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AST Lean Coffee

I attended another Lean Coffee online with the Association for Software Testing this morning. Here's a few aggregated notes from the conversation.

Teaching Developers About Testing

  • There's a lot of debate in the community about this, with two extreme perspectives.
  • Anybody can test and we don't need specialised testers.
  • Nobody except specialists can test.
  • There is huge value in teaching developers about testing.
  • Anyone who is involved in building software should be involved in testing software.
  • We've been experimenting with ensemble testing.
  • We started with regular session every two weeks, bringing a task for testing from a customer perspective.
  • The testers helped prepare for the session (areas to cover, environments, data, etc).
  • The session included members of the quality group and the teams.
  • It evolved into various parts of the organisation using this approach for exploratory testing.
  • Is "teaching developers about testing" a good framing for the concern here?
  • How would we feel if it was flipped and developers were saying "we need to teach testers about coding"?
  • Would we be annoyed?
  • The topic was deliberately a bit provocative!
  • I've learned about testing from developers.
  • This is not about imposing on people.
  • I have run ensemble testing with medical doctors for example.
  • We learn together about how they test, with me facilitating not teaching
  • Definitely a learning session.
  • The question should be "how do we (as a group) learn more about testing"?

A Book, Blog, or Podcast that Inspired You Recently

How Can a Test Team Show Their Value?

  • I'm looking for new ideas for a team I'm working with.
  • Everyone's aware that more testers are required
  • ... but there's no budget until value is shown.
  • The testers are currently fire-fighting, and have stalled initiatives on automation.
  • The team is in a transition to Agile, but still testing at the end.
  • Who thinks there isn't sufficient value? How do they perceive it?
  • The same challenges for me.
  • I started to invite stakeholders to strategy/risk sessions, asking them for review.
  • There was a "wow"-moment when they saw our mindmaps
  • ... and particularly the wide-ranging impact of conceptually small changes.
  • They have started to ask for estimations for testing, to get a more realistic timeline.
  • A simple first step for the team migth be some kind of sharing, open sessions.
  • We got a place in quarterly review meetings where we can be visible and report what's happening in the product.
  • We also used people's successes to raise the profile of quality and testing.
  • We called the presentations "Qualiwood"!
  • I find myself begging people to pay attention? I really want them to care about testing and quality.
  • I have done ORSC workshops designed to help people understand other people's roles better.
  • Teams need to be able to have civil conversations.
  • A big realisation for me last year: we forget that we're experts in testing.
  • We have huge depth of knowledge but the people we talk to typically do not.
  • Like when coaching, we might have to start at a low level, with the very basics.
  • Assert to the business that the status quo is not what the testers are there for.
  • Find a way to force a change of tester responsibilities away from fire-fighting.
  • Find a way for others to feel the pain of "test debt".
  • Start less, finish more.
  • Alan Richardson was talking about this on his podcast.

Image: Anne-Marie Charrett

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