The Shift-Coach Testing Trend

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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.

legocoach

Drive the Testing – Coach!

Give me your testing worries

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In testing we handle risks, concerns, challenges, worries – we put the sore spots in the spotlight….

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!*

Have the courage to stand tall and be the beacon where worries go to

ladylego

 

See also: Acceptance is more than what can be measuredTesting is your sensory nervesEating wicked problems for breakfast

FYI conference – workshop om ET

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[ FYI IT QUALITY & TEST MANAGEMENT conference | 12.6.2013-13.6.2013 Hotel First Copenhagen ]

WORKSHOP: Sådan kommer du i gang med Exploratory Test – uden at miste overblikket!
Exploratory Test er på dansk også kendt som udforskende test. Man kan nemt forledes til at udføre den ustruktureret og uden overblik. Med få teknikker kanman dog lede en Exploratory Test, så indsatsen bliver en aktiv valgt tilgang med fokus på det, der giver ny viden. Nogle af de teknikker, der er vigtige at kende i regi af exploratory test er: mindmaps, heuristikker og session-based test management.
Workshoppen tagersigtemod at give dig nye ideer til, hvad der kunne være relevant at teste af det, du sidder med til dagligt. Ligeledes får du input til, hvordan du undgår at miste overblikket, når du konkret står overfor at skulle vælge, hvad det giver mest værdi at teste i en given situation.
Dette er en praktiskworkshop – såmedbring din laptop!

Om workshop underviseren:
Jesper Lindholt Ottosen har i 10 år arbejdet med struktureret test i Systematic, CSC og TDC. Han har siden 2009 haft interne og eksterne blogs om softwaretest og følger de seneste trends på den globale scene indenfor Exploratory Test og context-drevettest. Jesper harfokus på, at tests skal gøre en forskel ved at være værdi-drevet og finde information om projektets egenskaber.

ETinanutshell_png

Testing is like connecting the dots

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there is more to it, than just following a script.dot2dot

Very much related

Black or white – it is the same box

Fell in the trap of total coverage

It’s a matter of finding the pieces that make the picture

Seriously joking or joking seriously

Black or white – it is the same box

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blackandwhite

  • Exploration, Finding, Testing, Setting up hypothesis, Manual, Bespoke, Check lists, What if
  • Steps, Confirmation, Checks, Proofs, Automated, Routine, Test cases, Does it matter

Does it indeed matter …

The “box” is a solution – if the box doesn’t fit the problem, it doesn’t work. (period) 

See also: Testing and checkingWhat if – and Does it MatterThe small changes in the big scripts Routinized and bespoke activities  left and right side of the brain

A Rumsfeld Rectangle for test strategies

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Donald Rumsfeld is famous (to me) for talking about the known knowns [1]. It was in 2002 where he talked about the absence of evidence on mass destruction weapons in Iraq. Add to that the angle of the unknown known, and I can call it the “Rumsfeld Rectangle“.

You could apply it in test strategy setting like this:

Rumsfeld Rectangle:

What do the stakeholders want from this test activity?

What do they Know

they want to Know

What do they Don’t Know

they want to Know

What do they Know

they Don’t want to Know

What do they Don’t Know

they Don’t want to Know

I have used the Rumsfeld Rectangle previously in The unknown unknown unexpressed expectations and How to spot defects. The tricky problems are (as always) in the areas of “there are things we do not know we don’t know” spot – as for Rumsfeld. Combing the desert showed the absence, not the presence of weapons (to rephrase Dijkstra [2]).

I – equally ignorant – do not believe [that I know anything] [3]

1: [ There are known knowns United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld |

[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don’t know.But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

2: Dijkstra 1969: Testing shows the presence, not the absence of bugs

3: Piet Hein Seriously joking or joking seriously

Workshop facilitation using LEGO

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As well known, LEGO is synonymous with “Play well” – for both kids and AFOLs. But seriously, LEGO is more than that, consider:

[LEGO Serious Play]

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY uses LEGO bricks and elements and a unique method where people are empowered to “think through their fingers” – unleashing insight, inspiration and imagination. In a very direct way, you will be able to see what everyone knows inside the company – and what they don’t know they know! Within a surprisingly short time, an organization can have a clear, shared direction with people who are confidently aligned and committed to a course of action.

Lean LEGO – The red brick cancer ]

If you would build a LEGO time line of your processes, would they be mostly red and yellow? Or would they be mostly green?

Besides the   where I elaborated on how LEGO mini figures could facilitate a discussion on both tester types and team skills. Recently I have had the personal opportunity to participate in a facilitation training, where LEGO bricks and figs was used to illustrate team members, represent user personas and user innovations. So the thing is – what do you need to get started? Choose your pieces by context: Customised Minifigures, city people or a huge pile of bricks?


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