Nicky Tests Software: 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Testbash Belfast 2017 Experience Report Part I

This is a two-part Experience Report, the first part will cover preparing my talk, the pre-Testbash Shindig and the first half of the conference. The second part will cover the second half of the conference and the Post-Testbash shindig.


Preparing my talk

I started preparing my talk around 2-2.5 months before the conference. But I didn't properly gain momentum until about 1.5 months before my talk. Initially I tried to write the whole talk in Google Docs - but I found that didn't work for me. Instead, I ended up creating the slides and writing speaker notes below.

I aimed to have a completed presentation ASAP and then just edit it continuously up until I gave my talk. I find it a lot easier to edit a presentation that's complete than to add more to one that is incomplete.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Experience at Romanian Testing Conference 2017 - told through photos

I thought I'd share my experience at Romanian Testing Conference 2017 with the use of photos :)


Here are some photos of our talented speakers on the evening of Thursday 11 May, before the main conference day.





Here's Rob Lambert , the conference chair, welcoming all of us to the Romanian Testing Conference 2017





One of my favourite slides from Santhosh Tuppad's opening keynote



Some photos from Adam Knight's talk on communicating risk





Marcel Gehlen sharing his expertise on creating a test friendly environment



One of the slides from Elizabeth Zagroba's talk on how to succeed as an introvert




At lunch we had quite the dessert offering, I ate less than half of what's on this plate. It was very rich. But I saw lots of other people eat twice the amount on this plate for dessert. 



My certificate :)



Harry Girlea giving his closing keynote



Sightseeing - I'm doing my classic thumbs up pose here



The Opera House in Cluj


View over Cluj




Going for a walk in central park






Monday, May 15, 2017

Don't call it exploratory testing (if it's not exploratory testing)

Well, this is a bit of a rant - but seriously.

I don't like people calling an activity exploratory testing when it's actually ad hoc testing.

Get it right.

I think using the term "exploratory testing" loosely - takes away from the value that actual exploratory testing can add to a project.


Below are a few questions to ask yourself, to see if you are actually doing exploratory testing (or if it's in fact ad hoc testing)


  • Are you doing concurrent test design and test execution at the same time?
  • Are past findings influencing what you do next? 
  • Have you written some test ideas or goals in mind - to help you explore the application?
  • Are you documenting your test session?
  • Are you focussing on both positive and negative scenarios? (if you're just looking for bugs - this is likely to be ad hoc testing)
  • Can you explain the process/what you did during the test session to someone else?
  • Are you a skilled tester? (ad hoc can be done by anyone, doing proper exploratory testing is a skill in itself)
  • Are you doing SBTM (Session Based Test Management)? This is a way to structure your exploratory testing. If you are doing SBTM, this is a good way to indicate you are doing Exploratory Testing. BUT, if you're not doing SBTM, that doesn't necessarily mean you're not doing Exploratory Testing.




Updated: I  have updated this blog post to help explain the difference between ad hoc testing and exploratory testing by posing a few questions

Monday, May 8, 2017

Interview with Mark Winteringham

In his own words, here's a bit about Mark Winteringham:


I am a tester, coach, mentor, teacher and international speaker, presenting workshops and talks on technical testing techniques. I’ve worked on award winning projects across a wide variety of technology sectors ranging from broadcast, digital, financial and public sector working with various Web, mobile and desktop technologies.


I’m an expert in technical testing and test automation and a passionate advocate of risk-based automation and automation in testing practices which I regularly blog about at mwtestconsultancy.co.uk and the co-founder of the Software Testing Clinic. in London, a regular workshop for new and junior testers to receive free mentoring and lessons in software testing. I also have a keen interest in various technologies, developing new apps and Internet of thing devices regularly. You can get in touch with me on Twitter: @2bittester






I noticed that the next event for Software Testing Clinic is sold out for both mentors and students - any plans to expand in the near future?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Getting started on a testing project

I started on a new project a few weeks ago and thought it would be a good idea to share a checklist for what new testers on a project need and some good starting questions when you, as a tester, are new on a project


Checklist for what new testers on a project need (Note, your project may not include all of the below)

Note to check if user credentials are needed for any of the below

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.

Monday, January 30, 2017

My highlights from the Webinar: ARE YOUR TESTS WELL-TRAVELLED? THOUGHTS ABOUT COVERAGE

Earlier today, Dorothy Graham presented a webinar on her thoughts about test coverage. For me, listening to this webinar was a trip down memory lane - I immediately thought of the ISTQB Foundation exam I sat in 2012 and the multi-choice questions I had to prepare for when it came to the different types of coverage (But I really enjoyed hearing Dorothy’s analogies on coverage (I find analogies are a great way to explain things). This post is not a summary of webinar, but just some of my highlights.


The travel analogy

Dorothy started off with an analogy using Scratchie maps - those ones where you (typically) scratch off the countries you have visited. She questioned “But what do I scratch off? cities? states? countries?” Initially she scratched off 74 cities in the map, but we couldn’t really see them.

She then proceeded to scratch off states then countries. But she commented that it wasn’t really representative of how much of these places she’s actually experienced - it was “rather shallow coverage”. (For example: scratching off all of Brazil when you have only been to Rio de Janeiro)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The State of Testing Survey for 2017 is now open!

The 4th State of Testing Survey is now open: http://qablog.practitest.com/state-of-testing/

Have your say in how you do testing and your company, how many people are in your test team etc. to contribute to this survey, then later reap the benefits and get to see how everyone's jobs look like in the testing world.