How to Make Your Life Easier as a Software Tester

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Software production is a multi-step process that involves the expertise of a variety of people. In terms of available time to complete assignments and tool provisioning, QA testers have often gotten the raw end of the deal. 

However, since these components will also decide the value, quality, and profitability of software programs, QA and test management have become more of a business priority in recent times. It is crucial that specialists in this field manage their work efficiently, while also enjoying what they are doing.

Anyone who has served in the QA sector for any amount of time has witnessed a surprising lack of coordination, inconsistent management, and overwhelming bug reports.

It’s a job in and of itself to work through this mess. Creating order with your own routines is the only way to escape this situation. You will set a precedent for your peers if you can establish a shared and clear order for all project work you encounter.

Why have an organized structure?

You can save a lot of time by preventing sloppy testing. You will now invest considerable time on actually running the tests — the same time you may have spent hunting for and collecting test case information. You would be able to catch and report more crucial bugs if you will rely less on the administrative duties of your testing. 

Not only can a good QA tester discover more important glitches, but they can also dedicate more of their time and resources to assisting their team. 

So, how can you maximize your productivity and make your life easier? 

Here are a few expert recommendations. 

1. Organization is everything

The preparation of appropriate software testing environments and activities necessitates cooperation with a wide number of individuals.

You can lose crucial data if you do not have a way to store this data. Information that could save you hours of time in the long term. 

People interact in a number of ways. It’s easy for a text to get lost in the shuffle. You’ve seen it before, haven’t you? You’re chatting with your test lead, and they keep on making a proposal that they made weeks before, but you have no clue what they’re talking about.

When you build an ordered framework to store all of your key data, you will collect the knowledge you need to shape your project’s testing plan. 

Holding all of the relevant correspondence in one place is a smart idea. You’ll need to go through the details you and your colleagues shared. By making it accessible, you will be doing your future self a huge favor.

A great example of this can be a test case management software testing tool like Kualitee which can help you and your QA team to store important information in one place. Kualitee also offers defect tracking software and issue tracking tools, thus making your life easier. Set priorities, manage notifications, and create task boards to organize everything in its rightful place.

2. Always write comprehensive bug reports

You will be doing your team a big favor if you write simple and comprehensive bug reports.

There are three main points you need to take care of when writing a bug report:

  • Write for the good of everyone.
  • Write with consistency in mind.
  • Write in great depth.

People who read the bug notes will have no idea or perception of what you did to discover the bug. When you document in-depth, you save time for the rest of your staff and engineers so they won’t have to speculate on any aspect of your world.

It’s critical that you only focus on writing what’s really needed. You are not expected to hold a dialogue inside your bug report. We prefer fast, nice, and to-the-point bug reports at Kualitee.

It’s better to write a bug report as if the user you’re writing it for has never used the software before. You will make everybody more satisfied if you can generate replicable bug reports with this degree of comprehension.

3. Engage and collaborate 

Testing is a joint effort. You’ll realize that keeping people updated from the start will save you a lot of time in the long run.

When testers are introduced to a larger portion of the project, they will feel a lot of ease in securing their objectives. A tester is just as successful as their quality assurance team.

Your aim is to ensure that everyone participating in the project understands the application fully. Testers can easily cover test cases because everybody knows what the application involves.

Enable testers to engage in decision-making sessions by engaging with the test lead or director. QA managers would be able to plan early test scenarios if they have access to early knowledge. This would avoid any unanticipated problems, complications, or threats, while still being cost-effective.

4. Don’t focus on testing in the beginning

Contrary to common perception, one of the most critical aspects of being a successful software tester in a project is to not test at all in the beginning.

Instead, take a few moments to experiment with the software. Determine the app’s priorities. You’ll be able to appreciate the purpose of each feature until you grasp the app’s ultimate goal. You’ll be able to schedule a very effective and efficient test case approach when you grasp the app’s subtle nuances.

When your expectations as a tester fit with the app’s goals, you’ll be able to achieve excellent outcomes.

5. Have a positive attitude

The attitude of a tester will be the distinction between discovering the most significant flaw in the app and detecting none at all. 

You would not discover any glitches if you test software without planning to find any. You are very well aware that no app is without flaws. 

There are a plethora of circumstances that can lead an app to crash. By promising yourself from the start that you’ll discover the enigmatic crucial bug, you’ll end up discovering other bugs and igniting a fire among your colleagues. 

Your colleagues will recognize your efforts if you perform testing with a good attitude and they’ll follow your lead. Once again, you are just as strong as your team. You will inspire the colleagues to work better if you excite them and ultimately this would make the job of all the tests.

Takeaways

Testing is a fun and easy job if you follow a specific plan and organize your test cases in a detailed fashion. As a team leads, it is your duty to provide testers with concrete goals to aim and achieve. These milestones will create goals and inspire teams to meet them. However, management must realize that these targets are dependent on the testers’ skills. 

Since testers are such an integral part of software creation, it’s crucial that they’re well-managed. Following the protocols mentioned above would help testing teams be more successful while still ensuring that the quality of their testing remains at par.

A Guide to Cross-Browser Compatibility

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These days, ensuring that your website or application is cross-browser compatible has become the mainstay for most businesses, if not all. Running your website on more than one browser means catering to a larger pool of potential customers, which brings in more revenue for you. 

The term, cross-browser compatible, is relatively simple to describe too: a website or application that runs on more than one browser.

But that’s not always the case. There is a lot more to cross-browser compatibility than what meets the eye. 

What is cross-browser compatibility?

There are several ways you could define cross-browser compatibility. The good news for us is that all these definitions share commonalities. By combining them, you end up with a somewhat accurate definition in “the ability of an application or website to support web browsers in an identical way”. But somewhat isn’t good enough for us. To fully understand what cross-browser compatibility is, we need to know what it isn’t. 

Cross-browser compatibility isn’t the idea that an app or website will work identically on all browsers — simply because that is impossible. If your app or website works in an identical way on every browser, it means creating an equivalent user experience, not a perfect one. Take websites and compare them to their mobile site versions. Both allow users to have the same user experiences, but in different ways.

The importance of cross-browser capability shouldn’t be ignored. The number of people interacting online with businesses of all sorts has seen an explosive increase recently, especially during the pandemic. If you keep your focus on one browser, you miss out on a lot of other experiences. A good place to start is to target the big three: Microsoft Edge on PC, Chrome on Android, and Safari on iOS.

With this knowledge, let’s look at what it takes to be compatible across multiple browsers.

What causes cross-browser issues?

You can trace the general difference between browsers today back to the infamous “browser wars” that began in the 90s. Although some have adopted the foundations laid by Google’s Chrome, others like Safari and Mozilla Firefox are still worlds apart in terms of engineering. Some of these issues stemming from the 90s still exist today.

Today, most developers are expected to run into these problems: 

  • Forced incompatibility.
  • The high amount of browsers across Operating Systems.
  • Browser-related bugs.
  • The transition to mobile. Moving to smaller screened devices makes for fewer input devices that create a completely different experience.

All of these problems make the jobs of testers and QA technicians difficult too. Making applications and websites to provide an equivalent experience, not an identical one is required, right? How does this impact testing? Do you need an equivalent or a unique set of tests?

Challenges of testing cross-browser websites and apps

QA technicians don’t just face the aforementioned issues when testing cross-browser compatibility though. Those are just the most common ones. Logistical ones are another game entirely. One of these is computing power. Cross-browser testing means requiring powerful machines to run each and every browser on multiple operating systems and browser versions. If you’re testing for mobile devices too, you’ve got a never-ending range to choose from.

This isn’t even considering the sheer volume of test iterations that are required. Just picture the set of tests needed for each browser and then making one small change to the application or the website. You’ll now be needed to run every set of tests all over again. This is perhaps why the need for defect management tools is on the rise.

Cross-browser compatibility continues to provide new and unique sets of problems for mobile platforms too. The different versions of JavaScript or multiple operating system versions all add to the mix. And as always, more capabilities mean more problems and more problems require a lot more testing.

Testing cross-browser compatibility for your website

First things first, developers need to be well-versed in the cross-compatible features that may be important to them. Some of these can be:

  • Do I require my product to work on legacy or uncommon browsers? 
  • Do I require my product to work on cheap and/or outdated devices? 
  • Have I considered adding speech-to-text for accessibility?
  • What qualifies as an “acceptable” user experience? 
  • What qualifies as a “reasonable” number of browsers?

After features come test plans. More specifically, QA technicians are required to test important features across browsers and operating systems. These technicians should also make a set of common tests that make sense for their product. Perhaps most importantly, they are required to find a smart way to execute these tests. This means that developers require a solid testing strategy.

Requirements for automation

Test automation and defect management tools for cross-browser capability testing have two roles. To start off, it must store the test results for each test, and log results over time. This may quickly provide results across browsers and permit you to match them. Furthermore, it’ll show the results of the tests for every version of the website. Testers will have a literally written account of the results of every change. Questions such as, “by moving that specific box did I break the format of the text around it?” and “if I changed the menu from a radial design to square, did I block the button from executing the items’ functions?” can be answered without wasting hours of a technician’s time.

Second, it must be ready to detect errors within the tests themselves. The complexity of site and app design results in an outsized volume of (often repetitive) tests. The tiny test changes over time cause many opportunities for errors to sneak in. For instance, removing a button from one version without removing the associated test. Suddenly, the testing stops, and a person has to go through the info to seek out why. This is often exacerbated in tools where each browser needs its own test to be written.

Conversely, a self-healing test recorder can reminisce on previous results and learn for itself what went wrong. During this scenario, the testing either corrects itself or notifies a tester of exactly what and where the testing broke.

The requirement for machine learning

Machine learning is the tool that permits self-healing. The test automation tool must learn from its tests over time. Specifically, it must be ready to search through its previous results, have some idea of what results should be coming, and take corrective action once they disagree.

How Kualitee helps

Kualitee is arguably the best defect management tool that works with automation tools, in the market today. The software offers advanced capabilities that completely revolutionize how you can manage your test automation in one application. Kualitee also offers detailed visual testing abilities, enabling you to see how the site has evolved over time. All-in-all, these features make Kualitee the ideal cross-browser testing tool.

5 Ways to Enhance Productivity in the New Year

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With 2022 just around the corner, most of us are scrambling to pick the right new year resolutions. These resolutions can be branched out into two broad categories: personal and professional, goals. To help you narrow down the latter, let us guide you on how you can have a more productive new year. 

1. Set SMART goals 

Here’s a quick recap of what SMART represents: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Setting goals keeping this framework in mind allows you to devise goals and objectives that are precisely defined and can be achieved with a given amount of time. If you have realistic goals, not only will it be easier for you to achieve them but you will also feel more motivated as you would be able to see that these goals lie well within your reach. A clear set of goals in place, coupled with the drive to achieve them, will lead to higher productivity.  

2. Create a schedule  

Instead of depending on a mental to-do list and planning to do things as they come along, jot down your tasks in a notebook. Create a schedule for the given day, and also write down the amount of time you plan to attribute to each task. Be realistic. This practice will help you recognize how much time you need to invest in each task, and whether it would even be possible to squeeze those number of things within that timeframe. Simply devising a schedule isn’t enough—be sure to follow it as well, and keep ticking off things as they get done (that has its own satisfaction). 

3. Prioritize your tasks 

Identify which tasks require more immediate attention. Work on them first, then move on to less urgent tasks. Otherwise, you’d be tempted to invest all your time in the seemingly easier and smaller tasks, as a result of which the more important tasks would ultimately be left neglected. 

4. Take frequent breaks 

If you work the entire day long without taking out time to take a breather, you will quickly wear yourself out. Take a short break after each completed task. Don’t forget to leave out time for breaks while making your schedule, instead of clumping together all tasks back-to-back. 

5. Avoid multi-tasking 

We are all guilty of multi-tasking from time to time, thinking that we are getting more things done within a given timeframe. However, that is not actually the case. Focusing on one thing and then starting the next one after the first task has finished is what is more productive in both the short and long run. The frequent switching between various tasks not only consumes more mental energy, but also encourages procrastination—which reduces productivity. 

There are a plethora of other ways by which you can adapt a more productive work pattern. Starting with these five simple, yet highly effective, tips would be a solid start to a more productive new year.  

Practicing Gratitude at the Workplace

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A small gesture expressing thanks does not take much effort. It does, however, go a long way. 

Practicing gratitude at the workplace is linked with many benefits—including improved wellbeing, positive emotions, decreased stress levels, and higher motivation. 

Douglas Conant, as CEO of Campbell Soup, wrote and sent out roughly 30,000 notes to employees across all hierarchies. He believed that writing handwritten notes built goodwill and lead to higher productivity

When you make efforts to show gratitude to others, it comes back to you. Let’s take the example above. When Conant was in the hospital after a serious accident, he received a multitude of notes wishing him recovery, from his employees and other people. This reflects on how spreading kindness makes its way back to you.  

Practicing gratitude at the workplace can take many forms. It is quick and simple—yet bears large positive outcomes. Let’s have a look at a few ways you can implement this practice. 

1. Say ‘thank you’ whenever possible 

Yes, we were all taught this when we learnt basic manners as young children. But how many times do you actually implement this at work? Do you remember to thank the maintenance staff for repairing that broken lock? Or your coworker who helped you recover that lost document? Or your boss for agreeing to let you off an hour early so you don’t get stuck in the fog on your way back home? There are so many things, big and small, to be thankful for. You should make it a habit to thank others whenever the opportunity calls for it. 

2. Create a gratitude board 

Pick a random bulletin board in your office and grab a set of sticky notes and markers. Have your employees scribble down a word or a phrase depicting what they are thankful for at work. This activity can be carried out at the end of every day, and each employee can jot down one thing that they’d felt grateful for at work on that day. You can also carry it out on a weekly or fortnightly basis.  

3. Write handwritten notes 

Writing and sending out handwritten notes to your employees or coworkers adds a personalized touch to the gesture. In an environment that is so heavily digitized, a piece of paper with a personal message scribbled on it is likely to stand out even more—thus garnering more appreciation. It’s a habit that requires little to no effort or time, but one that the receiver will appreciate a great deal.  

4. Express gratitude in virtual communication

Most of us communicate with other employees, and team leads, via messaging or email throughout the workday and much of these messages involve asking others to perform certain tasks. Adding a small thank you at the end of these messages/emails doesn’t hurt. Neither does saying thanks to the relevant person when they complete that task and inform you about it. 

5. Swap “I’m sorry” with “thank you” 

The purpose of doing this? It cultivates an atmosphere of appreciation and gratitude. For example, instead of saying ‘’I’m sorry for not completing this project in time”, say “Thank you for waiting for me to finish this task”. Or perhaps instead of saying ‘’I’m sorry for misunderstanding the guidelines”, you can say, “Thank you for clarifying the instructions”. Try it out. You will notice the difference. 

6. Keep an appreciation jar 

This is similar to the gratitude board practice, but a great exercise regardless. You can keep an ‘appreciation jar’ at the entrance door of the office and request each employee to scribble down what they are grateful for, on a routinely basis and drop the chit in the jar. Then at the end of every week, you can gather everyone around and one person can read out all the chits. This will make people realize the different things that one has to be grateful for. It will also bring some things to the surface that some people might be taking for granted, and make them realize that this is something that they are lucky to have or experience.  

7. Appreciate team members in meetings 

There have probably been times when a team member has put forth an idea at the conference table and you’ve found yourself thinking, ‘I wish I’d thought of that’. Instead of appreciating their thoughts in silence, speak up about it. Let them know you think it’s a good idea. Thank them for their contribution—it will foster a positive environment.  

Gratitude is an important factor in all facets of our lives. Practicing it at the workplace, routinely, would be a good start.  

Mental Health at Work: Dealing with Negative Emotions

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Working in a highly technological environment does not change the fact that we are humans—with emotions. 

Emotions can be both positive and negative. In this article, we will focus on the latter.  

You may have struggled with controlling your anger at the coworker who just does not seem to understand your guidelines, your frustration when the outcome of a project does not even closely resemble what you had in mind, or your dislike for your fellow colleague who you simply cannot get yourself to like. 

These emotions can get problematic when they interfere with your work, not to mention your overall well-being.  

If you don’t manage negative emotions effectively, they can very easily wear you down. You can either let yourself get reduced to a bubbling volcano of rage, ready to erupt with anger or pressure—or you can learn several tips and techniques to help you control these emotions. If you want to opt for the second (read: more sensible) option, read on.  

1. Identify your emotion and the trigger behind it 

Here’s a tip: don’t suppress or deny your emotion. It is bound to release in some form or the other, at a point sooner or later. The earlier you acknowledge it and work on it, the better it will be for you—both in the short and long run. Identify what the emotion is, and where it is stemming from. Once you understand the root cause, it will become much easier for you to work on navigating through your feelings and consequent behaviour. 

2. Check whether the trigger lies inside or outside your circle of control 

There are factors that lie within your circle of control (i.e. things you have control over), or outside it (things that lie beyond your control). If you remain cognizant of this concept, then it becomes pretty easy to distinguish the events that require your time and energy, and those that don’t.

 If the trigger is something you can control, then there is no need to stress as you can work through it and take the necessary measures. Likewise, if it lies beyond your control, then there isn’t much you can do about it—you are worrying for no reason. Instead, you can channel that same energy into something constructive, like figuring out alternative solutions to that problem. 

3. Communicate 

Let’s say you, a project lead, conveyed the instructions of your project to a QA tester. The latter does a terrible job. Instead of telling him or her where they went wrong, you stay quiet and angrily fix the issues yourself. This cycle keeps growing. With each phase, the intensity of your anger increases, bordering on rage. Finally, at a point, you burst.

All the outrage that has been built up over a period of time pours out at the QA tester—and there’s a fair chance that accompanying this anger are also other negative emotions within your system that have not necessarily been triggered by this particular situation, but get released along with it.

Had you informed the QA tester about his/her mistake the first time it had happened, rather than resolving it yourself, he or she would not have to bear the brunt of your culminated emotions. It, thus, becomes essential to communicate whenever necessary, rather than letting issues build up.  

4. Don’t let team hostility consume you 

At times, QA team members can seem downright impossible to deal with. This can arise from personal differences, disconnect with others’ thinking processes, miscommunication—so on and so forth. Don’t feel guilty if your first instinct is the desire to completely block out the presence of the coworker(s) you can’t get along with. But, if only it were as easy as that.

Since you are working as part of a QA team, chances are that you are stuck with XYZ for a solid period of time. So, instead of expending your energy in cultivating a hostile atmosphere, use it to communicate—openly and transparently—with your team members, and attempt to resolve the issues. If that doesn’t work out, take it up with your team lead. In short: negative emotions arising from team conflict can get taxing, so you should address it before it bogs you down. 

5. Deep breathing 

There are many breathing exercises out there that can help calm you down in situations where you are crumbling under the intensity of your emotions. One example is square, or box, breathing. This is how the technique works: inhale through your nose while counting to 4, hold your breath for 4 seconds, slowly exhale through your mouth while counting to 4, and finally, wait for 4 seconds before repeating the process.

You don’t necessarily have to do this only under stressful circumstances—try practicing it at different intervals during the day. It is a significant facilitator in stress management. 

6. Don’t make important decisions in an emotional state 

When you are overly emotional—whether that is with anguish, fear, anger, or guilt—you are likely to let your emotions cloud your rational judgement. Before making any decision that will have long lasting consequences, clear your mind and release any intense emotion that’s clasping your mind, so you can base your conclusion on objective grounds. 

7. Compartmentalize your work and personal life 

We are often guilty of letting stressors from our personal life spill over into our work life, whether we do this consciously or subconsciously. When you arrive at the office, try to concentrate all your focus on the work itself, rather than getting distracted by non-official matters. Don’t let triggers from your personal life affect your work; a better option would be to take some time off from work if there are matters at home that require your attention. 

8. Take a short walk  

Detaching yourself from your surroundings and catching a breather is yet another useful technique to release negative emotion. A good way to do this is to take a short walk in attempt to unwind yourself. Step outside your office for a bit, and perhaps grab a cup of tea or a glass of water on the way back. 

Being consumed by negative emotions at work can be challenging, no doubt. As emotions are a part of human existence, you cannot avoid them—but you can certainly control the way you deal with them.  

Implementing the above tips would be a promising start.  

What Are Outsourced IT Support Services?

Almost every business uses technology to compete in our increasingly-connected world. Although technology opens up new possibilities and increases productivity, anybody who has used it knows that unexpected problems often arise. That’s when the support provided by in-house or outsourced IT support services can be absolutely vital to your business’ successful operation.

As you develop a plan to tackle your business’ own IT needs, you may be wondering about the difference between in-house and outsourced IT services. Our guide will provide you with more information about outsourced services and the advantages they offer so that you can make the right decision.

What Are Outsourced IT Support Services?

Methods to Meet Your Business’ Technology Demands

By and large, handling your business IT needs involves using one of two different methods. You may decide to staff your own IT team to handle any technical issues that arise with your business’ own resources. This allows you to have full control over the IT solutions that your business receives, but also adds to the demands that your business faces by adding a whole additional team to the resources you need to maintain.

An alternative solution is provided by third-party companies that offer outsourced IT support services. These third-party companies can provide your business with high-quality, 24/7 support that uses the latest tools of the industry to get you the solutions that you need. This is often seen as a more efficient way of meeting your business’ IT needs, since you won’t have to devote energy and resources towards managing your own IT department.

Disadvantages of In-House Support

Traditionally, businesses have relied on their own IT support teams to handle all of the issues related to technology. However, this can come with a number of downsides. Perhaps most obvious from a business perspective, one disadvantage is that you will have to account for IT needs in your business’ budget. Training, wages, and equipment for your IT staff add a number of expenses to your spending.

There are some other disadvantages to handling your own IT support in-house that may not be as readily apparent. For example, you might not have the support you need when you need it if your business doesn’t have the resources to maintain 24/7 IT support. You’ll also need to focus on ensuring that your IT department is using the latest technology and practices, diverting the attention you could be focusing on your business itself.

Solutions that Managed Services Provide

As you can see, managing your own IT support involves a lot of work. That provides an extra burden on top of everything you already need to do in the day-to-day operation of your business. Here are some of the ways that outsourced IT support can benefit your business.

Scalable Resources

The demands placed on your business often fluctuate over time. Depending on the exact nature of your industry, this can be for a variety of reasons. For example, some businesses rely on the increased demand of a busy holiday period, while others may see an increase in business during certain seasons. As the demands placed on your business change, your needs for IT support will also increase or decrease accordingly.

Having managed services on your side helps give your business the flexibility it needs to change to match these shifting demands. You won’t have to worry about being understaffed to tackle issues or being overstaffed without enough work to justify paying the number of professionals you have on the team. Outsourced, managed services provide exactly the right number of technicians to match your business’s current needs so that you’re never wasting resources.

Increased Productivity

Along with eliminating waste, you might otherwise have from your IT department managed services also help the rest of your team to perform productively. Technology impacts just about every aspect of the way that you handle business. That means when there’s an issue, it prevents members of your team from doing what they do best. This loss of productivity can have a big impact on your bottom line, damaging you financially.

Having technology solutions on hand when you need them is vital in today’s fast-paced business environment. Using managed support services ensures that you’ll always have professional help on hand to promptly address any technology concerns you or your staff may have. That speeds up the process of getting things back to normal working order, allowing your team to focus on doing their job instead of having to try to troubleshoot their technology.

More Cost-Effective

Any business owner’s first concern is the financial well-being of their business. You may think that you’re saving money by not hiring an outside firm to handle your IT needs. After all, one less item on your list of expenses is good for your bottom line, right? While this seems intuitive enough, the truth is that you’re most likely able to use your financial resources more effectively if you use managed IT support instead of relying on your in-house team.

When you use managed IT services, you’ll pay one predictable flat rate for your IT solutions. Compare this to the unpredictable and ever-changing expenses associated with managing your own IT department, where you’ll have to cover training, replacing, and maintaining the best resources for your professionals. The predictable expense of having a third-party IT support team on your side is another advantage for your business.

Better Customer Experience

In our fast-paced business world, customers expect an experience that is convenient and easily accessible. Even a momentary lapse in the services that you provide can create a frustrating situation for your customers. This may lead them to seeking out a competitor for their needs instead, hurting your business’ ability to turn a profit and grow your customer base.

Avoid these negative customer experiences by having cohesive IT solutions on call when you need them. That helps you to avoid any lengthy outages or downtime for the service or product you provide. Customers will get a predictable, comfortable experience without any unexpected obstacles getting in their way of getting the best possible experience that your company can provide.

Increased Level of Security

These days, it seems like barely a week goes by without some high-profile cyberattack making headlines around the world. Ransomware and other types of malware attacks cost businesses in every sector of the economy millions of dollars every year. If you aren’t using the latest cybersecurity tools and practices, your business may be at risk.

Protect your business’ critical data by hiring an IT firm that will put in place the highest degree of protection possible. They’ll work with the rest of your organization to educate and inform people of the safest practices when using technology. They’ll also have access to the most powerful anti-malware tools available to keep your business protected, giving your customers the assurance that any personal information they trust you with is kept secure.

Support at All Hours

There’s no telling when an issue with your technology may arise. While problems may crop up more frequently during busy times when the demands placed on your business are at their highest, they may also occur in the middle of the night when your business is running at minimal staffing. Maintaining your own IT team that can be on hand every day at all hours is an expense that many businesses cannot afford.

Fortunately, outsourced IT support services provide a more cost-effective way of meeting your business’ IT demands whenever they may arise. Find a third-party firm that can offer 24/7 support 365 days out of the year. That sort of reliable sort will increase the peace of mind you feel as a business owner, knowing that solutions are always within reach when you need them most so that your business experiences minimal downtime.

Expertise at Your Command

Technology is a field that is constantly changing as new innovations push the boundaries on what is possible to achieve. Staying up-to-date and keeping your business on the cutting edge of all of these new innovations can seem like a daunting prospect. Add that to the already demanding workload of keeping your business at the forefront of your specific field and the task can seem nearly impossible.

Give yourself one less thing to worry about as a business owner by hiring a professional IT firm to handle your tech needs. With a trustworthy team on your side, you’ll have access to the latest tools and technology that your business needs to run effectively. They’ll stay on top of what’s new in the IT world so that you can focus on what your business specializes in instead.

Wondering if outsourced OIT solutions are right for your business? A technology strategy session with a member of our team of IT experts can give you more insight into the advantages working with our companies provide. We’ll show you all the ways that we can transform IT support from being an annoying expense into an asset that helps your company thrive. Contact Cyber Command today for more information!

Smart Technologies to Digitalize Your Hospitality Business

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Digitalization has taken the tourism and hospitality sector by storm globally in the last few years. Travelers no longer rely on brick-and-mortar travel agents; instead, increased mobility has raised their expectations for a perfect resort that matches their comfort level—on their terms. This is due to digital players like Airbnb, Kayak, and TripAdvisor that are setting benchmarks to deliver the most innovative hospitality and travel experiences. 

The level of mobility and contactless operations further increased after COVID-19. Travelers are more inclined towards contactless travel operations such as lodging, check-in/check-out, room booking, tourism, and food services —precisely, to get things done quickly through their smartphones. After 2020, traveling while also avoiding any health hazards has been a top priority of consumers. 

To meet the customer expectations and demands, the hospitality industry needs to be on top of its digital game. A whopping 73 % of travelers believe that hospitality and hotel stakeholders would need to accommodate the latest technologies for a safer travel and hospitality experience amid the pandemic. 

According to a survey by Statista, executives in the travel and hospitality industry consider adopting new technologies as a business priority for better customer and supplier services. While 84 percent of the respondents claim to already have significant technologies adopted to meet the criteria of the digitalized world. 

The hospitality business has eventually become a blend of ever-increasing customer expectations and digital transformation. Stakeholders need to realize the prevalence of the right technology to meet the digital experience trends. Let’s explore the top technological beats that are impacting the hospitality and travel industry big-time.

Internet of Things (IoT) and hyper-personalization

The combination of IoT and mobile is enabling hotel rooms to adopt smart devices and features to partly meet their guest’s expectations.

For example, many Asian hotel chains now also referred to as ‘unmanned’ hotels, are reshaping their business model through the adoption of modern technologies. Smart rooms are becoming the top-tier option to provide contactless customer services via a hotel’s mobile app based on voice assistants (Google Home or Amazon Alexa).

One of the prime IoT devices is a slick tablet installed in every guest room allowing guests to control and customize room services such as controlling air conditioning, windows, lights, media stations, connecting with staff and room service, seeing hotel information, and other infinite options.

This cloud-based technology offers several added benefits besides good Customer Experience (CX) including greater sales and better brand image as a result of quick services, striking UI & UX design, and user-friendly software. Otherwise, poor design and services may give hotel owners upsetting lessons about treating their customers well.

The cohesion of all smart devices under one network can help keep track of customers’ aspirations and expectations — this is what we call hyper-personalization with respect to IoT. 

Hotels connected with IoT software and ultra-compact hardware require hospitality management to closely check system quality to avoid any trouble in customer operations and services. This requires a proficient team of software testers and a test management tool to keep the IoT world of devices streamlined and quality-driven. 

Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR/VR)

Guests can enjoy a hotel party and visit a museum or a tourist destination through virtual reality (VR) staying in their comfort zone. AR and VR allow travelers to experience the best things virtually. For example, as a tourist, you may be able to visit Paris via a virtual trip that too under half costs. 

This practice is not quite common yet, but major hospitality executives offer their guests a chance to relish a sneak-peak of faraway destinations for a virtual travel experience. Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) is one of the businesses offering VR visits to their customers. 

Big Data and Analytics

Data has become a cornerstone to excel in the changing CX dynamics in the new era of travel and hospitality. For example, in the case of Airbnb, with data analytics, they were able to determine customers who left due to poor customer support. The app then offered an instant booking facility to allow their guests to make instant reservations. This helped in reducing the density of customers’ complaints and an automated and more reliable booking system as a replacement for the previous and arduous one. 

Furthermore, Big Data and IoT are highly interconnected in the hospitality sector; for example, if a traveler visits a resort every year, the IoT data can automatically ask the guest about making a booking this year too. This will save your customers time in booking a room without even scrolling over their phones and making calls to the travel agents. The same practice can be implied on cuisine options and selection,  services, in-room facilities, and excursions.

Data does not only improve CX, it enhances the entire business model from bottom to top.

How is Quality Assurance a problem-solver for the hospitality sector? 

Despite a pool of business benefits, getting along with the latest technologies may also shock you with a  digital disaster or an app crash during peak vacation times.

Multiple digital elements unite together to deliver the expected experience to the staying guest.

All it takes is one software glitch to result in utmost customer disappointment and business failure.

Let’s imagine this situation: it’s raining, your guest arrives, asks for their room key/card, but it was taken by another guest–ALL BECAUSE OF A SOFTWARE GLITCH IN YOUR APP!

These days, travelers rely on traveling and hospitality apps to perform multiple functions such as: 

  • Room booking
  • Remote check-in/check-out
  • Restaurant seat reservation with in-app menus
  • Chat with the guest hosts (human or bots)
  • Guest services (laundry, in-room amenities, etc.)
  • Room card functionality
  • Hotel map
  • Parties and any sort of entertainment activity.

All these operational services require a controlled environment that assures the end-to-end performance of app modules and features. 

The answer resides in achieving optimum Quality Assurance (QA) services for a smooth customer experience. Stakeholders usually rely on an outsourced team of software testers to verify and validate the quality of customer services and the rest of the connected technologies helping in delivering multi-faceted functions. 

These testers depend on test management tools such as Kualitee for tracking if the app is performing according to what has been desired by the end-user. To be more precise, these test case management tools help the testing team perform the following functions to successfully achieve a pipeline of customer-centric services: 

  • Make a test plan and save its details, such as devices, OS, etc, such that the information is usable in the test execution.
  • Organize the whole test plan into different modules and requirements so that each different module is handled separately. For example, the Room Service-related application and Room Booking applications are separately treated.
  • Ensure sufficient test cases are being created against each requirement for accuracy and precision.
  • Consistency throughout the customer’s travel cycle; meticulously tracked and managed on an intuitive dashboard. 
  • Better management of different test case types for performance, functionality, mobility, and usability-related requirements. 
  • Efficient logging, assigning, and tracking of bugs.

It’s high time for hospitality businesses to deliberately consider conforming to the above technological trends but not without precautions. Make the right moves to transcend in this booming digital era!

What Is Included in Managed IT Services?

Information technology (IT) is dynamic and constantly evolving. This means that to stay competitive, businesses not only need to maintain their infrastructure, but also need to keep abreast of new developments that are constantly giving people more powerful, flexible, and streamlined ways to work and collaborate. Enter managed IT.

Staying current can be daunting even for businesses able to devote the resources to a dedicated in-house IT department. Fortunately, these same technological advancements have made it easier than ever before to take advantage of a managed IT solution. At Cyber Command, we have the expertise and versatility to work with you to put in place just the right solutions for your business.

What Is Included in Managed IT Services?

Given a long enough timeline, something is going to go disastrously wrong. It could be a single truly exceptional event like a fire. It could also be an unfortunate confluence of circumstances, like a simple user error affecting just the wrong set of shared files at exactly the worst moment. Either way, you have clients waiting and your business has ground to a halt.

By the time a disaster strikes, you’ve already made the most important decisions that will determine how quickly your business is up and running again. Minimizing your downtime is about realistic assessment and preparedness.

A Specific Assessment

Even within the same industry, two companies will operate a bit differently. We work with each client to assemble a risk assessment specific to them. In particular, we look at which areas of their infrastructure are most vulnerable, and which ones are critical to continuous operation.

A Ready Plan of Action

Guided by a thorough assessment, we lay the groundwork ahead of time to minimize your downtime when the unexpected strikes. Typically, this means mitigating risk using strategies like regular server backups and off-site data storage, as well as having fail-over systems ready where it’s practical.

Cloud Services

A great deal of IT infrastructure is stuff that you want to use, but don’t really want to have. A properly-implemented cloud-based infrastructure offers a number of productivity advantages while simultaneously lowering your exposure to risk.

Where the Cloud Boosts Productivity

A cloud-based infrastructure by its nature makes it simpler to keep your staff on the same unified system and to quickly apply updates or refinements to that system for the entire team at once. The cloud also lends itself very nicely to collaboration and data-sharing.

Where the Cloud Mitigates Risk

The larger cloud-based software suites all have very active cybersecurity teams working to keep them protected, and you benefit both from the scale of the operation and the efficiency with which the systems can be updated. Also, when you host your cloud services with Cyber Command’s expert staff, you remove some of the risk that’s inherent in storing everything locally.

Co-Managed IT

Information technology is now a part of every business to a greater or lesser degree. Our goal at Cyber Command is to work with your internal IT staff. Whether you have a dedicated IT department or just a technologically-inclined staff member, we want them to be able to focus on big-picture strategies that will push your business forward instead of needing to react to glitches or to maintenance demands. We want to free them to focus on growth.

While your team is proactive, ours is also on standby. We strive to minimize problems, but when a support issue does come up our team has the scale and experience to resolve it promptly. Because we have a large staff that has worked with IT systems for years, we’re in a position to field a broader range of skills, and maintain a higher level of availability, than it’s reasonable to expect from a department with just a few individuals.

Company

At Cyber Command we have been helping our clients succeed since 2015 by delivering expert maintenance, IT services, and consulting. Our clients’ success is ours as well, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to maximize their productivity.

We Work With You

Because we succeed when you do, we strive to be a seamless extension of your own business. That means learning how you operate so that we can be of the most use to you. It also means consulting with you to find just the right solutions that are tailored to your business, and answering any questions you have in straightforward language, without obscure tech jargon.

Our Monthly Rate Is All-Inclusive

Our all-inclusive support plan means that you always understand what your IT costs will be, and you won’t be blind-sided with a large bill if there’s a rough month.

Since our price doesn’t fluctuate with the number of issues we need to troubleshoot, we’re highly motivated to be proactive in our approach and to keep your IT problems as minor and as infrequent as possible.

We Prioritize Rapid Response

It is in exactly no one’s interest for you to be stuck with a support issue, and we know that even little problems can escalate quickly. That’s why we offer 24/7/365 live support, as well as a guarantee that a call you put in for support will be responded to within one hour.

Managed IT Department

We make it simple for you to gain the benefits of an in-house IT department in addition to the advantages of a large and diverse team. We offer 24/7/365 live support so that you always have access to a technician when you need it. Our service also includes around-the-clock monitoring of your network and data, so that you can have the peace of mind to focus on growing your business instead of on technical hassles.

If your business operates multiple locations then our nationwide support coverage can provide the kind of rapid response that a conventional in-house IT department would struggle to match. And as different segments of your business grow, our managed support model allows us to easily scale with you.

Managed IT Services

At Cyber Command we understand that your staff’s time is valuable and that a team member who is troubleshooting a technical problem is doing so instead of directly profitable work. That’s why so many companies fall into the trap of only putting resources toward their IT infrastructure when there’s a problem to be resolved. Unfortunately, the most efficient time to deal with IT issues is before they reach the stage of being a problem.

Letting us manage your IT infrastructure for you means that, first of all, your entire team is able to focus their productivity on the work that directly benefits and grows your business. Secondly, our team has the depth of experience to proactively address potential issues before they can interfere with your operation. Our all-inclusive services include monitoring and maintenance of your devices and network, backups of your critical data, and more. Your focus stays on running your business.

Managed Print Services

The printing needs of different companies vary, but too often businesses address their printing needs by just connecting a few printers to the network and nothing more. This is both a missed opportunity and a security risk. Printers usually don’t receive the same attention to security as workstations, making them convenient entry points into the network for malicious actors. Printers may also expose sensitive data or user credentials.

Cyber Command can tailor a managed printing solution for your company’s specific needs. This will always include monitoring and attention to security vulnerabilities, but we can also help boost productivity by streamlining the way that your printers talk to the software you use. Additionally, we offer printer fleet management to handle toner replacement or any repairs.

Microsoft 365

Our team is familiar with a wide range of software solutions and that certainly includes Microsoft 365. We have the expertise to consult with you, in straightforward language, about how this flexible software can improve your company’s workflow and communication. We also have years of experience integrating and managing Microsoft 365, making it painless to adapt or scale as your company’s needs evolve.

Versatility and collaboration are more important today than ever. At Cyber Command we have the know-how to help you leverage Microsoft 365 to let your team work in a more streamlined way using tools they can easily access from different devices and locations.

The trend in recent years, and it’s an accelerating one, is for companies to become more and more distributed. Information technology has a major role in facilitating this and has made it so that a company trying to keep up with the competition faces challenges that didn’t exist even a decade ago.

Excell With Managed IT

At Cyber Command our expertise is in working with these technologies, both existing and emerging. Our focus, however, is always on you. On your productivity, and your ability to take your attention away from matters of maintenance and monitoring, and put it where it should be: growing your business and profits. Your success is ours, so everything always begins with a jargon-free discussion of your needs and how we can meet them.

Our value proposition is simple: We proactively monitor and maintain your devices, servers, and network to secure your revenue through business continuity. Visit us at Cyber Command to schedule a technology strategy session.

QA Hacks for Your Testing Team to Deliver a Quality Product

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“Bugs in your product are a symptom of bugs in your process–if you focus on fire prevention, you’ll reduce the need to fight fires” – Henrik Kniberg, Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large Scale Projects.

QA is a non-negotiable aspect of software development that, if taken for granted, can lead to disastrous product releases. It is wrong to consider defect density as the only step that defines customer experience (CX). There are other test planning and execution elements that should also be carefully considered for cumulative quality assurance pertaining to the CX. These include choosing the right app testing techniques and agile testing tools such as Kualitee for deliberate review of your testing and QA plan — but never without a highly diligent team.

Software testing teams work harder and smarter to deliver a highly functioning and quality-driven product that gets better after every iteration.

We shall now discuss testing methodologies and practices that inspire software quality assurance engineers (SQAEs) to test as a team and reflect the efficiency in the end-products public release.

Top 6 QA secrets for software testing teams

As a software testing team, you have to brainstorm and plan a lot. So let us help you determine some of the finest QA practices to expedite your testing process in the pursuit of a quality product. 

1. Define testing requirements and set targets

Before starting a software testing project, QA professionals must derive the process requirements and end-user expectations. The process usually includes the following aspects: 

Customer experience and expectations: Consider recognizing the CX problems your end-users may encounter while using the application, and create user acceptance criteria and a plan to mitigate any potential errors — through quality assessment and the right testing techniques. This practice allows QA testers to establish the testing methodology centered around the customer’s requirements.

Testing priorities: QA experts should be able to deliberately prioritize the most critical functionality, customer, and business requirements that need integral testing. Moreover, test priorities are set according to the number of customers impacted and the level of urgency that requires prompt delivery of a certain requirement. However, any sort of priority should not neglect other or assumedly less important feature requirements. Agile testing tools are a great help to achieve the right prioritization for a successful testing process. 

Defect reporting: The testing team should be clear about the appropriate use of information to report a bug, a code failure, or an undocumented feature for better communication and collaboration among the team. 

Communication: There should be an organized communication channel between the QA experts and stakeholders/ clients for clarity of instructions and new information regarding the software development and testing project. For example, if there is a requirement change in the middle of a testing project, it should be communicated across the team right away.

 2. Set a clear QA pathway 

Determine a proper workflow determining the type of tools and techniques the QA team may use during the testing project. This sets the trajectory right for the team to achieve the anticipated goals related to QA. 

3. Procure external quality assurance feedbacks

Obtaining second reviews and insights is crucial in software development. As a team lead or stakeholder you can always request another team of QA professionals to assess your software design and code and share their technical evaluation. These external QA experts highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the software in these areas: 

  • Documentation
  • Tech haystack
  • System architecture
  • Code configuration and repetition
  • Use of techniques and tools
  • Productivity and pace

You will receive a broad survey and guidelines on what your QA team can do to improve test strategy and execution to deliver a bug-free user experience. 

4. Apply multi-dimensional testing strategy

There are so many testing techniques in the lane serving important QA purposes. Do not deprive your business application by sticking to only one methodology. Instead, take advantage of all related QA techniques for bigger benefits and better results.

For example, integrate automated testing to control code quality and detect and fix errors before they sneak into the production stage. While load testing tells your QA team if the app is able to survive any app crashes and bear peak traffic hours.

5. Build a devoted security testing team

It takes one safety vulnerability on a software platform to immediately force out the end-user and abandon that app. To fight such a situation, put in place a team of QA champs for careful security testing on various product patches and updates. 

To deliver above-average software-as-a-service (SaaS) experience to the end-users, carefully collect data distributed on servers, and require in-depth security testing performed on each data set before each release. 

Prepare and educate your team about potential features and product changes. This will help your team to closely understand the system under test (SUT) from the user’s perspective.

6. Balance quality and speed

Your users seek operational quality from that particular product they use daily. QA is the key process to guarantee quality part. Adhering to a QA process enables testers to consistently conduct app performance reviews. This entails forming a QA framework and choosing the widely-trusted testing and audit methods for composing and running tests.

Speed is another big thing in any software development project. The agile testing tools such as Kualitee help you align and prioritize your quality goals with that of users. Your team then tests as competent testers prioritizing the top test cases and delivering the mission-critical requirements on an earlier basis. Further, the intuitive dashboards of these test management apps keep all the team members in the loop about every new change and enhancement occurring in the testing process.

At the end of the day, test management systems are the center points where quality and speed meet.

These QA secrets are all yours now! So, are you ready to implement them and boost your QA game?

Does My Boss Hate Me?

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You may have often found yourself thinking: “does my boss hate me?”, “why does my manager always seem to prioritize my coworker over me?”, “why did my boss give me such a terrible evaluation?” and so on. 

It’s easy to spiral and reach the conclusion that your boss really does hate you. 

However, there is a fair chance that isn’t true. 

Your boss’ expectations may just be different from yours. Your line of thinking may not align with each other’s. Or you may just be misinterpreting his or her behavior towards you. 

In attempt to take this burden off your mind—or at least, lessen it—we present to you a few tips that will help you deal with this predicament.  

Understand your manager’s requirements 

First and foremost, it is important to understand what your boss wants, so you can produce results accordingly. Listen to them carefully, ask questions wherever you are not clear on something, and make sure you have a complete grasp of the requirements. If you put in your best work and follow the given guidelines carefully, your boss is likely to be satisfied. And most importantly, your mind will be clear of any self-doubts and you will be confident in the results. 

Ask the 3 whys to understand the motivation of your boss behind a requirement. Why does she want that? Ask her. This will give you a perspective of where that piece of work is going to fit in the larger picture. You will better be able to grasp which bits are important and which are not. Hence, you would be better aligned with your boss that way. 

Take initiative  

However, following instructions and doing how you’re told does not mean that you should shy away from taking initiative. If you propose new ideas and come up with new strategies and suggestions, your boss will be able to notice the amount of interest you have in your work, and will thus will be inclined to appreciate you and see you as a valuable member of the team.  

Don’t take criticism to heart 

If your boss criticizes your work, don’t take it to heart. Remember, they have nothing personal against you. They see potential in you (which is why they decided to hire you in the first place!) and now they want to polish your skills even further—which, in most cases, requires extensive feedback on their part.

Thus, the criticism is not to belittle you, but to build your skillset and bring about improvements in the work you produce. They want to see you do better, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If anything, it reflects on their inclination to see you grow.  

Don’t let your work get affected 

Don’t let negative thoughts or doubts about your manager’s opinions on you affect your work! Put in your best effort at all times, and remember that your hard work will never go waste. There will always be someone out there who will be appreciating it, even if that one supervisor doesn’t. 

Talk to your boss 

In cases when you feel that your boss is putting you down for no reason or showing clear bias against you, it might be a good idea to talk to them. Be open, honest and transparent. Let them know that you think they are being unfair in their approach and propose suggestions on how that particular issue can be resolved. Even if a plausible solution doesn’t work out, at the very least your boss will become aware of your sentiments. 

Exert your presence 

Build your presence in team meetings. Don’t be afraid to speak up. The more you participate, the more reason your boss will have to value you and your input. Drop into your boss’ office from time to time, even if it just to say hello. Try to show him or her that you are investing effort to construct a professional relationship with them—this will encourage them to do the same.  

Introspect 

Introspect. Is there anything you could potentially be doing wrong? Is there any room for improvement in your work? Could you change anything in your own behavior towards your boss? It’s easy to always see oneself in the clear and think the issue is from the other end, but doing some self-reflection never hurts.  

To improve communication and collaboration between your boss and yourself, propose using a test management tool like Kualitee, to your team lead. With this tool, your boss will be able to assign tasks with clear responsibility and timelines—this would help in setting expectations right, and thus lower potential points of contention!