Nicky Tests Software: 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Interview with Rosie Sherry

Rosie is founder of Ministry of Testing (www.ministryoftesting.com) and an unschooling mother to 4 amazing children. She use to be a software tester, but now runs the growing Ministry of Testing whilst also unschooling her kids.You can find her on personally on @rosiesherry, RosieLand (www.rosiesherry.com) and UnschoolMe (www.unschool.me).


I read that you started with creating the STC forum and now Ministry of Testing has become a bit of an empire. You've got STC, TestBash conferences and the Dojo (among other things) - when did you realise that what you were doing could impact a lot of people and have a massive reach?


Thursday, October 27, 2016

What I learned from giving my first ever workshop

Earlier this week I was a co-presenter for a 2 day workshop on SBTM (Session Based Test Management) at Unity. 

While I have a solid amount of relevant experience (speaking at conferences, organising and speaking at meet-ups, being a co-instructor for BBST Foundations course multiple times, mentoring and coaching testers in previous projects and mentoring and coaching speakers at Toastmasters), actually facilitating a 2 day workshop for over 40 attendees is another kettle of fish! All of the experience I mentioned helped me prepare for this workshop but it was almost definitely the hardest thing I've done in my career so far.

I was paired with someone who had some experience giving workshops - so that gave me some piece of mind. Having a co-presenter with you up there to help you share experiences and ask the participants questions was very helpful. I also really liked the fact we were able to share two different perspectives - sometimes contrasting. There were times where I was very nervous and scared, and turning to my partner in crime, Johanna Forsberg really helped. (I can't imagine how lonely it would've been giving a workshop to 40 people by yourself)


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Interview with Olof Svedström, QA Chapter Lead at Spotify

Olof Svedström has worked as an engineering lead within software testing and quality at Spotify for 5 years, during a period when he has been part of the journey where they have grown from 5 to 100 million active users and from 150 to 2000+ employees. Before Spotify he spent some years as a tester in a spectrum of companies, ranging from small product ones to international giants.


What does your role as QA Team Lead at Spotify involve?

Being a chapter lead (team lead) at Spotify is a people manager position and not e.g. a test lead position. I do very little to none test leading as the development is done in small development teams, each owning the responsibility for the quality of what they produce, with a QA in each dev-team. QA at Spotify stands for "Quality Assistance" and not "Quality Assurance", we are there to help the dev team (as a part of it) to deliver.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Leetspeak: My First Developer Conference - An Experience Report

Up until yesterday, I had only gone to testing conferences - for me these were a safe familiar place. I was with my "own kind".  So when my boyfriend asked me a few months ago if I wanted to go to Leetspeak, I surprised myself a bit by saying yes. After all, the price was very reasonable (less than 200SEK/20EUR) and it was on the weekend so I didn't have to ask for time off work.

To be honest, I wasn't sure what I'd get out of it. Walking into the conference venue - I didn't really have any expectations of what it'd be like.

It was a single track conference with 6 speakers and the MC who gave the opening and closing keynotes. 

Strangely enough, I found myself being a bit more shy than I usually am. During the Q&A session for Evelina's talk, I wanted to ask her a question (can't remember what it was now), but I was too scared to ask it as it would draw attention to myself. If I remember correctly, no women asked questions. (Edit: my memory served me wrong, there was at least one woman who asked a question)

All in all, I really enjoyed this conference and am keen to attend Leetspeak 2017.

Here are some of my key takeaways:

  • Leetspeak is a conference that is purposefully made affordable and on the weekend (in your own time). Martin Mazur explained to us that when they looked into what prevents people from coming to conferences, price and time are two key factors. So they solved this with this one (very well might I add - the conference had 600 people and was sold out).

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Adjusting to life in Sweden - My reflections after the first year

It's been just over a year since I moved to Sweden from New Zealand and I'm loving it. I admit my social media accounts (such as Instagram and Facebook) is more of a highlight reel, but overall - I'm happy here.

When I first moved here, I wasn't sure which challenges would lay ahead and how I'd adjust. After all, I figured Sweden is another Western country - can't be too different. And it's not. The differences don't stare me right in the face but are somewhat more subtle.

Below are my experiences and thoughts in adjusting to a few aspects of Swedish life (from the perspective of a New Zealander)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Protecting your time

Last night I attended a software testing meet-up  where Örjan spoke about his experiences in Managing Quality in an Agile team. He raised a few interesting points from a management perspective - but it was one in particular that caught my attention: protecting time.

In order to help his team achieve the tasks they planned in sprints, he would try and stop people hindering his team unnecessarily. He wanted to help make it easier for his team to work. And I get that. I've been on both sides of the equation - I've been the person trying to ask a developer questions only to be blocked by their dev team lead and I've also been the person who's been "protected" by their team lead so I can focus on my work and reach a deadline. From both perspectives I've been able to appreciate both the frustrations and the benefits of such an approach.

But what interests me - is the different ways people go about protecting their time.

Blocking off certain periods of times for meetings

At a recent project, they protected their time by blocking off meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you wanted to have a meeting on one of those days, it'd just have to wait until the following Wednesday and Friday (this has been going on for almost a year now)

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.








Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My thoughts on the Context Driven Testing Community

I'm proud to be part of the Context Driven Testing Community.

Because of it I have met people who are truly passionate about testing, developed an eagerness to continually improve and been made to feel that it's "a small world" (thanks to Twitter)

The thing is, I struggle to understand  why it's not the status quo. When I read through the principles, it honestly seems like common sense to me. These are:


The Seven Basic Principles of the Context-Driven School

  1. The value of any practice depends on its context.
  2. There are good practices in context, but there are no best practices.
  3. People, working together, are the most important part of any project’s context.
  4. Projects unfold over time in ways that are often not predictable.
  5. The product is a solution. If the problem isn’t solved, the product doesn’t work.
  6. Good software testing is a challenging intellectual process.
  7. Only through judgment and skill, exercised cooperatively throughout the entire project, are we able to do the right things at the right times to effectively test our products.

(reference: http://context-driven-testing.com)

I feel that someone would be hard-pressed to come up with an argument that would stand against these principles. It also means that if you apply these principles, your testing can be a "challenging intellectual process". Who doesn't want that?

It makes me wonder... Are we not welcoming enough? What is the perception of the Context Driven Testing Community to other testers (and to people who work with testers)? Have they heard of us?

You can't expect people to want to learn more about Context Driven Testing if they haven't heard about it in the first place. But then how do you reach out to those you don't know are out there (or how to reach them)?

I suppose this post raises more questions if anything and is a bit of a rant. But at the end of the day all I can say is:

If you are passionate about something, and honestly feel that people would find more fulfilment in their work by using this approach - then wouldn't you want more people to hear about it?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Getting back into Toastmasters

Lately, I've been getting back into Toastmasters. I recently joined a club in Stockholm and am really enjoying it so far. It's largely an expat club with over 10 nationalities (I can think of from the top of my head, there are surely more). It's also a very popular club - it seems to me that speaking slots are highly in demand and you need to be pretty fast to sign up so you can give a speech.

I was really hoping to join a club much earlier after moving to Sweden but ended up giving myself some time to settle in and focus on cultivating new friendships and getting into a gym routine. In addition to this, I was doing a fair bit of travel for work which made going to meetings regularly, a tough task.

Now that I've joined a club - I'm eager to get back into this routine and further improve my leadership and public speaking skills.

If you've heard about Toastmasters and have considered going or heard one of your friends rave about it - I seriously urge you to try it. Actually, just check it out and go to one meeting. The funny thing about Toastmasters is that I joined to improve my public speaking skills back in the end of 2012 (to be honest, I didn't give a toss about the leadership aspect at that point in time). Now that I've done it for a few years, the biggest benefit for me isn't the public speaking aspect per say, but the ability to articulate my thoughts clearly. I used to be a rather scatterbrained person and really struggled to communicate my thoughts in the way I wanted them to be heard.

I'm about half way through completing two advanced manuals: Technical Presentations and Humorously Speaking. Have signed up to give a speech on March 2 and am currently developing my ideas for this speech: Assignment 4 - Keep them laughing.


My objectives will be to:

  • Prepare a speech that opens with a self deprecating joke
  • String together two or three related jokes in the speech body
  • Close the speech with a humorous story
  • Do this in 5-7min


Truth be told, I'm rather nervous about delivering this speech as my sense of humour can be a bit strange and that nobody will laugh (but I can say for sure that the subject is one everyone can relate to). So fingers crossed I get a few chuckles from the audience!



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

4 Tips for Working Remotely

I've been mainly working remotely for the past month and did a bit of remote working before Christmas. I sure can't complain about the lack of commute, but it definitely takes some getting used to. Here are 4 things I have learned that help make working remotely a bit easier.

1. Add some sort of structure to your day

I do this by going to the gym at lunch (it's a very short walk). This means I have a "morning slot" and an "afternoon slot" in which to do things.

2. Find a tool to help you be productive

For me, this has been something as simple as a to-do list each morning/week. I write it by hand and draw little boxes beside each one, then tick it off as it's done. I've tried online Note tools etc. But they don't work for me nowhere near as well as handwritten to-do lists.


3. Communicate with your team

We do the standard "good mornings" but I also do my best to let them know when I won't be available (e.g. going to the gym). I don't actually tell everyone in my team I'm going to the gym, but only those I'm directly working with. I don't want them messaging me and having them wonder where I am.

4. Move your body

This might sound a bit strange - but I like to stand up, have a break and either go for a 10min walk around the block (weather dependent), dance to a song (this one is my favourite) or do some lunges etc. I figured people who work in an office get to move around a much bigger space than me - and sitting still all day can make me somewhat lethargic so I need to get a bit of blood pumping.

Friday, January 15, 2016

State of Testing Survey is happening now

The State of Testing Survey is happening now. http://qablog.practitest.com/state-of-testing/

Last year almost 900 people took part and now it's time to increase that.

If you've ever wondered what other people with similar experience are earning, highly valued skills in the testing industry or how people became a software tester - then the results of this survey will help answer these questions (and more) for you.

After all, if you want the survey results to be reflective of the what is actually happening in our industry - I strongly urge you to complete the survey then share it.