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Showing posts from January, 2018

Going on Ahead

Games that can say something about testing, then. Christmas brought a new one to our house, for my kids, from my Aunty Wendy. It's called Hedbanz and it's a game you probably already know as 20 Questions or Who Am I ? Essentially, each player takes a card and, without looking at its face, places it on a band around their head so that the other players can see it. The player then has a limited time to ask the others yes/no questions about their card, in an attempt to work out what it is. A typical game might go like this: Player: Am I alive? Players: no. Player: Am I manufactured? Players: no. Player: Do you find me in the home? Players: yes. And so on. A skill in the game is asking questions that together partition the space of all things in different ways to narrow down to a specific item. I like playing the game with my kids because it allows me to see their logic at work, and allows me to show them different strategies for getting to an answer. For our an

CEWT Lean Coffee

At CEWT #5 we used Lean Coffee as a way to reflect on some of the threads we'd discussed during the day . Here's a few brief, aggregated comments and questions that came up. Can we identify testing short cuts? In particular, can we find short cuts without adverse side-effects? Short cuts sometimes have assumptions built into them (e.g. that the side gate you're going to use to get into work at the weekend is open then.) Some of the things you used to hold as axiomatic are no longer relevant so you can short cut your old thinking. Can the shortness be in depth rather than length? ... and you can gain breadth first, as a kind of short cut in testing. You can plan training to isolate particular skills and short cut potential confusion. You can tell someone they'll waste their time trying something, based on your experience. But you might deny them some learning. And you deny them the opportunity to learn to recognise a waste of time. All your learning can

When Theory Met Practice

CEWT is the Cambridge Exploratory Workshop on Testing, and for its fifth meeting , hosted at Linguamatics , a bunch of local testers gathered to consider a question: Theory Over Practice or Practice Over Theory?  A couple of months before CEWT #5 it was posed . For a day during CEWT #5 it was explored . Immediately after CEWT #5 it was .... still mostly undecided. But along the way we did at least have a unicycle, some Transformers, an Alien Dance Party, a selection of retro Nokia phones, and Batman. Oh, and Lean Coffee, and a retrospective, and six talks. First up in the talks Karo Stoltzenburg tested the question. Taking Weinberg and Gause's classic Are Your Lights On? as her guide, she wondered whether there was a problem here and, if so, whose problem it was, how it got to be a problem, and whether or not it was worth solving. Noting the potential for ambiguity in key terms in the question and the Call For Participation , she carefully teased out possible interp

On The Wisdom Of Testing

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, EuroSTAR asked 25 testers who have played a big part in its history for a "top tip or piece of advice" that has returned value to them across their career and compiled the answers into a short (in length and height) publication, The Little Book of Testing Wisdom . Sales from the book raise money for the Saving Linnea campaign. We put the book on our Test team reading group agenda at Linguamatics for this week with the mission to "read all or some, but bring one (or more) articles you liked!" I decided on the strategy of reading the start of every article and continuing only with those that grabbed me immediately. I didn't seek (and haven't sought) to understand why some grabbed me and some not, but I did think about whether there was any commonality to the set of four that I particularly liked by the end and took to the meeting ... For me, advice that will stand the test of time must have inbuilt sensitivity to con

The State I Am In

As testers we'll generate, compile, inspect, manipulate, and synthesise data on a regular basis. We do this because it helps us to understand a system, to hypothesise about its behaviour, and to support conclusions that we might draw about it and report to others. As testers we are in a particular system, the testing profession, and the State of Testing survey is a data gathering and synthesis exercise for it. The  results are shared  and so can be used to help us to understand, to test hypotheses for, and to draw conclusions about the state we are in. Image: EIL

Their Art's in the Right Place

Mike Brearley was a professional cricketer for around 20 years and was England captain for 31 of the 39 test matches that he played.  His book, The Art of Captaincy , was recommended to managers by participants at both of the last couple of CEWT s, so it's been on my reading list for a while. The book is, as you might expect, heavily biased towards the role of the cricket captain and some of the examples given in it require a bit of cricketing knowledge. Despite this, it has a lot to say to anyone with an interest in interpersonal relationships, particularly those in the workplace, particularly about manager-managee interactions. Here, I've collected and grouped a few of the passages that resonated with me. Professionals should not rely only on practice during their day job Compton was a genius and thus a law unto himself. But the general belief was then and continued to be that fitness for cricket was achieved simply by playing the game. (p. 54) All cricketers ca