Category Archives: Experiences

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!
Ding ding!
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

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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 :)

Live from Pipeline

I’m at the Pipeline continuous delivery conference today. I’ll try and mindmap as many sessions as possible and post updates here. Scroll down to see the earlier sessions.

It’s All About the People

Last up – Tomas Riha, talking about why its All About the People. A good presentation about moving to Continuous Delivery at VGT. My mind map is here.

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Big Ideas, Small Company, Moderate Heresy

Next up, Big Ideas, Small Company, Moderate Heresy from Alex Wilson and Benji Weber from Unruly. A very interesting presentation on their approach, particularly their synchronous processes. My mind map is here.

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Ship It!

Next up is Phil Wills from The Guardian, talking about “Ship It!”.

Here’s my mind map.

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The Rational for Continuous Delivery

First up, The Rational for Continuous Delivery from Dave Farley.

Here is my mind map.

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Live from Testbash

I’m here at the awesome TestBash conference today. I’ll be posting updates here, hopefully some mindmaps too.

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First up – Scott Barber. An excellent presentation about Managing Application Performance. My mind map is here.

Next up, Contextual Decision Making, from Mark Tomlinson. Great presentation with added spinning cats. Mindmap is here.

Jez Nicholson gave us some good tips on how to win developer friends and influence people.

Joep Schuurkes explained to us how to help a new tester to get a running start.

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Context driven testing in an agile context from Huib Schoots. Some great stuff.

Bill Matthews kicked off the afternoon talking about Getting Out of the Testing Game.

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Stephen Blower taught us how to inspire testers and what inspires him.

Iain McCowatt presented a great talk on changing our automation models.

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Chris George gave us a great story from RedGate on how they improved a legacy automation suite.

And finally Keith Klain gave a great talk on how to talk to a CIO about testing.

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And then 99 second talks, and that’s it. What a great day!

Testing Android At Facebook

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I spent a very useful and interesting day at SIGIST on Tuesday, presenting a talk on mobile testing, and listening to a number of talks from other speakers.

Simon Stewart’s presentation on how they test they Facebook Android application was very interesting. There is no Android team at Facebook, with all feature development taking place in the same team, irrespective of the platform. This helps ensure that the offerings are consistent across platforms.

They make a lot of use of test automation, (something that Facebook are famous for), and this applies to Android as much as other platforms, in particular a focus on unit testing and functional test automation using Selendroid.

Facebook have two main guiding principles for their test automation:

  1. Signal > Coverage – ensure that the results of running tests are acted upon, and failing tests are fixed or removed.
  2. Speed > Coverage – ensuring nothing takes more than 10 minutes to rub, and running tests in parallel.

Facebook also use a lot of dog-fooding and make use of Google’s Alpha and Beta test programs to ensure a wide coverage of devices and test scenarios, in particular to fill gaps between their primarily automated test strategy.

I drew a mind-map of the talk which explains everything in more detail. Click on the image to get the full size version.

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