A few rainy-day thoughts:


We have been hearing a lot lately about privacy issues. “Google Buzz” came out with a big noise, only to redraw quietly back to the drawing table in order to fix many privacy problems, which made users (very) angry.
Facebook is dealing with privacy issues since its first days, and still is. Do you remember how if you opened an account, there was no way to close it, not to mention delete it? and now we just read about that school who’s teacher spied on his students through the laptop web-cam. Its everywhere.

Anything we can learn?

Every time this happens to one of the social-network sites, we wonder again if there’s any lesson for us in this.
Testuff is used by a group of people together – does it make it similar in any way or is it different because its users are working with it (for their company, who pays for it…) and are not using it for personal purposes?
Should we regard it as a social network, at least to some degree? A group of testers, is a group. With all implications of group interactions. Does the fact that it is a business type software makes it different, in the eyes of its users? Can we allow less privacy, more user-monitoring? Who should we satisfy – the end users, the managers (who as mentioned pay us), or both, if possible?












Two different approaches

With time, two different approaches were adopted here (at Testuff).
Some think Testuff is too much in favour of the end user, making it lack a few important options, because they can be considered as tools for ‘monitoring on testers’. Those who take this approach see a need for managers to get tools for better managing their teams. In order to manage, you need control and information. Of course, it should be used to help the testers, coach them and make better decisions however isn’t it our business to supply these tools they ask?
Others believe that any enhancement, which can serve for tracking testers activities is due to become a “spying tool”, and therefore should not be implemented. Supporters of this approach are afraid of creating options or functions which will make a user’s life miserable, being monitored-to-the-bone when using Testuff. We all know how such tools and reports can be used for spying and sniffing on others, trying to “catch” them rather than helping them.
 
Let’s take for example reports of testers productivity, or testers time management efficiency. It can be looked at as a legitimate managerial tool, helping managers to better control the team, helping the project get better results in less time and greater efficiency. Or, perhaps managers will use it to “spy” on their testers, using Testuff to know what they do every hour of the day, leaving less room for creativity, not letting the individual tester make his own decision about how to do his work, managing his time and being evaluated only by results. 
And so we have on one corner – in red – the “we prefer trust” group, with their socialistic approach protecting the testers from the evil managers…and on the other side – in white – we have the “give them managerial tools” group, with their capitalistic approach protecting those who pay for the licenses.

What we do at the end of each argument?

First thing is, we try not to get too excited about this :-)
Each improvement and enhancement which falls in this category, is discussed separately and the main factor will always be if its good for our customers or not. We try to leave it to them to decide how, if and when to follow up on their employees. Pretending to know better, or force our thoughts about it is not our way. At the same time, we try to balance this with our beliefs and our experience as testers, and make Testuff user friendly, and not only by its nice GUI.
We hope to be doing the right thing, whatever that is.