Tag Archives: career development

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!

Articles I Wrote that were Published through Tea-Time With Testers

books

Over the years, I had the pleasure of writing articles and several series for Tea-Time with Testers. My series included: How to Develop a Strategy for Cross-Browser Testing, Career Development and Learning Strategies for Testers and Introducing Session-Based Testing into your Testing department. Below are my articles in their original format. The attachments are in PDF format and you can read a lot of wonderful articles on Tea-Time with Testers.

2013 Articles

Introducing Session-Based Testing to Your Team Part 2 – December 2013 / January 2014
Click here to read
This article is focused on introducing session-based testing in your testing group after attending training.

Introducing Session-Based Testing to Your Team Part 1 – October 2013
Click here to read
This series will discuss how you can use session-based testing and tools like mind maps while providing suggestions on how to implement change within your testing team or department.

Prepare for Promotion Now! – Women in Testing Special September 2013
Click here to read
We often hear how the number of women moving up the corporate ladder becomes smaller at each rung. There are a lot of good conversations discussing the various reasons that factor into this problem. This article is based upon my experience on a few things women can do to let their voices be heard, have more influence, and prepare for senior level positions.

Using Mind Maps to Organize your Cross-Browser Testing Part 5 – February / March 2013
Click here to read
In this part of the series, I shared sample mind maps that I find useful in organizing my testing.

2012 Articles

Balancing Time with Cross-Browser Testing Part 4 – December 2012
Click here to read
In this part of the series, I shared sample mind maps that I find useful in organizing my testing.

Importance of Social Networking Part 3 – August 2012
Click here to read
In this article I shared information I gathered through the Testing Community on how to perform cross-browser testing.

Understanding Browser Compatibility Strategies Part 2 – July 2012
Click here to read
In this article I shared information I gathered through the Testing Community on how to perform cross-browser testing.

Understanding Browser Compatibility Strategies Part 1 – June 2012
Click here to read
In this article I shared information I gathered through the Testing Community on how to perform cross-browser testing.

Contributing to the Testing Community – May 2012
Click here to read
In this article I discussed the importance of building relationships within the Testing Community and contributing.

Training Someone New to Testing Part 2 – April 2012
Click here to read
This series focus on training someone who is new to the Testing field.

Training Someone New to Testing Part 1 – March 2012
Click here to read
This series focus on training someone who is new to the Testing field.

Facilitating a Journal Club – February 2012
Click here to read
In this article I provided suggestions on how to start to start a journal club to provide opportunities for Testers to discuss current trends.

Developing a Career Plan – January 2012
Click here to read
The focus of this article is developing a career plan with approaches that a manager can implement for his department and testers can adopt for their own professional development.

2011 Articles

Onboarding New Testers – November 2011
Click here to read
The focus of this article is onboarding newly hired testers into your department.

Articles I Wrote That Were Published in Testing Circus #Testing

publicationsOver the years, I had the pleasure of writing articles on testing, training, career development and other topics for Testing Circus. Below are my articles in their original format. Some of the articles I have revised and posted on The Testers Edge based upon what I have learned since that time or to take a different approach on the material. The attachments are PDF and you can find the magazines with a lot of great articles on Testing Circus.

2013 Articles

Are You Listening to Your Intuition? – 2013 September
Click here to read.
A lot has been written on how to progress your testing skills but an area often overlooked is listening to our intuition.

How Do I Manage My Time When There Is So Much To Do, 2nd part – 2013 April
Click here to read.
This article is the second part of “How Do I Manage My Time When there is so Much to Do?”

How Do I Manage My Time When There Is So Much To Do, 1st part – 2013 March
Click here to read.
With this article I addressed a few questions and challenges I face as a Software Testing Manager.

Who do I ask questions? – 2013 February
Click here to read.
In this article I discussed the importance of building relationships to help you identify the right person to ask questions and gather information.

How do I know when to stop testing – 2013 January
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the often-asked question “how do I know when to stop testing?”

2012 Articles

How can I learn to Test – 2012 December
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the question “how can I learn to test?”

Do you think I could be a tester, Part 2 – 2012 November
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the question “do you think I could be a tester?”

Do you think I could be a tester, Part 1 – 2012 October
Click here to read.
In this article I addressed the question “do you think I could be a tester?”

Performing Risk Assessment Part 3 – 2012 September
Click here to read.
The last part of this series discusses a post-testing risk assessment or what is sometimes called lesson learned.

Performing Risk Assessment Part 2 – 2012 August
Click here to read.
The second part of this series is focused on monitoring initial risks and identifying new risks based upon what is learned during testing.

Performing Risk Assessment Part 1 – 2012 June
Click here to read.
The first part of this series is focused on identifying risks prior to testing.

Can We Approach Metrics Differently? Part 3 – 2012 May
Click here to read.
This part addressed defining a goal, metric setting, and guidelines for presenting information to senior management.

Can We Approach Metrics Differently? Part 2 – 2012 April
Click here to read.
This part addressed “The Five Whys” which is a fact-based approach to identifying the root cause of a problem.

Can We Approach Metrics Differently? Part 1 – 2012 March
Click here to read.
This part addressed providing a foundation in analyzing information to define your problems.

Four Questions to Consider When Writing a Test Report – 2012 February
Click here to read.
This article discussed guidelines for writing a test report.

What is a Tester’s Role in Quality Part 2 – 2012 January
Click here to read.
The second part of this article discussed how the processes and testing approaches adopted by a Testing Department and how they impact the product’s quality

2011 Articles

Guidelines on Writing a Meaningful Problem Report – 2011 November
Click here to read.
General guidelines that a tester can follow when researching and developing a problem report

You Want it When? Part 2 – 2011 October
Click here to read.
This part discussed approaches to prepare for testing when timelines have been reduced which may require the testing team to work extended hours

You Want it When? Part 1 – 2011 September
Click here to read.
This part discussed how to prepare for testing to hit the ground running.

Regression Risk-Based Testing – 2011 August
Click here to read.
This article discussed different approaches to assessing risk that can be used to develop both a modified- and core-regression strategy.

Breaking the Testing Mindsets – 2011 July
Click here to read.
This article discussed different ways to approach a testing problem.

A Test Matrix Approach for Organizing Testing – 2011 June
Click here to read.
This article discussed how to use a test matrix instead of test cases.

Planning Your Next Testing Assignments – 2011 May
Click here to read.
This article provided suggestions on planning a testing assignment. Translate the word “PLAN” into four actionable steps: Prepare, Layout, Analyze, and Navigate.

Women Testers – October 2014 Edition is Out! How to Keep Yourself Organized When There are Too Many Demands on Your Time!

get organized

I hope you take an opportunity to read the latest edition of Women Testers! For this edition I have an article called: How to Keep Yourself Organized When There are Too Many Demands on Your Time! I plan on writing a second part to this article and would appreciate any questions or feedback that could be addressed in the next edition of Women Testers.

If you would like to submit an article for a future edition or help out in any way, please contact Jyothi Rangaiah at editor@womentesters.com and you can find more information by clicking here. Enjoy the magazine and please let people know about it including women who might be interested in a tech career!

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!

I am interested in a Testing Career – can you help me learn more about the field?

career development

Software Testing is one of the least known professions in the tech field. Most likely you have come across people who have performed a “checking” exercise and they equate it with “testing”. That really does dilute our value and it is important to take those teaching moments to let them know they performed a “checking” exercise to make sure that basic functionality did not break; however testing is much more complicated. This might lead to the question of:

  • Do you think I can be a Tester?
  • What does a Tester do?
  • Do you have a job opening in your Testing department?

These are great opportunities to educate people regardless if they become a Tester. We all need to come up with our elevator pitch when asked about the testing field. An elevator pitch is basically a short summary that can be provided in about 30-seconds.

In October and November 2012, I wrote a series for Testing Circus called: Do You Think I Could Be a Tester? Click here for October and here for November.

Here are a few ideas to get started and the above articles provide more details.

  1. What is his experience with Testers and what is his observation on their role? This can be helpful in correcting any misunderstandings as many people think Testers are the “Quality Police”. Another situation is the type of testing he witnessed at another company – for example that company may use test cases whereas another company is using session-based testing. Best to clarify any differences upfront.
  2. What does he enjoy doing? What are his career aspirations? If his goal is to implement company-wide solutions then a testing career might not be for him. But be careful about discouraging someone because a testing career could help him for other opportunities or he might find he really loves the field. A Tester’s skills crosses so many areas such as problem solving, critical thinking, risk analysis and mitigation, report writing, troubleshooting among many others.
  3. Take a personal approach to the conversation. Spend some time discussing why you became a Tester; why you enjoy the field; what do you find challenging about testing; what advice you would give a new Tester. Set a bit of background about the field before discussing how to perform testing. Have a few of the Testers share the same information. Perhaps have a small gathering of Testers meet with him to have this conversation. Make it informal so it does not feel forced and be sure to give the person opportunities to ask questions.
  4. Is he an employee of your company? Perhaps he can spend some time in the Testing department. Just be careful because if he does not understand testing then he might be overwhelmed with both what is testing and the product under test. There is a risk that this could discourage him from a career he might enjoy since he will not be going through the typical training program.
  5. Identify a tool or application he uses to demonstrate how to test a piece of functionality. Such as FaceBook, Twitter or anything that he is familiar with so his focus is on learning the testing piece.  In the November article are a couple of mind maps on bridging the training.

None of these suggestions are fool-proofed and it is important to tailor the approach to the person. Hopefully this will provide a few ideas  to prepare for these conversations. Plus be sure to come up with a Testing elevator pitch to be ready at any time to discuss “what is Testing”.

 

What is your Testing Elevator Pitch?

How do you explain a Tester’s responsibilities to someone who has no idea?

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.