Who needs testing anyway?

When business owners discuss the best way to develop software, testing is always a scary topic. How much time and money you should spend on testing is not an easy question to answer. What type of human resource you should commit to testing is an even harder one. Test Automation obviously requires some degree of programming skill, but software developers are a precious resource. Why waste developer’s time on automating tests when you’ve got new products and features that you need to roll out the door? Bringing on a dedicated test automation developer is no small expense, either. You could probably hire two or even three manual testers for about the same amount as one software engineer. What makes a test automation engineer that much more valuable? These questions and their answers mean everything when creating a testing strategy. Here at Surge, we recognize and advocate the benefits of both […]

Combining Lean Manufacturing with Agile Development

Lean Manufacturing reduces failure rates, focuses on continual improvement, and brings long term value to business owners. Sounds like Agile software development. Many companies like leankit are capitalizing on this fact and are building products that bring those two worlds together. For the past 10 years, Surge has built an entire company combining both lean and agile principles. The Agile Manifesto Agile development springs from what’s known as the Agile Manifesto: a collection of values and principles for software development that allow solutions to evolve through collaborative effort. The manifesto was created in 2001 by a group of software engineers, who dedicated themselves to finding lightweight, more efficient methods of meeting requirements and solving problems. In the years since, agile practices have continued to grow and expand, with input from developers all over the world. Still, the core of agile remains based in those original principles and values; many of […]

Improve your work-life balance by working from home

Working from home can be something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it affords you the freedom and flexibility to work at your own pace, on your own terms, which may allow you to get more done. On the other hand, without a strict structure to your day, or continual monitoring from those that hold you accountable, it can be easy to get distracted, ultimately losing productivity instead of gaining it. So, which is the case? Are you more or less productive when you work from home? The debate has gone on for years. But now, it may finally have been resolved. A two year study from Stanford University has determined that employees who work from home accomplish significantly more than those who come into the office each day. Two Groups In an experiment conducted by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom, a selection of employees from the Chinese travel […]

Terrible Reasons to Hire Offshore

The modern world runs on code. From the embedded controllers in our appliances to the servers that run the Internet, code is integrated into virtually every area of life. However, programming great software is difficult, time-consuming and expensive. Offshoring your software development because labor is less expensive seems like an easy solution to manage costs, however, the hidden costs make the decision a bad one. Here are some terrible reasons to offshore that are still discussed in boardrooms today: The hourly rate is a fraction of US based employees This argument comes up first when you are being sold on an offshore strategy. The counter argument is lack of productivity. Well then someone tries to take down any productivity concerns by simply saying to yourself that you can hire three developers for less than one american worker. Adding more programmers that don’t know what they are doing to a complicated […]

CloudFlare for DNN

I was helping my friend Clint Patterson deploy a new DNN website and recommended that we enforce HTTPS even though for the small website he really didn’t need it. With the ease of tools such as CloudFlare it is really easy to set up and enforce https which not only makes your site secure but makes your users feel comfortable with the lock icon displaying in the browser. Why CloudFlare? Pros Cons Free SSL Certificate You need to use CloudFlare as your nameserver Free CDN just by signing up You have to use CloudFlare to configure your DNS Records Free Static Content minification You have to get over CloudBleed Built in advanced Cryptography features   DNN Performance Increase   Search Engine Optimization   This isn’t a complete list but some things to start thinking about I try to configure all of my websites with cloudflare because the SSL support and […]

The Critical Lean Tactics That Most Agile Teams Forget

Agility in an individual represents strength, speed, and flexibility. Whether you’re thinking of software development, product research, or project management, these attributes are crucial for teams that want to create the highest-quality output possible with limited available resources in short time frames. As you know, the philosophy of Agile Development is to produce working software as quickly as possible. Agile begins to fall apart as an individual developer or team starts to redefine and cheapen the definition of “working software.” You can always ask the question “does this software make any part of our business work more efficiently and effectively in this iteration?” If it does, then you have working software. Here are four critical lean tactics for agile teams to keep in mind as they work to create software that works for their business: 1. Focus on value Your product should be providing well understood values to your business. […]

Scrum Evolution and Training

Scrum can be a great framework for collaboration in writing code and solving complex problems. As a development tool, it’s constantly evolving and growing. This means that, if you want to use Scrum effectively, you need to be able to evolve and grow with it. That means learning what you can about what Scrum has to offer and staying up to date with the latest developments and trends. So here’s the latest news on Scrum, to help keep you in the loop. Scrum with Kanban Kanban is an organizational method designed to improve quality and efficiency in a system. By balancing demand with the capacity to fulfill it, Kanban is able to reduce or even eliminate system bottlenecks. When it comes to coding and software development, it uses a visual system of process management to improve decision making. Because of this, Kanban is often combined with Scrum. As a framework, […]

Can a Vegetable* Give Your Team’s Quality Assurance Efforts a Face-lift?

If you’re thinking of a cucumber, the answer is yes! Let me tell you all about it. What is Cucumber? Cucumber is a tool that utilizes a syntax called Gherkin, which makes acceptance criteria and test cases accessible to all interested stakeholders, technical and not so technical alike. The official documentation explains Cucumber like so: That sounds cool, but what is that Gherkin thing you mentioned? Gherkin is a plain English, human-readable syntax that defines who the audience is, what action is to be taken, and what the expected outcome should be. It looks something like this: Given I am a user on Google When I search for “how wonderful is the Gherkin language?” Then I should be directed to the “Google Search Results” page And I should see “how wonderful is the Gherkin language?” in the search field This use case is pretty self-explanatory, right? That is the point! […]

THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB

UX/UI Design Tool sets allow designers to transition ideas and concepts into a visual user interface for clients to review. Designs are published as a prototype, providing valuable feedback and a chance to experience the look-and-feel prior to code development. A designer may need three or four different design applications to organize the required design artifacts for the developer. Moving from application to application is cumbersome. As a UI designer it is important to stay competitive and efficient in the digital design space. There are a handful of popular software applications designers utilize that stand out as industry-recognized design tools. Photoshop, Adobe XD, Axure, Sketch and InVision are a few that have proven reliable and provide high-level professional results. Design Application Review Adobe Photoshop is a powerful photo and image editing application that provides a feature-rich toolset for digital image manipulation. UI Designers started using Photoshop more than a decade […]

Programming Language Popularity in 2018

Programming languages come and go over time, and it always seems there is some new, “hot” language that is all the rage. With things changing all of the time, if you were to start a new project, how would you decide what language your software should be written in? What’s Popular First, how do we even know what is popular at the moment? There are a few different methods one can use to determine what is being used in the real world; you can search job boards and see what companies are hiring for; you can follow news sources and get a feel for what is in the news; or you can get statistics from popular code-related sites such as a code repository host like Github. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2017, Github reports the following for the top 5 JavaScript Python Java Ruby PHP   Javascript holds the […]