Nicky Tests Software

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Developing your thoughts: Talking out loud

Now that I've started actively preparing for my "Testing so you can move on" talk at Testbash Belfast and Romanian Testing Conference, I've started to notice how my thought process is developing as a result of talking out loud.

Bit of background first so you have an idea how I'm preparing:

  • I'm focussing on getting my first draft done (almost there, just need to expand a bit more on one of my key points first)
  • Then I'll start on the slides 
  • I'll look into how the slides and talk "fit" each other
  • Then I'll go back and forth between slides and talk aiming to reach a deliverable presentation ASAP
  • After that, just refine until I deliver the presentation

I'd like to share a little bit about my thought process and what I learn/gain from talking out loud when preparing to give talks at conferences or give speeches at Toastmasters .

Monday, April 3, 2017

Living in Sweden: Laundry rooms and apartments

Since I moved to Sweden in September 2015, I've had to learn to get used to a lot of different aspects of life. I'm in another country on the other side of the world from my native country after all.

Aside from the obvious like the language difference, there are some aspects of Swedish life that I'm still getting used to. Here are two of them:

Laundry rooms
It seems to be very common to have to book laundry times. If you live in an apartment, chances are, you need to book laundry times each week. You share a laundry room with other people and book the room. This can be done in various ways, these include:

  • Digitally (have heard of this, never done it)
  • Writing your apartment number in the spreadsheet in the bulletin board
  • Using your apartment peg and moving it to the time slot you want 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Do you see what I see?

Yesterday I had an interview with the Test Manager for a potential project and the subject of providing valuable information, as testers, came up.

We had a bit of back and forth regarding what exactly is valuable information - I asked him what the term "valuable information" meant to him. He then proceeded to tell me it's information that helps stakeholders make informed decisions.

We were on the same page.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Find (and surround yourself by) inspiring people at work

I've been really lucky to have found and been inspired by some amazing people at work. First off, let me give a few brief reasons as to why I think it's important to find (and surround yourself by) inspiring people at work.

  • If you're impressionable, then it's great to be surrounded by these people - and hope some of them awesomeness rubs off on you (at least that's what I've been doing).  
  • You will learn a lot from them.
  • Lastly, they can help you discover what you can offer the world, that you didn't know you could offer. There may be strengths you have that you don't recognise, but with their experience and knowledge - they may be able to spot it and let you know that it sets you apart.

Below I'd like to mention a few (not all, blog post would be too long) of these people and share what they taught me.

Aaron Hodder
  • Question things
  • Opened up world of CDT

I met Aaron while I was on the Graduate programme at Assurity. He was the person who opened up the Context Driven Testing world to me - thanks to this so many more doors opened as a result. I also distinctly remember him teaching us (graduates) the dice game which taught me to not prove that your theory is correct, but find a way to disprove your theory. He also taught us to question the ISTQB exam and that it has its limitations.

Katrina Clokie
  • Make stuff happen

The main thing I have learned from Katrina is that you can make stuff happen (she even has spoken about the topic at conferences). WeTest Auckland is initially created because of all the resources and learnings Katrina shared with us when we were first starting up the meet-up. Then when I moved to Sweden, I started up Stockholm Software Testing Talks using what I learned from helping run the WeTest Auckland meet-up.

Shirley Tricker
  • Self awareness
Shirley was my mentor both when she was at Assurity and after she left. I asked her for career advice and from her, learned more about what I have to offer and what's unique about me in the workforce. 

  • Don't focus only your weaknesses, focus also on strengthening your strengths
I reported to Pete while I was at Vend and one piece of advice I distinctly remember is to not forget your strengths. I was so focussed on trying to be a better tester my working on areas in which I thought I was weak, that I forgot to work on my strengths - what helps me stand out.

  • How to write proposals for conferences
Carsten helped me write the first proposal that got accepted at a conference. He provided a lot of useful feedback and helped me gain some perspective of where the submission reviewers are coming from.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Recent Encounter with Dark Patterns

I first came across the term of "dark patterns" when I saw Emma Keaveny's talk about it on The Dojo. While watching it, then later looking more into it, I realised how many companies are out there purposely trying to get the user to do something, the user doesn't actually want to do.

Time passed.

Then I signed up to The Economist.

I signed up online and found it pretty easy to do so. But then I soon struggled to keep up with new issues - so I decided to cancel. Unfortunately, it wasn't simply a case of finding some "Manage Your Account" link and then clicking the "Cancel Subscription" button. Instead I had to "Contact my local print service centre"

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

How to incorporate humour into speeches

About 6 months ago, I completed my last project in the Humorously Speaking Manual. To be honest, I was really happy to get it out of the way. One of the objectives for each speech in this manual is "make people laugh". And I found that stressful. I mean, I sometimes make people laugh spontaneously when I talk to them but having to make people laugh in purpose? Well, that's another story.

I remember my 2nd speech from the Humorously Speaking manual was close to a disaster. I got a few awkward smiles at best and I thought "f*** why did I pick this manual?"

Then I reminded myself - it's because I love to listen to funny speeches or speeches that have incorporated elements of  humour. I want to do that. 

So I learned how.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Handling nerves when public speaking

Yesterday I competed at my Toastmasters club's annual Evaluation Contest. During this contest, you have a test speaker give a 5-7min speech and then we compete to give the best Evaluation to the Test Speaker.

While the judges votes were being counted, us 5 contestants were asked to come up to the stage and be interviewed. The question I was asked, was something along the lines of "How did you find the Evaluation Contest?" or "What was your experience in participating in the Evaluation Contest?"

And I answered truthfully.

I said I was fine, up until 30 seconds before I had to deliver my evaluation. Then my heart started racing. It's like a switch flipped as soon as I had to enter the room to give my evaluation (we had to stand outside and wait our turn to give evaluations so we can't cheat and copy the other evaluators).

It amazed me how one minute I was joking with the other contestants saying "Don't forget us when you make it to the next level of the competition" and then next minute I can feel my heart racing and thinking "hmm, wonder what my Fitbit says my heart rate is right now".

I told the audience how I felt. And they also knew I've been a Toastmaster for 4 years.