Managing Home Working


Many IT roles are ideal for a flexible working policy, however there are always issues to consider when implementing such policies. This article addresses some of these issues and provides some guidelines to ensure that both the business and the employees are better off for it.


Certain roles within IT lend themselves to task based planning, which is perfectly suitable for remote working. A software developer for instance is assigned tasks, each task has an agreed timeline and then the dev gets on with it. As long as the tasks are being done to a reasonable schedule and at the quality that has been specified, then the business is better off by having happier employees and they are happier because they can work when and how it suits them. The regular review of the task progress eliminates most of the potential pitfalls. So productivity needs to be quantifiable.


Email can be cumbersome, so instant messaging and VOIP phones should be used to make life easier. Additionally, for certain types of tasks and early phases of projects, there is no substitute for being in the same location and having a face-to-face. Bottom line is that communications must be easy for all concerned and at certain points there is no substitute, which has to be recognised by everyone within the team.

Company Ethos

It’s sometimes a pre-existing idea within a business that remote working is an opportunity to slack off. If it’s handled correctly the company gets additional hours for no charge because of the additional pressure for team members to be more productive and put in a ‘good shift’ when they cannot physically be seen, that works to the company’s advantage and all parts of the organisation need to understand that. This can be a harder sell in some companies, but that’s part of the challenge.


With longer and more expensive commutes, cost of office space and better infrastructure available to homes across the country, home working is making increasingly more sense. That doesn’t detract from the fact that some people just aren’t suited to it or they might not have the correct environment at home that is conducive to it, that has to be taken into account. It doesn’t mean they are bad employees or slackers, nor that home working doesn’t work, but it does need to be identified and agreed that it might not be suitable for them. Finally, any employer obligations need to be considered such as health and safety assessments where applicable, insurance, etc…


George Toursoulopoulos is a technology specialist and CEO of Synetec, one of the UK’s leading providers of bespoke software solutions.

Top 3 Tips to Effective Software QA



Software Quality Assurance is and always will be a challenge, furthermore it can be a costly one. To get it right requires a combination of the right people and the right processes, both which require investment and a prioritisation within the organisation. Below are some of the key elements in getting it right.

Build the right QA team

Firstly, let’s not kid…hiring good QA’s is hard. There are many low end candidates and a fair bit of needing to separate the wheat from the chaff. We see a lot of CV’s from candidates working in large outsources and most of these candidates are more suited to working in a tightly managed team performing routine tasks. You need to find diligent, bright people that are capable of understanding the systems. The nature and complexity of the systems have a big effect on the calibre of candidate. There is a large difference between testing a simple ecommerce website selling widgets versus a risk management system for a financial institution. These QA’s will need to get into the nitty-gritty of the system, how the users will use it and what the dev’s might not have thought of in order to find the faults. The other consideration is when you hire the right people, due to their calibre you will need to allow for career development and its fairly common to see the right candidates move into BA roles, so the challenge doesn’t end with hiring the right candidate.

Testing Automation

If you are not automating the majority of your testing, QA becomes a mind-numbing and time consuming process that is a breeding ground for human error. It becomes extremely difficult to get the consistent regression testing that you need for high quality software in production. Back to the point above, the right QA’s will have the ability required to ensure quality test plans and the ability to automate them. Automating the regression testing of the product is also the main area where you should consider using outsourced resources if there is a bottleneck, as they can assist in getting over the one-off resource bottleneck. Ideally, automated test scripts should be run nightly on the latest build with the results being reviewed and interpreted every morning by the test team, in turn this should filter to the dev team so that product regression is kept to a minimum.

Storyboards and Testing Plans

All test storyboards should be logged in the product backlog for reference, this number can be quite large, but it should be done. All bugs found by the testing team should be logged to the storyboard too, so that it’s included going forward to assist in avoiding product regression. Going back to the automation, the more test storyboards that have been automated, the lower will be the reliance on manual testing and the challenges that come with that.


Ideally, you should treat the testing as part of your product development engineering and integrate the testing with the development as much as possible. Automate as much as is feasible for your scenario and ensure you have high quality QA’s for what needs to be performed manually.


George Toursoulopoulos is a technology specialist and Director at Synetec, one of the UK’s leading providers of software services and solutions.

Synetec supporting SportsAid

Synetec were proud to get involved with the SportsAid Charity Golf Day this year. The event was held at the immaculate and prestigious Stoke Park.

Most importantly the day raised awareness and funds for the tremendous work and effort that SportsAid puts into helping the next generation of British sports stars by giving them financial support and recognition during the critical early years of their careers.Click here to learn more about the great work being undertaken by SportsAid.


The imposing Stoke Park

The challenging and gorgeous 7th hole, which was the inspiration behind the famous 16th hole at Augusta

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