Category Archives: Experiences

EuroSTAR 2014 – Day 3

This is the third part of my review of EuroSTAR 2014. You can also read about day 1 and day 2 in the previous posts.

Day 3

After a late night at the Gala party (well I had just presented at EuroSTAR so I reckon a celebration was in order) then I’m ashamed to say I missed the first keynote of the day. From what I hear it was good :(

My next session was ‘Stylish Mobile Testing’ with Dan Ashby and Nehir Yelkovan. I know both Dan and Nehir well – myself and Dan do the Testing In the Pub podcast together and I work with Nehir. So missing their presentation was not an option. I’d have gone along even if I hadn’t known them, the topic of the session being around mobile testing. It was a good session; they passed on lots of useful hints and tips on mobile testing and got a great double act going on.

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After watching Rene Tuinhout talk about Passionate Dating for Testers (a talk I’d seen Rene do at the Romanian Testing Conference where it was just as funny), I settled down in the auditorium for the final keynote from Zeger Van-Hesse. My notes are below:

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Following the keynote, and the announcement of the EuroSTAR 2015 chair and venue (congratulations to Ruud Teunissen and let’s hope we meet in Maastricht) then then there was a decision to make. Workshop or do-over session?

I chose the do-over session, an excellent idea from the conference organisers, whereby the attendees get to vote on what session they would like to see again. This year it was won by Declan O’Riordan. Declan has had a great year, after doing his first talk at SIGIST, straight after me in fact) then he’s spoken at a number of events and also won the best paper award at EuroSTAR this year. His talk about the ‘Why, Why, Who, How of Security Testing’ was in parts exciting, parts scary and really informative. A great final session.

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Overall

This year’s EuroSTAR was a great event. It’s well run by a really passionate group, both the organising committee and the conference organisers themselves. The mix of speakers and topics meant that there was real variety and something different from last year. Congratulations to all who spoke, all who organised, and all who contributed in some way. I really hope I can make it back next year.

EuroSTAR 2014 – Day 2

This is the second part of my review of EuroSTAR 2014. Check here for day 1.

Day 2

Day 2 started with Isabel Evans giving her experiences of a change project that went wrong. There was a lot of things to learn from here experiences but the main thing I took away was “it’s alway about the people”. People are the main factor in software development and the main factor in change. Understanding them if the key to effective change.

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Here’s my notes from her session.

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Next up I saw Michael Bolton give a very interesting and interactive session called ‘Every Tester Has a Price: Sources of Product and Project Information’. In it we went through different information sources and produced a large and detailed mindmap. I captured some of it below:

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Note – it’s not complete and I need to get the rest of it from Michael.

Following Michael’s session I caught Kristoffer Nordström’s session on Gameification. This was a great personal account of how Kristoffer introduced gameification to a project he was working on, and what the results were. Certainly something that I’d like to see if I can use where I work.

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My final session of the morning was another case study, this time from James Christie. James gave a very detailed and interesting study of a project he worked on for the UK government, whose primary goal seemed to be for the project not to appear in the UK news/ satire magazine Private Eye. While the project did not fail, (the programme it was part of did), it placed a great strain on the people involved and certainly was not the sort of project James would want to be involved with again. There were some clear lessons to learn, hopefully captured in my notes below.

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After lunch it was my turn to talk about “Understanding Your Mobile User”. I was lucky, I had a good audience and they asked some great questions. IMG_20141126_130709

I spoke about ways you could understand mobile users, and why understanding the user is so important when mobile testing.

The final keynote of the day was from Julian Harty, who spoke about ‘Software Talk: Are We Listening’. Julian gave us some hints and tips on how we can listen to software, through analytics for example.

What happened next was a little bizarre. A guy from Smartbear got up on the stage and sang a song about testing, to the tune (and inspired by the lyrics) of Frozen, the Disney kids film. Not my cup of tea but some people enjoyed it I guess.

IMG_20141126_170317Then it was time for the Gala party – a great night at Croke Park, home of the GAA.

Note: Updated 11th Dec as a result of James’ comment below.

 

I’m at Mobile App Europe – Day 3

Time for the last day of Mobile App Europe.

The final keynote – The 7 Deadly Sins of Mobile Apps from Jonathan Kohl.

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Saurabh Agarwal is now talking about ‘Tackling Fragmentation in the Mobile App World’.

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Marc C Lange gave a really interesting presentation called ‘How to Slim Down Product Management, Gain Valuable Insights and Make Customers Early by Leaving Your Comfort Zone’. He gave some excellent tips on how to understand users and how to consider mobile prototyping. I mindmapped his session.

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A really interesting presentation on Appium from Andreas Ludeke. He even did some live coding – a brave man – which worked! I did a little mindmap of the session.

First up – Julien Lesaicherre talking about Building the Future of Mobile Apps With Facebook. I mindmapped the session and you can find my map here.

Julien’s slides are here.

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I’m At Mobile App Europe – Day 2

So it’s day 2. I’ll be blogging as much as I can, scroll down for the earlier sessions.

Dr Cheahan So talking about Why We Are Wrong When We Think We Are Right.

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Next up – Peter Varhol, who is talking about Mobile Apps and the Role of Load Testing. Here’s my mindmap.

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Stefan Gwihs and Philipp Strelka talked about the use of emulators and simulators in mobile testing.

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Some interesting stuff, particularly about how a test approach should not be purely UI driven. My mindmap is here.

First the keynote. Unfortunately Daniel Knott couldn’t make it  – fortunately he put his slides up on slideshare.

Everything is not lost :) – we have a new keynote – Mobile App Quality at Paypal.

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I’m At Mobile App Europe – Day 1

I’m at the Mobile App Europe conference in Potsdam.

This morning I gave my presentation ‘Mobile Testing, That’s Just a Smaller Screen, Right?’ – you can get the slides on slideshare.

I’m here for the rest of the conference and I’ll try and mindmap a few sessions.

Martin Wrigley is now talking about ‘Effective QA – Is It Really Necessary?’ Hint, yes it is :)

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This afternoon I spent some time in Bill Matthew’s Security Testing Workshop. I mindmapped his slides.

Next Up – Christian Kaar from Runtastic with 10 Ingredients to Rock the App Store with Your App. Here’s my mindmap.

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The first one is ‘All Together Now – Apps for the Next Platform: Making Watches, Wearables and Web Work’ which was presented by Lars Kamp. A very interesting and informative presentation about wearables.

Exploring An Existing System

Recently I’ve been reading Elisabeth Hendrickson’s excellent book ‘Explore It!’. For anyone who has an interest in exploratory testing it’s a must own. I wish I’d discovered it earlier to be honest, since it gives so many useful hints and tips, as well as confirming that the ways of working that one has chosen are also recommended and used by others.

As well as using it for my own learning, I’ve been slowly going through the book and working out what parts I can use in the regular lunch and learn sessions that I run at work. While we practice exploratory testing, in fact it’s the cornerstone of our sapient testing strategy, there are some areas where I feel we could take approaches that could benefit not only testing, but also the wider business.

Working With Legacy Systems

We frequently work with legacy systems and so one chapter that was of immediate interest to me in Elisabeth’s book concerned exploring an existing system. When one has an existing system to test I find it’s all too easy to become primed by what others have already discovered, and to fall back on existing test cases (whether physically written down or in someone’s head). This can bias you, resulting in less effective testing.

Elisabeth makes the point that an existing system may well be unknown to the tester, but also may well be unknown to the whole team, or at least contain parts that are unknown. While the software fulfils a business need, how it actually goes about doing so may be less clear. That makes it ideal for exploration.

Recon Testing

James and Jon Bach like to call the initial exploration of an existing system ‘recon testing’. I like this term, by taking an initial session to explore and discover the basics of the software under test then one can then plan more effectively for future sessions, and write future charters in order to drive those plans (if you want to know more about the concept of session based testing and how charters fit in with this then have a look at James Bach’s explaination). Recon sessions help to map the territory and give insight.

During a recon session you can learn a lot, but the most important areas to ensure that you have gained insight into are:

  • The ecosystem in which the software under test resides.
  • Touchpoints to other systems.
  • Variables (things we change or can change).
  • Obvious vulnerabilities and potential risks.

Our Training Session

During our training session we carried out recon testing on the Staples ‘Easy’ button, and a standard service bell. This no doubt annoyed those in the room next door :)

Ding ding!
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Easy to test?
Easy to test?

By starting training with something simple, and not software based then it’s easier to pick up and learn the basics of a new technique without bias or the complication of software. We then compared our experiences, testing, (and the charters produced), with those that the Bach brothers produced when they carried out an exploratory testing exercise using the same product. Fortunately for us, their session is available on youtube, so it was an excellent addition to our de-brief. In it they explain the different testing techniques they use, and why. It’s well worth watching.

Enough Recon Testing?

One area to focus upon when conducting recon testing is whether one has conducted enough recon testing. Fortunately ‘Explore It!’ has this covered, recommending you ask yourself questions about the system that you have been exploring. If you don’t understand what the system does, how input and output works or how the environmental configuration affects the system for example, then it’s probably time to think about more recon before you move into more focused test sessions. Fortunately for the ‘Easy’ button and bell testers, (and those sitting near the meeting room where we had the lunch and learn), then this was not necessary :)

A Useful Addition

Recon testing is something that I think we’ll find is a really useful addition to our strategy. I’d certainly recommend that you check it out, and that you check out ‘Explore It!’ which contains much more useful information and techniques to use in your exploratory testing. I’ll certainly be using the book to inspire some future training sessions for the team.

Interviewed for Computer Weekly

I was recently interviewed for Computer Weekly, about the test strategy at Net-a-Porter, and my forthcoming talk at the Next Generation Testing Conference. It was an interesting experience and not one that I have done before.

I spoke about why I believe that Testing As An Activity is important, and why we should all test. The old axiom that “Testers Test and Programmers Code” is so outdated now and everyone needs to change. Testers are the testing experts in a team, and can help enable the whole team to own quality but they are certainly not the only one’s who should be testing.

You can read the interview itself over on the Computer Weekly site, and you can find the slides from the presentation at the Next Generation Testing conference over on Slideshare.

Interviewed For the uTest Testing Blog

I was interviewed recently for the uTest blog. I’ll be speaking about ‘Testing As An Activity’ at the forthcoming Next Generation Testing Conference, and so they asked me some questions about the topic, as well as some more general one’s about my thoughts on testing and how I started in the industry.

Worth a read I reckon, (I am biased of course). You can find the uTest blog post on their site.

More details on the Next Generation Testing Conference are on their site.

Romanian Testing Conference 2014

Landscape Green v2

I’ve just got back from the Romanian Testing Conference which was held in Cluj-Napoca. It was a great couple of days, talking testing with a lot of new people, and some friends from the UK and further afield.

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If you get the chance then I would definitely recommend the conference. There was a good mix of presenters and presentations, and the event was very professionally run. They even had their own RTC2014 branded cars!

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I spoke about mobile software testing, and you can find my slides on this site. I also took mindmaps of as many sessions as I could, and I’ve added all of these to a ‘Live From….’ post which you can find here.

Next up, Nordic Testing Days in Tallinn  in a couple of weeks. I’m talking about ‘Testing Your Emotions’, which will be a change from the mobile software testing area that I normally present on. I’ll also try and live blog as much as possible from the event.

Conferences, conferences, conferences

At the start of this year I made a conscious decision to try and speak at more conferences. I think it’s important that those of us who feel happy standing up in front of crowds of people and talking about testing do so; it helps spread ideas and keeps things fresh. I also find it’s a great way of meeting new people, exchanging new ideas, and doing so while keeping the costs down :)

So, I’ve been making a real effort with my abstracts and submissions this year (a topic of a future blog post). And I think I’ve also got a bit lucky as well, since I’m speaking a few conferences this year. It’s all really rather exciting. The full list is below:

I’m really looking forward to it all. Hope to see you at one or two. Now I’d best get off and write all those presentations :)