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I had my first cup of coffee when I was 25 and that was it.

It was a cold rainy day, early morning, in the desert. I was on a training exercise with the Army and we had stopped our jeep for a break. One of the guys fished out a small gas stove, a tin pot and made Turkish Coffee with cardamom. He offered me a small glass full of coffee and a heaped spoon of sugar and I took my first sip. The rest as they say, is history.

As a Manchester boy, I grew up in a house where a nice hot cuppa tea was the staple. Usually PG Tips. Coffee in the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s in England was Nescafe if you were lucky, and had no attraction at all.

After tasting my first strong, black, rich Turkish coffee I knew I needed to try more real coffee, and nothing with foam, frothed milk, syrups, flavourings; just shots of the good stuff. I tried espresso and I was totally hooked. Suddenly I was in a meaningful relationship with ground, brewed beans.

Luckily I lived in Israel, a country which takes its coffee seriously. This maybe one of the few issues the whole Middle East can agree on.

Over the last few months I’ve graduated from grinding store-bought coffee beans to getting interested in home roasting.

Home roasted coffee - software tester 1

Software Testing and Coffee Roasting?

As a software tester I approach new projects with research; online and word of mouth. I discovered that for the “hobbyist” the best start is to either use a pan on the gas or better a popcorn popper. As I’ve written in the past, testing is improved when it becomes like kata.

Of course, the beans are everything. I planned the following: –

Keep a note of all tests and test results: I used Microsoft Office for this (see the table below)


  1. Make a list of available green (unroasted beans)
  2. Test the quantity of beans in the popcorn popper that produce optimum results
  3. Make sure all beans are bought equally fresh (as much as you can) and stored the same way. Fresh = flavor.
  4. Define optimum results: evenly roasted, the coffee bean oil still present on the beans, no burnt taste. All beans ground for 11 seconds in the same Bosch coffee grinder.

The popcorn popper has a functional constraint, after 3 minutes or if overloaded it would overheat and shut down until it cooled off.


2:00 min

75 grams

2:30 min

75 grams

3:00 min

75 grams

2:00 min

150 grams

2:30 min

150 grams

3:00 min

150 grams

Kenya AA


Costa Rica




Why do I mention these constraints? The last time I roasted I was in a hurry and overloaded the popcorn popper. It subsequently shut off to cool down at 1:45 min. The beans were under roasted so I siphoned off half into my cast iron skillet, turned on the gas and roasted half in the skillet for another minute and the rest in the popcorn popper when it cooled down and would restart.

The Warptest POV

If the popper is science, using the skillet is an art. You are roasting the curve of the bean against the flat skillet. It heats up to a higher heat and roasts quicker. You need to keep the beans moving and flip them over to get an even roast.

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By comparison, using the skillet gave better results. You can see exactly what’s happening in the skillet whereas the popcorn popper has a translucent, orange cover.

As for the beans, I got a better espresso from the Kenya AA but, that’s always been my favorite. Family and friends have been treated to espressos, cappuccinos, iced coffees and the ubiquitous Israeli Hafuch when visiting.

My plan is to finish the Sumatra and order Puerto Rican or Colombian green beans next and keep on testing. One thing, home roasting is seductive in its own way. I’ve found myself on Amazon and specialty coffee sites absentmindedly pondering 5kg bean roasters and bulk coffee grinders.

When I find my perfect roast I’ll be sure to let you know.

The World of Testers Has Something to Learn from James Bond…

CAUTION: SPOILERS ahoy. If you haven’t seen SPECTRE yet, you may not want to read this post.

It’s that time of year when we roll out the same tired, old arguments:

  • The Agile purists try to drive a stake thru the role of QA Manager.
  • Outsource companies say having in-house QA is redundant.
  • The Crowdsourcers agree but say crowdsource beats outsource hands down.
  • The Automated Testing purists take potshots at the Manual Testing crowd for the huge investment to provide test coverage that their scripts grant faster.
  • The Manual Testing purists snipe back at Automated Testing for ramp-up time and a several other alleged flaws.

Testers Arguing - James Bond

Don’t get me wrong, there is validity to multiple points of view and the testing industry like any requires challenging to grow and evolve but regurgitation is just that, the absence of new points of view on the same, weary subjects.

So, Where Does James Bond and SPECTRE come into it?

Here come those SPOILERS… turn back while you still can.

In the new James Bond film, SPECTRE we find Bond and MI6 assailed by the threat of obsolescence. HUMINT (Human acquired intelligence) has been declared redundant and a senior Whitehall official “C” is pushing for a unified ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) effort between 9 major nations, all under the umbrella of a shiny, hi-tech National Intelligence Center. Obviously, “C” will be the one running this multinational NSA like organization and the 00 Section is to be shut down because “C” sees no need for men like 00 agents in the field when tech can do all the work.

Testers James Bond SPECTRE

Meanwhile, Bond seems to have gone rogue, hunting a shadowy, criminal enterprise connected to his past. Faster than you can say “Goodbye Mister Bond” we discover this is SPECTRE and they and their leader, Franz Oberhauser (Bond’s pseudo foster brother) are the ones poised to take control of this unified ELINT center once it goes live.

Oberhauser or (redacted, I’m not going to spoil everything) Blofeld, is a staunch believer that pure ELINT will grant him control over the world.

Nutshell: SPECTRE, Oberhauser and “C” are the purists of automation that advocate replacement, obsolescence of eyes / hands-on testing. Real testers are not needed in their world. ELINT akin to automated testing can do it all (which is ironic considering the sheer number of armed henchmen SPECTRE employs, not even considering their assassin du jour, Mr. Hix).

Bond, M et al rely on Q to provide their automated solutions but acknowledge the world for what it is. Neither approach alone can get the job done. Only a holistic mix of an agent licensed to kill with tech backup will work just as only a holistic mix of both testing types will work. However, this is not the crucial lesson testers need to learn from James Bond.

The Warptest POV

Several years ago, I heard a kickass Marketing Professional talk about blogging to early stage Start Ups. The point he made was to blog about your niche, NOT you or your product.

Reading a post on a QA Outsourcing company’s site deriding in-house QA with the conclusion that you are better off taking their services is ridiculous and counter-productive. (You know who you are..)

Sometimes testers are our own worst enemy. These regurgitated arguments don’t benefit us. If there is nothing new to add to these issues, then let them lie.

Instead of the ability to evangelize a holistic approach, best practices and provide tailored testing solutions to suit each product, this reflects an immaturity in parts of our industry.

We need to do better because at the end of the day it’s all about ROI and demonstrating that testing is a mission critical investment. My hat is off to those testers who share, engage, encourage others and build a sense of community. This is clearly the way forward.

The Art of Software Testing Relies On…

Several critical truths. One of these is, “A bug not reported will never get fixed.”

The corollary of this according to Schroedinger-Murphy is, “This bug will return to bite you in the * at the worst possible time.”

Never Has There Been A Tale Of More Woe…

(Poetic license and changes of name and gender have been used to protect the innocent in this story)

Once upon a time, Bob the tester was working on a testing project with a new feature. Bob was testing this feature which relied on a 3rd party backend service and another 3rd party client plugin.

Bob had tested a prior version and declared the feature as working but in the latest version he found bugs with UI and function.

His manager, Jim got involved after he heard Bob explain to the Developer the problems and the Dev and their manager said, “This is an issue with the 3rd party integrations. We can’t do anything.”

Software Testing - We can't fix this

Jim asked Bob one question, “Are the issues documented in our Bug Tracking?”

Bob shook his head and could see Jim was not pleased.

Software Testing - Jim Khaaaan

Image screen captured from Youtube clip from Star Trek 3: The Wrath of Khan

“Bob. I must have said this a hundred times. Dev doesn’t decide if a bug gets reported, bug reporting means all bugs with the appropriate severity, Bob.”

Bob went back to his computer and was about to document the bugs when he said, “Hey Jim should these bugs all be reported as one bug?”

Jim came over and sat down with Bob, drained his coffee and said, “If they are all facets or symptoms of the same bug then maybe but ask yourself this Bob. If a Developer marks the bug fixed and you have multiple issues in there, how do you know which are fixed? More to the point, if some of these issues aren’t fixed what status does the bug acquire?”

Bob thought about it for a few seconds, grinned and told Jim he was going to open a bug for each. Jim slapped him on the back and went back to his desk.

The Warptest POV

Software Testing and Bug Reporting is somewhere between an art and a science. It is rule based and if you don’t want to cock-up, these fundamental rules need following.

What happens after you document bugs you discover and allocate the right priority is the next step in delivering a robust, sellable product that makes happy customers.

The basics of Software Testing can be learnt and then the skills and experience acquired through hands-on practice. Luckily, the nature of Software Testing is repetitive like Kata.

So as you sit down with your coffee to test the latest deliverable, make sure you are sharing information with good bug reporting.

Happy Testing.

Bug Reporting Is As Much An Art As A Science

… As a result sometimes running a refresher / brainstorming session on best practices in bug reporting for your team is a must.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the testers and the person presenting can benefit hugely from the interaction.

The Primer

Embedded here is a primer presentation I use for this refresher on aspects of bug reporting I want my team to focus on:

The Warptest POV

Whether you are working with onsite developers or offshore, the need for sound observation and good bug reporting is critical.

A bug not reported or not reported properly will never get fixed. If your bug reports don’t give objective analysis or stress the severity / cost to the end-users then the bug may never get fixed.

So maximize your testing ROI and make sure every bug discovered and reported gets a fair chance a being fixed.

Do you refresh your bug reporting skills at least once a year?


Zombie testing applies…

To a state of mindlessness in the tester where certain scenarios or observations are missed.

Sadly, it can be incredibly infectious in the workplace.

When does this happen?

This can happen for a variety of reasons but let’s examine a special case where names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty:

Elizabeth Bennet was a testing manager and was discussing web application testing with Darcy and Catherine, established members of her team.

She asked about cross browser compatibility testing and was greeted with a variety of the usual trollish comments about Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer - zombie testing

One of the many examples of this kind of IE trolling

Elizabeth felt Darcy was especially annoying on the subject but suppressed her irritation and scheduled a test session for the team to test the web app cross browser.

Her suspicions were confirmed when they discovered a variety of hereto undiscovered defects in IE.

Elizabeth sat with her testing team and asked each tester what web apps they work with and on which browsers. No one on the team actually used IE and once again Darcy piped up confidently stating that the “lame” browser had such little market share it wasn’t relevant to test.

George the Product Manager was passing by and heard Darcy. He was quick to jump in and correct this misconception and stated that he was glad Elizabeth had decided to correct this oversight as many of the company’s end-users were IE users.

Bingley the web app Developer was building a new version based on all the new defects found.

Darcy came over to Elizabeth privately to apologize for his mistake and asked for responsibility for testing this in future.

Elizabeth was pleased and agreed but only if they pairwise tested the next version.

The Warptest POV

Testing requires a variety of skills, some of which I’ve addressed in the past but a tester cannot afford to compromise their objectivity by bringing their prejudices into the workplace.

Doing so may leave them open to being infected with the kind of zombie testing mindlessness mentioned in the story above.

pride prejudice and zombie testing

Image with thanks to

In a nutshell, good testing is not zombie testing and it’s worth asking yourself if there is a product or technology you have a blindspot or bias against.

The question you need to ask yourself is if you don’t use it for your own work, will you even think of including it in your testing efforts?

So check the pride, check the prejudice and stow the zombie testing.


Regression Testing…

I recently discovered that some team members needed a basic run through of the ideas behind this. With this in mind I used the incredible new Office web application, Sway to create a presentation that I could use to get across the basics.

Sidebar: Sway

Sway is available to anyone with a Microsoft account (which also means you have free OneDrive and it comes with a strong Warptest recommendation.

This is not Powerpoint online (again you can find that in it is clearly still in beta but allows the creation of simple, elegant presentations that can be shared or embedded.

Sway - regression testing 101

If you don’t know about the free, yes FREE version of then check it out ASAP.

Regression Testing 101

The Sway presentation works better with the accompanying talk but the core ideas behind the Regression Testing 101 talk are:

CIR- regression testing 101


The Warptest POV

After running through two sessions on regression testing the issue is refreshed in my mind and clear to the testers who needed the extra information.

Sway makes for an easy to use tool for creating elegant visual presentations online.

Clearly the benefits of creating presentations and training talks are two-fold: for the person giving and receiving the information.



Testing Isn’t Always Easy…

Once upon a time, in a testing lab far, far away was a young tester who sat each and every day testing his company’s apps.

(For the sake of argument) let’s call our tester Bill.

Bill was young and relatively new and had been assigned what he thought was the most repetitive and boring of all test plans.

However, Bill was not deterred and each day he would start anew and add every single problem, flaw, defect or bug in function, UI, UX, Load, Stress or against spec he could find to the company bug tracking system.

Bill’s greatest joy was adding these bugs to the bug tracking system and assigning severity. As Bill was still learning his job he was concerned not every bug would be fixed and so he marked each and every one as “critical”.

Bill Learns A Tough Testing Lesson…

After several days Bill was drinking his coffee and thinking how many times the Developers had come running over to talk to him about his bugs and strangely how many times they left with a grumpy look on their faces after claiming the bug was a feature, or worked according to spec, wasn’t critical at all or simply only happened under the rarest of conditions.

Bill was a little confused and didn’t really understand the negativity about his bugs or their severity.

Just then, Bill’s boss, the QA Manager walked in, gave him a big smile and sat down with his double espresso opposite Bill.

“So Bill, I hear you’ve been keeping our Developers busy with lots of bugs, right?” Bill’s boss gave him a huge grin.

“I guess so…” Bill replied.

“Well, I wanted to talk to you about the fact that I’m pleased that you are so dedicated and I know the bugs are all important but are they really all critical?”

Bill thought about this for a moment.

“How do I know?”

Bill’s boss sipped his espresso, “Well Bill, ask yourself what does the bug do to the App, to the user or to the system it’s running on. Once you look at the impact you can get a better idea of severity. Do you know why I’m telling you this?”

“Umm” Bill scratched his head, puzzled.

Bill’s boss put his finished espresso down, “If we mark every bug as critical then the Developers won’t take the really critical bugs seriously because we overused the definition and made them drop new work to fix some bugs that could wait. Luckily the Product Owner and I discuss the bugs and he sets priority with the R&D Manager but we need to check the spec to be sure if something is a bug or not as well… You know the story of the boy who cried Wolf right Bill?”

Bill nodded.

“As you get more experience you’ll learn not to be the boy who cries bug and be more confident about what severity each bug is. Today we are going to test together and see whether we agree on each bug or its severity. Let’s see how the Developers respond to that.”

From that day Bill worked harder than ever to learn what was and wasn’t a bug and to report each bug with the right severity. The QA Manager continued to be happy with Bill’s work, even had Bill train new testers and the Developers would treat each bug reported by Bill with seriousness.

… and they all worked happily ever after.

The Warptest POV

Learning how to write bug reports other than the uncompromising brevity derived from using Twitter also involves knowing if your observation is truly a bug and how to define its severity.

So the next time you are about to hit save on that bug, think of Bill and just review what you are reporting.

(This Grim tale is based on past, real life events. Names have been changed to protect the innocent).


What Can Twitter Possibly Teach Testers?

When working with testers who are still learning (all of us, right?), one of the challenges is finding a common language between testers and with Developers. This came up today and sparked this post:

This is especially important when it comes to writing test cases and reporting bugs.

In an age of “You had me at …” it’s crucial to get the point across rapidly and efficiently without compromising the information.

So.. Twitter Huh?

Twitter with its 140 character restriction on tweets is a natural teaching tool for anyone who needs to learn the discipline of brevity.

Twitter logo - testers

The thing is when reporting a bug it’s important to remember that you are imparting a story; a story that allows the Developer to know what should be fixed and under what scenario(s).

Imagine an ALM that was built on Twitter functionality: –

  • User stories, spec, test cases and bug reports all limited to 140 characters
  • Hashtags to make all of the above searchable by keywords.
  • Groups and Lists based on teams (e.g. QA, Dev, Product, Sales) and team members with usernames prefixed by the Twitter @.
  • Retweet, favorite or Direct Message (DM) other users.
  • Attachable images and URL shortening.
  • Trending subjects based on traffic within the ALM.
  • Analytics (of course).

The Warptest POV

As you read this keep one eye on the Agile Manifesto and see how Twitter Teaches Testers in an Agile manner. If you don’t see it, then it’s time to reread the manifesto:

agile manifesto - testers

The beauty of this method is not just the brevity but the rapid manner that it allows your testing to progress as everyone gets onboard with this manner of communication.

Obviously, there are exceptions, intricate or complex issues that require greater detail but the rule of thumb is,

“If you can’t sum up your bug or test case in 140 characters then it might be more than one issue.”

Does this speak to you? Feel free to offer your own experiences and ideas on the subject.



Testing Is Not Just For Amateurs…

… When is the last time you heard someone say,

“I know we’ll do the basic coding but get in someone with no experience to finish our disruptive app for us”?

Right. NEVER.

What Am I Doing Wrong?

Since you asked, here’s a short list to read, digest and nail with a riveting gun to your hiring manager’s table-top: –

Testing - 5 wrong things

So what do you do?

The Warptest POV

The value of Beta Testing is in taking the observations you receive and turning it into actionable intelligence for your Developers. Having a tester who adds these observations as bugs in your bug tracking and ensures they aren’t duplicates will make your life a lot easier.

Having a tester to plan and execute your testing in a professional manner will ensure a logical, efficient effort is made to provide optimal test coverage.

As for Cross Browser compatibility testing, I singled it out after reading yet another blog post about Best Cross Browser Testing Tools. Once again it’s Mashable writing an article that implies testing can be performed by any random bunch of dudes.

To their credit they incorporate two of my favorites BrowserStack and Browsera. Both are elegant in their simplicity if all you want to do is perform basic visual validation or in BrowserStack’s case add a layer of automation thanks to integration with Selenium Web Driver (an automation API to drive the browser natively).

BrowserStack supports 300 or so desktop and mobile browsers. Browsera makes it easy to test sites with logins, compare layouts and find scripting errors.

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The big problem with all these blog posts on best tools … for Cross Browser compatibility is that they fail to explain the psychological impact of layout bugs on your users.

Content is king but if it’s displayed in a messy, visually irritating manner then you just lost the user who you forced to endure those bugs.

All because you didn’t understand the ramifications of not having these tests performed, or knowing which platforms / browsers / browser versions are your priority.

Isn’t this a laborious process? If planned and executed efficiently even by a manual tester then subject to the complexity of your site or app this shouldn’t be too time consuming.

So what have we learnt?

  • Don’t expect the same results from using amateurs as using professionals.
  • Use the right tools for the job.
  • Plan the work and work the plan.
  • Gareth Mallory says it best in the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall when addressing 007:

So what are you going to do to ensure your product’s success?

Being A Tester Is A Profession…

Those of us in the profession who embrace it with passion sometimes see it as a calling and when we read certain stories we feel their pain but are often unsurprised.

Never Was A Tale Of More Woe

Techcrunch and other blogs have recently reported on two high profile Startups, Clinkle (over the last few days) and Snapchat (the end of December) suffering hacks / data breaches of differing scales.

A Venture Capitalist I follow on Twitter postulated that these events call into question the skill level of the Startup Devs, allowing user or payment data to be compromised.

The Usual Suspects

Usual Suspects - Tester

In both of these cases I found it hard to point the finger (exclusively) at the Devs and suspected that either: –

  1. The Startups had no testers and didn’t test.
  2. The Startups employed non-testers to do the testing: all hands on deck.
  3. The Startups had testers who reported the bugs but their reports went unheeded.

Testing? We’re Not There Just Yet.

Many startups are known for considering testing an activity that is best left until late in the day. Something the company just doesn’t have the money for but will get to, one of these days.

Money tester dudes

After looking at the LinkedIn profiles of Clinkle and Snapchat I couldn’t find any employees listed in either company as testers. The Techcrunch article on Clinkle refers to “employee testers” clearly they went for option 2 above; calling a bunch of random dudes in their employ testers without knowing what testing actually is.

The Warptest POV

I asked the question “How do you respond when a company says they aren’t ready for testing yet?” to my peers in the Israel QA / Software Testing Forum Facebook Group. The discussion is mainly in Hebrew but some people felt this was a reality to be accepted, others felt this was unacceptable and it was a fascinating insight.

My opinion is that if your product relies on the trust of the people exposed to it to build your user base then it is never too soon for testing but I’ll return to this premise.

The idea that Startup Devs are lacking if they allow these breaches fails to address one important fact: Devs are not Testers. They aren’t trained to be and in fact, they are trained to work with testers who provide backup / cover. In a nutshell, the testers are there to find bugs, report them and ensure the bug is dealt with.

The moment the founders remove these checks and balances then the whole product lifecycle is out of kilter and it is only reasonable to expect a major bug to slip through.

Remember, if you treat testing as a second class activity then don’t be surprised if you create a second class product.

Returning to my premise that it’s never too soon to test, does this mean Startups need to magically find the money to employ a full-time tester or testing team? If you are iterating a web / mobile application then contracting either an early stage, one shot testing cycle or testing on demand until you raise further funding is an affordable option. The testing will either be done for you or your non-testers can be guided and managed to provide better testing coverage.

If you need testing for your app then contact me and I can help you ensure your product doesn’t launch untested or reach critical bug mass.

Mobile App Testing…

Isn’t just nice to have, isn’t something you can tack on late in the day; it’s a mission critical task that will ensure whether your app soars to success or flies too close to the Sun.

Mobile App Testing - Soar

Make your Mobile App Soar Like A Rocket!

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office Pictures.

The idea of, “We’ll let the users find the bugs for us.” Isn’t just flawed or disrespectful of your users, it’s asking for your App to receive catastrophic reviews.

Why is this a bigger deal with Mobile App Testing than Desktop, Client-Server or Web Applications?

The Nature of the Beast

Given that Mobile Apps range from free to cheap, that most are small and fast to download or install and that many apps have alternatives, the emotional investment is a lot less than purchasing or installing a desktop App. In a nutshell, it’s that easy to uninstall and move on too.

Do you really want your App to inspire this response?


Frustration, infuriation or anger; are those really the emotions you want associated with your Mobile App? These are a short list of deadly sins you had better find during testing: –

Mobile App Testing - Deadly Sins

The Warptest POV

The list above is based (mostly) on real world examples, mistakes that Mobile App Testing didn’t catch and the Startups had to make some serious apologies over.

Which Mobile Apps have you uninstalled for being guilty of one or more of these?

If you believe it’s better to test first and prevent these kinds of bugs but don’t have Mobile App Testing setup then get in touch ASAP.

Atlassian Makes Awesome Software

…but more than that, they make great solutions for anyone in the world of software.

Atlassian web site

Last night I attended the Atlassian Israel Meetup hosted at Google Tel Aviv. The group is a thriving community and for anyone familiar or just getting started using Atlassian products in Israel it’s worth joining up.

The Meetup

The meetup was well organized with good time to network and presentations on Atlassian’s Bamboo (CI), Hipchat and developments with JIRA Support and Confluence.

  • Issac of ItsGoodConsulting gave a detailed presentation on using Bamboo with Node.JS for Continuous Integration. It’s not my main area of expertise but it was interesting after having tested on a project run using CI to deep dive this side of the subject.
  • Evgeny and Ilya of DevOps gave a presentation on using Bamboo with Chef in DevOps scenarios. This was a chance to hear about some really innovative use cases.
  • Holly, the Community Manager from Atlassian was with us and gave a great presentation on HipChat. I just wish I had heard this several weeks ago when I wrote my post on Zula and Yammer. (I see a follow up post sometime in early 2014, especially if I get my hands on a Windows Phone version of HipChat). HipChat impressed me as the collaborative, real time chat glue that allows you to tie your lifecycle up in a cohesive bundle with a strong feature set and smart support for pretty much every platform out there.
  • David the Atlassian Israel group organizer also presented a really nice overview of new developments in Confluence (your central workspace for the whole team and a whole lot more) and JIRA.

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To cap the evening Atlassian provided pizzas and some great T-shirts for their various products. All in all a great evening.

The Warptest POV

I have written about JIRA in the past and I consider it one of the best options out there for managing your testing efforts. Atlassian has an incredible marketplace for all their products and you can find almost any add-on to suit your needs there.

The combination of Confluence and JIRA make for a strong combination especially for Agile development.

So if standalone bug tracking is not for you and a comprehensive ALM solution is more than your comfort zone allows then perhaps the optimum is a more scalable, modular approach that Atlassian offers.

Once again, thanks to all the folks who presented, to Google for hosting and David for organizing the meetup. I will definitely be at the next one.