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Showing posts from October, 2018

Hard to Test

I attended SoftTest 2018 last week and really enjoyed it. The vibe was good, the people were friendly, and the low-price, one-day format is right up my street. I've already posted sketchnotes and the slides from my own talk so here's a few words about the presentations that I saw. Conor Fitzgerald talked about the benefits of learning about other industries, disciplines and domains. Part career history — from "confirmatory checker" to exploratory tester — and part a list of resources he's found useful over the years, he covered how studying business and economics grew his testing perspectives; how heuristics, oracles, and a ready supply of questions help testers cover both breadth and depth; how burnishing your social skills helps to make and maintain interpersonal relationships (examples: don't blame, assume goodwill, be kind); and how explicit modelling and data gathering and analysis can guide and drive discovery and understanding. To create a hi

Call Me

I spoke about the overlap between testing and technical support at  SoftTest 2018  last week. The presentation was based on When Support Calls , the book I wrote with Neil Younger and Chris George for the Ministry of Testing . Here's the blurb: Testers are said to be advocates for the customer, but when do most testers come face to face with a real-life customer? I don’t mean internal stakeholders, but the people at the sharp end of things, the ones actually using the software. Rarely, I find. Which is why it can be a SHOCK! to be asked to participate in a customer support call. It’s an unusual situation, there’s pressure, the customer is watching, something needs fixing, and there’s a deadline ... of yesterday.  Gulp. But don’t worry! You’re on the call because a colleague values your input. Perhaps you’re great at analysis, or lateral thinking, or problem solving. Maybe you have deep knowledge of your product, or the whole ecosystem, or the historical angle. You could

Dublish People

I was at SoftTest 2018 in Dublin this week. I'll write proper notes later , but for now here's my sketchnotes (below) and the letter my youngest daughter gave me before I set off, detailing her research about the city (above).   For those who made it all the way down here: I did take a big coat and it was the right choice.

And There's More

When new staff join Linguamatics they'll get a brief intro to each of the groups in the company as part of their induction. I give the one for the Test team and, as many of our joiners haven't worked in software before, I've evolved my spiel to be a sky-high view of  testing, how we service other parts of the company, and how anyone might take advantage of that service, even if they're not developing software. This takes a whiteboard and about 10 minutes and I'll then answer questions for as long as anyone cares to ask. Afterwards we all go on our separate ways happy (I hope) that sufficient information was shared for now and that I'm always available for further discussion on that material or anything else. I mentioned the helicopter perspective that I give to Karo Stoltzenburg when she was thinking about when and how to draw  a testing/checking distinction  in her Exploratory Testing 101 workshop for TestBash Manchester . I was delighted that she wa

My Goodness

The six presentations at CEWT #6   took different angles on the topic of good testing or good testers. Here's my brief summary of each of them: Whatever good testing is, Karo Stoltzenburg said, it's not likely to be improved by putting a box around its practitioners. In fact, pretty much any box you care to construct will fit some other profession just about as well at it fits testing. Testers, like people in general, are individuals and it's in the combination of diverse individuals that we spread our risk of missing something and so increase our chances of doing the good testing we all want. What makes a senior tester? That's the question Neil Younger has been asking himself, and his colleagues at DisplayLink. He shared some of his preliminary thoughts with us. Like Karo he wants to avoid boxes, or at least to reduce their rigidity, but against that there's a desire from some for objective criteria, some kind of definition of done that moves them from one