Tag Archives: experiences

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 🙂

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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Incentivising Community Engagement?

I firmly believe that in order to be as effective as possible, testers need to engage with the software testing community. Learning from others, particularly outside of the companies where we work, makes us more rounded and better informed individuals. It enables us to inspire ourselves and our colleagues in ways that we could not otherwise.

Recently I’ve been wondering why more people do not engage with the community. What is stopping them, and how can we all help change this? We can explain how brilliant the wider community is, and we can give examples from our experience. We can send people to conferences and email round blog posts. What is that does not work?

What do we do about those within a team who do not want to interact? Those who do not see it as a good use of their time, and are not willing to spend time on community matters, even if that time is given to them by the company. Should we incentivise people to do so? At least in order to push them in the direction of the wider testing community, where hopefully they will get hooked? Or should we do the opposite? Is it a valid idea to make community engagement a part of people’s role description, and therefore penalise those who hold such positions and do not exhibit such engagement?

Or is there another way of persuading everyone that the software testing community is key to their personal development? I’d be interested to know what you think.

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!

Get Out and Test – My Mobile Testing Blog Post Over At The Testing Planet

I’ve just had an article published on The Testing Planet’s new site. It’s all about mobile testing, and why you shouldn’t just sit in your seat, in your office, when you are testing mobile.

Why not head over to their site and take a look? You can find the article on The Ministry of Testing website.

Further Notes From A Testers Hierarchy of Needs – pt2

In my first post about ‘A Testers Hierarchy of Needs’ I explained a little about humanistic psychology and the work of Abraham Maslow. Let’s now look at how this can be applied to software testing.

As with the first post, the headings match with the slides I presented at TestBash.

A Typical Career Path

career pathA typical testers career path can look like this – it’s rather rigid and set. There are similar paths to this for management roles, and often testers are pushed towards management because it pays better, even if they don’t like management.

But what if we forgot about roles and job descriptions?

But what if we forgot about roles and job descriptions? After all, why do we have to consider our roles as part of a career ladder? How do we fit within our roles? What makes us satisfied as testers? What satisfies those who work for us in testing?

It’s all about considering building blocks. How do we fit the pieces together? How do we build a different kind of model to help us understand ourselves and our testers? Well I think Maslow’s work can help us out here. It can give us a framework.

A Testers Hierarchy of Needs

HierarchyofNeeds

Our first level – Maslow would call this the Physiological level. I call it acceptance. Acceptance of testing. So testing is just a job. Management view is ‘anyone can do it’. You are probably complying with work rules and basic processes to continue staying in job. There’s a lack of respect or support BUT there is testing happening. It’s probably manual checking only but it’s a start. So a positive step.

The next level is Maslow’s Safety level. Testing is mandated. There is a test team. Testers have peers. There is some safety – the job is seen as worthwhile and so unlikely to suddenly be moved to somewhere where people can press the buttons and check more cheaply. But testers are still universally seen as an annoyance. It’s about meeting expectations of peers and bosses, sometimes unspoken, to meet a moral and social code. It’s a learning level. As a tester you can learn testing, the company you work for is learning about testing. You play a key part in ensuring that learning happens.

One level up and it’s all about belonging. Testing, testers and the test team is seen as a key part of the company.  It is taken seriously by all. It’s about meeting and exceeding more demanding expectations of peers and bosses, sometimes unspoken, to meet moral and social code. Consultation. Respect. Inclusion.

The Interaction level is next.  The impact of testing reaches further than just the IT team. Consultation from the business. Reliance. Interaction. And overall a real sense of Esteem for the tester. A sense of worth. You are really adding value.

Then the top. Maslow’s self-actualisation level. Test Mastery.

• The skills and continual learning needed to succeed.
• Coaching others up the hierarchy.
• A responsibility to the wider testing community.
• The person must not only achieve the previous needs, but master them.
Recognition from all. Inside a company and outside. Respect and recognition from peers, thought leaders, and those that you really respect and value.

What affects your movement between levels?

Maslow never drew the theory of needs as a pyramid. In fact he never drew it as a diagram at all as far as I know. That was done in a later psychology text book.  He felt that there could be overlap between states. You can move between states. Down as well as up. Changing roles, changing teams, life changes, can all affect movement between levels. Where you are on the hierarchy is just a snapshot in time.

I feel that, for a testers theory of needs, a pyramid is right. It shows the hierarchy best. But it could be a set of overlapping balloons, if you like that sort of thing.

So….where do you think you are on the pyramid?

Are you on a path to self-actualization. To Test Mastery? Do you think you are there already? What are you doing to stay there? What about the testers who are in your team? What about the company you work for?

I’d be very interested to know what you think.

 

 

Further Notes From A Testers Hierarchy of Needs – pt1

I’ve written about Maslow and links between humanistic psychology and software testing a couple of times before. I presented ‘A Testers Hierarchy of Needs’ at TestBash 2.0. This post gives a bit more information and material to support the slides which you can find on this page.

The idea is that the headings match the slides, in order to make things easy to follow. It’s split into two posts – the first talks about humanistic psychology and Maslow. The second will focus on how we can adapt this to software testing.

Abraham Maslow, Humanistic Psychology and Testing

Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who died in 1970. He was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms”.

The needs of humans, in their most basic form

Humanistic Psychology focuses on the needs of human’s in their most basic forms. It focuses on the positive qualities in people in a positive way and is based upon observations of humans’ innate curiosity – innate curiosity, something useful for testing I’d argue. Consider the classic “Testing is questioning a product in order to evaluate it” for example.

Maslow studied what he called exemplary people such as Albert Einstein,  rather than mentally ill or neurotic people. He also  studied the healthiest 1% of the college student population.

Humanistic theories of 
self-actualization

Humanistic psychology is a perspective which rose to prominence in the mid-20th century in response to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. Maslow once commented: “It is as if Freud supplied us the sick half of psychology and we must now fill it out with the healthy half”. Humanistic psychologists believe that every person has a strong desire to realize his or her potential, to reach a level of “self-actualization”

It holds that people are inherently good.

Qualities of 
self-actualizing people

Maslow studied what he called self-actualised people. He realized that all the individuals he studied had similar personality traits. All were “reality centered,” able to differentiate what was fraudulent from what was genuine. We do that as testers. They were also “problem centered,” meaning that those treated life’s difficulties as problems that demanded solutions. We do that as testers. These individuals also were comfortable being alone and had healthy personal relationships. Are we like that as testers? 🙂

Self-actualizing people tend to focus on problems outside themselves; have a clear sense of what is true and what is false; and are spontaneous and creative..

The Theory of Needs

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The theory of human needs can be expressed or ordered in a pre-potent hierarchy—a pressing need would need to be mostly satisfied before someone would give their attention to the next highest need. Maslow described human needs as being relatively fluid—with many needs being present in a person simultaneously.

1) At the bottom of the hierarchy are the “Basic needs or Physiological needs” of a human being: food, water, sleep and sex.

2) The next level is “Safety Needs: Security, Order, and Stability.” These two steps are important to the physical survival of the person.

3) The third level of need is “Love and Belonging,” which are psychological needs.

4) The fourth level is achieved when individuals feel comfortable with what they have accomplished. This is the “Esteem” level, the need to be competent and recognized, such as through status and level of success.

5) At the top of the pyramid, “Need for Self-actualization,” occurs when individuals reach a state of harmony and understanding because they are engaged in achieving their full potential.

Once a person has reached the self-actualization state they focus on themselves and try to build their own image. They may look at this in terms of feelings such as self-confidence or by accomplishing a set goal.

Usually people in developed countries focus on the third and fourth level of needs while those in less developed worlds focus on the first and second.

Meta-motivation

Maslow used the term metamotivation to describe self actualized people who are driven by innate forces beyond their basic needs, so that they may explore and reach their full human potential. To become better people. Or better Testers.

But how does this fit in with Software Testing? We’ll find out more in part 2.