2100 Solutions – NEW Ruby on Rails website NOW in production on Heroku

After a few embarassing announcements, and failed launches, I have successfully re-crafted my website2100solutionsLogofor 2100 Solutions Consulting, LLC.   This branding of my services includes, Program Management, BPM Strategy, Quality Assurance, Testing, Performance Preparation and Strategy, Automated Testing and Product Development.

Here is a URL for the Ruby on Rails website I just launched using the Heroku enviornment this weekend.  http://2100solutions.com

Heroku was by far the easiest host to implement.

Now a stable 24/7 presence with links to my external blogs and pursuits.

I have other RoR websites completed, but not yet launched on Heroku.   All published websites will be managed through GitHub.  My account at GitHub is WAFulbright, if you’d like to see or follow or contribute to my code!  Let’s do talk before you contribute!   Thanks!

Bill Fulbright

 

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Vendor Management Service Transformation: Entry 1 – Re-Factoring, Businss Architecture

metodo_pratiche_agile_chart_manifesto_itaEntry 1    3.22.2015

I recently was invited to join a project for a Vendor Management Service (VMS) in Mid-March 2015. The project is to provide in Phase 1 a re-factoring of our Client’s code by replacing the hardcoded middleware with services, and adding new client facing features, along with a new UI. All needing new documentation, of which there is now verylittle.

Our client provides a turnkey service for managing IT vendors who need to outsource their HR, Recruiting, Accounting, and Financial Services for this aspect of their business.

My role is to document the present legacy Business Processes, the new Processes, the new Services and the newly re-factored APIs, processes and added features by providing the Requirements, Use Cases, Workflows and Processes.

The leadership on this project is not only setting the pace, but shining a bright light into the future vision for this client, and for the VMS industry. It is a privilege to work with them.

 

Presently, I am awash in the project ramp-up and assimilation of the many layers, features and infrastructure required to successfully launch a program as complex as this.

We have two teams: one is onsite with FTE EEs of the customer, and a fly-in contingent of our leadership. The other is an offsite team in Atlanta, that is providing an AGILE based component for delivery of the new code which provides the new Service APIs and integration; as well as Leadership, Business Architecure, Process Articulation & Documentation. The client will observe the present SDLC based approach for now.

We have defined the primary users and their roles, the features – both new and old – associated with their roles. The functionality of these features some of which, for now, will remain as legacy, while others are new. There are around 400 of these. Some are Epic, requiring some of the features to support the workflows.

For the new and replacement pieces (in AGILE) we have defined the primary “Day in the Life” from the “need to the ass in the seat” E2E process to establish a critical Happy Path. Variations and UCM will be modeled based upon this primary structure.

The software and coding will be the same, albeit updated. The specific usage of the system will vary based upon the needs and systems of client-users of this system.

The SDLC pieces for things like the DATA, and QA will be driven from the client sites.

I will be updating this log at various points along the way…. so STAY TUNED!!

Bill Fulbright

Want To Start a Testing / Delivery Practice?

cropped-qa2100_gravatar.pngSo many of us do.  However, looking at starting something like this from scratch, is truly starting a new business and requires much thought, planning and many “hats”.  Here are some points I have used to assist others in grasping the needed vision, depth of effort, types of talent, and sustainability of the effort that will be required.

Visit my Linked In group at:  QA 2100 Testing: Financial Services

Roles and Resources
It requires full time attention to each of these Roles and Resources:
1.  Experienced and Qualified Prospecting and Sales force
2.  Pre-Sales Preparation, RFP/RFI Replies, as well as Attendance at Presentation (Orals) – for each opportunity.
3.  Attained Status as Preferred Vendor, or Vendor
a.  Requires relationship with Client Companies
b.  Requires meeting their criteria for becoming a vendor
1.  Capacity to perform
2.  Liability Insurance
3.  Fiduciary Responsibility
4.  Legal Compliance
4. Developers for the domains you wish to pursue, with the appropriate skill sets, and experience
5. Business Analysts and Business Architects for the domains you wish to pursue, with the appropriate skill sets, and experience
6.  QA Leaders, Managers, and Testers with domain experience
7.  Project / Engagement / Delivery Managers to connect with the Client and the Teams
8.  Financial Resources to sustain the ramp-up of business, infrastructure, and delivery of services
9.  Financial Resources to sustain Market Research, Marketing Strategies
10.Partnership Alliances – to give you value added leverage when positioning for new business
11.Budget that will include all the above, balanced with enough sales to justify the effort, or a plan for ROI over 5 years for investors.
12.Business plan and road-map that demonstrates all the above, and it’s veracity.
13.Staff on the ground – available, ready to work on-site, near-shore, no visa issues, or proven offshore teams that have a solid delivery history.

I am writing this not to discourage those interested in pursuing such a goal, rather to create curiosity and and interest in taking on the challenge.   These concepts and work efforts are real elements that have to be in place before it can be a successful venture…. even for an established company wanting to build a new practice.

Business Plans:
In other words, this effort requires at least:
Experts to Initiate, Drive and Deliver
Business Concept(s) meeting Market needs; Business Need/Justifications
Planning: Initial Steps to Initiate, Milestones at 3 mo., 6 mo., 1 yr, 18 mos., 2 yrs., etc. till 5 years
Identified Services and Products
Multi-Phase Financing: Start-Up Money, Mid-Term Money, Long-Term Money, Planned ROI’s for each phase
Market Research for Service / Product Viability,
Strategy for Launching the Business,
Scope of Ramp-up,
Planned New Business Market(s)
Planned Costs
Ability to Staff and Deliver
Motivation, Determination, Desire, Mission and Purpose
Commitment to see it through

None of these comes pre-packaged, or comes easily.  It all requires vision, leadership, experience, clarity, strategy, good communication, follow through.

I am certainly not giving away the store here, but sharing some thought work I have used to help prepare business not only in the IT world, but as part of my 12 yrs of Management Consulting before my last 19 years in the IT business!  These principles hold true in any enterprise!  I have written many accurate and successful business plans for new or international or established companies seeking investment money to fund a start-up.

As a thought leader and architect of Quality Assurance, and Business Process, I have learned through experience these tenets, which will not be learned so much at school, but by living it and delivering it – with successful outcomes.  That does not mean there weren’t failures, or massive challenges along the way – that is where the real learning takes place.

2015 Hospital Hacks, Banking and Retail Hacks, Entertainment Hacks – Attack On Financial Services

This post on my blog QA2100.com is in reference to a great post highlighted by Jaden Turner’s share on 2015 Hospital Hacks: and posted into our Group on Linked In:  QA2100 Testing Strategy: Financial Services

Every week we are hearing about another leak, hack or break-in and millions of credit card holders are exposed, at risk, or invaded.   Who are these hackers?  Why are they hacking?  Money.  Greed. Something for nothing.  Retribution.    All of which is Vicious, Criminal and
destructive to infrastructure, commerce, and consumer confidence

Security – is this an oxymoron? We hear it, and aretaught to believe it, so we truWhyItMattersst that others are responsible about implementing it. Real Security means real testing dollars are spent beyond the boundaries of a new project launch… Usually only the minimal security testing is considered if at all. If it is, is usually not part of projects, rather it is part of the ‘network’ group, or ‘infrastructure’ group.

So, this is not about the kind of job our network guys are up to, rather the kind of budget that gets allocated to supporting enough security measures, plus the budget to ensure it is being implemented and maintained at a deep enough or broad enough level. This means maintenance, and keeping up with the latests shenanigans by our nefarious ‘hackers’.

I have the same issues with performance testing. and automation for regression.

So I could go on, but these areas are allowed to get weak due to higher priority profit making budgets. and on and on until an emergency effort to shore up security is done again. Security = Insurance. If you don’t spend the money on the protection, it won’t be there when you need it.

This is the tip of the IceBerg and we need to be vigilant, and attentive to the looming prospects of risk.

Internet of Things – The new User Interface – Do we need new test tools?

Internet of Things – The new User Interface – Do we need new test tools?

Director Test Strategy and Consulting

JwristPADust wondering. Internet of Things will be massive. Wearable devices for Health, Medicine, Communication, Entertainment, Functional Workplace Applications, etc. There are as many applications under development and those we haven’t seen, that will challenge the test methodology we use to test our present systems and environments.

Imagine the test required for a brain wave synchronizer, being driven by an application and data residing in the cloud, that will capture the experiential responses as well as govern them for the user. The uses in this case are vast. Relaxation, Accelerated Learning, Medical monitoring of Brain Wave activity, treatment of ADHD, transmission of said data to and from subscribers, etc. I can imagine the Test Strategy Document, Test Plan, the Lab work, the logistics and Planning. Test resources with the skills to run the full gamut of tests? This was a product I developed back in the 80’s, but I was the testing guinea pig!!

intel-wearable-featWe will need to step it up, to keep up with the variety and depth of new applications. Creative thinking, innovative approaches to capturing the device dynamics, and reporting those as metrics… I think it is a very exciting time, and we will see this explosion happen over the next 15 years. It is inevitable.

You might want to consider: What does this mean to you? How will you remain relevant? Does this mean your present skills are already obsolete, or that you will have to learn something new (I certainly hope so!)

Let me know how and why you think this will impact your testing career!

Bill

BPM Testing – Get the Best Bang for your Buck!

QA2100-BPMTesting-16MP

Interested in getting the best bang for your buck with BPM Product Design, Development, Strategy, Testing, and Implementation?

Need a lift?  We can help!

Give us the opportunity to provide you with our assessments.  We have USA resources, and fully experienced offshore capacities for development, testing and delivery.

We have lived it for over 8 years and provided some of the finest products in the Insurance and Banking Industries.

Ccropped-facebookcover.jpgontact Bill Fulbright
Company: QA 2100 Test Strategy and Consulting
Website: http://qa2100.com
Email: bill@qa2100.com

BPM Testing in Today’s Market – QA 2100’s Testing BPM Testing Toolkits

QA 2100’s BPM Open Source and Web Service Testing Toolkits

The behavior of many BPM service based applications are governed by business process and workflows which are defined by business rules. These business rules must be validated during application testing. For many firms, testing business rules is a costly and complicated process which involves business users and testers. QA 2100 has invested in state-of-the-art automated BPM test methods and tools integrated by Pega Systems into PegaRULES Process Commander®
(PRPC) V.X and Test Management Framework, Bonita, and other opensource BPM products. Within the framework of PRPC, and BPM products is a process of design which utilizes not only business process, but a Requirements Definition tool which clarifies the Requirement process. This process turns use cases based on requirements into design, thus providing fundamental testing paths for automated testing of the BPM framework. This allows you to develop an application using a design based upon business rules, use cases, best practice development and quality principles.

Automated business rules and workflow validations can lower your testing time by 95%

Test Automation Using QA 2100 BPM Testing Toolkits
QA 2100 takes business rules validation testing one step further by automating the creation of test scripts using parameterized data and automating the execution of test cases. For example, QA 2100’s accelerator can execute 65 rule validations in 1.1 minutes using automation, versus 32.5 hours for manual execution. We use the Automated Unit Testing functionality within Pega PRPC to help you build a series of test cases to satisfy test requirements defined by the business requirements and use cases. These test cases are the foundation for automated test scripts. Automated test scripts can be built to pass from workflow to workflow, thus describing a partial or complete path through the application for scenario or end-to-end testing.

With the use of Test Management Framework (TMF), and other Test Repository tools, use case steps and parameters as described within the automated test scripts can be satisfied using the Scenarios and Suites features. The Scenarios and Suites test the behavior of the application and verify compliance with the original requirements. Besides providing significant savings in cost, time and efforts, automation lets you run many more tests during your testing process as a suite to provide hands off BPM Testing results.

Boundary Testing
QA 2100 provides boundary or negative testing of the business rules in the BPM framework and process to confirm the effectiveness of rule sets by requesting conditions that don’t exist. This helps ensure the business rules engine returns the correct value or an appropriate error. These boundary tests are set up as part of the actual application within each workflow.
QA 2100 has experience with automated tools to accelerate testing and improve accuracy
Employing automation tools to test and validate business rules adds breadth and depth to your testing efforts. By using pre-defined testing parameters, hands-off automation methodologies, and innovative solutions, you can accelerate and simplify a complex process.

XMLServiceTestToolExecutionTiming

32.5 hours to perform 65 rules tests manually
1.15 minutes to perform 65 rules tests using automation

Read More »

7 Habits of Highly Effective Business Analysts

Highly effective BAs, regardless of their skill level or years of experience, consistently hone their craft. Guided by curiosity and passion, great BAs are always on the lookout for growth opportunities—ways to strengthen and sharpen their skills.

This focus on continuous professional improvement goes far beyond attending an annual conference or workshop. Instead, effective BAs develop daily habits that demonstrate leadership and expertise.

So, I’ll borrow Stephen Covey’s popular “seven habits” framework to discuss the recurrent behaviors that support excellence in the business analysis profession.

Although I refer to these as BA habits, they can be applied to most professions. So, whether you are a project manager, a tester, a techie or a trainer, think about how these habits can help you become a leader in your organization.

Habit #1: Effective BAs engage stakeholders.

BAs need information, cooperation and trust from their stakeholders. Skilled BAs get what they need by building strong relationships. They engage stakeholders in a way that inspires engagement, creativity, collaboration and innovation.

How do you know if your stakeholders are engaged? Well, these are common issues on teams with weak stakeholder engagement:

  • Strongly conflicting requirements between stakeholders.
  • Stakeholders are silent; roll their eyes, sigh or multi-task during meetings.
  • Stakeholders do not contribute to the project. They don’t return phone calls, do not reply to emails, do not review project documents, provide resources, etc.
  • Stakeholders show up late for meetings, leave meetings early or skip meetings.
  • Disparate groups do not understand other stakeholder’s needs and benefits from the project.
  • Progress is slow.
  • Discussions loop in circles.
  • Decisions are difficult to obtain.

 

Do you see any of those things happening consistently in your organization? Effective BAs use their influence to create an environment that looks more like this:

  • Stakeholders have a shared vision and can communicate the vision to their team/s.
  • Stakeholders understand their connection to each other.
  • Stakeholders trust each other and the BA.
  • Stakeholders enthusiastically participate in meetings.
  • Stakeholders make themselves and their resources available to the BA as needed.
  • Questions, discussion and meaningful debates.
  • Proactive, 2-way communication

Habit #2: Effective BAs research new techniques.

Great BAs love discovering new tools that make work efficient, valuable and maybe even fun. Experts estimate there are more than 500+ BA techniques in use today—literally lurking around every corner. Here are a few ways to find them:

  • Read the BABoK! The IIBA’s comprehensive handbook describes 40 of the most common and useful BA techniques. Current IIBA members can get a sneak peak at BABoK 3.0 by participating in the public review process.
  • Attend industry conferences and workshops. Full-day or multi-day training sessions give BAs exposure to a variety of new techniques, trends, and methodologies. Many training companies and universities offer BA training. IIBA and PMI sponsor events across the world.
  • Network. Connect regularly with other BAs. Ask them about new techniques. Find out what works on their projects. Solicit advice when you hit road blocks.
  • Observe others. Find a mentor. Watch your peers. Which techniques do they use regularly? Are they working? Why or why not? How could you make them better?
  • Borrow from other industries and professions. The most obvious example may be the lean processes project teams have borrowed from manufacturing. Are there techniques you could borrow from an elementary school teacher, a farmer, a scientist or an actor? Definitely!

Habit #3: Effective BAs experiment with new techniques.

Now, it’s time to put those new techniques to work! Stagnation and boredom are the enemy of an effective BA. Applying new techniques keeps BAs motivated, engaged and inspired.

Experimentation often invites risk, but there are many ways to contain possible fallout:

  • Start small. Try a new techniques on small, low risk projects. Apply the new technique to a small part of a big project.
  • Break it down. Find a way to break the new technique in pieces. Try one piece on an analysis or elicitation effort to see if it is works. Then get feedback and adjust course if needed.
  • Find your friendlies. Use a new technique with a small, friendly group of co-workers. Encourage them to give you honest feedback.
  • Set expectations. Let stakeholders know why you are trying the new technique.
  • Ponder plan b. Courage to try new things includes the possibility of failure. Think about the worst case scenario. What’s your plan b if the new technique fails?

Habit #4: Effective BAs plan to re-plan.

I run into so many BAs that get stressed out by estimating requirement deliverables. They often ask, “How can I estimate when I don’t have any requirements yet?” My answer: “We plan to re-plan!”

As the project needs and scope evolve, effective BAs revisit their estimates—they reevaluate and adjust as the project moves forward.

Every BA leader and PM I have talked to about this agrees. It’s totally fine to change the estimate and re-plan, just not at the last hour!

So, set expectations and share them.

  • Make sure the PM and other leaders understand that this is your best estimate based on the current state of the project.
  • Help them understand which factors will increase or decrease estimates.
  • Plan resources: What can you do in the early stages of the project to anticipate estimate changes? Who can you pull in if you get behind? What tools can you use to be more efficient? How can you manage busy SMEs to get good requirements?
  • Look at the value and risk of scope items and adjust the plan accordingly to spend more time on high value and high risk items.
  • If your incentives are based on estimation accuracy, then talk to your leader about re-planning and how it fits in the incentive plan.

 

Effective BAs know that re-planning will be required to protect the project value. They look at the tasks and deliverables like puzzle pieces that need to be flipped, turned, and shuffled until they all come together in their proper place.

Habit #5: Effective BAs use visuals, often.

In most cases, visual communication is more effective than text-heavy documents or verbal descriptions—humans process visual information more quickly and completely. Effective BAs understand the importance and efficiency of visual communication. They always look for new and improved ways to use visuals in their meetings, presentations and documentation.

Skilled visual communicators:

  • Create high-level conceptual visuals, low-level detailed visuals and everything in between.
  • Tailor their visuals to meet the needs of their audience. Does a CEO want to review a 20-page process model? Does a group of SMEs want to focus on the whole organization or just their piece of the pie?
  • Draw spontaneously on white boards when discussions start spinning.
  • Use visuals in virtual meetings too. They use virtual whiteboards, post-it notes, flow charts, etc.
  • Know that visuals do not need to be perfect. You don’t need to be an artist. You don’t need 100% accuracy on day one. A flawed visual is so much better than starting with a blank page.

Habit #6: Effective BAs develop Underlying Competencies.

Obviously, BAs need techniques and tools to complete their practical tasks, but they also rely on underlying competencies. The techniques are like the tools in the tool box, but underlying competencies (UCs) influence how the tools are used and how the techniques are applied. UCs are the artistry, the finesse, or the soft skills.

Effective BAs continuously refine their UCs in many of the same ways they develop techniques: research, training, observation, experimentation, etc.

Effective BAs maintain dozens of UCs, but here are a few of the most important:

  • Critical thinking and Problem Solving
  • Teaching
  • Leadership and Influence
  • Facilitation and Negotiation
  • Personal integrity
  • Organizational Knowledge

Habit #7: Effective BAs consider politics.

Politics exist in every organization.

In project work, politics usually play out during prioritization efforts: which work will get funding, whose projects fit into an implementation, which requirements get cut.

Skilled BAs don’t ignore politics, but they avoid playing. They work around and within them.

How do effective BAs walk this fine political line? How do they understand and manage politics without getting involved? Good questions. Here are a few ideas:

  • Build wide support to eliminate politics as a factor.
  • Always redirect the team back to the project value. Which requirements, timelines, bug fixes, testing strategies, etc. best support the goals of the project and value to the organization?
  • Gather data. In many cases, good data can tell as story that transcends politics and makes the right answer obvious.
  • Lead with empathy. Understand what each stakeholder is seeing, hearing, thinking, feeling. Use these insights to help you influence each stakeholder.
  • Understand the definition of success for each stakeholder.

Which habits make you a highly effective project professional?

http://www.ba-squared.com/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-business-analysts/