My Rewarding Experience as a Reviewer and Contributor to “More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team” by Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin
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!
Recently at work I made a presentation regarding the Software Testing Department future direction. As part of that presentation I shared stories about a few testers who have made a difference in the field. The next day I attended a women’s conference that was focused around “What is your Legacy?” It was a fabulous conference that gets you thinking about how you live your life today forms how people remember you. It forms your legacy. For this posting, I wanted to share a few testers and leaders who are building or have built a great legacy! I hope one of your take-away from this posting is that you can influence change and make a difference. I bet when some of them started blogging on their ideas they did not imagine the impact!
Many of my readers will know Gerald Weinberg – many consider him the Father of Software Testing as he formed the first official testing department back in the 1950’s. He has inspired so many technical people through his writing, consulting, mentor-ship, and problem-solving training seminars. This short list does not do him credit for his influence in the tech world. For his 75th birthday a book was written to honor him called The Gift of Time that was written by influential testers and consultants to honor him regarding his contribution to Information Technology and how he influenced their careers. Imagine your legacy living on and people honoring you in such a way on your 75th birthday! Jerry writes for Tea-time with Testers and is involved with the content of the e-magazine and provides regular guidance. You can learn more about Jerry through his website.
I have admired Lisa for many many years and was thrilled when we started to connect through social media. Lisa along with Janet Gregory were influential in helping testers find their voice as part of an agile team. I remember when the agile manifesto came out in 2001 and it was an exciting time since many of us worked in waterfall environments where it quite literally took years to get software to our customers. It was wonderful to hear that software could be delivered in smaller increments. But at the same time there was a buzz that testers were no longer needed on these agile teams. What did that mean for our careers? Were we destined to remain in the waterfall world with heavy documentation and long release cycles? Lisa and Janet both made a difference for us testers by finding our voice! I can only imagine how difficult this must have been since being a change agent is a very difficult role to fulfill. You will make sure that you read their book: Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams.
I am honored to be invited as a reviewer for their new agile book coming out later this year. I am inspired by the problems Lisa has tackled and how she freely shares this information to the community. Plus her dedication to travel around the world to speak and train at conferences. She works in my viewpoint, endlessly! You can learn more about Lisa by visiting her website.
Mike is a wonderful story teller with the ability to view the world as if there is not any boundaries. As a former teacher, he provides a different way to approach testing problems coupled with his degree and knowledge of physics. I find that Mike will challenge your approach on a problem that opens up new avenues that you did not think about. I first “met” Mike through Twitter and his new years posting called: Let 2012 be the death of Superman! You can find that posting here. I used this posting as the starting point for my department’s start of the new year because there is nothing wrong with asking for help or admitting you do not know something. That is why a team approach is typically more effective than a silo approach. Often in the business world we can place too much emphasis on “solo superstars” instead of the integration of the team where you can still highlight your specialty.
Mike is a great mentor and I hope you take some time to get to know him. Mike’s ebook Software Minefield is a great book on his more than 15-years experience as a tester. It is written for experienced testers but there are chapters that are good for a new tester to read. You can learn more about Mike by visiting his website.
In 2009, Ajay was a co-founder of Weekend Testing designed to bring testers together for about 2-hours to test a web-based application focused on a testing charter to further develop their testing skills and knowledge. What I find amazing is this concept spread to Europe, US, and New Zealand. A small group of testers from India influenced testers throughout the world on a different way to progress their skills! I like their catch phrase: Test Learn Contribute. In the Testing Community it is about giving back to the community because we are stronger as a community if we each contribute. Ajay has written several e-books that I am pleased to say that I read before they were published. They are from a viewpoint of a new tester and are packed with a lot of great information! You can learn more about Ajay by visiting his website.