The superpower that things will sort themselves out

Amongst my secret weapons are intuition, square lashings, preparing for the unexpected

… and that things will sort themselves out.

For instance:

  • I had planned to step into the parents group (aka PTA, aka forældrerådet) in one of my boys classes. But the day of the election meeting, I was pretty stressed and missed the meeting. Now a couple of months later, there’s a free spot, and I could step in and be very welcome.
  • At work I saw my boss had assigned me a new project for next month. I missed to talk to him about it, but when came around to it – the project allocation had been cancelled.

So recently I have come to value: letting things sort themselves out OVER looking into everything. THAT IS while there is value on preparing everything, I value the first opportunity more.  You might think of it of being sloppy, unprepared and not even tester like.. your loss… What is your secret weapon then?

dad blackbelt

Publications and Presentations

Presentations, Webinars & Podcasts

Articles for The Ministry of Testing, 2011+

  1. Robot Process Automation As A Power Tool For Testing [Ministry of Testing Dojo, Mar 2018]: While there are other power tools for web and API testing, the RPA tools are a class of their own, as RPA tools allow for codeless automation macros on the desktop. RPA tools can do some very handy things. They can be used for both test data and regression testing. In this article, we’ll walk through a real testing example and show how you can get started using RPA. [TOP 6 on the Ministry of testing 2018 article list]
  2. Testing is Shifting [Testing Planet 2017 by the Ministry of Testing, Mar 2017]: Change is the only constant, they say, but we still need to manage change – and cope with it. Coping not only means surviving mentally, but also adjusting to whatever happens and figuring out how to be productive and create value for our stakeholders when things change. [https://dojo.ministryoftesting.com/lessons/testing-is-shifting]
  3. About Closure [The Testing Planet by Ministry of Testing, Nov 2014] When I’m in a testing activity I want my test cases [Passed], my user stories [done] and my coffee [black].  Stuff may have a start point, some states in between and an end state. Let’s look at ways to represent states and articulate the meaning of states. [Reposted: Closing the Gaps]
  4. The Daily Defect Count and the Image of a Camel [The Testing Planet by The Ministry of Testing, April 2014] Count the defects daily – the ones that are part of the project work load. The number goes up and down during the cycle – why and what can you learn? [Reposted: A Track down History ]
  5. The Day Testing Died But Didn’t [The Testing Planet by Ministry of Testing, Jan 2014] To play according to textbooks is fine, up to a certain level. Perhaps up to master level, but not to grand masters. [Reposted: Chess and Testing ]
  6. One Test Case is All You Need [The Testing Planet by The Ministry of Testing, November 2013] If you can come up with just one business transaction – that crystallizes why the customer will be kicking and screaming to want to use your application, then you have a very good understanding of your customer and all you need is that one testcase. [On WebArchive.org]
  7. Recognize and Acknowledge Your Skills [The Testing Planet by the Ministry of Testing, June 2013] What you know and what you do is an important part of being you. Often it is required to rethink: What do I know? What are my skills? How strong are they? [https://jlottosen.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/tying-it-all-together/]
  8. The Build-A-Tester Workshop [The Testing Planet by The Ministry of Testing, June 2013] A small social game of Build-A-Tester can be used in a team to open the discussion, less formally than with Belbin and MBTI checklists. [on WebArchive.org]
  9. A Little Track History that goes a Long Way [The Testing Planet by Ministry of Testing, July 2011] The purpose of this tracking tool is to collect just enough data to answer the frequent question “Will we finish on time” [Reposted; A Track down History ]

Other publications

  • Could Modern Testing Work in The Enterprise [Guest blog for Panaya, May 2018] So far I have mostly thought that “Modern Testing” of the A/B testing podcast would never work in an enterprise context. But it seems some tools and existing approaches in the enterprises already fits well with the ideas of the concept. http://www.panaya.com/blog/testing/could-modern-testing-work-in-the-enterprise/
  • DevOps is cool, but get involved in OpsDev for Test Environment Management too! [Guest blog post for Plutora, Oct 2017] The hyped mnemonic “DevOps” is equally true the other way around: OpsDev http://www.plutora.com/blog/opsdev-test-environments-management
  • Testing during Transition: Test Criteria for Outsourced Software [Sticky Minds by TechWell, May 2017] In the world of IT outsourcing, it is not uncommon for a company to have its applications and infrastructure developed or maintained by others. How would you design acceptance criteria of a transition trial so that it is testable and clearly communicated? https://www.stickyminds.com/article/testing-during-transition-test-criteria-outsourced-software
  • Using Business Decisions to Drive Your Testing Coverage [Sticky Minds by TechWell, November 2014] In a business setting, software testers have a great challenge: to articulate how they support the business lines. One way to approach this is by addressing the business decisions—and there are plenty around. Use them to drive your testing activities and increase the business decisions being covered by testing. http://www.stickyminds.com/article/using-business-decisions-drive-your-testing-coverage 
  • The answer is: Why – because the answer depends on context.[The Testing Circus,vol.6 2.ed February 2015]: When asked about testing approaches, the options are so plentiful, that the reply is often “It depends” – and followed by a range of elaborations. But in our eager to reply, we forget to listen. http://www.testingcircus.com/february-2015/
  • The Testcases Template Trick – Getting One Testcase To Call Another [EuroStar TestHuddle, Nov 2014]: When doing test analysis I often find that we need to do test some customer feature over and over again for a range of combinations. I recently found myself able to redo a trick I learned a long time ago https://huddle.eurostarsoftwaretesting.com/the-testcases-template-trick/

Lego Role Models for Girls

Who had the family’s largest LEGO set his Christmas – not the boys (age 8-10), neither the “boys” (age 40 and up) – it wasn’t me* – but the 11-year-old girl and her 8 wheel 42008 Service Truck – 1276 pieces, power functions, pneumatic, gears and 44 cm forcefulness. There was no boy band merchandize, no glitter or similar gender framing. Quite a project – as is the story about the “Research Institute” mini-figure set.

42008-121110 Continue reading

A commercial body of Knowledge

What I know of the ISO29119 is that specifies specific numerated techniques, documents and document content. I know this from their website, where I can read that it will cost me $1000 to buy “the book” (club discounts available) – the body of knowledge.

It’s a collective work written by a number of people in the industry, and have been years in the making. Some of the people work in consulting and provide training in the framework, some of the companies sponsoring the work provide consulting in implementation of the framework. Companies can have an audit for a certificate too. That will require a large investment as the organisation have to (norminative) conform to plenty of “shall”.

But besides that it’s a closed book (and it’s not even on Amazon). To me the 29119 is misguided from the beginning, it should be a book – a commercial body of knowledge, like TMAP or like ITIL. Something that you could buy into or not. Not something in any respect labelled as a international standard.

  • It seems it requires either a range of documents and lot of tailoring
  • It seems to be some what “dated” in the addressing ways of testing being added in recent years
  • It seems to claim that it has consensus in the industry
  • It seems that some people have tried to participate , but failed
  • It seems that some people did not want to participate on principle, even if invited
  • It seems to claim that it is a silver bullet, a one size fits all

I cannot evaluate the implications for my customers asking about compliance without elaboration – on the details of 29119, and on the customers objectives. What is the business driver for complying with said framework? Which is actually what I was looking for – what helps the (customer) business making a business?

I doubt that someone else’s delivery framework can provide you with the DNA, the unique value proposition, of the specific context that is needed – for you! #ImLookingAtYou. If we blindly comply with the framework what is the driver besides cost and commodity. If the driver is something else, then start right there. Start with how testing and artefacts implements the strategy, values and decisions that you have. Start with “innovative“, “quality of life“, “coherent” – how does that relate to your testing.

See also

Mindmaps for 400

Finally non-profit self-organizing software testing is happening in Denmark. On may 21 2014 we actually had two events:

At the first I was glad to share my experiences using mind maps in software testing, note taking and information structuring. (Get the PDF Xmind mind map here: https://jlottosen.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/mindmaps-400.pdf)

You stop going deeper down the tree, when there is nothing more knowledge to gain, just like good (exploratory) testing.

Cultural context of the “for 100″ comes from the Jeopardy TV Quiz, where the questions come in 4 levels: 100, 200,300, 400 for the  increasingly harder questions. The prize is similarly $100 for level 100 etc.  

FDA, Exploration and time to information

A key driver in implementing enterprise knowledge management is to reduce time to information (77% are seeing faster access to knowledge). But that goes for LinkedIn and Twitter too. Using twitter professionally helps you meet the famous people and help you see the communication layers at conferences. Case story: Today I was reading about test processes in a regulated environment, and got curious towards exploratory testing in that context. So I reached out to the #twitterbrain and asked the giants, whose shoulders I am standing on*:

  • Griffin Jones ‏@Griff0Jones, help clients struggling with regulatory compliance and context-driven software testing problems.
    • CAST 2011: Cast 2011 What Do Auditors Expect From Testers
    • What is good evidence – Let’s Test 2013
    • WREST – Workshop on REgulated Software Testing
  • Johan Åtting ‏@JohanAtting Chief Quality Officer -atSectra’s Medical Operation
    • turned the testing from a traditional scripted approach into a context driven approach and introduced exploratory testing.
    • ensuring that the company are regulatory compliant with e.g. FDA, MDD, CMDR, ISO13485, ISO14971 etc.
  • James Christie ‏@james_christie
    •  interested in testing’s relationship with audit and governance.
    • dedicated to the audit, control, and security of information systems.
  • Michael Bolton ‏@michaelbolton Program Chair of EuroStar 2013 and key guru pointed me to an article by James Marcus Bach ‏@jamesmarcusbach on the topic.
  • Keith Klain ‏@KeithKlain Head of Barclays Test Service retweeted on the fallacy on the evidence of scripted testing.
  • Claire Moss ‏@aclairefication (my favorite retweeter) and many others retweeted

Within 2 hours I had both relevant references, a debate on the pitfalls and base for further details. Follow the tread of this tweet: https://twitter.com/jlottosen/status/411473074312052736 

*: really, not to brag – I have met both Griffin, Johan and James, and they know me too 🙂

Software is a knowledge storage medium

Key takeaways from [ Presentation: “ǝnןɐʌ: Why we have it backwards” Track: When the Agile Manifesto isn’t enough  | Shmuel Gershon | GOTO 2013]. Special mention for the best hand-made/home-made slides – get them here.

Software is a knowledge storage medium 

Think about it – where do you have your know-how, your calendar, your to-do list, google it… IT is the digital tool we use to store our knowledge, to enable us to do the things we want to do. Shmuel has a great historic overview over the evolution of places to store knowledge. IT and software as of now has among other things the ability to be updated fast, to tell about the intention of the solution, the ability to self-modify and change the outside world directly. 

We can start using the word knowledge more:

Value is often to learn something new

tractor

Mapping testing Competencies

[ Recognise and Acknowledge Your Skills  | Ministry Of Testing – The Testing Planet | June 2013]

The below model is directly inspired by the Vancouver Agile Quadrant introduced in “Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams” by Crispin and Gregory 2009 based on the original matrix from Brian Marick in 2003. It consists of four primary branches – as seen on the illustration. It is not a matrix or a table, but four directions with each their cloud of buzzwords. For specific contexts a mind-map will be a better choice of illustration – try drawing your own competencies.

Tester Skills Matrix
Tester Skills Matrix

Align conference selection and business strategy

In most companies there is a budget to attend conferences, so we can work on how to apply the conference budget. But really if the company is true to the value of developing the company competences in software development and testing – you have to send people to the game changers (Lets Test, OreDev) and trend setters (Agile Testing Days, GOTO Aarhus).

EuroStar have some excellent templates for getting approval but for this exercise, let’s dig a little into the hard numbers. First up: align the conference attendance to the business goals and visions. I’ll pick some here as an example, and let me use them to compare  OreDev and GOTO. These are not as such testing conferences, but very useful as cases anyhow for these topics: 

  • Better solutions faster
  • Going mobile, Going Cloud
  • Build in Business Value

A simple little trick when browsing the conference session titles: try searching for words “value”, “business”, “agile”. As I expected Scott Barber is the only Oredev speaker with both “value” and “business” in his bio. And a search for “value” in Goto turned up nil, until I reread “ǝnןɐʌ: Why we have it backwards” :-).

But there may be other criteria – people for instance, cost and timing.

 OreDev 2013  GOTO aarhus 2013
“Better solutions faster”Testing, Agile, Process, Delivery
  • Tracking and Improving Software Quality with Sonar
  • Curiosity killed the cat, but what kills curiosity?

  • The Beauty of Minimizing Effort
  • Adopting Continuous Delivery

  • Balancing ATDD, GUI Automation and Exploratory Testing
  • Refactor your specs!

  • Symbiotic relationships between testing and analytics
  •  
 Track: When the Agile Manifesto isn’t enough (5)Track: Lean IT Enterprise (2)

  • Why Agile doesn’t scale, and what you can do about it
  • Do’s and don’ts for Distributed Scrum
  • ǝnןɐʌ: Why we have it backwards
  • JS Unit Testing Good Practices and Horrible Mistakes
 Going mobile, Going Cloudmobile, cloud
  • Track: Mobile (16)
  • Track: Cloud (10)
  •  Track modern OS: 5
  • OpenShift Primer – Cloud development has never been easier
  • Continuous Deployment and Automation on Distributed Cloud Environments
  • Windows Azure Mobile Services
  • What’s next for Mobile?
  • Developing Java Applications for the Cloud, present and future
  • Run your Java code on Cloud Foundry
 Build in business valuebusiness, value
  •  Value driven development
  • Are Agile values universal?
  • ǝnןɐʌ: Why we have it backwards


35 19

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

Encourage change in the world of software testing

Teatimewithtesters.com August 2013|Let’s Talk (Common Sense) ]

Ultimately, testers will fail when they are measured against unrealistic expectations, and testing will fail when it is bent to fit a mold more appropriate to manufacture than to research. We’re worried about where this is heading, about a possible future where testers have driven themselves into irrelevance due to an insistence on cookie-cutter practices that add little and cost a great deal. We’re worried, in a world increasing dependent on software, about what this means for software quality. As the stakes of software failure increase, it seems to us that testing practice is lagging behind.

The ISST sees the development and growth of a global community of testers as the primary means of developing such a supply. A vibrant community will capture the interest and attention of testers who have a desire to learn, whilst events such as conferences, training, webinars etc. provide a means for testers to share information and ideas. We will encourage and support such activities.

Of course, a supply of skilled testers guarantees nothing: other than self gratification, there is little point in having a skill if no one will hire you to use it. But imagine how different the industry would look if even a handful of large enterprises were to say to their vendors: “Sure, cost is important, but we don’t want to spend money on stuff that doesn’t add value. Give us testers who are skilled, who can speak our language and who will work with us to figure out what’s important”. Imagine how it would feel if a large commodity testing vendor were to declare, “OK, this doesn’t really work, we’re going to do something different”. Imagine if a significant number of hiring managers were to consider the ability of prospective testers to think and communicate, rather than their ability to repeat methodological buzzwords. Such a change cannot take place solely within the confines of the testing community. Such a change must take place in the minds of those who make decisions: about how to source testing, about who to hire, about how testing is viewed on a given project. Therefore, the ISST will pursue an advocacy agenda and seek to engage with executives, project managers and developers in order to raise awareness of the issues of skill and value, and to encourage a change in mindset.

Disclaimer: I am a member of ISST and an advocate of context-driven testing.