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Showing posts from 2017

Wheel of Testing Part 2 - Content

Thank you Reddit, while attempting to find pictures of the earths core, you surpass yourself.
Turns out Steve Buscemi is the centre of the world.

Anyway. Lets start with something I hold to be true. My testing career is mine to shape, it has many influences but only one driver. No one will do it for me. Organisations that offer a career (or even a vocation) are offering something that is not theirs to give. Too much of their own needs get in the way, plus morphing into a badass question-asker, assumption-challenger, claim-demolisher and illusion-breaker is a bit terrifying for most organisations. Therefore, I hope the wheel is a tool for possibilities not definitive answers, otherwise it would just be another tool trying to provide a path which is yours to define.

In part one, I discussed why I had thought about the wheel of testing in terms of my own motivations for creating it, plus applying the reasoning of a career in testing to it. As in, coming up with a sensible reflection of real…

Independent, Punk, Leeds Testing Atelier IV

On Tuesday 9th May 2017, we did it again, the fourth iteration of the Testing Atelier rocked the mighty city of Leeds. 
We try to do things a little different. 
Our venue Wharf Chambers is different, a community run venue rather than stuffy conference halls or meeting rooms. We wanted to present a different type of event too as many testing conferences are mainly testers talking about testing that testers do. We wanted to show testing as an activity though, something that all roles do in their own way and how those fit together. To this end, we sourced speakers, workshop facilitators and panelists from loads of roles, developers, ops, build engineers, product all contributed. In fact we had pretty much a 50/50 split between testers and other roles. Winning.

#Testatelier#Leeds The testers have taken over the 3 ways of #DevOps! Here's the third way... — AlexC (@smileandeliver) May 9, 2017As well as having more from all those roles who have a stake in testing a…

The Four Hour Tester - Modelling as a Team Exercise

A few weeks ago, myself and a few colleagues embarked on the Four Hour Tester exercises, starting with the skills of interpretation.

As promised we have attempted the second exercise, modelling. Modelling for me is one of the key testing skills, especially if you don't wish to rendered inert when there are no 'requirements' or 'documentation.' Making our models explicit is also critical, we all carry around our models of a product, system or process in our headers, and when externalised, can raise new questions, both of our own understanding, and as a wider group.

The essence of the exercise was to take three tours from Michael Kelly's FCC CUTS VIDS touring heuristic, specifically:
Users TourData TourConfiguration TourAnd go exploring!
Anyway, we grouped ourselves up and had go, with one slight change, instead of Google Calendar we used the deeply insane Ling's Cars website! Here's what we came up with:

Notes (rough) from our Lings Cars session this aft:

The Four Hour Tester - Interpretation as a Team Exercise

I do hope that everyone has heard about the Four Hour Tester by now. A fascinating experiment by Helena Jeret-Mäeand Joep Schuurkes, distilling the key skills in testing into a set of exercises over 4 hours. This resonated with me, I enjoy thought exercises where you reduce something down to what you believe to be critical, really making choices and having to let go of previously unrealised biases and assumptions.

After seeing the model demonstrated at TestBash Manchester last year, I thought it would be beneficial for me to gather my colleagues, pair up and attempt the first exercise, "Interpretation":

Essentially, come up with as many interpretations of the second sentence of the following paragraph:
“You can add reminders in Google Calendar. Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. For example, if you create a reminder to make a restaurant reservation, you’ll see the reminder each day until y…

Wheel of Testing Part 1 - Motivations

(This will be part of a blog series - part 2 will discuss the content of the wheel itself and what I think it means, part 3 more how it can be used) 
I recently attended the peer conference NWEWT2 in Liverpool, which is my favourite type of conference. You get to share your ideas, have them scrutinised and hopefully walk away a bit wiser. The theme here was "Growing Testers", something that I had wrestled with my whole career, so I looked forward to getting involved. I got some excellent feedback. Also, to my delight, I was also accused of aloof wizardry by Gwen Diagram as I wouldn't offer a definition of 'tool assisted testing' to those who had used the wheel (see above), so I walked away happier and more wizardly than ever.
When I became a manager a few years ago, the world opened up more of the vast variance of human motivation to me. I had to consider contributing the development of others, as well as the self. Problem is I thought I could develop other testers…

Test Approach Mnemonic: MICROBE

With TestBash 2017 on the way, I've been reflecting on my journey as a public speaker, since being inspired by the speaker and overall experience of TestBash Brighton 2013. Looking through some older material I discovered 'Testing is Exploratory', delivered at Leeds Testers Gathering, back in 2014. Extolling the virtue of a lightweight and transparent test approach, inspired by my attendance on Rapid Software Testing the previous year...

Here's what I said then:
What is a 'Test Approach'? "It is the act of THINKING about the BUSINESS PROBLEM and how TESTING will contribute VALUE using your own BRAIN and that of OTHERS with the outcome of DELIVERY in mind." Test Approach Mnemonic:
Mission - the primary concern of the testing, your mum should understand.Involving – involve stakeholders, discover their biases, not your own. Challenges - what questions are we seeking to explore? Risk - we are in the risk business, so what are the business risks?Observable - …

Getting started with testability

At TestBash Netherlands, I said that, in my experience, a lot of testers don't really get testability. I would feel bad if I didn't follow that up with a starting point for expanding your mindset and explicitly thinking about testability day to day, and making your testing lives better! 

In large scale, high transaction systems testability really is critical, as compared to the vastness and variability of the world, testing done within organisations, before deployment, is limited by comparison. We need ways to see and learn from the systems we test where it matters, in Production.
Being able to observe, control and understand is central to testing effectively, and there are loads of resources and experience reports out there to help. I was/am inspired by James Bach, Seth Eliot, Matt Skelton, Sally Goble, Martin Fowler and a little bit of PerfBytes/Logchat, so lets see if it works for you! 

Overall Model:

Heuristics of Software Testability by James Bach…