Quality Conf 16.2 Recap: Introduction to React


On December 16, 2016, DevFacto hosted Quality Conf 16.2 – a full-day internal conference dedicated to learning and team building.  A number of sessions were presented by our team members which focused on everything from personal to technical growth.  In this post, we recap “Introduction to React” which was originally presented by DevFacto consultant Chris Nissen. Read more

How Workshops Work For Us

How Workshops Work For Us

When starting a project there’s a million things to do but little time. Productive meetings are tough at this stage. At a previous client site, a colleague and I went from zero knowledge to having a comprehensive set of features for a mobile app in a single day. Over the course of that day, our group of ten people discussed perhaps hundreds of small features, came to consensus and decided on the relative importance of each idea. After the workshop, participants were enthusiastic and energetic. Someone even said that the day flew by. Here’s how we did it:


Don’t call it a meeting.

The point isn’t to meet, it’s to work.


The right people.

We were very thoughtful about who was in the room, seriously considering what each participant brought to the table. They were chosen to have diverse expertise, be open, and have opinions.


The right space.

Teleconferencing doesn’t work for complex, interactive, fast-moving workshops. For our day-long workshop, we brought healthy snacks, coffee and juice to keep people energized. We took frequent breaks and littered the room with art, toys, and books to inspire new ideas.


The right process.

We used interactive exercises to avoid debates. For most topics, we would get participants to jot down thoughts on stickies, describe the idea in a few words and put it on the wall. The next participant could elaborate, clarify or question the original idea, but only by adding a sticky note of their own. We intentionally stifled discussion, using collaborative creation instead. By doing this we avoided getting stuck on a topic or bogging down in details.



Boyle’s Law (from Dennis Boyle from IDEO) states “Never attend a meeting without a prototype.” By accelerating to prototype as quickly as possible, discussion is tangible and focused. By having something to point at, participants can communicate more effectively, gaps become obvious, and conversation is constrained to realistic ideas.

When you need to get a lot done, make workshops work for you. Many of my ideas came from the Google Design Sprint. Check it out for more detail or drop us a line


Bug or Opportunity?

Bug or Opportunity?

So you’ve built something neat and it’s heading to production soon.

You’ve got pretty good test coverage and your tests are meaningful. You tried to break it as much as you could and couldn’t find any show stopping bugs. You’re proud of your work.

The customer should be grateful to have someone so thoughtful and… uh oh, the customer just sent you an email titled “NOTHING WORKS IN PROD! PLEASE FIX”. All caps can’t be good.

They must be doing something wrong. Someone probably fiddled with a config setting they shouldn’t have or used IE. It could be a bug in the framework.

You move past denial and into acceptance. Nope. It’s a bug and it’s something you didn’t anticipate. You screwed up big time, or so you think…

Hold on to your figurative negative horses, it’s not over yet. This is where the test of your customer service mojo begins. Your next few actions could determine whether the customer forever remembers a negative experience with us or if they become an advocate for our quality and service.

Ask someone who likes Costco why they like Costco. Chances are they won’t tell you they just like buying big stuff that wasn’t on their shopping list when they entered the store. For a lot of people, it’s the amazing return policy. You can return almost anything with or without the receipt anytime. When something goes wrong and you aren’t happy, they make sure that the path to you being happy again is free of obstacles. It’s easy and quick. They listen to you and get right to solving your problem. You just can’t help but love them even more than you would have if nothing had gone wrong in the first place.

My experiences with clients have some similarities. When teams I’ve worked with have been responsive to calls for help and fixed issues quickly, the customer also became an advocate for the team. They probably liked us more than they would have if everything had gone smoothly.

Now, I’m not saying that you should add bugs so that you can fix them and trick clients into loving you. But I do think that we should all keep in mind that fixing issues is often a great opportunity to turn a frustrated person into a fan, depending on how valued you make them feel when they need help and how effective you are at solving their problem.

Remember that your ability to quickly investigate, reproduce, and fix issues in production will partly depend on the quality of the logging you’ve built into your solution. So take the time now to make sure that future you can thank present you for having the right context data and tools available after inevitably receiving that email titled “HELP EVERYTHING IS BROKEN”.

Industry Trends: 2015 Summary

As consultants, we get opportunities to work with a variety of clients in different industries. We’re often advising and helping with new ideas and technology and it’s critical that we are up to date and aware of industry trends. Read more

Thinking in the New World of Technology

Technology is constantly changing not just the way we do business, but also the way we think about doing business. It is no longer enough to simply “keep up” with technology or maintain the status quo. What worked in the past, what works now, may not be what sets you apart from competition in the future. Read more

QualityConf 2015

I had an amazing time at QUALITYCONF. I will jump at any chance to sketchnote some great topics from engaging speakers, and QUALITYCONF did not disappoint. This DevFacto event happened from March 27 to 29 at Stone Ridge Mountain Resort in Canmore Alberta. Read more

Software is Meant to Evolve

Software is meant to evolve. As a consultant, I see many organizations that don’t fully consider this when planning and building systems. This has a negative effect on the quality of a solution and can even hold us back, leaving process stagnant and the business vulnerable for competition to disrupt. Read more