Archive for the ‘Random Ramblings’ Category

Egoless Testing

Posted: August 28, 2014 in Random Ramblings

I recently popped my head into the public speaking space to give a lightning talk at the local (i.e. Brisbane) Tester Meetup.  It’s a rare occurrence, but it was generally well-received, so I thought I would etch my words of wisdom onto virtual paper (for posterity).

About three years ago, I read one of Gerry Weinberg’s more well-known books: The Psychology of Computer Programming.  Tangent alert: do yourself a favour and take a look at it.  While aimed at programmers, a surprising amount of it is still relevant for testers.  For a book written over 40 years ago, it was a very prescient and still insightful look at how software development teams work.

Note: this is a somewhat unpolished post. There are a lot of ideas around this topic, and I’m just scratching the surface. However, in the interests of following the 80/20 rule, here are a few semi-organised thoughts on the matter…

It’s a moment that chills me to the bone. A manager wanders over to say “Oh, you know that software you tested last month. We found a bug in production – it’s currently affecting EVERYONE”. Or a couple of UAT testers running basic test cases find a couple of bugs your vaunted exploratory testing failed to detect. To misquote Darth Vader, my failure is now complete.

A missed bug is only one form of failure, and a test project provides dozens of different ways to “screw up”. The moment of failure is rarely a positive experience, but as Dan Ashby wrote not too long ago, it can be a very useful opportunity to reflect, learn and improve. Failure can also provide us with an excellent example or story to share and even teach others with (which is a handy way of remembering….).

Lessons Learned in OZWSTing

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Random Ramblings

Note – this was difficult to compile, as there were so many ideas, discussions and so on floating through the room throughout the two days, and regrettably only a few could be captured in a blog post. If the writing is a little rough, apologies – it was quite a task to sort through and batter the notes into a presentable shape.

On the weekend of the 3rd to 4th August, a motley gathering of diverse individuals from disparate locations escaped the confines of their every-day lives, invited by the indefatigable Dave Greenlees to come together, share stories and contribute to the whirlpool of discussion that would roil around a relatively nondescript room in Sydney. Oh, they would also be collaborating… to dig deeper into the fascinating subject of collaboration.

These people were the participants of OZWST 2013.

Not another testing blog

Posted: March 18, 2012 in Random Ramblings

There are lots of testing blogs out there.  Lots and lots and lots, so it seems, as I cast my eye across several of them in an attempt to steal ideas for blog posts and stake my claim as a “master test guru (Level 87)” to draw inspiration on blog formats and get an understanding of the hot topics in the testing world at the moment (in addition to the usual educational and critical thinking motivations).  So why am I adding to this apparently voluminous collection?  Allow me to list a few…

  • Recently I listened to a podcast (the excellent TWIST series that is part of Software Test Pro) were it was said that someone made a concerted effort to count the number of testing blogs out on the web and found only 150.  If that is an accurate count (I’ll take it at their word, since counting blogs is currently only my 498th favourite activity on weekends so it’s not really getting a look-in), then there is most certainly room for another that at least attempts to offer some kind of interesting view on the testing world of today.
  • Having been a tester for several years now, I’m trying to get a little more involved in the test community.  And not just in a “take-take-take”, but in more a “take-take-give” way (yes, I’ll still take much more away than I will ever contribute, but that’s a glowing tribute to the efforts of many individuals in the testing scene for another day).
  • After reading a number of blogs for the last couple of years, it occurred “Why not me?  Why not now?” (apologies to Sarina Russo for the re-phrasing).  After all, I do have thoughts / opinions / suggestions on software testing, and people are never going to be able to ignore or shoot down your ideas if you never publicly express them.
  • It’s not only cathartic but educational to be able to voice your thoughts and then defend or affirm them (as required).  Even simply translating billions of electrical neuron impulses into words on a screen can be a mini-journey of self-discovery and enlightenment.  OK, maybe a little melodramatic, but you get the point.
  • I’ve always wanted one.

Well, that’s actually most of the important reasons.  I now proclaim this blog “officially launched” – I would smash a bottle of champagne across my monitor as a smartly-dressed navy band blares forth “Rule Brittania” but that would probably mean no longer having any means of being able to enter new posts (for the immediate future, in any case), so I shall refrain.  Also, there is no smartly-dressed navy band in the vicinity.

This is not a drill.

Posted: March 9, 2012 in Random Ramblings

More to come… in the meantime, enjoy a different kind of testa.