confirm is correct (an ad hoc design spec)

  • Something even the villains will review:

    • easy to read/review

    • easy to look at specific parts only

    • easily accessible

  • Easily updated as the design... er, code, changes


A ray of hope appears l.jpg
A Ray of Hope Appears…

  • Excel can organize GUI test cases

  • It supports a modular design

    • Easy to read all or specific parts

    • Easy to change as product changes

  • It can be shared on the network

    • Everyone can view it, and it is always current


A new hero emerges l.jpg
A New Hero Emerges

  • Test Cases were completed with Excel

  • They clarified some potentially harmful misunderstandings

  • They scared up some good bugs

  • They defined the application better than any other document (or person)

  • Excel saved the day!


Now for a legal example l.jpg
Now For A Legal Example…

  • Dialogs are from a test-case management application

    • User creates, edits test cases

    • User creates, edits test runs

    • User creates, edits test scripts and manages test cases in script

  • Three artifacts:

    • Test Case: a description of a test and the expected results

    • Test Run: details for execution of a test case on a specific software release or build

    • Test Script: a collection of test cases performed in a specific order

  • Only Test Cases and Test Scripts will be used in the example


Overview worksheet l.jpg
Overview Worksheet

  • First worksheet in workbook is overview

    • Screenshot of dialog

    • Basic information

    • Type

    • How to open

    • How to close

    • List of menu items – hyperlinks to detail

    • List of controls – hyperlinks to detail



Control details l.jpg
Control Details

  • Each control has its own worksheet in the workbook

  • Typical characteristics noted:

    • Default state when applicable (e.g., checked/unchecked for a checkbox control)

    • Contents when applicable (e.g., for a textbox control)

    • Behavior in response to specified actions

  • Characteristics broken down by state

  • States applicable to a control enumerated



A word on menu items l.jpg
A Word on Menu Items

  • Top-level menu choices listed on Overview page

  • Two ways to handle details

    • Link to other sheets in workbook

    • Link to other workbook with menu only

  • Worksheets organize menu choices nicely

  • Menu selections can link to dialogs they open or functionality they drive




Navigation paths l.jpg
Navigation Paths

Dialog Overview

Menu – 1st Level

Menu – 1st Level

Hyperlink

in Dialog Link

column

Hyperlink

in Command Name

Hyperlink in

list of controls

Control Detail

Menu – 2nd Level

Dialog Overview

Hyperlink

in Command Name

Hyperlink in

list of controls

Menu – 3rd Level

Hyperlink

in description

of action

Control Detail

Hyperlink

in description

of action

Hyperlink in

Functional Link column

Functional Description

Functional Description


Back to our story l.jpg
Back to Our Story…

  • The hero has a nice testing guide

  • Linking files allow users to “see” navigation

  • Files that define functional design can be added to provide a complete picture

  • He has free time to walk over and ogle that S2000…


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The Hero Believes in Evolution

  • First, got something on paper

    • Excel spreadsheet with lots of text

  • Improved it as he worked

    • Better organization

    • Add screenshots

  • Discovered additional uses/benefits

    • Links to other dialogs

    • “Functional Design” spreadsheets

  • Adapted for greater purpose

    • The only single source of application information

    • A great guide for Tech Docs team


Requirements for the role of hero l.jpg
Requirements for the Role of Hero

  • Design for portability

    • Ideally, keep all workbooks in a single file folder

    • Use relative address when creating hyperlinks (select link files from Current Folder list choice)

  • Use File/Page Setup for good printed version

    • Titles include sheet names

    • Time-stamped for “freshness rating”

  • If sharing, make sure to allow read-only access

    • Get Edits/comments via email

  • Other tools could be the hero as well

    • Use what you know well when possible


The rest of the story l.jpg
The Rest of the Story…

  • The Hero did lots of testing

  • The CEO did lots of thinking about $$ (no longer $$$)

  • Marketing never started thinking…

  • The developers really believed whatever they built would sell

  • The Hero is now in another building with another company

  • The S2000 is still in the showroom…

  • His car runs great!

  • As soon as the company is gone, his resume will reflect a new job title - President, maybe…


The materials presented l.jpg
The Materials Presented

  • I am happy to email copies of Excel files used in the presentation

  • Send me a request at: jndaughety@yahoo.com