Thursday, 14 February 2013

Homer comes to GR

Snow and a cold biting wind didn't stop a bunch of testers meeting up at the monthly GR Testers Meetup. There was a good mix of people, experienced testers, managers and new people wanting to know more about testing and what 'proper' testing meant.

Matt Heusser was able to make an appearance after a long time away, the meeting was hosted by Pete Walen which meant that this small meeting had two people on the Board of the AST

Pizza, wings and introductions done, it was onto the main topic - Tester Skills. Having people new to testing was useful as we could tease out from them what their perceptions were of what skills a tester should have.
The usual one of 'thorough and pays attention to details' came out so that was drilled into.
Was it a skill or a trait ? What could I do to practice getting better at it ?
What did it really mean ?
I was still chewing this over the day after so started a discussion on the STC

Other skills were raised and discussed. Is being able to stand your ground when under pressure from a PM a trait or a skill ? Communication skills. Empathy with customers. Coding skills. Creativity.
Can you be skillful at seeing the big picture whilst also being good at paying attention to detail ?

Pete Walen brought up the blog by Michael Larsen about The Real Value of a Liberal Education. Matt asked how reading the Iliad would help him be a better tester. Good question and I have yet to see a blog post about The Achilles Heel of Testing or How To Trojan Horse Exploratory Testing Into Your Org

After this discussion we then ran through an exercise Matt Heusser is developing. I wont give details away as it's Matts work and he's still polishing it, but suffice to say it was fun and educational.

Pizza, The Iliad, wings, tester games, good discussions, what more could you want from a meetup ?

Donuts ?

Oh yeh, there were those as well

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Varnishing Down Another Rabbit Hole

No, the title is not a misprint, I do mean Varnish and not Vanish.

One of the many cool things Atomic Object does is to get everyone to write a blog post once a month. Helps with marketing and the many benefits of writing a blog post have been been discussed many times so I wont repeat them here ( except to say "Do It" )

A recent post was about Varnish Cache, not something I knew much about though I had heard the name and vaguely knew what it was.

In the post it explains how it's possible for a desktop browser to receive the content meant for a mobile device ( and then explains how to configure Varnish so it wont happen )

Cue lightbulbs and another test idea to be added to my ever-growing list.
Sharing knowledge is great.

and the rabbit hole ?
I really should know more about caching...

Monday, 4 February 2013

Setting a good example

Cem Kaner.

You might have heard of him. I still consider myself lucky in that when I was thinking of becoming a tester one of the first books I read was "Testing Computer Software" written by Kaner, Falk and Nguyen

After reading that and getting excited and enthused and wanting to know more I got "Lessons Learned in Software Testing" - Kaner, Bach and Pettichord

A few years later I was watching Cem on video as I went through the AST BBST Foundations course.

A look on Wikipedia shows that Mr Kaner has had quite the career

So if he writes a blog post then I'm going to pay it some attention.

The content was great and gave me a lot to think about and how I could use some of the ideas.

But what struck me most on first reading was this:

Personally, I found this very instructive. I learned new ideas, gained new insights, stretched the bounds of what I see as high-volume test automation and learned about new contexts in which the overall family can be applied

One of the luminaries of the testing world still learning and stretching himself.
If this guy is still learning new ideas and gaining new insights is there any excuse for you to be complacent and think you know it all and that your testing couldn't be improved ?

Great way of setting a good example

Friday, 1 February 2013

From one acorn a Michigan oak grows

What a waste of time, people tweeting about the fact they are checking in to a hotel, wheels down at an airport, an emergency puppy picture that you really must see NOW

It can also be useful and powerful, here's one story....

Through Twitter I'd connected with a tester in Detroit, MI

There is currently a monthly Tester Meetup in Grand Rapids, MI - but Detroit is a 2 hour drive away so a bit far even for a keen tester to drive on a Monday evening. So she was doing the next best thing and trying to set up a local group but not getting much response

She posted a Tweet about it, I ( half) jokingly suggested a mid-Michigan Meetup, Matt Heusser spotted this ( the Twitter thread can be seen here ) , suggested a contact that was actually halfway and we took it to email.

This then turned into a Skype call where tentative arrangements were made.

If all goes to plan then sometime in March a bunch of testers will get together in Michigan, talk testing, listen to a main talk, do some lightning talks and have food and drink.

Some of the attendees may be students - so the new generation can get a chance to mix and talk with real-life testers

All from one Tweet.

How cool is that ?

Surf and Get Inspired

I'm not one for doing a blog post that is a list of blog posts but today was a day when there seemed to be so many good ones written.

How could you not be inspired after reading this lot ?

Started off with Ilari Henrick publishing his Becoming A World Class Tester post on the Ebay tech blog. A really inspirational post - and not just because I helped review it.

Rob Lambert was up next with an awesome post about hiring testers with some excellent thoughts about the process they were following and how excellent testers stood out.

Markus Gārtner came into view next with a blog post about The Three Ages In Testing - Explore, Stabilize and Commoditize. It made sense to me and seemed a good way of looking at how testing changes as the project proceeds.

A new tester popped up with an interesting second blog post about robot testers aka zombie testers and his post, titled 'have you tried testing lately?' is a great questions to ask them.

And to finish a great day of blogs, TestHead wrote a cracker of a post What's the real value of a "liberal" education ? I've got bored of reading the blogs and articles and LinkedIn discussions of whether a tester should be able to code or not. This post was a shout out for a testers having a wide breadth of knowledge, to be philosophers, historians, thinkers. Just go read it. Now.

- and then go off and read all the others.

An inspirational day, thank you all the testers out there writing blogs.
Keep it going