Tag Archives: context driven testing

My Rewarding Experience as a Reviewer and Contributor to “More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team” by Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin

More Agile Testing
Picture courtesy of Amazon and where you can order this excellent book!

For many years I have written articles for the Testing Community and shared them through Testing Circus and Tea-Time with Testers. One warm summer day in July 2013, I received a pleasant email from Lisa Crispin asking if I would like to be one of the reviewers and contributors to their upcoming book that would compliment their existing book “Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams”. It was an honor to be asked and of course my response confirmed my interest. An international review team was brought together comprising of people with different experiences and expertise in their fields.

This was a rewarding experience both professionally and personally as there were many learning opportunities reviewing the chapters and discussions with the team. Checking my email was fun since there was a potential for an email from Lisa and Janet announcing what was ready for review or from a fellow reviewer with a question to foster a lively discussion. New chapters were quickly printed for when there would be time to review, digest, and comment on them. Lisa and Janet worked with the reviewers to help us identify where we could contribute sidebars to their new book. It was fun reading what the other reviewers were writing based upon their experience. For me, this is what really makes this book come alive – Lisa and Janet are sharing a lot of valuable information that is supplemented by real-life experiences. As an example I enjoyed reading how other Testers are using Session-Based Testing and Thread-Based Testing to meet the challenges of testing in a fast-paced environment!

It was a great opportunity to witness how a book comes together, the chapters under review might not be named nor are they in the order of the final publication. As the book evolved, chapters may be combined or information moved to a different chapter. After reviewing each chapter it was interesting to read the book cover to cover. It reminds me of a movie production where scenes are filmed out of order and then brought together to tell the story.

Once the draft book was completed, there was a great sense of accomplishment and a feeling of disappointment. Being part of a community working towards a common goal is fulfilling and exciting. It reminds me of working with a great project team. When the project is done there is pride of the work completed but yet a sadness that the project is completed.

The information and experiences within this book series is part of the overall testing picture. As an artist blends together different colors and uses different tools to create a beautiful piece of artwork, we do the same in Software Testing. We blend together different approaches and techniques to design and execute testing strategies to tackle complex testing problems.

As with the first Agile book, there are great learning opportunities for you to determine how to apply the information to further your testing career and tackle testing problems. As an example I love the “Pillars of Testing” model by David Evans designed with different factors that integrate to improve our confidence in the information we provide about the Quality of the Product we test. This model helped me think through the different factors to understand our strengths and weaknesses in each area of this model. Adam Knight’s discussion on “T-Shaped Skills” inspired me to think differently about training by identifying the “deeper” skills required for different flavors of technical testing and Product testing. At this time, my background includes limited automated testing experience; however, this book provides a foundation for me to better understand both the benefits and challenges to have a reasonable conversation. The chapter on “Thinking Skills for Testing” is excellent and in particular I like how Sharon Robson discussed that you need to use different type of thinking based upon the problem such as when to use critical thinking, analytical thinking, and creative thinking. Plus sample tools are suggested that can be researched further.

Lastly and most importantly, I would like to thank Janet and Lisa for this wonderful opportunity and to their continual dedication to the Testing Community. My recommendation for my readers is that you will add this book to your testing toolbox and discover how it will influence your testing world!

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.

Please Participate in the State of Testing 2015 Survey!

It is that time for the second survey on the State of Testing! If you did not participate in the first survey, you will definitely want to participate this year! The first survey had 600 participants and this year we are hoping for at least 1,000! The survey seeks to identify the existing characteristics, practices and challenges facing the testing community in hopes to shed light and provoke a fruitful discussion towards improvement. Click here to participate.

If you are not sure if you want to participate, please take a few minutes to review last year’s survey results. A lot of valuable information on how other Testers are spending their time, how they plan, methodologies used, challenges faced and much more! I hope you will take some time to complete this valuable survey as I believe you will find the information helpful!

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.

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?

Gathering Testing Artifacts and Journal Notes

CamStudio
Image Courtesy of CamStudio

Recently, I want to learn more about how Testers are gathering their testing artifacts to help them make a decision on whether the code they are testing is ready to go to production. As Testers we know we will never be able to cover all of the potential tests. People outside of testing often have a hard time understanding why full testing coverage can be impossible especially for larger modules / functionality we are testing. This includes the sheer number of tests to perform, understanding the critical risks, what is important to the customer, among other considerations and then balancing all of that with time available for testing. Recording your testing may seem scary or intimidating at first, but it can have a lot of benefits. A recording can be used when working with a Developer on how to reproduce a problem; demonstrating to another Tester what you saw in testing to determine next steps; and providing physical evidence during an audit.

Recording your testing may or may not help defend your sampling strategy but if you add journal notes with your recordings you may be able to show the progression of your testing and why you made certain decisions. This can be important when you need to go back to review why you made certain decisions or review how you tested something. Most of us cannot rely on our memory to remember why we made certain decisions. Therefore, a certain level of documentation is important.

Understanding why and how we document information is important. A great starting point to understand more about how and why Testers collect journal notes is discussed in Michael Bolton’s article: An Exploratory Tester’s Notebook.

Another great article Have You Considered Evidence of Testing?

I have had a lot of informative conversations with Griffin Jones on the importance of gathering testing evidence. Please refer to his session talk at CAST 2013 What is good evidence? You can learn more about Griffin’s consulting business Congruent Compliance by clicking here.

You can find even more information from Software Testing Club where Testers shared their thoughts on recording tools by clicking here.

I gathered, through social medial, what video recording and documentation tools Testers are using to gather their testing artifacts. I would like to thank the following people for responding: Teri Charles, Raji, Gagan Talwar, Mohinder Khosla, Ajay Balamurugadas, Richard Bradshaw, Lisa Crispin, Srinivas Kadiyala, Adam Yuret, and Griffin Jones. As always, we have an awesome Testing Community that is always willing to share information.

Below is a summary of the findings. Some of these tools are open source and others you must purchase but they may have a short trial period. I would suggest identifying what is important to you in a recording tool before you start your evaluation to make a better decision.

Another suggestion by Lisa Crispin for recording and showing bugs: Quicktime. From Srinivas Kadiyala we have a few additional suggestions: SnagIt , qSnap, Paint (PrintScreen). Lalit has let me know that QTrace is now qTestExplorer! Click here to learn more! And thank you Lalit for the correction! From Kobi Halperin we have Defect Scribe that he hopes to explore and share information about.

Keep the suggestions coming and I will update this page.

How are you gathering your Testing Artifacts?

Do you record your testing?

Do you use screen cap tools?

Or do you have another method to provide your Testing Artifacts?

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.