In the following article I will try to present my thoughts on how interesting project is the Loop application - what it is, who uses it, and also what made me think more about the world and software development. My name is Piotr. My role in the project is Quality Assurance Specialist (QA/Tester). I joined the Loop project in October 2021.
What is the Loop Project, you ask, and what is its phenomenon? Let's start from the beginning. Loop, a social application that allows people to express their opinions on various topics - often sensitive, referring skeptically and often critically to the government of the African countries (mainly Zambia and its surroundings), or providing "first-hand" information from the local population. It was created as a Proof of concept at the end of 2020, its foundation is a long-standing acquaintance between Marek Wrzosowski - acting Project Manager of Loop and the CEO of Elite Crew, and Ciarán Duffy, Acting UX Designer/Designer, working with various NGOs on a daily basis.
The Loop app is a kind of bridge between citizens and the state in inquiring about aid/justice in various areas of daily life like security, food, hygiene, education, etc. Where is the innovation in this? African countries often suffer from social inequalities, disease and incomplete supply chains. As a result, official state channels are either inept due to limited capacity or they don't want to see the problem. This is where Loop comes in, because by using contacts and collaboration with NGOs, the Loop application enables a quick contact between the affected party and a specific organization. On a regional as well as international level, the app can do much more and be the "voice of the people". As we all know, in the world of social media, globalization and always online, once something goes online, it is impossible (or difficult) to hide.
"Well, okay, but there are probably several such projects. What's innovative about this?" you'll think. Since 2020, this project has been developed "after hours" - so far, the application has been developed by different people who work in their projects every day, in different industries. What is unique is that all these people, wanted something more! They had the strength, enthusiasm and willingness to devote their private time to something extra, to do something "extra"! Something that would help people in another corner of the earth. Something that was initially just an experiment, with a few functionalities "crosswise", turned into a multilingual platform to express your opinion and seek help (including local languages - Arabic, Tonga, Bemba), as well as with several communication channels - SMS, contact through messengers such as Messenger and WhatsApp, or sending voice recordings - which is also interesting from the perspective of the work of a software tester. How many of us have had daily contact with Arabic and how the UI is displayed in its perspective - a simple example if in Arabic the content is displayed from right to left, shouldn't the question mark (?) be a mirror image? ;) Add to this the integration tests with many external services and it gets serious ;)
The beginnings of the project were difficult. In the era of modern methods of software development, where teams work in agile methodologies (Agile, SCRUM, etc.), and also have rigid working hours and availability - the so-called core hours, it is hard to imagine a partial, or even complete "desynchronization" of the production team. And yet, Loop's team shows that even with a dozen hours a week, at different times of the day, using commitment, enthusiasm and willingness, and working slightly "chaotically", you can achieve a lot. It is also worth noting that the team of which I am a part is trying to implement SCRUM events such as Planning, Refinement and Daily standup in their time-limited activities. You can also see that the team is getting used to each other, because some people have been working together for a long time. It can be argued that a functioning team is already largely self-organized, and the initial "chaos" has been transformed into a well-functioning machine in which everyone knows what to do. Personally, I am proud to be part of the team, and to work on an application that helps people every day.Article written by Piotr