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Showing posts from October, 2017

Quality != Quality

Anne-Marie Charrett delivered a beta version of her Testbash Manchester keynote at the Cambridge Tester meetup this week . Her core message was that quality and testing are not the same thing: there are non-testing aspects of software development that contribute to product quality there are non-product aspects of quality which should be considered in software development. A theme of the talk was that customer benefit could be threatened by the second of these, by factors such as code hygiene, speed of delivery, and time to recover after a failure in production. Testers, and others in software development, were urged to reframe their view of quality to encompass these kinds of activities. A Venn diagram represented it like this: Interesting, but it didn't quite hang together for me. I slept on it. In the morning, I found myself thinking that what Anne-Marie was trying to visualise really had two notions of quality, and they were not the same. Perhaps she could mov

Where Did All The Women Go?

I took my daughters to the  We're Here. Hi! Let's Play  pop-up exhibition about women in computer gaming that's running as part of  Where Did All The Women Go?  One display board caught my eye: Research shows that women play games just as much as men do. This fact is often dismissed using the argument that women don't play 'proper' games. A stereotype has emerged that women mostly play 'casual' titles, like puzzlers and tile-matching games, that shouldn't count in this research — but who gets to decide what gaming is? All forms of media have this problem: film buffs disparage blockbusters and literary critics dismiss genre fiction. The difference with gaming is that both sides are becoming gendered. Men are seen as the serious gamers and women as 'causals' with lower skill and investment in the medium. These attitudes risk excluding female players and preventing new ideas from flourishing in the industry. That situation is unlikely

Testing Thinking, Anyone?

At Quality Jam London 2017 I was introduced to the term design thinking . It sounded interesting. I  looked it up when I got home,  spoke to Rog , our UX specialist at work, and read a couple of references that he provided. Jared Spool's Shh! Don’t Tell Them There’s No Magic In Design Thinking was particularly intriguing: For decades, I’ve needed to do what every seasoned design professional has found themselves doing: explaining why design is more than just making something pretty. When I’ve worked with other designers, they get it.  But once someone who isn’t a designer — someone who is a layperson — is introduced into the mix, I’ve found I need to convince them that design isn’t only about making the thing pretty. That’s it’s about solving problems. That’s it’s about end-to-end solutions.  ...  The phrase design thinking changed all that. To a layperson, it was completely new. While it was made up of words they thought they knew, the combination was novel. “Design th

Heads Up

I tell you what: of all the things I might've expected to see on the first slide at Quality Jam London 2017 , my own professional-work-photo-grinning, shiny-pated, blue-tinted face peering back down at me from behind a massive Thank You! wasn't it. Expectations are grist to the working tester's mill, yet also often the bane of their lives. Tony Bruce , in  Manual Testing is Dead. Long Live Manual Testing , called for testers to set the expectations of the people that they interact with. The term "manual testing" undersells what testing is, or can be, with its connotations of manual labour, unthinking monotony, apparent separation from (woo! sexy!) automation and the historical association with scripted test cases. For Bruce, testing is "the pursuit of information" but he doesn't necessarily rush into meetings spouting from that kind of lexicon (although he's singing my kind of song right there). Instead he promotes the use of PAC (purpos

Going Underground

Hands up if you're suspicious of vendor-run conferences. Yeah, me too. But I'm pleased to report that QASymphony didn't ram qTest down our throats at  Quality Jam London 2017 . Better still, they had a programme that included some speakers who had (a) nothing to do with the tools, and (b) interesting stuff to say.  At 100 people, and with a single track, it was a good size and shape for my taste, and having the talks in the (quite cosy) repurposed subterranean beer tank of an old Whitbread brewery added to the atmosphere and charm. I took the opportunity to practice sketchnoting again in all the talks. Mixed results, for me, but here's the ones I'm prepared to share. See my notes on the conference too.

assert(Assertive == True)

We've just run a two-part assertiveness training course for my Test and Doc teams at Linguamatics . What exactly is assertiveness? you ask. From our trainer's web site : Assertiveness is a highly effective communications model ...  Assertive behaviour is professional behaviour. It is about being able to express yourself calmly and clearly and on equal terms with others; to stand your ground when necessary without becoming aggressive, or manipulative, or backing down unnecessarily. I found it interesting and engaging, and with some immediate practical value: to create a drill to be practised and used in situations where I think I'm at risk of becoming non-assertive, and to remind myself that even if the outcome of some interaction isn't ideal I can still try to give myself credit for how I behaved during it. I also enjoyed trying to fit ABCDE (always be calm, direct, and equal) into the behaviour space I've come to by other means, such as congruent communication