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Showing posts from May, 2020

Well Spoken

Nervous about speaking in public? Yeah, me too, but nowhere near as much as I used to be. Some years ago I wrote a blog post, Speaking Easier , about how I'd challenged myself to present at a testing conference to help myself with the extreme, and irrational, nervousness I was feeling about public speaking. An absolutely crucial insight for me, as I struggled to find a way into the problem, was that my main goal was to be myself on that stage. I found that I could be comfortable with success or failure just as long as I felt that, in the moment, I'd been my natural self rather than some nervous wreck pulling speaking levers behind a calm and confident, but ultimately fake, facade. My first conference presentation was Eurostar 2015 and although I got mixed reviews I was very pleased with what I achieved there. I've made an effort to speak at public events regularly since (including MEWT in 2016 , UKSTAR in 2018 , SoftTest also in 201

How to Test Anything

This post is a prettied-up version of the notes I made in advance of my talk, How To Test Anything, at the OnlineTestConf 2020 this week. Here's the abstract: Sometimes you’re asked to start testing in a context that is not ideal: you’ve only just joined the project, the test environment is broken, the product is migrating to a new stack, the developer has left, no-one seems quite sure what’s being done or why, and there is not much time.  Knowing where to begin and what to focus on can be difficult and so in this talk I’ll describe how I try to meet that challenge. I’ll share a definition of testing which helps me to navigate uncertainty across contexts and decide on a starting point. I’ll catalogue tools that I use regularly such as conversation, modelling, and drawing; the rule of three, heuristics, and background knowledge; mission-setting, hypothesis generation, and comparison. I’ll s

Down With OTC

After I'd done my talk at OnlineTestConf yesterday I stuck around to watch Conor Fitzgerald and Lena Wiberg speak. It's been a while since I practised my sketchnoting so I thought I'd give it a go again and I enjoyed borrowing my kids' colouring pencils rather than just using the biros I happen to have in my bag like I usually do.  You can't tell, of course, but for some reason these particular pencils were scented (!) so if you can imagine cinnamon, cola, grape, and raspberry as you're looking at this post you'll get the more authentic experience. Conor Fitzgerald presented an evolution of the talk he gave at SoftTest Ireland a couple of years ago. Back then it was a catalogue of tools for working as a tester, curated from an exploration of other industries. In this iteration it focused primarily on learnings from the aviation industry, gave examples of healthcare practitioners applying them, and suggestions

Is it Good Enough?

The other day, the Ministry of Testing tweeted this : Great question from Cassandra:  "Could you share any tips on how to let go of that idea of personal perfection, when part of our job as testers is to aim for perfection?".  Is this something you have advice on? I've certainly had this conversation with testers in the past but I've had it with teams from other disciplines that I've managed too. This was the answer I gave to the tweet: Reframe 'success' from being the pursuit of perfection to something like getting a good solution at the right time for a reasonable cost. 'Good', 'right', and 'reasonable' are context-dependent and stakeholders should be able to guide the team on what they mean and when. The more general version is that I've found that people with skills in a particular area can tend to feel compromised if they haven't utilised their skills t