When good enough is the perfect fit

Similar to scope creep we may also experience “test creep“. Test Creep is when the tester adds more tests than what is in scope. Just as well as more business functionality is added during scope creep, more testing is added in test creep. Both aren’t necessarily bad, but in time-boxed or similar (budgeted) constraint projects creeping isn’t necessarily value adding. This is probably easier to understand in an agile project focusing on minimal viable product , but may happen in other contexts too.

It is test creep, when the tester feels an obligation to run an extra drill down into browser and OS configurations, when scope is less broad. It is creeping the scope of testing, if the testers feels a “/need/ to write testcases for this first” when exploratory sessions fits the mission. Consider test creep like gold plating, in that way that it tries to refine and perfect the product – when good enough is the perfect fit.

Test creep can happen intentionally, happen by management or by product owner request. It may happen unintentionally, and usually it is with the best intentions – as more testing always is better testing – right? (But it Depends) Sometimes yes, we as testers are to blame that we add more scenarios, rigor and details, because a testing mindset drives us to investigate the product.

In discussing this with Mohinder and Darren, we found that – it’s not only a matter of removing wait time for testers. This may add more time, to test but the scope creep in testing may happen none the less. A Lean mindset with focus on what adds value to the business and a discussion on the minimum viable testing will assist the project in avoiding test creep.

 

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Left to my own devices I probably would

You can easily do a half-marathon

Yes I could, but the thing is it would need longer runs. I run with the Running Club Tuesdays and Thursdays before dinner. As a simplified example – if dinner get’s delayed the kids won’t eat as well, then they can’t fall asleep – and will need to eat past their bed time. They will sleep too late, and we (the parents) will have less time to the evening chores and being together. Every time there is something I’d like to do, there is always something else that matters that doesn’t get done.

Come to X-conference – it’s just a matter of priority if you’re one of the ones

Sure, it is – that’s easy for you to say.  But €2000 + travel is out of my private pocket, missing work hours is out of my pocket, being away from family is out of both my time and their time. And really €4000 is a lot of money in a family with two kids with special needs – where the income is one job, one early retired. Also it’s a stupid argument, as I can point to heroes of testing that I consider “one of the ones” that like me aren’t going to both this and that.

I can do a Test Bash, write blog posts* and articles for the Testing Planet etc. 

I can run 14km in 1½ hours. 

14km

(*: and I’ll try to get back to blogging more)

Quote Left to my own devices

and I could
and left to my own devices
I probably would
Left to my own devices
I probably would
Oh, I would

Related:

 

Uncovering better ways

I am uncovering better ways of developing solutions – by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work I have come to value:

  • Apply the costs to add business value – over cutting costs
  • Being flexible and open  – over adding predictability 
  • Providing information for decisions – over ensuring the reliability

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More than carrots and sticks

motivation

There is more to motivation than carrots and sticks – or in the case of the image above: Gold and rotten potatoes.

  • The poor farmer above had his potato harvest fail, and he had to move driven by fear, hunger, despair – at being targeted for outplacement…. as modern management speak would label depleted human resources.
  • The wise guy with the pickaxe is out for the rewards of the gold. Out for the cheat and greed of the quick fix. He though fails to deliver in the long run. His balanced score card is loaded for the current budget – containing only my, myself and I.
  • Lady Liberty in the back as a symbol of opportunities and unknown rewards. A New Hope. I doubt that many immigrants of the days ever visited the monument in the turmoil – it remained only a beacon…

 So what has this got to do about testing? 

Motivating people is very much about leading testers. But the three “personas” above might also inspire in thinking about things to test:

– Where are the burning platforms?

– Where are the quick rewards?

– Where are the long-term rewards?

If you are not Alan Page – go see RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Learn to think like a business

The Evolving Skill Set of Tomorrow’s Top Testers | Scott Barber | Ministry of Testing ]

it is a career-limiting mistake for testers to ignore opportunities to develop a sound knowledge of how businesses operate and the skills necessary to ensure that testing supports business decision making.

 It’s not the job of a tester to make quality-related decisions. That’s what Project and Product Managers get paid to do. Testers should be focused on identifying the business risks that managers need to be making decisions about.

 If lots of bugs are making it to our radar it makes us think that someone isn’t doing their job. What we care about is mitigating risk while delivering a salable product as quickly and cheaply as possible. Time and energy spent dealing with bug reports detract from that goal.

We need information to make high-level business decisions. We need to know “Are we on track to deliver what we promised when we promised with acceptably low risk?”

When times are tight, businesses take more risks. Sure it’s risky to ship software that is under-tested, but it’s less risky than running out of money before anything gets shipped due to the additional time and expense of testing.

Seek to understand what makes businesses successful. Learn to think like a business executive (at least sometimes) when you are testing. Understand business risk management and the reality that as a tester, you are a cost center, not a profit center. No one (in their right mind) wants to have to pay for testing – sure they want the information, but they’d rather not have to pay for it, so you’ve got to make sure that information is valuable in their eyes.

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Related: Align conference selection and business strategyPragmatic choices of what is important and possibleLook for Minimum Viable Testing ,

Value of Information for Decisions

Cost considerations for conferences

So we have identified the conferences that fit’s our business strategy and the people we aim to meet. So let’s look at costs:

  • Cost of attendance: Usually there is training, courses or workshops available. Consider them an optional add-on, but there just might be a great opportunity to get into a detailed topic. Coaching for Testers and Scrum Master training are some great offers in it self. For the comparison below I will look for 3-day conference only.
  • Flight: In comparing GOTO and OREDEV, I have made the assumption that I was living in Berlin, Germany. To rule out the advantage that GOTO have of being in my home town. OREDEV recommends landing in Copenhagen, while for most people outside Denmark probably would prefer Aarhus Airport, where connections are required. So it depends
  • Hotel I will recommend staying in the same hotel as the speakers and the conference, not only for the ease of getting ion touch and hanging out late, but also for the simple facts of local travel costs. A hotel away from the conference will cost taxies etc, and will easily eat up the savings on the hotel bill. Still if you have a specific town in place – work the numbers to see the differences.
  • How many days? For a 3 day conference I would probably do 4 nights: one day arrival  – 3 conference days – one day going back. For longer trips definitely the travel day in the end, for shorter trips I’d leave right after the last conference talk / session. I will always insist on arriving the day before the conference to settle in.
  • Transport from and to the airport I would compare to be approximately the same in both locations.
  • Consider other local travelling Will there be a need to make trips outside the conference location?
  • Cost of meals and drinks (outside hours) are probably the same on both conferences. Still if you have an invite for a special dinner, you might want to vector this in too.
  • Missed billed hours: Going to conferences means that your company earns less money in the short run, actually it’s a sunk cost. Not only for the conference total cost, but also for the hours that you cannot bill. Consider if you can add in billable hours or shorten the trip to make up for billed hours or similar deadlines.
Oredev GOTO
Conference pass €1537 €1895
Flight SFX-CPH €50 TXL-AAR €290
Hotel, 4 nights, near Conference Comfort Hotel €391 Scandic aarhus city €246
Transport to-from airport Same Same
Meals and drinks Same Same
Transport locally Same Same
Missing billede days Same Same
Cost €1978 €2431

Disclaimer: GOTO Aarhus 2013 is sponsoring my attendance as a blogger.

Value of Information for Decisions

If you ask “what is the ROI of context-driven testing” it is the same as asking:

  • What is the value proposition of providing information to the stakeholders?
  • Will management and customers pay for information?

Let me tell you a story: Just today I finally got around to changing tires on my car. Three months ago I bought a campaign voucher for a cheap switch of winter tires to summer tires – so it was about time. I booked a time and went to the shop with the summer tires in the trunk. BUT then … the front tires where out of shape due to wrong “tracing”, brake cables and other stuff worn and empty for lubrication. sigh!

So … the shop had to repair those critical defects (yeah, the vouchers a good business generator, #I’mOKwithThat). They gave me the keys to a replacement car for the day for free. And we discussed fixing some other stuff – the tricky ignition was Deffered/FixedUpStream but the defective brake lights added to the work order (New bug raised due to a hunch). I got an estimate and went for the day. The quote was pretty close, the repair on time and the requirements verified on the release bill. 

And then they provides me with a list of a few things they noticed along the way. 

  • I probably paid for an automated test and configuration of a “trace” balancing – I assumed it there.
  • We did discuss scope, price, schedule and timing – along with bug triage
  • The shop did provide me with enough information and estimation up front to base my decisions on
  • As the product owner I did not pay directly for the list of test ideas not covered – but I appreciated it!

The shop could have just swapped the tires for the voucher cost – and noticed nothing else. They could have chosen not to tell me about the additional bugs. They could not have offered me a replacement car for the day. They probably where more expensive than a moonlighting garage dude – I known now what the difference can be.

I value that they provide information to aid my business decision-making – besides just swapping the stupid tires. They will probably get repeat business from me – directly or indirectly. 🙂 And yes, Scott, they did have free coffee

pellesbil