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Showing posts from January, 2016

Getting Your Back Up

One of the effects of being asked to explain yourself  can be that you get to find out what you really think. This has potentially many outcomes: sometimes your view might turn out to be a surprise even to you; sometimes you realise that you don't have a justification for what you said at all; sometimes you are reminded that you established your perspective in another context or another time and it would be sensible to revisit it ( as I did the other day in Me and My Bestimates ). Another possibility is that the challenge surfaces an opinion that you realise you are comfortable with but have previously held only implicitly. That happened to me most recently a few weeks ago. I was talking to one of my team about some actions that had been taken and also about those that had not but, I suggested, perhaps could or should have been  without needing to wait to consult me . Understandably, given the particular situation, I was asked about the potential consequences of taking acti

Just the Fracts, Ma'am

Adam Knight spoke at the Cambridge Tester Meetup last night on Fractal Exploratory Testing, a topic he's blogged about a couple of times: Fractal Exploratory Testing Fractal Exploratory Testing Revisited Fractals can be roughly defined as having similar properties whatever level of magnification you apply to them. The Mandelbrot Set is a famously fractal shape and zooming into into it  exposes characteristics that make each image recognisably from the same family. Going 10x or 100x into some other image, say a photograph of my head, would not have the same effect. There's an analogy to be made with Exploratory Testing - in fact, with exploration of any kind - and this is reinforced by Adam's choosing to cast exploration in terms of charters written in a concise but formal way inspired by Elisabeth Hendrickson along the lines of "Explore <area> with <resources> to achieve <aim>". Each exploration uses appropriate testing approaches

Me and My Bestimates

As Test Manager I fit my team's work into multiple overlapping project schedules which are not under my control. The schedules have, as you might expect, multiple constraints that operate simultaneously, such as: end dates or other milestones dependencies on other parts of the schedule or other schedules level of effort we are able or prepared to commit to different tasks in absolute terms (e.g. contractually) or in relative terms (e.g. based on perceived risk) methodology; different teams in Linguamatics operate different development methodologies, and we work with non-development teams too desired quality level (whatever that means in any given case) Scheduling in this environment is a challenge even without the wildcard that is the unknowns; the stuff you find out as you go and the contexts that change under your feet. To do my best to provide the service my (most often internal) clients want - which generally includes some kind of estimate, even if there is little

A Good Knight

I'm delighted to say that  Adam Knight will be talking about  Fractal Exploratory Testing  at the Cambridge Tester Meetup on 21st January at 7pm. Karo is hosting it here at Linguamatics with pizza and drinks. Whet your appetite with these posts: Fractal Exploratory Testing Fractal Exploratory Testing Revisited Testing is Simple (and Complicated) And then sign up here . Image: Edit: My notes from Adam's talk .

A Broken Record

Years ago I chucked a faulty video recorder and bought a cheap and compact PC to use as a PVR. (I run MythTV on Ubuntu, for those interested in such things.) Because me and Mrs Thomas don't watch telly that much, and record less, and because we're interested in not wasting electricity, we only have the box on when we're watching something on it or when we've scheduled something to record. Of course, sometimes that means that we have to remember  to leave it on. And we kept forgetting. But being a problem-solver, and interested in proportionate solutions, I implemented a quick fix. In fact it was more an initial trial, just a simple little sign that we stick next to the telly. It says VIDEO  and has served us so well that we found no need for anything more sophisticated. Until now. Our kids have come along and control the telly, operate the computer and so on. We're helping them to become interested in not wasting electricity too, and so their habit is to

Testing Utility

Testing can take a lot of inspiration from the sciences and the scientific method and I've blogged about some concepts that I think cross over in the past. Here's a few examples: equipoise metascience mandated science The science around policy - and the policy around science - is particularly interesting because it mirrors in useful respects the relationship between a tester and a stakeholder. In  What makes an academic paper useful for health policy?  Christopher Witty looks at ways that scientists can better serve policy makers and  much of what he's saying is also relevant to testers who want to do their best to: put the most valuable information they can  into the hands of the stakeholders who are asking for it at a time where it's useful at a cost which is acceptable in a manner which is easily consumable and at the right level with caveats and methodology clear and biases minimised. Which is all testers, I hope. Image: