Thursday, May 3, 2012

Let's Test is just around the corner!

If anyone missed it, or perhaps simply don't care, there's a great software testing conference in Stockholm next week. Let's Test 2012
Somehow I ended up in the role of conference chair or conference general or El Commendante ;)
(think I've used all of those titles in various places)
And now it's about that time!!! Let's Do It!

Maybe I should bring an old whistle and some sweat pants and shirt, my old clipboard and make some noise like back in my football coaching days ;)

Nah, think I'll come as myself today and not 20 years ago :)

For those of you missing this opportunity: Too bad! It's gonna rock like nothing has ever rocked before!

I'm looking forward to seeing all of you who are comming. I'm not gonna make this rock alone. It's all of you comming to the conference that will make this really rock!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why do we test? - A bit more on the subject

I'm very happy with the response I got on my last post about the book project. I thought I'd stay on that subject and write some more about it.
My starting point for this project was the "Why" that seems to missing or at least very strange when you encounter some PM's and others that thinks that brush test off with: "Oh, that's getting to be too much. We don't need you. We don't need that much, better do it ourselves", and other similar comments. I'm trying not to get stunned and speechless when I encounter such ignorance, and I do believe that's exactly what it is, about test. This is of course an educational issue and sometimes you need a clever approach to be able to get the point across and teach these people about test. It is probably not easy and it is challenging. This is a good thing. When it is difficult and challenging it forces you to think about your craft and it forces you to work on your arguments and teaching tactics. Even if it's difficult to embrace the chance to learn and become better at our craft in a situation where you most probably is pretty upset and down right steaming mad, try to cool off and use it to your advantage if you can.
This "Why" depends on the context just like the other "Why"'s that I'll try to cover.

These are some of the different "Why"s that come to (my) mind:
  • Why do we test? - on a general and perhaps abstract level that's related to non-testers attitude towards test, as a craft and as a service.
  •  Why do we test? - on a personal level. Perhaps I test because I love to explore and enjoy discovering things, or I test because it's a nice job and it helps me pay my bills, or I'm not a tester I just do this because the PM told me I had to.
  •  Why do we test? - in this particular project. It may be regulatory demands that needs to be fulfilled or it may be a business critical production system that has high availability or high security demands. The reasons on this level are not always as clear as they perhaps should be. Being clear about why we test on this level will help when decisions need to be made about how much effort and work is needed when designing tests or when designing automated checks. Communicating the reasons is also
  •  Why do we test? - integrations. This is not as obvious when you think about it as it might look. Think about it.
  • Why do we test? - performance, in this particular way or at all. This is also not as obvious as it first may seem.
  • Why do we test at all? - Why not do automated checks and run those and be done with it? Why bother with testing? Do we need real human beings with brains and minds of their own testing this? 

I am far from done with this, I have only started to write and I will try to make use of the community to gather stories and experiences. There will be more on the blog as I write and I guess there will be one or two posts about writers block and distractions. It's only human, I hope!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why do we test?

I recently started writing on what will be my first book. The title was the thing that came to me first together with the idea of subject. Why do we test? That's the title, at this point, and my intention is to gather up my own experiences and the experiences that are shared with me by colleagues and other testers around me. My hope is that it will be of some value to someone and most of all I view it as a great opportunity for myself to become a better writer. Writing is a large part of what I do as a tester and test manager. Strategies, plans, reports of different kinds are sometime too large a part of my job. I enjoy it so I shouldn't complain and I take every chance I can to make these thing more useful and usable and as short as possible. I'm sure I'm not the only one who have experienced that large documents never get used, never get read. They tend to collect dust on whatever disk space they occupy.
Back to the main question: Why do we test? The obvious answer would be: To learn. That's a correct answer but it's hard to convey why we test and what the value of test is with that short reply. It needs to be followed up, and backed up, with the reasons and arguments behind it. It is also different things to different people and that is one of the major challenges when communicating the Why. More than once have I seen test have its allocated time cut down and even completely scrapped in projects. Many times it has been obvious that the decision maker(s) have a very different view of what test really is and what test really does. More than once it has been too late to change the decision when I've gotten a chance to try to enlighten them about what test is and what test brings to the table but now, collecting and writing this book, I will build a nice collection, for myself and others, with experiences and arguments concerning why we do test.
I'll get back to this topic more as my work on the book continues.

A special thanks you to Mike Sutton for helping get off my lazy behind and write a blog post! He is writing to, here.