Monday, 17 May 2010

Same old same old same old

Sadly my daily commute does not look like the above pic :(

Park the car near the train station and see the guy who has his morning jog in his driveway.

Get out of the car, walk to the station and get overtaken by the guy who is always running to catch his train.

Into London and walk past the Big Issue seller, then past the guy doing juggling, then another Big Issue seller and then one more Big Issue seller with her dog fetching a tennis ball.

Through the park in the square and the man with his leafblower just starting to blow them away

Into work and test the app in the same way, enter the same data in the same order and press the same buttons...

Or take a different walk and see if I can find a new elephant

Look around as I walk and notice that the Green Man and French Horn pub I've walked past the last 6 months actually has a Green Man sign

A reminder to myself to take different routes in my testing and to keep looking around

Sunday, 16 May 2010

The Growing Community

The recent London Tester Gathering once again resulted in the basement room of the LVPO Bar being packed out. Only 3 months ago there were a few of us watching the barman holding a candle up the TV as people tried to connect cables, now we have 3 speakers and not enough room.

Microsoft have been along to gather feedback from the testing community and this time it was the turn of Red Gate to tell us how testers worked at their place, how good a place it was to work and to offer an iPad to anyone who was interviewed for a test engineer role. A video of people in the company saying how great it was to work there was a bit too corny and overlong - even if it is true.

Stuart Taylor of Trader Media gave a great talk on how his workplace has transitioned from Waterfail to Agile.

As the next speaker, Michael Bolton, said - it was a great experience report. Michael's talk introduced the audience to the CBC radio series How to Think About Science and the book Leviathan and the Air-Pump - so yeh, not your standard testing talk ( which I was not expecting from Mr Bolton and he did not disappoint )

Afterwards it was networking time and I got to meet Anna Baik and Jodie Parker at last and left them excitedly discussing Weekend Testing.

Looking round the room I counted 12 people I'd only known online but had finally got around to putting faces to and another 5 or so people that seem to be regulars at these events that I'm getting to recognise.

And with the Software Testing Club growing by around 10 people per day the online and offline testing community is growing and no need for testers to feel isolated.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Why oh Why oh Why oh Why oh Why ?

Why oh Why oh Why oh Why oh Why do I have a picture of Wallace and Grommit at the start of this post ?
Well, if you had been at the Root Cause Analysis event at Skills Matter last night you would understand why.

Douglas Squirrel, CTO at youDevise gave a very entertaining talk on Root Cause Analysis which in his view is one of the most important but often neglected part of agile.

He and his company are still learning to do it - following the Shu Ha Ri approach he classified themselves as getting into the Ha phase.
( a small gratifying moment for me as he asked how many knew about this and as I had blogged about it a while ago I was able to put my hand up. )

He then went on to describe the 9 important points of doing a RCA and how to do the 5 Why's

  • Target a specific event

  • Everyone affected attends

  • No Blame

  • Poll to identify problems

  • Write a lot

  • Move down, then across

  • Doesn't hurt ? You're not doing it right

  • Proportionate tasks

  • All tasks done in a week

Having described them, it was time to put them into action. he divided the room into 2 teams and then showed a Wallace and Grommit video. One team was assigned to be Wallace, the other Grommit and then we conducted an RCA session to find out the root cause of what went wrong.

The final outcome was that Wallace and Grommit needed to go to a Cheese and Biscuit therapy session to learn how to communicate with each other better.

Lots of questions afterwards - the sign of a good session - then off to the pub

Monday, 3 May 2010

What have testers ever done for us ?

Rob Lamberts recent blog Don't Be A Follower made me think of Life of Brian ( James Bach isn't the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy )

Which in turn reminded me of the What have the Romans done for us scene

Xerxes: The aqueduct.

Reg: Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That's true.

Masked Activist: And the sanitation!

Stan: Oh yes... sanitation, Reg, you remember what the city used to be like.

Reg: All right, I'll grant you that the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done...

Matthias: And the roads...

Reg: (sharply) Well yes obviously the roads... the roads go without saying. But apart from the aqueduct, the sanitation and the roads...

Stan: And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now.

Francis: Yes, they certainly know how to keep order... (general nodding)... let's face it, they're the only ones who could in a place like this.

Reg: All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?

Now re-work this with testers as the Romans...

Reg: What has testing done for us ?

Xerxes: Well, they found those showstopper bugs before we went live...

Reg: Yeh, yeh, I suppose that would have given our customers some trouble

Masked Activist: They went through the specs before we started development and found all those inconsistencies and ambiguities

Stan: And they helped the devs write those acceptance tests before they started coding so they knew when they were done

Reg: All right all right - but apart from finding the showstoppers and making the requirements testable and making sure the devs knew what they were coding...

Stan: The Continuous Integration - remember how scared we were to change the code and how long it took to manually retest it all ?

What else has testing done for us ?