Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2015

A single source of testing truth...

Truth. Oscar Wilde said it best I think:
'The truth is rarely pure and never simple.'MEWT…

In terms of vehement debates at the recent MEWT gathering in Nottingham, probably the talk which generated the most feedback and opinion was Duncan Nisbet's ‘The Single Source of Truth is a Lie.’ To be honest I was relatively quiet during the debate, as it was straight after my talk and I also need time to parse such things, hence this blog. 

A link to the slides can be found here:

https://mewtblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/ssot-is-a-lie.pdf

What Duncan said in my head…

Those were the slides, this is how I understood the talk given by Duncan. First up, there was an admission by Duncan he was just putting this one out there for feedback, which is kind of the point of MEWT really. Second up, there was belt and braces, a definition of truth:
‘Conformity with reality or fact’ or can be otherwise known as ‘verity’Thus began the front loading of the mind with terms with multiple, deeper meaning…

My First MEWT...

A few months ago I got a very intriguing invite from a certain Richard Bradshaw to contribute to MEWT, an event I had been aware of out of the corner of my eye for a couple of years. The event is held at the beautiful Attenborough Nature Reserve and we delivered our reports within the Media Centre, perched in the middle of the lake. A stunning venue, and a great setting for learning.
As well as being my first MEWT, it was also my first peer conference, where experience reports are presented and then the floor is opened to questions, clarifications and comments. After the floor was opened to determine the running order, we took a vote. I'm not going to lie, I had a hangover, after discussing what the time "half eleven" means to a person from The Netherlands into the relatively small hours the night before. This naturally mean't I would be first up. Of course it did.
So I began to talk through my model for surfacing unrecognised internal models, inspired by a number of c…

Leeds Testing Community unConference

A few of you will know that we (well, Stephen Mounsey, Nick Judge, Fredrik Seiness, Phil Hargreaves et al did all the hard work, I just flounced in and presented a workshop) have recently given birth to the Leeds Testing Community unConference. All conferences start from an acorn, a twinkle in the eye, and this was no exception.  I didn’t want to let it pass without blogging on it, as I believe it to be the beginning of something big! There is a real thirst for this kind of event in Leeds, a thriving tech city with loads going on.
A quick whistle-stop tour of my highlights: Uno – Laurence Wood presented on his agile heroes, including my close testing and monitoring pal Gwen Diagram. I will not say the ‘D’ word. Also, on one to one ratios of developers to product owners (pinch me), a very strong start from a great speaker.Dos – My mobile testing workshop, entitled ‘Extending your testing senses.’ Despite being the only person currently testing in a mobile context in the room, everyone re…

Metastuff

The world is really complex. Layers upon layers of stuff exist in the systems we test. Old stuff on top of new stuff, augmented stuff, rewritten stuff, interconnected stuff, internal stuff talks to external stuff, data from here, there and everywhere. Stuff is done the move, stuff is done from places we never imagined. We are stuffed with stuff, and stuff about stuff. Metastuff.
The Problem with Stuff…
When testing this stuff, it’s pretty easy to get quite full of metastuff quite quickly. Then you get that post-Christmas lunch drowsiness, where you probably should be playing a board game with your family but for some reason you can’t move and are staring at the EastEnders Christmas Special (Phil is leaving Sharon, Beppe is selling E20). Being stuffed with metastuff has left you dull-witted, unable to focus on what matters.
Have I seen this in my fellow testers? Yes. Have I experienced this when testing complex stuff with multi-layered architectures? Oh yes.

Coping…
There is a way to cope t…

Under Pressure

As a tester, you might recognise this feeling.
The world wants your tests to “pass.” Developers, Product Owners, Project Managers, Executives, everyone is looking at you, waiting for you, wanting the tests to “pass.” Wanting this feature to be delivered, this final piece of the going live puzzle.
Has it “passed” then?
Whatever it is, it hasn’t, it can’t, at the heart of the matter, that isn't how exploration works. There are perceived and non-perceived problems, inconsistencies, misunderstandings, and conflicting stakeholder perceptions. It’s not your judgement to give, however this doesn’t mean that you don’t feel any pressure as a human being.
When you feel it, here are some fun thoughts that you might want to bear in mind: It’s really not your pressure. One of the key lessons I have learnt is not to accept the pressure of others. I’m a real responsibility magnet (there is a whole other blog there). But I make no promises when it comes to testing, I just mine for information. Stop ac…

Helping

I’m currently experiencing something I never thought I would.
The technology team I work in isn’t the slightly odd, dysfunctional part of the business, tucked away in the corner, showing signs of madness, gibbering binary nonsense at anyone who strays within range. I believe we are a high functioning team and have gone further, we are reaching out and contributing to improving the wider organisational system. I know, I have fallen off my chair several times.
How are we achieving this state I hear you ask? I won’t provide an illusion of perfection but I think we are doing these things really well: Saying yes, because technology is the art of the possible. Genuinely living the ethos that we can build what you need, share your priorities, help us understand, then we’ll get to it. Go to point 2.Releasing stuff regularly to get feedback. I know this is old hat, but you’d be amazed what it can achieve. Roughly weekly, mostly when it’s valuable, not overloading. Asking if you want more stuff, n…

Weekend Testing Europe - Testing Session for LinkedIn

Great time had during Weekend Testing Europe, recommended for all to sharpen up your skills, ask questions, or just get a bit of practice. The exercise in principle was compare features from mobile to desktop on the beautiful LinkedIn app/site...

For those interested my testing session files generated:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Linked In Mobile App

iPhone 5s iOS 8.3

Search Functionality

Risks:
## No access to search algorithm to verify results

Start:

##User needs to authenticate for search function to be available.

Flow:

##On tapping search and entering no details, contacts appear alphabetically ascending.
##Cancelling returns to home tab and reloads the Newsfeed.
##Options for the user:
People
Contacts appear alphabetically ascending.
Jobs
Displays a set of jobs you may be interested in 
? Unknown algorithm for this, would need to be verified ?
Displays option to set location
In a new dialog you can search for …

Just give me a ball park? Yankee Stadium.

Two of my favourite estimation conversations (roles are indicative, not pointing fingers).

The What Is It?

Project Manager: "How long will it take you to test our disaster recovery solution?"
Me: "What's your disaster recovery solution?"
Project Manager: "We don't have one yet, but we need to test it."
Me: "I'm not convinced that is a valid approach."
Project Manager: "Well, what shall we do then?"
Me: "Create an disaster recovery solution."
Project Manager: "Can you do that?"
Me: "Yes."
Project Manager: "How long will that take to test?"
Me: "I don't know, I would be creating it, so I can't test my own work"

The Anything But...

Product Person: "Can you provide a forecast for how long these would take to implement?"
Me: "Are you asking for an estimate?"
Product Person: "Lets call it a gut feeling then. In days"
Me: "Is that different?" 
Product…

Bad Work

Careers often hinge on shifts in mind-set and I feel as if I have gone beyond a turning point in how I regard my career. In fact I think it is the first time I have taken true ownership of my direction and values, instead of inheriting and adhering to those of another entity, namely an organisation. This realisation concerns not doing what I would call ‘bad work’ (anymore).
Before I go on, let’s specify what I believe to be bad work: Making a promise to stakeholders about delivery you know to a high probability you can’t keep.Not flagging up information that may impact the decision a stakeholder may make.Knowingly doing valueless work, as ordered by a stakeholder.Implementing an exploitative strategy which preys on the ignorance of a stakeholder.Treat someone inhumanely by hiring (or training) them to effect a particular change, then telling them how to do it.
The journey began in March 2013, I listened to a chap named Huib Schoots speak at TestBash 2013, in Brighton. He spoke of refusi…

Discipline? I don't know the meaning of the word

.....as uttered by the infamous Liam Gallagher.
We still fall for it in the development world don't we? The cult of the 'hero' or 'rockstar': 
Extremely deep knowledge of their chosen technology? Very often and that's great. Ability to communicate? If it confirms their approach. Working on a common goal? If they set it. Unable to be questioned about their approach? I can't work under these conditions, I'll be in my trailer. Sloppy and inconsistent? Maybe some of that too.I prefer this quote:  'Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work' ~ Vince LombardiI much prefer to hire team players. For me, these guys are rock stars, just maybe not the lead singers. What have they got in their lockers then?
Able to create long term relationships? Loads of this.Mindful of the impact of their actions on others? Loads of that too.Information shared to enable each other to progress? Constantly this.Respect for each othe…

My name is Ash, and I was a manager

"My name is Ash, and I was a manager"Sometimes I feel like I should say that in a circle of other former managers and get a ripple of applause for admitting it. 

Pitchforks at the ready.....

Every time I open Twitter or LinkedIn I see a pithy saying about managers, the reasons why your manager is out to get you, or in the way, an unfeeling monster, the root of all that is wrong in the software development world. Managers are generalised and stereotyped mercilessly, oddly enough by those who accuse same managers of the self same behaviour.  

Some dislike specific managers or at least personality types of managers, some management as a concept, some say management is confused with leadership and vice versa. A legion of reasons to mistrust, expressed in many ways.

Because reasons....

Now, I'm not an idiot, this mistrust has been earned. As a consultant to various companies I've seen some very inhumane approaches to management executed by, quite frankly, unstoppable morons wi…

Scaling schmaling

'Scaling agile' appears to be the latest organisational obsession. I appear beset on all sides by the latest scaling framework for agile ways of working.  SAFe, LeSS and even DAD are examples of acronym driven chicanery which parade as answers to all your organisational needs. 

So, lets just all leap aboard the Agile Release Train (because loading something up with a few months work and careering around at variable speeds sounds SAFe to me) and scale into the stratosphere.

I have a theory I've expressed on this blog before. Its just too darned hard to think about problems like this. So we outsource it. Thinking-as-a-Service. TaaS. We are relatively unique, blog reader, in our desire to go back to first principles.

Anyway, onwards. Riddle me this framework builders. Which of these doesn't scale?


http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

Its all there. Teams, trust, collaboration, conversation, technical excellence, sustainability, self-organisation, reflection.

They are pret…

Inadvertent Local Optimisation

I saw this tweet the other day: If you are a consultant, it's important to know the difference between a doctor and a drug dealer. Please be more like a doctor.
— James Marcus Bach (@jamesmarcusbach) January 8, 2015Followed swiftly by:
Wanting to please the customer is not enough. Drug dealers very much want to please their customers.
— James Marcus Bach (@jamesmarcusbach) January 8, 2015This got me thinking about a process I am often involved in. 

Reviews of 'testing capability and maturity' are a common product offered by many lone consultants & consultancies. I myself have done them on a regular basis, creating a number of (I believe) thoughtful strategies and recommendations that a client can implement themselves and/or in conjunction with a partner.

I like to think, I've probably done some good too. Looking for root causes over the dreaded 'low hanging fruit' that so many consultants recommend (see drug dealer).

When I really reflect though, I'm prett…