Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My uTest University Course - How to Talk to Mobile Developers: 6 Tips for Testers

I was recently asked to contribute a course for uTest University.  I decided on something hopefully unique and more importantly, useful. Techies are not always the best communicators in the world.  So I wrote about tips for testers talking with mobile developers.  These are based on my observations and will not solve every communication problem.  However I think it is something that needs to be addressed and hopefully it will generate lots of useful discussion.  The link to the course is here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Interviewing and Tips

I strongly dislike the interview process having gone through it myself many times. I find it very difficult to tell the story of your testing journey in an hour or so.  Plus trying to prove that you are worthy can be disconcerting. I have been lucky in my last few jobs as I was recommended by developers. Even though these interviews were still grueling and merciless, job offers were extended.

Depending on the article you read (123), anywhere from 60-90% of jobs are landed through internal or networking referrals.  So it helps to build good relationships with your co-workers and friends.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Year-end Memories and Thoughts

Year-ends are tough for me. While listening to Trans-Siberian Orchestra this morning I indulged into daydreaming. I was thinking about my family back in Russia and reminiscing about things that happened over the years. I remembered the loved ones that passed on – my grandmother whose birthday was right before Christmas and one of my first bosses in the US who was like a father. It is nice to be able to slow down and unwind over the holidays. It could also be quite unpleasant when some daunting memories surface and make you feel sad. The hardest ones are of me growing up in Siberia.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Look at the Relationship Between Testers and Developers

I believe that one of the important things in the work life of a tester is to have a good working relationship with developers. This will not only make a tester's job and bug advocacy process easier but will also give him the ability to exert influence on quality, promote positive collaboration and learning opportunities.

Roy Osherove interviewed James Bach on “The Role of the Tester” where Bach talks about this. He says that:

‘…developers are the people who create quality; they make the quality happen. Without the developers, nothing would be there; you’d have zero quality.’

After all without developers on the project us – testers – will not have a job!

In the last few years I have worked thoroughly integrated into Agile development teams as a lone tester. I tend to gravitate more towards developers as opposed to testers as I feel that it helps me expand my domain knowledge and technical skills and…be a better tester. Plus programmers are WYSIWYG. I prefer it when people do not beat around the bush when working together.

http://qa-india.blogspot.com/2010/12/testers-vs-developers.html

On occasion I hear and read stories about the challenges and conflicts both sides have experienced in the workplace, as well as tips and recommendations on how to handle difficult situations and work on improvements from the tester’s viewpoint.

I thought it would be interesting to find out from developers what they thought about testers and their skills. I conducted a very unscientific survey of some developers that I have worked with and whom I also consider professional mentors and good friends.

The replies were pretty refreshing. I hope testers find them useful and take them into consideration in how they go about their work.

Here are the results:

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Road Trip and Using Mobile Apps

Memorial Day Weekend my family took a long road trip deep into Tennessee. As I was packing I contemplated which devices to take with me and what apps I should play with as a real user on the go in various locations, with different connectivity signals, trying edge use cases and checking for information and other data. 

In addition I wanted to use the time to catch up with my Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds, listen to downloaded tutorials, read books, and take care of banking and finance as well as do a little bit of online shopping. We drove so that left us passengers with a lot of free time where things got mundane and boring pretty quickly. On top of it I had to keep our chauffeur engaged and awake and our son occupied so he would not whine.


As we got into our first long stretch, I started using all kinds of mobile apps. Some I have been using on occasion, others have been either recommended or stumbled across during my daily technology news discoveries. 

We had 3 phones and an iPad at our disposal with a bunch of apps on all 4 devices.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Facebook Home Android app flop


Many of you may have heard that the new Facebook Home app for Android has been a dud. Here are a couple of articles by SFGate and Business Insider.

The San Francisco Gate article caught my attention as it talked about a theory raised by Josh Constine from TechCrunch as to why this may have happened. Lack of “droidfooding". The Android app was essentially created by iOS developers who didn’t understand how Android devices work and did not realize how "important widgets, docks, and app folders were to Android users, and that leaving them out of Home was a huge mistake".

If that is true, then it makes me wonder how the Facebook’s product management and testing (including Usability/UX testing) works. Despite the fact that most of the Facebook employees are reported as iPhone users it's quite possible that some folks from the in-house Android UX experts and test teams voiced their opinion about obvious differences between Android and iPhone devices interfaces and the potential impact on the users and business. The sad part about this story is that I can relate to what happened. I too was in a situation when I worked on a native app project that looked like a web site. My reasonings and sentiments were shared by others. Decision makers on the project took all the UX feedback and research information into consideration but moved forward with the release of the app without incorporating much of the feedback. Results were similar to the Facebook app. It hurt but there was little I could do.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Improving the World One Bug at a Time


Like many of my colleagues I appreciate humor and jokes about software testing and testers. I got a chuckle out of reading the Software Testing Humor – Jokes posted by TestingGeek and Bumper Stickers for Testers by Harry Robinson.

My favorite bumper sticker is "A good tester has the heart of a developer...in a jar on the desk". But I think that I probably get motivated by this one -"Improving the world one bug at a time". It makes it even better when you find a bug in in the wild and help with a solution.

An anecdotal story happened to me a few months ago. I had to help my mother buy a kitchen appliance with a credit card. One would think that it's easy. It usually is unless your parent lives in Siberia and is terrified of using that "plastic thing" issued by a foreign financial institution. There was no other sensible option however so we agreed that she would visit a few local stores where a card was accepted and the price was reasonable, and then would let me know when and where the purchase would be made.  Once she found a store I alerted my bank about the upcoming transaction to hopefully avoid any surprises and alleviate stress for my mom. I called her on her cell phone before she walked into the store to calm her down and told her to call me right away if anything comes up.

To my bewilderment I got a call about 15-20 minutes later with my mother sobbing on the phone and a sales clerk and the store manager trying to calm her down. The credit card transaction was declined. There was no response code to explain why. This didn’t make sense. We tried to run it again while I was on speaker but it failed. My mother was inconsolable and needless to say I felt mortified. What could have happened? The store manager was trying to be helpful and called the US bank’s Russian subsidiary representative in Moscow. They talked, tried to process the transaction again and got the same results. I was actually amazed how nice and professional both ladies were at the store.  I don’t want to sound facetious but I don’t remember customer service to have been any good in my old country. I had been cursed out by sales clerks on many occasions back in the day.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Testing Mobile Apps with Remote Teams

My former test manager, good friend and a mentor posted the following on Facebook which got me thinking about a major accomplishment this year and prompted this blog post.


For the last year I have been running crowd-sourced test cycles for my company while testing Android and iOS native apps. I learned a lot, met many good testers, and had the privilege of working with and test leading a few unbelievably passionate and talented people.  Leading testers in a remote model where you never meet your team in person is difficult, especially when you have to figure out their strengths and aspirations. Plus test management in this context is something I was never sure about because of the overall responsibility and worrying about the end result and gathered information on product quality. I keep thinking that what if the mission fails due to misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the goals and objectives? What if the team energy and dynamics will not form correctly?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Crowdsourced Testing: Lessons Learned From a Customer's Point of View.

I am frequently asked about crowdsourced software testing companies and how to best work with them. It’s a tough question as every company is different and therefore the approach and strategy has to be customized accordingly based on what they want to get out of utilizing the crowdsourced software testing model.

I have freelanced with crowdsourced testing companies for two years and have learned a lot about the processes, platform tools, freelance tester communities, product management, challenges, and shortcomings from the tester side. In the last year I have expanded my knowledge by running a high volume of testing with crowdsourced testing vendors for Android, iOS and mobile web apps at my current company as a customer. Overall it has been very successful based on the feedback and data that we received from freelance testers. But it hasn't been a bed of roses as it has taken some trial and error as a customer to obtain the right knowledge and experience that in turn helped accomplish our testing goals. I highly recommend that your in-house professional testers handle the relationship with the crowdsourcing company(ies) because they understand your testing needs and your company's business.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tips for iOS app upgrade testing

Testing app updates is very important before release candidates are submitted to the app store. Most functionality and features will probably work and serious issues or bugs are less likely to occur. However, some configuration changes could be made to the files that are used by the current iTunes app version that could be stored on user devices since the app was originally installed. When the user attempts to apply an app upgrade, some updates may fail due to the fact that there may still be the old (cached) files in the app bundle that don’t get reset. The code may work in such a way that updates to those files will not run until the next time the app is cold-started (user has to apply fresh install as the database is not ‘emptied’ and reset on an upgrade). 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How I Became a Tester

Last month I was asked to conduct an online webinar on how I became a mobile tester. It didn’t work out because of my crazy work schedule and miscommunication with the event organizers.  However I had an opportunity to work on my topic with James Bach. I got some helpful guidance, questions and tips from him and then decided to turn the content into a blog post.

I want to mention that James is probably the toughest mentor that I have trained with. But he is also the most approachable, sincere, committed, consistent teacher, in addition to being extremely smart and helpful. I came to him originally without any formal testing background or training. I feel I am a better tester since I started training with him and the fact that he is just a Skype away gives me a lot of confidence when I come across difficult situations in my professional endeavors. I have met many other role models and mentors in our global testing community but imho there is no one like him and I am grateful that I found him.

How did you get into testing? Why did testing attract you?
What initially attracted me to testing was the never-ending process of puzzle solving. I enjoy the creativity involved when you have to come up with a scheme of different ideas and approaches to dig into a program and find what’s broken or what may potentially cause a problem.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

MoDevUx and the Latest On My Testing Journey


I attended another amazing event last week organized by MoDevDC, my local meetup group. The event was called MoDevUx – “A user experience, design and development conference discussing all things mobile.”

MoDevUx was packed with interesting content, amazing speakers and the exuberant energy of its participants from various mobile design and development shops in the Washington, DC area, and some from other parts of the country. The speakers shared their experiences on how to understand users (what users think and want), how to handle feedback, learn from it, and improve the user experience in mobile apps. I thought that the presenters talked from their heart, they were entertaining, witty and insightful. I walked away feeling enriched and that my time was well spent.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blogs I Like and Some Blog Post Musings

I haven’t blogged much lately. However I follow and read plenty of other people’ posts and tweets.  I re-tweet them if I find them useful or interesting, and I ponder various ideas and viewpoints. My favorite blogs are uTest.com, Creative Chaos, The Blog of Tim Ferriss and LukeW Blog Ideation & Design. To me they are good reads that are well-written, entertaining, and full of different themes, color, and vigor. For the testing community I'd like to highlight 3 blog posts in the last week at uTest that caught my attention.

  1. Advice from 2011′s Testers of the Year
  2. Testing the Limits with Gerald Weinberg
  3. Software QA Engineer Tops “Happiest Jobs” List

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Made the 2011 uTester of the Year List!

I found out today that I had been selected as the uTest Top Android Tester for 2011.  I think I skipped a heartbeat when I first heard about it and I could not believe my ears.  I am certain that there are much better testers in the uTest community - I have had the privilege to work with them.  Their bug reports inspired me to be a better tester and to keep honing my craft in the mobile space.  Thanks to everyone at uTest, my mentors at the Miagi-Do School of Software Testing, and my family.  I am beyond happy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kindle Fire Tips on Error Logging, Debugging and Snapshots

I have been testing on the Kindle Fire since December 2011 and have picked up a few good tricks. These include collecting error logs, taking snapshots, debugging with DDMS and installing applications that are currently not available in the Amazon Appstore such as Dropbox.  I am sure there is lots of information scattered around the web and posted on various forums but I want to share my tips and the following blog links in one location for your use.  I will try to add new ones to this post as I learn them.  Feel free to leave comments with your tips.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting on 2011

While shopping at Costco for our New Year celebration yesterday I could not help overhearing people talking about their new year resolutions. How they will stop doing this or start doing that to make things better in the new year. I don't really think resolutions themselves work as you have to better yourself all throughout the year, not just once. At least people are trying. Hearing these people did cause me to reflect on 2011 and further back.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Explorer Inspired by a Buccaneer - AST Newsletter

The Association of Software Testing has kindly published an article of mine in their latest newsletter today. The link is here. The article is about my journey for professional self-discovery and how I moved into freelance testing. I hope you like it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Skill Learned at CAST 2011 - SBTM

One of the new practical skills I picked up at CAST 2011 was Session-Based Test Management (SBTM). During the testing competition the Miagi-Do team applied this practice to manage time due to the short time-constraints of the competition. We decided on 20-minute test sessions and after each one, Markus Gärtner, our ‘test master’, would hold a 5-minute debrief. It was tough to tune into the discussions at times but I thought it was a brilliant technique that really helped us to achieve our testing mission.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Had a Blast at CAST 2011

CAST 2011 is over. I am still digesting the impressions and events of the last 3 days. I feel both intoxicated from all the information and energy I consumed as well as inspired and giddy. This was my first CAST. As a n00b I had the advantage of experiencing and feeling things more acutely than someone who has already attended a similar event or two like this before.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guest Post at uTest: Early Impressions of a Mobile App Tester

Exciting news! I was featured as a guest blogger at uTest (http://blog.utest.com/2011/05/18/guest-post-early-impressions-of-a-mobile-app-tester/)

When I was growing up in Siberia I dreamed of becoming either a ballerina or a painter. I have always loved ballet and dancing and I also enjoyed painting Siberian landscapes in watercolors. For the longest time I thought that I was more of an artistic or right-brain type person. I am still not sure how I ended up working in the Information Technology field.  At some point, I found that I loved breaking websites (aka testing) and haven’t stopped since.  I catch myself testing my son’s electronic toys, neighbor’s coffee machine as well as countless smartphones…which brings me to my latest passion: mobile app testing. In fact, I’m writing this post on a break from a very intense work week, during which I tackled 7 uTest projects – with 5 of them being mobile projects!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Questing in Boston

I received a 'QUEST 2011: Thank You Letter' from QAI Global Institute yesterday that was emailed to the participants list. I meant to post a blog about the conference when I came back on April 8 but got carried away with my busy work routine and getting ready for a release. This email brought back good memories and I thought I would share a few sentiments here.

This was my first testing conference and I did not know what to expect. Granted I have been to quite a few international conferences when I worked as an interpreter but those were on oil and gas, US-Russia business relations, auto shows and international law. My responsibility was to help people communicate, negotiate, resolve conflicts and build relationships. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Certification, Smertification...Look What I Got

It's been a few weeks since I completed the Black Box Software Testing Foundations course and submitted my final exam... I finally feel that I caught my breath after such an intense learning experience. I have never read, reviewed, deciphered through and written so much information in 4-week time period in my life! The course material is amazing with lots of useful information and exercises included.

I worked very hard during the course, probably harder than a native English-speaking student. There were days when I felt drained, brain-dead and frustrated. I contemplated quitting a couple of times as I was fatigued. I was learning so much, however, which kept me motivated.

I think this course is a must for any testing professional who feels passionate about our craft. It does help to have some experience under your belt. Otherwise it could be hard to comprehend and hard for a student to relate to real life situations based on the reading material and lectures. My major obstacle was understanding Code Coverage, what it measures or highlights, and associated risks and benefits of using Code Coverage. I had heard the term used before and knew that programmers at work employed it to measure the amount of code that some test has executed. But that was about the extent of my knowledge.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Birthday and a Gift

My son's birthday is in a few weeks and I have been thinking about a gift for him. I have also been reminiscing about our journey together.

It's been seven years since he came to live with us. Back then my mother was in charge of a baby home, an orphanage for babies and toddlers, in my hometown in Siberia. She and I usually catch up over a weekend and back then she would update me on what's going on with the babies, who started talking and walking and who found new families and share the stories of the newcomers. Some of those stories were heartbreaking. One of them was the story of my son.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How I Got into Mobile Testing and My Adventure with Buying a Droid Incredible on eBay

I got into mobile testing by chance during the uTest 4th Quarter bug battle. Granted I have owned a few Nokia phones that I inadvertently tested for durability...I left one on the car roof and drove away, drowned another one in the river while fishing, dropped a 3rd one from a deck onto a concrete floor in a backyard. I was very nervous when I got my first smart phone, a Palm Pre. I liked it because it was small (I was hoping I would not drop it as much), had a sliding keyboard, a multi-tasking feature where you can have a bunch of apps open at one time and just push them out of the way like cards and then bring them back up via the touch screen gestures. Figuring it out was intuitive but there are not many fun apps for it. OK there is Angry Birds, Evernote, and a few others..but nothing like what my husband's Droid Incredible (DINC) phone had at the time. He would tell me of another new app every week.

Then came the uTest Bug Battle when I had to beg my husband to let me use his phone since neither eBay nor Overstock had an app for the Pre. As we both used eBay and Overstock apps he kept complaining about things not being user-friendly or a resource hog. I was ecstatic however as I was able to log these bugs. By the end of the Bug Battle I knew I had to get my own Droid phone.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Geekette's Shopping List

Christmas and New Year Holidays are over. I celebrate both holidays but don't like shopping for gifts. In the last two years I have done most of my shopping online. Not only is it convenient, easy and fun but it also presents an opportunity for me to learn about new web and mobile apps and features.

I like shopping on Amazon.com the most. It seems that each time I visit the site there is something new to play with - a new button, search options, promotions and specials. I love the 'Add to Wish List' button feature that can be used with any browser and allows to add items from any website to Amazon Wish List. Most of my US relatives and friends have wish lists so all I had to do was to check what's already been purchased --another great feature under 'Wish list' =>Show:Purchased--and add items to cart. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good Monday

I am not big fan of Mondays even though it is my telecommute day. You never know what kind of a roller coaster ride it may involve. Plus different people transition differently from the weekend relaxed mode to the daily grind craze. Yesterday was truly special for me.

We had a VPN outage at work so I could not log into the network and had to wait. Needless to say that I logged into uTest.com and saw that 2010 Q4 Bug Battle Competition results were posted. Mind you it was one of the most memorable testing experiences in my professional adventure as I finally got to test Ebay.com and ventured into the mobile testing side. I glanced at the winners list and saw my name - 5th place for best bug! Way cool!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Through my Eyes

Thanksgiving has a special meaning for me. It is an acquired holiday that I have been celebrating since I came to the US - at first not comprehending what it really meant for many of my local friends even though I studied American history and Thanksgiving. As years have gone by I could not help but feel sentiment and gratitude on that wonderful holiday. I celebrate a 'harvest' of opportunities, dreams that came true, friends that I made in a foreign country that became my homeland. It has not been an easy path but I was well trained to endure the hardships in my native Siberia where I began testing my strengths and weaknesses, where I first realized that thinking outside the box and trying new things and dreaming may open new doors and present opportunities. You may be smacked around for being different at first but if you persevere and follow your dreams they do come true.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stress, Test, Trance.

I feel really stressed over the upcoming release...tomorrow night.. I am freaking out to be exact. So many new features have been added in the last two weeks..and days. Needless to say not all of them have been fully tested. While running profiling and memory optimization tests we discovered memory leaks and flaws in the the Java VM garbage collection process so our application performance leaves much to be desired. Oh well... last minute tweaks and checks tomorrow and then we "ship it: or rather deploy it for the customers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trust, But Verify - Доверяй, но проверяй

 - doveryai, no proveryai (an old Russian proverb). I like Russian proverbs and this one is one of my favorites. It is an overused cliché but to me it has so much power. I say it a lot whether it applies to my testing and validating programs or my team reviewing my bug and test reports. It is a two way street. Not sure what prompted me to google for this phrase. Here is what Wikipedia had to say-

"Trust, but verify" was a signature phrase of Ronald Reagan. He used it in public, although he was not the first person known to use it. When Reagan used this phrase, he was usually discussing relations with the Soviet Union and he almost always presented it as a translation of the Russian proverb "doveryai, no proveryai" (Russian: Доверяй, но проверяй) - Trust, but verify. At the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty he used it again and his counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev responded: "You repeat that at every meeting," to which Reagan answered "I like it."

How ironic I thought. It made me think back of my 'previous' life in the former Soviet Union. I learned this and other proverbs at school. Doveryai, no proveryai got me in trouble the most.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amateur Designer's Block... Can we borrow ideas from competitors?

Last week I got into a debate with the programmers whether it is ethical to view and analyze competitor's public web applications and 'borrow' web design and graphics ideas. I was not talking about stealing ideas the way Microsoft has done it when they ripped off the tabbed browsing feature from Mozilla. I merely suggested that we could look at the example and come up with our own design based on what we have analyzed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Puzzles & Teasers #1

I attended a Learning Tree course on 'Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving: Making Better Decisions' this week which was an eye opening experience and fun. I will try and blog about it later. In the meantime I would like to post a few brain teasers that the Course Instructor challenged us with every morning - some are easy and some were tough. Needless to say that many can be found if you Google them. Try them on your own first. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Twitter is Over Capacity?

I am new to Twitter and don't get it yet. I created an account 3 weeks ago and logged in a few times to see what's going on. When I tried to get in today I received a 'Twitter is Over Capacity' screen with a whale graphic.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Selenium RC Experience

So I have decided to give Selenium RC a shot and try to automate some of our web app GUI tests. I worked with WinRunner in the past on a waterfall government project and was familiar with ‘record and playback’ features and editing TSL scripts. On that project we abandoned automated tools as scripts updating became too time-consuming and labor-intensive due to the fact that our test environment was never stable enough for automated regression testing. We successfully ran a few automated tests to validate URL links that we had a ton of and for navigation mapping. I both loved and hated using automated tools at the time. Execution time was fast when scripts worked. Debugging and re-writing scripts was not fun however.
In the case with Selenium RC I ran into a 1) lack of programming experience in Java and 2) lack of knowledge of the current application code issues.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Today's Tester Menu: Fresh Mental Borsch

I don't know what's going on in my head anymore. I have been reading, learning about context-driven and Agile testing, reviewing automated tools, playing with Selenium and trying to create at least simple regression tests in the process while waiting for my developers to finalize their research and design ideas.
It seems the more I play with automated tools the more discouraged I feel...and the less I know...

It feels like Ukrainian Борщ (borsch ) – everything is mixed up - beets, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, salt and spices.
 At least while cooking I have a clear mission and objective. I know what to do and I have an idea what the outcome will be. I have been cooking since I was eight. I learned to cook borsch by watching my grandmother. Most of the recipes and images of the final dishes are in my head. I can cook from scratch by making real stock or if I feel lazy I will make it with bouillon cubes. I improvise with different ingredients and spices. I can add cumin and clove if I want to or use a spice packet picked up from a local Russian store. 
I have upgraded to a really nice Scanpan cooking pot from some el cheapo one. Not sure it makes my soup taste any different but I enjoy the process a lot more.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I am a Tester...Why are you calling me QA?

I actually ask this question in a calm voice with a smile on my face. I make an effort to explain the difference between Testing and QA if the offender is open and willing to receive my message.

What I feel and what I hide from the offender is different from what I hope shows on my face and in my voice. It feels like my hair is standing up on the back of my neck. I feel that my evil tester twin wakes up and starts spewing fire at the offender. I feel like I am bubbling with indignation inside and will explode any second. I want to scream  "How dare you call me a QA? I am a friggin tester! I 'break' software. I don't monitor processes and methods to ensure its quality".

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paraprosdokian sentences


A co-worker sent the following email today --
A paraprosdokian (from Greek "παρα-", meaning "beyond" and "προσδοκία", meaning "expectation") is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect..

On A Good Day

I want to share this music video by Above & Beyond (pres. OceanLab "On A Good Day").

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Monday on Wednesday

I have been 'allocated' to test fixes for upcoming patch releases for 2 different projects.
I haven't touched Project A since last August and felt rusty. Project B was just released a week ago and the customer reported a bug that must have been introduced shortly before the release. The team missed it as we were too focused on the last minute fixes and, in my case, exploratory and functionality testing. We ran out of time for regression testing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Big Book of Pictures and Puzzles

My son brought home a Big Book of Pictures and Puzzles that some fellow testers may find interesting. On the cover it says “With Over 4,000 Things To Spot”. The book contains pictures about different people and places from history such as early cities in Mesopotamia, Egyptian Pyramids, European castles in the Middle Ages and many others. It also has sections on the World, Castle and Dinosaur search.

Friday, September 24, 2010

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Buddhist Proverb

And he did. I met James Bach, a teacher, consultant and guru in the software testing field this week.

Here is how it happened. I am a recent involuntary Agile convert after 5-6 years of a solid waterfall testing career. In the course of the last Sprint, while continuously running exploratory tests to no end, I realized that crucial changes need to be made to my testing approaches or I would go crazy. I felt that I could not keep up with the pace of the project cycle. I tried to follow the old patterns of designing elaborate test cases based on high level user stories specs, but I was unable to as the requirements kept changing. My test cases kept getting obsolete, updating the cases slowed down my testing, and I was losing track of time and direction. Plus the whole team was under a lot of pressure. We needed to deliver a product every 3 weeks and we were at the end of the release. I felt anxious and frustrated. I blamed it on the Agile Scrum that I was forced to embrace a few months ago and on the overwhelming number of epic user stories that frequently made no sense. All of this helped move me out of my introverted comfort zone – I now had to talk to developers daily and IN PERSON.

I blamed myself most of all for not being to cope with all this better. I looked through my testing textbooks, I Googled for information on rapid and Agile testing and I read other people’s testing blogs and forums. Soon the realization hit me that what I am going through – growing pains – is not an uncommon phenomenon. Many colleagues of mine also started their quests for answers on how to better themselves and there is a growing ‘army’ of non-conformist testing professionals that consider agile, rapid testing and context-driven testing as a golden opportunity to learn, test effectively and make clients happy.

Somehow I landed on James Bach’s blog site – http://www.satisfice.com/blog/. It felt as if someone directed me right to the site. I noticed that he would be in Virginia within a week to teach his seminars on Rapid Software Testing. Wow! The timing could not have been better for me.