February 2, 2017
competence, knowledge, ministryofTesting, shift, skills, testcases, testing, trends, value
I’ve been in the testing business for 14 years – when I started in late 2002 it was all about using HP Test Director 7.6 – in a browser… There was only one model of testing, v-model, and only one book of testing the ISEB (later ISTQB) vocabulary. And only one expected output of testing: Testers designed test cases, executed and perhaps wrote both a test plan document and test report document. Test process improvement was a thing, but even so testing was often a pointy cog…
Many Bits under the Bridge Later
It is not about the test cases any more, it’s about being part of a team – that delivers an IT solution to the business. First of all, if it’s just about the test cases then it is a race to the lowest paid off-shore location, a run to the bottom in repetitiveness and mechanic activity. Checking! with more focus on crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. We have tools for that now – the plates are shifting.
When testing professionals puts “writing test cases” on their LinkedIn description. It seems to me that they are stuck in the testing world of 10 years ago. Standing still and not seeing that Testers are Knowledge Workers – not workers of producing artifacts. It is much more important to see beyond the visible, Uncovering better ways and seeing testing as an activity to provide information to the stakeholders, based on experiments and observations.
Skill up and be smarter! And don’t listen to old tapes – it’s not worth it :).
See also this from QA Symphony & Ministry of Testing:
January 31, 2017
#TestingPlanet, business, meetup, ministryofTesting, rapidsoftwaretesting, softwaretestingclub, testbash, value
“Co-creating smarter testers” is the byline of the Ministry of Testing, a small company with a great impact that I have been following and supporting for 7 years* now . I have attended TestBash’es, webinars, challenges, discussions and memes. And now for the first time in Denmark – Anders Dinsen and I are bringing the world known Meetups to Copenhagen (Aarhus 2017 you’re next).
The topics so far are:
At the first meetup we split into three groups, discussed risks and how to TEST THEM RISKS. Dearest to me was the discussion of stakeholders and new places to test. Great to see that even with very little information, we can still do a rapid testing based on business objectives. There is so much more to testing these days.
1: since a EuroStar 2010 t-shirt competition 🙂
November 1, 2016
Enterprise IT, Softwaretesting
atWork, change, deliver, itil, leadership, management, outsourcing, shift, test_management, value
Shift-Deliver is a label I choose to put on the changes the roles and activities of the TEST MANAGER, when the test manager moves towards (also) being involved in the ITIL change requests, delivery management, configuration management and branch management that happens when the solution goes from the test phase to production. Another label could be “TestOps” as presented here, as the intersection of Testing and Operations. TestOps have been identified for along time. ….Interesting. 🙂
In my IT outsourcing context, this is less about software, and more about solutions. In at least two of my long term enterprise scale projects, half the job was test management (of operations) projects, half the job was regarding ITIL change management. My change management activities was mostly making sure that
- the process was followed
- that information was provided to the stakeholders
- that testing happened
- risk mitigation happened
I was hired as “the quality guy”, but expanded the role over the time I’ve been on the team to take ownership of all of our build and release infrastructure as well. Basically, I’m responsible for everything from the moment code is checked in, until it hits our production servers
To use a quote by Alan Page. Again Alan is a representative of what happens with regards to trends in testing. He might be wrong, as well as I. I try to label the trends to understand them. These four trends that I have spotted are not mutually exclusive, neither do they all four need directions. Change is happening to the classic test manager rolle of going through the motions of test cases and documents. This is clear when looking into these posts:
Initially I discussed Shift-Deliver, Shift-Right, Shift-Left and Shift-Coach at Nordic Testing Days 2016 during the talk “How to Test in IT operations“ and coined the labels on the EuroStar Test Huddle forum.
October 28, 2016
Enterprise IT, Softwaretesting
agile, conference, devops, monitoring, shift, testing, titw, value
The Shift-Right label is that more and more testing (and checking) can happen on the live application in production. Some call it monitoring, some call it Testing in the Wild. It is a very wild idea for some people and some contexts #YMMV. It may very well be the best way of testing in some contexts.
Once I consulted on a network stabilization and delivery optimization project for a consumer bank. They had many issues in their production environment… I strongly advocated that they did test controlled and structured in production on the network changes and other operational activities. (I have talked about “How to Test in IT operations“ at Nordic Testing Days 2016). More on testing during IT deliveries in Shift-Deliver.
Shift-Right is trend that people have covered well before me, here are some pointers:
The key is really as Alan puts it “testers should try to learn more from the product in use” and with that comes the tools of Google Canary builds, NetFlix Chaos Monkeys etc.
This trend goes along with Shift-Coach, Shift-Left and Shift-Deliver discussed separately. Initially I considered shift-right to be regarding consulting, but after hearing at DSTB 2016 I realized that shift-right was the right label for test in production, testing in the wild etc.
Similar posts regarding things in the wild: Bugs Happens, The Kcal bug, Tradition is a choice and Can you see beyond the visible.
October 16, 2016
Enterprise IT, LEGO, Softwaretesting
acceptance, agile, atWork, collaboration, communication, conference, eurostar, facilitation, jobs, leadership, nordictestingdays, shift, skills, testbash, trends
Shift-Coach is when testers and test managers trends towards being coaches and facilitators of the testing activities. Shift-Coach is more about leading the testing than leading the testers to paraphrase from @DevToTest Joe DeMeyers blog post.
The ground breaker for this trend, is to me, the talk “How I Lost My Job As a Test Manager” presented at Test Bash 2015 by Stephen Janaway. Stephen explains how reorganization of the test manager role forced him to be more a facilitator than embedded in the teams. Similarly many other great test managers talk more and more about people skills and coaching, especially in agile projects. I want to define shift-coach around the facilitation testing activities, and place testers that doubles as scrum masters in the Shift-Deliver trend.
In traditional (v-model) projects testing has often included people that were not professional testers; – in user acceptance tests this has often been business subject matter experts. The testing was done by someone with the best knowledge of the topic, and that may not have been the professional tester. That more and more projects do this – more and more, is a big challenge for many testing folks. But it is a significant trend in testing world of 2016.
Shift-Coach trend is visible when Alan Page talks at Test Bash Philly 2016:
You’ve heard the rumors, and you’ve seen it happen. An organization or development team decides they don’t need testers, and you have big questions and massive concerns. Is quality not important anymore? Are they irresponsible or idiotic? Are their hats on too tight? Do testers still have jobs?
Alan Page is a career tester who has not only gone through the “no-tester” transition, he’s taking it head on and embracing it. Alan will share experiences, stories, strategies, and tactics (and failures) on how he’s taken everything he’s learned in over twenty years of software testing, and used those skills to have an impact on software engineering teams at Microsoft. Whether you’re going through this transition yourself, think it may be coming, or just want to tell someone what an absurd idea this is, this is the talk for you.
This trend goes along with Shift-Right, Shift-Left and Shift-Deliver discussed separately. I discussed these trend labels at Nordic Testing Days 2016 during the talk “How to Test in IT operations“ and coined the labels on the EuroStar Test Huddle forum.
Drive the Testing – Coach!
October 10, 2016
Enterprise IT, Softwaretesting
atWork, automation, change, checking, conference, context, nordictestingdays, shift, testing, test_strategy, trends
TL;DR: Shift-Left is about testing early and automated. Shift technical with this trend or facilitate that testing happens.
Shift-Left is the label we apply when testing moves closer to development and integrated into the development activities. The concept is many IT years old, and there are already some excellent articles out there: What the Shift Left in Testing Means (Smart Bear, no date), “Shift left” has become “drop right” (Test Plant 2014), Shift Left QA. How to do it. Why it matters (Work Soft, 2015).
To me Shift-Left is still an active trend and change how to do testing. This goes along with Shift-Right, Shift-Coach and Shift-Deliver discussed separately. I discussed these trend labels at Nordic Testing Days 2016 during the talk “How to Test in IT operations“.
Here are some contexts where Shift-Left happens:
- Google have “Software Engineer in Test” as job title according to the book “How we Test Software at Google“.
- Microsoft have similar “Software Design Engineer in Test” as discussed by Alan Page in “The SDET Pendulum” and in the e-book “A-word“
- A project I was regarding pharmaceutical Track and Trace, had no testers. I didn’t even test but did compliance documentation of test activities. The developers tested. First via peer review, then via peer execution of story tests and then validation activities. No testers, just the same team – for various reasons.
- A project I was in regarding a website and API for trading property information had no testers, but had continuous build and deploy with even more user oriented test cases that I could ever grab. (see: Fell in the trap of total coverage)
The general approach to Shift-Left is that “checking” moves earlier in the cycle in form of automation. More BDD, more TDD, more automated tests, continuous builds, frequent feedback and green bars. More based on “Test automation pyramid” (blog discussion, whiteboard testing video). Discussing the pyramid model reveals that testing and checking goes together in the lower levels too. I’m certain that (exploratory) testing happens among technicians and service-level developers; – usually not explicitly, but still.
To have “no QA” is not easy. Not easy on the testers because they need to shift and become more SET/SDET-like or shift something else (Shift-Right and Shift-Coach and Shift-Deliver). Neither is it easy on the team, as the team has to own the quality activities – as discussed in “So we’re going “No QA’s”. How do we get the devs to do enough testing?”
Testers and test managers cannot complain, when testing and checking is performed in new ways. When tool-supported testing take over the boring less-complex checks, we can either own these checks or move to facilitate that these checks are in place. Similarly when the (exploratory) brain-based testing of the complex and unknown is being handed over to some other person. Come to think of it I always prefer testing done by subject matter experts in the project, be it users, clients, testers or other specialists.
We need to shift to adapt to new contexts and new ways of aiding in delivering working solutions to our clients.
October 4, 2016
atWork, conference, context, cynefin, nordictestingdays, quadrant, rapidsoftwaretesting, stakeholders, test_strategy, value
I rarely test software these days. I mostly lead testing of IT solutions.
Testing in the context of:
- Updating all corporate PC’s from windows 7/8 to Windows 10
- Consolidating network equipment from more devices to one box, on 80 global locations *
- Move 40 live business applications from one data center to another *
- Take over application maintenance for a specialized public organization
- Implement track and trace for pharma products from production to shops
- Migrate HR data for 2500 people from one system platform to another
Yes, it happens that I participate in a project that is about developing a new business application, but my activities are less about testing software and more about testing in IT solutions in general.
Mostly I manage test activities and describe testing in these contexts. My preferred way of working is in setting and implementing test strategies. I prefer complex and non-ordered projects (Complex and Chaotic – I’m looking at you), it fits well with my context-driven approach of finding the “test solution that fits the context”.
Testing is in it self a solution, that must solve a business problem. Great testing is all about providing information to the stakeholders. I don’t care especially if this is done by someone TESTING or a TESTER. It is my responsibility to setup the testing activities (information gathering) that supports the team, faces the business & technology and challenges the product “sufficiently“.
Sometimes “sufficiently” is merely confirming and going through the motions of explicit requirement coverage. This is a special challenge to me, as I know of many effective and Rapid approaches, that could add valuable information. When I face this challenge, I try to look at the full picture of the project, and what the business want’s to achieve.
The business of the business is business. What matters is not software or projects, but the solutions to the challenges the business have. And the context of testing is similarly so much more than the software.
*: As mentioned in “How to test in IT Operations” at Nordic Testing Days 2016.