To Shop or Not To Shop

Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Lowe’s, Target, Belk and Best Buy…do you know what they have in common? Yeah! They are the big sharks; the premier retailers with iconic brands that cater to their customers’ needs through outstanding stores, robust online sites and mobile apps. But, that’s not it…they are also the very dignified retailers who over years were victims to the Black Friday and Cyber Mondaycrash-downs. They have all had the retailers’ worst nightmare and responsible for the worst Thanksgiving experience to millions of customers waiting to have a pumped up shopping extravaganza.


 website crash happened in November 2017 which lead to a number of Twitterati complaining via tweets about their disappointment. “@Lowes My cart was full and now the website is down!” complained a Twitter user. The retailer responded: “We apologize our web site is down for maintenance. It will be available soon.” A few customers trying to shop on Lowe’s website read a message saying: “The site is currently offline and will be available within the next hour.” A similar disaster happened in the year 2015 on a Cyber Monday and as the stats suggested it was a record online traffic as experienced by Target Wide & Co. that brought an intense displeasure to the tastes of people expecting the perks of a relaxed online shopping experience. Shoppers eyeing for bargains on were greeted with an unexpected welcome message: “So sorry, but high traffic’s causing delays. If you wouldn’t mind holding, we’ll refresh automatically & get things going ASAP.”


“Come on @Target get it together. How am I supposed to order anything on Cyber Monday if you can’t keep your website running?” Nikki Ferrell tweeted.On Cyber Monday, a little more than 121 million shoppers planned to shop online; the numbers down slightly from the 126.9 million who planned to participate the year before that, according to the National Retail Federation.Target’s shares were down 1.1 percent at $72.59 in late morning trading that year. Another name that must be added to this list is that of Macy’s. In November 2017, when the credit card system struggled to process the transactions nationwide on the auspicious shopping day of Black Friday, it brought out a massive frenzy in customers.

“Sorry shoppers! is temporarily closed for scheduled site improvements as we work to bring you a better shopping experience,” read a screenshot that was posted by a Twitter user.

The list would be incomplete without the addition of the names like Neiman MarcusBest BuyWalmartBelk and Flipkart.

On a regular uneventful day, there is no such situation that would be questioning the performance of your website or your app. But on days by the likes of Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays, when there is an unexpected spike in traffic, not having the exact idea about the numbers which might be clicking away on their computers and mobile phones, filling their carts with their wish list, it leads to the websites behaving erratically and disastrous situations of an inevitable crash down.One could probably go on and on with the endless list of such examples, but the only agenda behind it is to point out the fact that even companies and organizations with advanced technology and robust architecture can crash under unexpected load on their websites. History suggests that e-retailers have had a constant struggle with determining the number of customers who might visit them in this big bargain hunting extravaganzas. This leads to the downtime in websites and disheartened customers leading to a spoiled brand image. We are all aware of the obvious scenario, nobody has the patience of a saint while purchasing a product. No matter how many successful deliveries you have made them in the past, the moment your website gets stuck it may take them less than a few seconds to abandon your site and go somewhere else to make the purchase.Even with elastic and abundant infrastructure today, why do they fail to handle the swamped up traffic? With highly distributed architecture of applications and components, not to mention latencies introduced by mobile networks, we now have multiple points of failures in the system that could crack under load as resource contention increases. It is this challenge of pin pointing performance bottlenecks with accuracy, that performance testing and monitoring will help resolve.Performance testing helps you understand the behavioral aspects of your application under high load conditions and in determining the speed at which it responds. It ensures that before the launch, the website or application is working flawlessly at increased loads by ensuring that there is no dis functioning in the system infrastructure of the app or in user interaction with the same. It provides an insight into how the app will react in unfavorable situations   of amplified load, slow server speed and any kind of network issues. The most important benefit being that the website/app can be confidently released with the confidence of a trouble free experience for both end user and the retailer.Application Performance Monitoring during testing as well as in production gives us meaningful insights to the resource contention and latencies across various components of a complex transaction. These insights to the customers’ digital experience can help us fine tune application performance, improve the user experience and ultimately drive business growth!

So, prepare your website for expected/unexpected traffic such that everybody can only be thankful to the Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays with a happy shopping cart and a happier checkout experience. ImpactQA has partnered with leading technology platforms like Loadrunner, Blazemeter and Dynatrace to deliver best in class performance testing and monitoring solutions. The solutions are based on understanding the user experience and providing end to end visibility to application performance and availability.

That Fabulous First Day with Bug-Catchers

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell!!”
~ Seth Godin

Somebody who just started a career as a digital marketing enthusiast, here is a story that I would like to share about my take at the situation of a person who had just stepped her feet inside the software testing industry; No! No! Not as a software tester but as a marketing personnel.

Being all the kinds of literary buff and a nerd who had a crush on Shakespeare’s works ever since first picked up Julius Caesar, trust me when I say I don’t tell my friends that I started working on 1st of May this year rather Prima Maii (my version of the “ides of March”). Travelling to my first day of work I was so excited and all emotionally beefed up about the n number of things I’d get to witness, the much talked about office culture and stuff like that. I had all these mental images about people dressed up in formals and with serious demeanor working relentlessly over their laptops. I was thinking about the interview I gave a week ago, about how I felt I would be a valuable addition and all sorts of theoretically practical aspects of me being somebody who would bring a new perspective to the intricately amazing aspects of this company, I was charged and pumped up. I know it all sounds dramatic but cummon! It was my first day as a professional and I believed I was going to bring some good change.

I finally reach the office building at ImpactQA, I had only been inside the CEO’s office before so I was excited to enter the employee premises and see my colleagues. For the first half of the day all the other formalities happened followed by my induction and then I was assigned a desk. I was still excited, I loved the ambience. Green is my happy color and I loved the soothing and subtle combination of green and white on the walls. Five minutes onto my seat and suddenly I hear the technical blabber about testings, code walkthroughs, tickets, inspection, bugs, cyclomatic complexity…what in the world did I even enter….what were all these jargons? Who are these people? What are they even doing? I mean of course I know what they are doing but hell! How am I supposed to understand their language? I felt like I was surrounded by more than one Sheldon Cooper and what if I am the ignorant Georgie Cooper who will never have a clue about what is this world all about? Believe me! I was overwhelmed and for a second there I wanted to jump out of that plush chair and barge out of that door I could see right across my desk.

I texted a confidante…” I might be going crazy. How am I supposed to do marketing? I don’t understand the technicalities!” With the next beep I read the text that I received, it was a quote from Jim Metcalf, “If you are a good marketing person, you have to be a little crazy” and just like that I felt determined. Determined to understand, to learn and to study how the software testers operate. I’ll tell you what they do in the most simplest of terms.

“If you torture the data long enough, it will confess.”
~Ronald Coase

These testers, they do exactly the same torturing for hours, working on it over and again, testing and re testing to ensure that the desired output is there. What customers see, the effective results and the enjoyable UI; the credit goes to these geniuses who sit glued to their systems working at a stretch to execute the desired outcomes. These nerdy peeps fit right into the words of Federico Toledo, “As ironic as it seems, the challenge of a tester is to test as little as possible. Test less, but test smarter.” But don’t be mistaken, their work is cool. With constantly evolving softwares, the advancements and complexities, there are new challenges for them to work upon everyday, new bugs to eliminate, they are like good brandy becoming better and better with the number of software issues they handle and eliminate the nuisances that hinder with a good software experience.

As often as it is believed that the industry feels that software developers are the only real deal going around in the IT industry but I believe that the software testers get to play no less than God when it comes to deciding the future of a certain application or product. No doubt that there are a lot of big technical necessities that needs to be fulfilled while executing the job of a software tester but the successful end result prevents disappointed clients and irrelevant expenses that bring customer support. It’s harsh to undermine a work that tedious, to scrutinize and cross check the relevance of a product and to ensure earnest consumer satisfaction for sometimes our consumers can be little kids on a video game who just want to enjoy an amazing quality UI and the friendliness of the product. Software testers are the cornerstone of an IT establishment who are responsible for a quality outcome and the ones who ensure that the end users can keep peace of their minds while operating with the same.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort”
~John Ruskin

So, all you software testing folks out there, be proud of the quality work you do and the excruciating level of efforts you go through to give way to successful projects and happy users. Cheers!

Choosing Between Cobots and Industrial Robots

Know Your Machine

Cobots or ‘collaborative robots’ was first conceptualized by General Motors Foundation in 1953 as part of a research project. The brainchild behind the idea was to prepare robots so safe that they work hand in gloves with people. With no one-size-fits all solution and Cobots becoming part of many factory floors, many still don’t really understand how Cobots are different from robots.

Robots have for decades acted as a backbone of the manufacturing industry replacing human’s mundane and time-consuming tasks. But soon advancements in engineering gave birth to Artificial Intelligence and introduced it to Robots gradually giving way to the idea of collaborative robots.  Today industrial Robots certainly hold a tight grip over the markets however Cobots are a definitive competitor to them.

To help end users in making this determination, Ryan Guthrie, senior vice president of TM Robotics, offers the following list of pros and cons for each robot family.
Explaining how technology is helping to bridge the gap between cobots and industrial robots, Guthrie said, “Improvements in safety technologies are now allowing industrial robots to be used in collaborative operations, providing many of the same benefits as a cobot along with an increase in payload and speed and reduction in cost for traditional automation.”

With appropriate safety mechanisms in place almost any robot is capable of collaborative operation. The publication of technical standard ISO/TS 15066 in February 2016 provided industry with safety guidelines for the use of robots in collaborative applications. The standard explains collaborative techniques and provides force guidelines, maximum allowable robot power and speed and design criteria for robot and robot tool manufacturers.

During a discussion about the use of Cobots at The Automation Conference in 2016, an attendee pointed out that, after purchasing a Cobot for use in a production area, OSHA ruled that the Cobot required safety caging due to the application in which it was being used. This ruling led the attendee to question the value of Cobots in applications such as theirs.

Impact QA is an award winning global QA firm lending QA and Software Testing services to global customers including fortune 500 companies. Headquartered in New York we have delivery centres in Dallas, London and New Delhi.
We are also cognizant of the fact that organizations these days use various tools for QA automation, defect management and test management. It is for this reason that we have every possible arrow in our quiver and our people are experts in using and implementing those tools.
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#ImpactQA, #SoftwareTesting, #QualityAssurance, #CloudTesting, #FunctionalTesting

Ideal Qualities to Look for in Modern Testers

Evaluate, Anticipate and Manage

As the space for online environment grows and presents a unique bunch of challenges for software testing experts, the accelerated deployments in agile and devops methodologies are getting more complex and challenging for the testers. This makes it imperative for businesses to be aware of current trends in software testing including best practices in line of security and management.
This brings back the focus on learning new things and up-gradation of technical skills becoming obsolete. A tall task to manage, the tester needs to be able to undertake multitasking such as probing requirements, asking more questions, envisioning product information to remain ahead of the competition and stay relevant.
So to avoid sleepless nights and weekends at work, we at Impact QA have adopted the following best practices to ensure a smooth workflow and maintain highest standards of quality:

         Breaking the shackles of classical QA’s role and responsibilities:As a customer facing unit, Impact QA learns about the issues the customers are facing and what features they would want to see in our products. In addition to this our deep domain knowledge and design discussions help us identify flaws before the coding process which in turn significantly reduces development cycles and help us meet customer satisfaction.
         DevOps & Agile Methodology:
With over bearing demands of meeting delivery deadlines, testers need to learn Agile and DevOps promoting collaborative and iterative working models. On one hand agile methodology imparts speed to the test projects, DevOps help with cross-functional teamwork straight from the development, analysis and QA.

·         Automation:

Manual testing has become a thing of the past with increasing complexities and integrations. Testers should master automation skills as it imparts higher accuracy and supports specific testing types.

·         Prioritizing bug fixes based on usage:

It’s not only important to fix bugs but also to understand which bug to prioritize and focus on. For testers this gives a wealth of vital information. 

·         Web & Mobile Technologies:
To understand the built and scalability of the type of application, every tester should get familiar with the web and mobile technologies. For effective QA solutions, it is important for testers to familiarize with mobile and web advancements.

·         SDLC:

Known as software life cycle management skills, they help testers understand the application development tasks and plan testing cycles easily. Development methodologies include:  Waterfall, Kanban, Scrum, Lean etc. which helps testers to understand application complexities well in advance.

·         Social Networking:

With a global reach, social networking provides instant access to discussion forums, resources and content which helps software testers to engage with counterparts, gain new insights and stay updated with the latest information.

·         Testing Tools & Techniques:

Regardless of the domain and application type, it is of utmost importance for a tester to be aware of different testing techniques and usage of tools. This ensures smooth functioning of different requirements and complexities of a project.

·         Programming:

For a tester it is advisable to understand at least two programming languages to ensure better application quality life cycle.

·         Communication:

An imperative to succeed in today’s competitive environment, a tester should possess good written and oral communication skills to translate requirement documents to test cases.
Irrespective of the experience held, testers should strive to constantly learn and improve their software testing skills and knowledge.
In case we missed anything do write in to us at:
ImpactQA is an award winning global QA firm headquartered in New York with delivery centres in Dallas, London and New Delhi.