Nicky Tests Software

Friday, June 10, 2016

Starting a Testing Meet-up - the first few steps

A few months ago I started a testing meet-up in Stockholm. There have only been two meet-ups so far - but I thought it'd be a good idea to share my experiences because:

  1. I hope to inspire others to start a testing meet-up in their local area (especially if there isn't an active one yet)
  2. If you have been to a testing meet-up, you may be curious as to what it's like "behind the scenes"


A few things to keep in mind when you read this:


Why start a Testing Meet-up in Stockholm?
There weren't any active testing meet-ups at the time (around mid March 2016). While there were a few testing Meet-up groups there hadn't been any Meet-ups for 6 months (according to Meetup.com - and I really wanted to meet some people from testing in Stockholm.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Interview with Maria Kedemo

Maria has worked in software development for 15 years with context driven testing as her main focus. She is passionate about learning and coaching and is currently teaching software testing at a 1.5 year vocational education in Sweden. Maria is active on Twitter ( and sporadically blogs (https://mkedemo.wordpress.com). She is also a mentor with Speak easy, a member of ISST and an international conference speaker. She is a bit of a foodie and enjoys lifting heavy things at the gym. 


1. What have you learned from teaching software testing, that you plan to apply when you go back to consulting? 

I have been able to dig into subjects of software testing which I have not really had the time to study and practice in depth before.  To be able to teach it has been necessary for me to better understand different test techniques such as user testing, domain testing and risk testing. Coming up with different practical exercises and how to actually teach and explain a concept or a techniques is  something I highly value and which I hope I can apply in future assignments.

Monday, May 30, 2016

My 4 Main Takeaways from Let's Test 2016

Last year, I wrote a two-part reflection on my experience at Let's Test, which detailed every session I went to. This year, I've decided to take a different approach. While there's a lot I can say about every session I went to this year - I feel my time would be better spent on focussing on a few things that I took away from Let's Test 2016


1. Context > Process

In his workshop, Patrick Prill had us do a few activities where we discovered that instructions to do the same thing, can lead to wildly different results. One question that was asked was "How do you make good coffee?" - as someone answered the question, all I could think was Aren't you going to ask if they want milk or sugar? Part of me thought, there's no point having "good coffee" if you add condiments where they're not wanted.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Experience Report: Giving a talk at Let's Test as part of Speak Easy

Preparation

A few months ago, I approached Maria Kedemo to be my mentor as part of the Speak Easy Program. She said Yes! :D So we started working on my proposal and then later the actual talk itself together. At the start, we first discussed our expectations around how we would do this (to be honest, I remember having this discussion but not exactly what our expectations were, so I can't list them here). We collaborated on Google docs to work on the proposal and then later, the talk itself. We also had a few Skype calls (about an hour long on average) to prepare for Let's Test.

I practiced my talk with her for the first time (in full) about 1.5 - 2 weeks before Let's Test. At this point she gave really useful feedback and how to improve my talk which I took onboard including the use of specific examples from my past and tying the closing points to the opening story. I then practiced in front of Martin Hynie and Maria the night before I gave the actual talk.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My 5 Biggest Takeaways from the BBST Bug Advocacy Course

I recently completed the BBST Bug Advocacy course and am currently waiting to hear whether I passed or failed. I was somewhat freaked out when I got sick (a damn cold) during the exam period and found myself having to reread the questions multiple times before I could figure out what I was supposed to do (thanks to my headache at the time). To add to that, none of the questions I practiced for were in the exam (I reviewed for about a third of them) so the first word that went through my mind when I went through the exam was S***.  I ended up splitting up my answers into multiple sections so that I could actually understand what I needed to do (this turned out to be something the reviewers really liked funnily enough). Enough of my wee rant, below are my biggest takeaways from the course.

1. Irreproducible bugs should still be raised

This was a big one for me. I've always thought "What's the point if I can't reproduce it?" The thing is, if a lot of people encounter the same bug over a period of time and can't reproduce it - then they (as a whole) can help gather evidence so that someone can fix it. If these bugs are never raised in the first place, then you can't gather evidence. It's worth noting though that you should state that you haven't been able to reproduce it.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

My (brief) Experience Report: TestBash 2016

First off, thanks heaps to Rosie and the volunteers. I hopped on the train back to London a very happy chappy because of you guys.

TLDR: F*** it was good! You should come next year!

For a bit more detail, see below.

The Workshops
I attended 2 workshops: Morning one was TestOps 101 - Become the Master of your Domain by Ioana Serban and Martin Hynie. Afternoon one was The Test Doctor's Proxy Surgery by Dan Billing.
 I decided to choose more technical ones as they are the testing skills I'd like to focus on and haven't had an opportunity to utilise them on my current project.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Talking to Students about Testing at a Job Mentoring Programme: Mentor Sverige

Yesterday morning I took part in Mentor Sverige's Job Mentoring Programme at Ribbyskolan.

First off, it was a lot scarier than I was anticipating. I initially thought we would stay together as a group and then go around together in each classroom telling the students about what we do (looking back, I don't know why I thought this as there definitely wouldn't have been enough time for that). But we were all split up to go into different classrooms for 20min at a time to give our presentations. I gave four 10-12min presentations to students in Grade 9, with about 5min of Q&A and then a few min to get between classrooms.


The Cultural Aspect
Up until yesterday, I had never spoken to anyone in Sweden under 25 (aside from my colleague's daughter). I also really enjoyed going to a Swedish Grundskola (like a junior high school for 12-15 year olds) as I wouldn't have been able to get that experience otherwise.

Lastly, I had an early lunch at the student cafeteria just after we all finished our presentations. Again, wouldn't have had that experience unless I did this.


The Language Barrier

All of the instructions  that we were given by Mentor Sverige, before we started the presentations, were given in Swedish. I had a general gist of what was happening and had a vague idea of what the other mentors did for work - but didn't understand everything word for word.

I gave my presentations in English as I wasn't confident enough to do it in Swedish. Although I knew most of the Swedish vocabulary for what I would need, the prospect of public speaking in Swedish was way too daunting.

I feel that about half of each class actually understood my presentation, judging by the looks on their faces (however, I'm not 100% if this estimation is at all useful). Because of this, I wouldn't do it again unless my Swedish was much better than it is now and I could do it in Swedish and answer questions in Swedish.


Telling the Students About Testing

I had planned a slideshow presentation for each class, but given the fact we had 20min slots in each class and I didn't want to waste time on set-up - I ended up just giving my presentation by memory.

I told the students the following:

  • Brief background on me
  • What is software testing and what is a tester's role in a software project?
  • How I got into testing
  • How others got into testing
  • What I like about my job
  • What I don't like about my job
  • Tasks I might do in a typical day


I first asked if anyone had heard about my role. Unsurprisingly I got the best questions from guys who are hoping to be a software developer or a web designer when they grow up - even though most of them hadn't heard of testing, they were easily able to grasp the concept of what a tester would do.

Aside from that, I am worried I wasn't able to fully explain what a software tester does. I attempted to use relatable examples such as Facebook, Google and ATMs and provided example tests of what I would do. But I'm not sure if the language barrier got in the way of that.

If I were to do this again, I'd focus more on the link between where they are at now and what a software tester does. I feel that my job still seemed too foreign to them even after I gave my presentation. Also, I would try to show them software testing instead of just talking (how I would do that in 20min slots I do not know).  I think that would help me communicate better with the students what a software tester does.