Tag Archives: agile testing

Women in Testing Website is Live!

I wanted to let everyone know about a new website called: Women in Testing started by Jay Philips CEO & President of Project Realms, Inc. & TeamQualityPro.

If you are a woman in testing or if you know of any women in testing please let them know about this new website. It contains bios of women in testing; information on different events such as conferences and webinars; and a newsletter. Plus there is a Facebook page and a Twitter account – plus more is coming!

If you would like to be listed in the directory click here. I hope to see you listed on Women in Testing!

Developing An Interactive Shadowing Program With Videos and Exercises

job shadowing

Recently, I had a high school student spend two-days in the Testing department to gain a basic understanding of what testing is all about. Most of us know the challenges of explaining a Testers’ responsibilities without making it look too easy or so difficult that you completely lose them. Some of these challenges are discussed in a prior posting that you can find here. If you are hosting a shadowing day or any similar opportunity, below are a few ideas to get you started.

I would like to thank the following people who contributed to providing suggestions and links to potential training material. Griffin Jones, Teri Charles, Jennifer Hannon, and Stephen Becht.

  • Create an initial agenda and identify a few alternatives. During the shadowing program there might be a need to change direction based upon how the person is reacting to the information. Some material might progress more quickly than expected. Other material you might decide is not appropriate once you get to know him better. Plus remember to have fun. Do not make it so serious or intense that you lose him! And make it interactive to keep him engaged.
  • Create a Testers’ Profile by asking the Software Testers to answer a few questions on how they selected testing as a career, what they enjoy about their job, and what advice they would give a new Tester. Compile the information in a newsletter or some other fun format to provide as a take away. Host a conversation where the Testers can discuss their careers so he has an opportunity to ask questions. Try to maintain a casual environment. Look for a location that has comfortable chairs like a coffee break room or a conference room that is not the board room.
  • Guru 99 has free software testing videos that last from about 1-minute to 5-minutes. They are basically snippets of information with some of them having small exercises to perform. Once the video is completed, discuss any questions and relate the material to something that he is familiar such as Facebook, Twitter etc. Reinforcing the material is important.
  • Whodunnit? This video is a lot of fun providing some great opportunities for a conversation afterwards. Before playing the video instruct him to write down his observations. Do not watch the end of the video until he writes down observations on what has changed during the murder investigation. Consider replaying the beginning part of the video a few times so he can have a chance to find what has changed. Most people are surprised when they find out how much has changed during that short video.
  • Basketball Awareness Test: Moonwalking Bear. From an awareness perspective a Tester may notice something that does not make sense or is out of scope. At that point, the Tester has to make a decision. Go down the new path to explore or quickly note the observation returning back to the original test. An interesting conversation – if you do not notice the moonwalking bear what does that mean? Is it good or is it bad?
  • Easy Button Exploratory Testing by James and Jonathan Bach. This is a great video since it uses a lot of the testing terms in a fun manner. A great option for after lunch when he might be feeling that carb sleepiness. If possible purchase an Easy Button to reproduce some of the tests and relate them to your Testing department.
  • Cast 2011 Promo 2 Video. Another video by James and Jonathan Bach. The Hidden Puzzle is very interesting since each Tester took different test paths to identify the picture. If possible, recreate the Hidden Puzzle exercise with him and include a few Testers. How did each person approach the testing? Who found the hidden picture? How many tests did it take? This could be a fun exercise while providing some real insight on testing.
  • Steve McQueen, Consulting Software Tester. A short scene from the Towering Inferno with subtitles relating to Testing. It is best to play the video and then play it again but pausing at different times for a discussion.
  • TestBash 2.0 – A-Galumphing We Go James Bach. A longer video. After watching it determine how you will evaluate if he is ready for the material.
  • Open Lecture by James Bach on Software Testing. This video is longer and could work well if you stop it at different points for a discussion.
  • Brain Focus and other similar exercises are great since they can parallel testing in terms of understanding the requirements, working through different testing paths, and the potential danger of making assumptions. When appropriate create a decision table / tree or other diagram similar to how your team approaches a testing problem.
  • Create an exercise form with discussion questions for the videos or other material to be reviewed. This helps foster a conversation between each exercise and provides a place for him to take notes.

And most importantly… do not forget the food! Cookies, donuts, candy, going out for lunch… food is always a nice touch!

Let me know if you have any other ideas on how we might sponsor a shadowing or internship for a student whether high school or college to introduce them to Software Testing!

A New Women Testers E-magazine Has Arrived!

There is a new testing e-magazine called “Women Testers” that has recently been published. I hope you take some time to check out their first edition by clicking here. I would like to thank Jyothi Rangaiah and her team for pulling together this e-magazine, which is a lot of hard work and dedication to make this happen! I wish them much success with bringing together different viewpoints and approaches on testing through this e-magazine. We can all have an impact on testing through the international Testing Community. Take some time to not only read the articles but determine where you can contribute. Can you write an article or perhaps spend some time reviewing articles. Many hands make the work lighter! If you wish to be involved, contact Jyothi at jyothi@womentesters.com.

Over a Cup of Tea – My Interview with Tea-Time with Testers

Earl Grey Tea and Scones

As I have mentioned in a previous posting, I have a lot of admiration for Lalitkumar Bhamare and I was honored when he asked me for an interview for his excellent e-magazine. His interview provides some insight into my professional and personal life. So grab a cup of tea and perhaps a hot scone to not only read my interview but to also enjoy the wonderful articles written by Testers from around the world! My preference is loose Earl Grey Supreme by Harney and Sons. Speaking of scones… here is a great recipe for scones!

Click here for my interview.

What is Your Legacy? Part 5

How to reduce the cost of testing
Image courtesy of Amazon.

Throughout the “What is Your Legacy” series, I have mostly focused on the Testers in the trenches and I hope you enjoyed learning more about Testers that you may not be connected. Perhaps you found one or more Testers that you will start following on Twitter or their blogs. I love how the Testing community supports one another and how we share information within the community. Today I would like to talk about the book “How to Reduce The Cost of Software Testing”.

This book was written by many Testers who responded to a couple of questions posted on LinkedIn. It is an amazing book filled with the collective knowledge of more than 20-Testers from around the world sharing their thoughts and experiences on reducing the cost of Software Testing while still identifying the problems and bugs. A brief bio is provided on each of the authors with most of them having active websites. This is another great way to “meet” more Testers within the community.

This book also introduced me to Testers such as Selena Delesie who wrote an important chapter on “The Cost of Quality”. She presents different processes and approaches to reduce costs while improving quality through a fictional company case study. I think most of us are challenged to reduce the cost of testing but retain a high level of quality testing. We need to understand that cost as we make decisions since there are typically many different paths to choose from.

Another Tester I learned about through this book was Catherine Powell who wrote a chapter called “Opportunity Cost of Testing”. I love this chapter because as Testers every decision we make has a cost. We may select one set of tests over another set based upon the requirements and known risks. Testers are always fighting the clock; therefore understanding the opportunity costs of our decisions is fairly important.

This book is packed with valuable information; a great way to get acquainted with a lot of Testers; and the chapters can be read in any order. It does not get much better than that! Hopefully you will have an opportunity to read this wonderful book and apply what you are learning to your own department.

What is Your Legacy? Part 4

I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I am! Today I would like to share what I admire about Lalitkumar Bhamare and Teri Charles.

Lalitkumar Bhamare
I admire Lalit for being a co-founder and Editor of Tea-time With Testers (TTWT). He works endlessly to publish an innovative, quality e-magazine. Think about how much work and time it takes to write one article that is worthy for publication. Now imagine working with authors to write articles, interviews, and other creative ways to keep TTWT fresh and interesting. I would like to share a few initiatives Lalit has been involved. If you go to their home page and scroll down, you will find “Our Story and Testimonials” video, which I was happy to be involved. I hope you take some time to watch it if you are not familiar with TTWT. The concept of the Women in Testing edition published in September 2013 was wonderful to read with so many women sharing their viewpoints on technology. Leah Stockley was the guest editor and she did a wonderful job!

Last year I got an email from Lalit asking if I wanted to participate in the State of Testing 2013 survey that TTWT was partnering with Joel Montvelisky. Joel was looking for information to write a post about the advances in the testing world in the last 5-10 years and he realized that there is no centralized set of information that provides visibility into what is happening and what are the trends in the world of testing today. That is when he turned to Lalit and they decided to turn this into a project. It is an important survey that in the short term you can use it to learn how you compare to other testers and where you might make changes. Over the upcoming years, we will have data to trend to better understand where we are headed as a Testing Community. You can learn more about Lalit at his LinkedIn profile.

Teri Charles
Teri has so much enthusiasm for learning and encouraging others. I “know” Teri through Twitter and I have found she typically is the first person to congratulate or encourage someone. Through her blog Boulder Tester she shares her experiences in developing her testing skills and she is not afraid to get her hands dirty by learning how to write code. On her blog she discusses how coding never came as a natural skill. So what is her approach? Create a plan and then collaborates with a couple of other people to teach an “Introduction to Programming Concepts” course! You really need to read about her journey by going to her blog. Being a former programmer who studied many programming languages at college – I know this is not easy to do on your own. It is typically easier to learn another language once you have studied and understand the basics. So I have to say what Teri is doing is quite impressive!!

I love the article Teri wrote about her testing journey in the article Be a Student for Life for Tea-Time with Testers, September 2013 “Women in Testing Special”. I too am a learner and am always curious about how things work and why they work certain ways. Like Teri I think we both want to know everything and most likely get ourselves a little overbooked because we want to do everything and know everything. I look forward to see what Teri does next! You can learn more about Teri through her LinkedIn profile.

What is Your Legacy – Part 3

I am enjoying writing this series on “What is Your Legacy?” There are so many wonderful testers in the trenches that are making a difference in the Testing community whether it sharing testing approaches or encouraging others to develop and further their skills. In Part 1 and Part 2, I share a few testers and leaders that I admire – even though some are “famous” in their own right I am focusing more on the testers who have found a way to have their voice heard! We may not all write books or speak at conferences but you can make a difference. Find your voice and a medium for it to be heard. Remember Jerry Weinberg, Lisa Crispin, James Bach, and Michael Bolton had to start somewhere! None of them achieved their success over night – instead it was years of dedication and hard work. So much has changed with social media, blogging, Skype, and e-books that the world has become smaller. You can “chat” with people around the world opening up learning opportunities. This provides excellent opportunities to “meet” testers that were not possible at one time. Today I would like to share a couple more testers that I admire. Do not forget to read the first part and the second part of this series.

Jean Ann Harrison
Jean Ann has such a heart and passion for mobile testing and works endlessly in helping companies and individuals understand how mobile testing is different than testing a web-based application. You can often find her offering a free webinar and she is active in social media engaging in meaningful discussions on how we can improve testing. You can learn more about Jean Ann’s impressive background from her LinkedIn profile including her publications. I would like to share a couple of interviews from CAST 2012 that provides meaningful suggestions on Mobile testing that can also be used for other forms of testing.

Jean Ann on Mobile Testing. A short YouTube video where Jean Ann talks about the importance of gathering information to isolate a problem when a developer is not convinced the problem is related to his code. This is a good example of how gathering more intelligence to tell the testing story differently so the developer understands the impact.

Jean Ann on the Complexity of Mobile Testing. A short YouTube video where Jean Ann talks about organizing your exploratory testing for Mobile testing. Through a google search you can locate other webinars that Jean Ann has presented and freely distributes to the Testing community.

Adam Knight
I became acquainted with Adam through a book review committee and was immediately impressed by his feedback in the discussion groups. Subscribing to his blog Software Testing – a Sisyphean Task? I learned more about thread-based testing which is similar to session-based testing. I had been using a similar approach and was glad to read how other testers are addressing testing problems with this approach. Adam shared his thread-based template and how he added a dashboard by using a MySQL database. I loved his approach and adapted it to how we work. So thank you Adam for sharing your approach with the Testing community! I used this article for one of my Lean Coffee Chats and the team really enjoyed the discussion – plus you can read James Bach article on why he came up with thread-based testing.

Adam provided this link within his article along with a lot of other valuable information providing an overall picture. He provides a lot of great research material with his articles and I would recommend that you follow his blog. Plus here is a short video from Adam on Sources of Learning from EuroSTARConference. You can learn more about Adam from his LinkedIn profile.

What is Your Legacy – Part 2

I recently attended a women’s conference with the theme “What is your Legacy?” Before I get back to my onboarding new testers series I am writing a few postings on testers who I believe are leaving a legacy in the testing field. It is important to understand that you do not need to be a consultant or own your own business to make a difference. Testers in the trenches can influence change not only in their organizations but also in the testing community. In part one I discussed a few testers that I admire for different reasons. Of course this is an endless list as each of us will admire different leaders. There are many well known leaders such as Cem Kaner, James Bach, Michael Bolton, and many many others. But my focus is more on the testers in the trenches and how they are leaving a legacy that have inspired me! I hope that you realize that everyone can have a legacy. Today I am sharing a few more testers. And think about your legacy – how will you be known – and how are you known presently?

Darren McMillan
I became acquainted with Darren through Twitter and was immediately impressed with his approaches for challenging how testers approach problems. He would tweet asking if anyone was interested in participating in a testing challenge that he was facilitating with his team. Different problems were identified such as “the world could end in 5-minutes” and “testing the future”. Testers would have a time-box to complete the assignment and would provide how they approached the problem, then Darren would meet with them and create a mind map with all the solutions and ideas. You can find his challenges on his website. I have used these challenges as part of my training program as they are a fun way to learn and you will find where you fall into thinking patterns that need to be broken. Plus it shows the power of teamwork over individual, silo testing. As a team we are stronger by bringing together different ways to approach the same problem. I remember when Darren started to blog about using mind maps to write test plans, test ideas, and test cases. It was very interesting to me since it was a lean way to capture information and visually was easy to read. He wrote about mind mapping in Tea-time With Testers and I found an opportunity to use them in test planning and execution. What I witness was testers around the world adopting mind maps as a way to plan and manage the complexities of testing. I don’t know if Darren realized the impact he would have with his blogs and articles but imagine if he did not blog about his ideas with fear they would be rejected.

Michael Larsen
Michael Larsen is an endless supporter of the testing community. He is a Black Box Software Testing (BBST) instructor. BBST is a challenging software testing program that I have not yet attended since it is always filled before I have a chance to enroll. My understanding from Michael and from the BBST website is that it is a blended learning approach using videos lectures, quizzes, different homework assignments, and a final exam. The homework and the exam are peer-reviewed. Every participant in the course reviews work submitted by other participants and provides feedback and suggests grades. What I really like about this approach is that you demonstrate your skills through various activities and at the end of it if you pass the course it really means something! Michael also maintains his own blog with interesting postings from book reviews, software testing techniques, and information on conferences. I love Michael’s book reviews because it has helped me identify books for my testing team. Michael also is a facilitator of Weekend Testing Americas and as the chapter has grown more facilitators have been added. I do admire how much Michael gives of himself to the Testing Community and his own beautiful family.

Elisabeth Hendrickson
Elisabeth has extensive experience as a developer, tester, manager, and quality engineering director in a variety of companies ranging from small startups to multi-national enterprises. You can learn more about her through her Test Obsessed blog. I love her book Explore It! Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing. It is a small book in size but it is packed with valuable information and you only need to read a few pages to be inspired on how you might approach a testing problem differently. This is a great book to be part of your journal club to slowly work through the material to determine how it influences your testing and how you view testing. Take your time and do not rush the reading. Instead read a few pages and let the information sink in before moving on. I also love her book There’s Always a Duck. It is a collection of her postings from blogging and other places she published. It is a great collection of stories and information spanning her 15-years of writing. I love how she brought together this information in an e-book format making it easier to read and locate information. Elisabeth is a gifted writer and both books are important contributions to the testing community as they hold a wealth of information based upon her experiences.

Career planning as a path to promotion – using a formal career development plan

Career-Development-Plan

In this series on career development I am providing different suggestions for how you might manage your own career progression. In the last posting I shared how you could use a mind map to layout your vision, goals, actions, and how you might be accountable for achieving those goals. With the mind map you can add notes to each node to keep track of your progress. However, some people may prefer a written plan providing more details. In this posting, I am sharing a sample career development plan that you could adapt to your own situation regardless if you have a manager/mentor working with you. Remember never let the lack of a manager or mentor involvement to hinder you from developing your skills and knowledge. And if you are looking for a mentor and one is not available at work or in your own social settings – tap into social media. If you are building relationships through social media I am sure there are testers who will be happy to help you.

And remember always be prepared for that next work assignment or even promotion! When those opportunities become available it is too late to prepare for them – you must be ready.

Career Development Plan
For [enter name]

I. Career Goals and Commitments

  • What are the employee’s career goals?
  • What are the employee’s strengths that can help with furthering the career goals?
  • What are the employee’s weaknesses that can hinder progression towards the career goals?
  • Provide a brief overview of learning and skills required for the employee’s present position.
  • Provide a brief overview of learning and skills required for future opportunities (if applicable).
  • What are the top two or three development areas to focus on over the next year?
  • What is the employee’s commitment to manage his or her career opportunities?
  • How will the employee’s manager/mentor support his or her career growth?

II. Development Plan

Based upon Section I identify the learning opportunities and career building opportunities that realistically can be completed over the next six-months to a year to make progression towards the employee’s goals.

Development Area:
Learning Opportunities:
Career Building Opportunities:
Measurements:
Review Date:

Learning Opportunities can be defined as: internal training, external training, blogs, and virtual conferences.

Career Building Opportunities can be defined as: opportunities to develop skills and knowledge through work assignments or other similar opportunities.

III. Review Plan
Define how often the manager/mentor and employee will meet to review progress and make any changes to the plan. This should be a living plan that can change as progress is made and new opportunities arise.

Get your copy of the State of Testing 2013 — it is hot off the press!!

In a prior posting I invited testers to participate in the State of Testing Survey. This is a unique survey asking testers about the current state of testing such as what approaches, techniques, and tools that they use plus their opinion on the challenges in the testing field. The survey is sponsored by Lalit Bhamare, one of the editors of Tea-time with Testers and Joel Montvelisky co-founders of PractiTest. I do love the collaboration within the world-wide Testing Community – I believe it is a community to be envied because many professionals cannot tap into a similar network.

Today the results was published and you can download the free survey report. I do not want to say too much about the results and take away from their report. However, I am impressed with the number of testers who participated, the information gathered, the layout of results, and brief narrations throughout the report. There is a ton of valuable information and as a Software Testing Manager I will spend some serious time reviewing the results to determine how my team compares to the community and identify opportunities for future endeavors.

So grab a cup of tea and take some time to read this valuable survey. If you did not participate or perhaps did not know about it, there is good news. They plan on conducting the survey on a yearly basis. So near the end of this year I will let you know when you can participate. I would like to thank Lalit and Joel for their dedication of time to create, analyze, and publish this important survey for the Testing Community.