IT

Northern Tech Map - GP Bullhound

GP Bullhound recognises Intechnica’s growth on new Northern Tech Map

Intechnica is on the map of growing tech businesses in the North, according to leading independent advisory firm GP Bullhound.

Intechnica is featured in GP Bullhound’s newly launched Northern Tech Map, an interactive tool pulling data from years of research into the growing northern tech movement.

This follows on from Intechnica being named as one of GP Bullhound’s top 50 fastest growing tech businesses in the Northern Tech Awards 2016, alongside businesses like Skyscanner, Metronet, TyreOnTheDrive and TheLADBible.

This has been bolstered by the growth of Intechnica’s TrafficDefender SaaS solution, which has helped clients such as AO World and JD Williams ensure their websites remain online during their busiest sales peaks, as well as Intechnica’s professional services around performance and development.

Intechnica has also become a trusted advisor for businesses during mergers and acquisitions via expert IT due diligence services, working on valuations worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Click here to view the GP Bullhound Northern Tech Map, here to find out about TrafficDefender, or here to find out about Intechnica’s services.

Finalists2016v2

Intechnica in the top 50 fastest growing tech companies in GP Bullhound Northern Tech Awards 2016

Intechnica are proud to be finalists in the GP Bullhound Northern Tech Awards 2016.

Intechnica joins finalists such as UKFast, Sky Betting & Gaming, Missguided and Skyscanner as one of the top 50 fastest growing tech companies in the north.

The nomination recognises Intechnica’s growth over the past few years, and in particular the growth of TrafficDefender, our innovative traffic management and queuing SaaS product, which has been adopted by businesses like AO.com and JD Williams.

The awards ceremony takes place in Liverpool – watch this space for more information.

Photo: William Hook / Flickr

Intechnica Technical Director on why fastest is not always best

Throughout December, Stoyan Stefanov‘s Planet Performance blog hosts Performance Calendar – one web performance post a day from different authors, including experts such as Steve Souders, Paul Lewis and Tammy Everts. The 21st day this year featured a post by Intechnica’s own Technical Director, Andy Still.

Andy’s post, entitled “It’s not just about being the fastest…” explains the business barriers to implementing better performance and how these can be overcome. Andy also discusses the difference between “super ultra performance” and “appropriate performance”, and the dangers of over-optimisation.

Read Andy’s post here, and while you’re at it, make sure you go back and read all the other posts in this year’s calendar. It’s a fantastic, must-read resource for those interested in performance!

Technical Debt

New SlideShare presentation – “Technical Debt 101”

We’ve just published a new slide deck on SlideShare titled “Technical Debt 101” (click the link to view, or watch embedded below).

The slide deck was written by Intechnica Technical Director, Andy Still. Make sure you take a look at Andy’s regular blog posts, including expanded posts on Technical Debt management, over at InternetPerformanceExpert.com.

Andy explains why Technical Debt doesn’t have to be negative, but it does have to be carefully managed. These slides give a quick run-down of best practice to approaching Technical Debt management.

We have extensive experience in managing Technical Debt. Get in touch to talk to us about managing your Technical Debt the right way.

We’re Hiring at Intechnica!

We’re currently looking to fill several positions here at Intechnica, both in London and at our head office in Manchester. We’re looking for people who share our innovative approach to work; people with sound problem solving skills, a passion for technology and who can take responsibility to get things done.

About the roles

We have a variety of positions currently open:

Senior Performance Consultant/Developer: an experienced developer with strong experience of performance troubleshooting and system design.

C# .Net Developer: a developer who is comfortable with developing web based systems on the .net platform, however due to the way that the division between server and client side development is blurring it is expected that the role will need a familiarity with javascript technologies and frameworks (such as Jquery and knockout.js) to be able to developer highly interactive web based applications.

Lead Automation Engineer: someone who has implemented automation tooling and process within a software development organisation.

Solution Assurance Analyst: someone who has experience in capturing complex and detailed business requirements, and testing against it to verify the software meets expectations.

Software Tester: someone who is has a proven track record in the testing arena.

Qualities we look for

  • Good communication skills – to interact with our clients and deliver a better product than they had in mind.
  • Collaborative and competent – excels in individual and team projects.
  • Innovative mindset – a keen interest in the cutting edge of technology.
  • Problem solving skills – our projects often depend on high availability systems.

Why you should work with us

We’re at the cutting edge of IT performance, bringing in the best people and using best of breed tools and technologies to help our clients (brands like Asos and Channel 4) speed up their systems, improve their processes and increase their revenues. Our projects are interesting, challenging and often high profile. High performance, high availability systems are our speciality, so if you’re looking to join us, having more than a passing interest in this is a good start.

We are based in Manchester’s popular Northern Quarter, with a highly skilled team of professionals turning the cogs. From Performance Consultants and Engineers to Developers and Testers, we offer a full range of expertise to our clients and are only seeking to hire the best talent out there.

How to apply

To apply for any of these positions, send your cover letter and CV to careers@intechnica.co.uk, stating which position you are interest in applying for. Please note that we will not be responding to any agencies.

Requirements Traceability

Agile and QA approaches – Requirements Traceability

Following on from my post two weeks ago about specification by example and application maturity, this piece is about requirements traceability.

Software development processes have traditionally worked from signed artefacts and signing up to agreed pieces of work. This would normally describe a set amount of development time, some testing time and some support time to resolve defects and help bed-in the new application. An important part of this process is a description of what will be delivered. This is a key document in the specification by example process. It is important when creating the original statement of requirements and describing the user stories in tools such as Speclog that all requirements have been captured and that there is a common understanding between the project sponsors and the suppliers of how this functionality will be used. By describing key business flows in terms of the behaviour of the application an opportunity is provided for areas of discussion and the understanding of the supplier and the customer can be explored.

These activities drive the test approach. Traditional testing analysis would follow on from here. Often this would be long weeks of Business Analysts creating specification documents and from there test analysts would follow the same path and develop test packs which examine and validate these requirements. In the mean-time developers will work with the documents and the outline discussions, and begin their development approach. In the old days this would have created detail specification of requirements, a detailed development approach and detailed test approach – all of which would have to be approved and signed off. This produces a lot of documents and the big problem with them is that it assumes the requirements are fully understood at the beginning of the process. Any changes are managed through change requests, which require impacting and updating of all these documents. It is not a flexible process but although slow, delivers good quality software.

In the same way that Agile has helped to remove all the unnecessary documentation in development and testing of new applications, specification by example is looking to broaden/develop this concept to address the requirements itself. In the area of Quality Assurance the big challenge with ever more complex systems is measuring what areas of the requirements are being met by which development activities and then validated by which testing activities. In its broadest sense specification by example attempts to address this by a straight-forward approach that states that tests will be developed for each requirement specified in the user story.

The challenge is what artefacts we need to create and how they fit in with the user stories. For instance can/will test approach documents be taken straight from the stories that are created in the analysis. The examples and systems that have been discussed in Agile conferences and across the web have been small with simple business processes which have limited number of functional combinations of application modules. And these systems have been created from scratch or are small improvements. This work hasn’t taken place with existing systems that may not have full documentation or where new software and changes to existing applications take place.

This is where testing theory and previous processes can supplement the given process. It is important that the relationships between the requirements and stories are understood. What are the most important part of the applications ? Which are the most complex? By using the traditional requirements traceability it is possible to create a an application relationship map – which then can be used to drive the test plan and more importantly be used to manage the delivery of the application functionality. This will help with deciding the critical path and the main release points where key modules from a testable business process.

Where defects are being seen then it can steer back to the stories and allow us to understand whether there is something missing from the requirements or something has changed or details need to be more fully understood. This takes us back to the largest flaw in current development/test methodology. When the initial analysis takes place assumptions are made using the business/test/developer analyst experience and understanding of the business. The won’t necessarily align and more importantly they will change as more work is done. It is vital that all that information is shared – and that is at the heart of collaborative processes such as specification by example try to engender. But at the moment the process seeks to implement a one-size-fits-all approach and only looks at basing everything on the user stories. There may well need to be additional process activities.

What we want to find out over the next few months is how requirements traceability works in the Specification by Example area. It has proved to be a valuable tool in Agile projects – where there isn’t the time to record all the details of all the requirements and in Waterfall where the long time periods of development and testing activity can be managed through the matrix. It has weaknesses – it doesn’t work well across a large number of conflicting requirements and doesn’t work well when the business capability being developed splits into small components. But it will be interesting to see what it produces and future blogs we will be recording what we see.

Red Rooms

Bruntwood and Intechnica launch new online booking system for Red Rooms

Manchester, UK – 3rd August 2012 – Intechnica, a digital agency based in central Manchester, have helped Bruntwood launch a new online booking system for its Red Rooms brand meeting rooms, enabling customers to reserve meeting rooms and fulfil their specific needs.

Bruntwood – the North West’s leading commercial property group, with over 100 properties across Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham, including Manchester’s famous City Tower – has launched a new online booking system for its Red Rooms brand meeting rooms, enabling customers to reserve meeting rooms and fulfil their specific needs with ease. The system is a custom software development by Manchester-based digital agency Intechnica, who specialise in creating business critical, web and mobile applications.

Bruntwood commissioned a new reservation system to improve the take-up of their Red Rooms branded meeting facilities. They chose Intechnica for their ability to deliver highly efficient and robust IT systems, and for their deep understanding of the business drivers for the project. The Red Rooms service has rapidly expanded over the last 12 months (one new customer welcomed each day in 2011), so the need for a scalable and well-architected system that could support continued growth and customer satisfaction was paramount.

Rather than buying a system off the shelf and integrating it with the current system, which is often slow, expensive and fails to meet precise business requirements, Bruntwood commissioned Intechnica to build a custom system from scratch, which allowed them to design the ideal system for the job from the very start. Intechnica were able to ensure a stable, reliable system that would not fall down, which is key to business critical, customer-facing reservation systems such as that for Bruntwood’s Red Rooms.


Richard Burgess, director of facilities management at Bruntwood, said: “This new system will allow businesses to reserve the right meeting space for them and book additional provisions such as food and drink or AV equipment. It’s much more efficient and streamlined [than our previous system] and by enabling our customers to make their own bookings online it will make the whole process 75 per cent faster than the old system. Red Rooms also provide value for money to businesses as they don’t need to plan space into their own offices for meeting and conference rooms — which may not be used very often. Instead they can use our rooms as and when needed.”

Intechnica

Intechnica is a digital agency based in central Manchester, specialising in custom software development, IT performance consultancy, and cloud services. Intechnica’s client list includes Bruntwood, Nisa Retail, Channel 4, Asos.com, GlaxoSmithKline, LateRooms and Irish Life & Permanent. Intechnica is a trusted Amazon Web Services Solution Provider, and has a strategic tooling partnership with Compuware. Other partners include Manchester Digital and IMRG. Intechnica are also involved in Hack Manchester as part of Manchester Science Festival.