Friday 10 November 2023

Atomic Habits book review


Atomic Habits is becoming a popular book about dealing with you own habits.

The book is an easy read, where concepts are presented in a way that they are not new stuff that you wouldn´t know otherwise, but as you progress with the reading, these concepts are nicely coupled together.

Concepts like the Cue -> Craving -> Response -> Reward loop we use for habits, and the reason why we do things. ( Outcomes, like writing a blog post -> Processes, like being able to regularly write  -> Identity, being a writer). 

And the same reasons why we don´t do other things.

Those concepts are explained along with real examples of people with strong habits that were able to achieve great goals in life.

 I did enjoy this reading, and if you are this far on my post, I can recommend it to you, my friend.

Thursday 5 October 2023

TestBash UK 2023

Back to TestBash !

It´s my first international conference after Covid, and since I now have a training budget, it felt great to travel to the UK and meet other testers, again...

TestBash and the events hosted by the Ministry of Testing have been a key resource in my development as a Software Tester, starting with a trip to Brighton back in 2013 and following so many events I don´t remember all of them. It felt nice to get back and reengage with the testing community.

me standing by Beatles statue

The conference.

The conference happened in The Titanic Hotel, 15 min north from Liverpool center. Nice venue, good food, excellent company.

We had one big room for the talks, and 3 rooms for workshops.

The programme was one track of talks, two tracks of workshops and then smaller 20 min workshops happening in one room with several 10p tables, one workshop per table.

We were short of 500 attendees, it was a nice medium sized conference where you get to know many people at the end of the two days.

All speakers would deliver a workshop, and this was cool, so if you would listen to somebody giving a talk and would like to deepen in the subject, you had the chance to attend to the workshop and get first hands experience about the matter.

My plan and notes.

Initially I didn´t have any target for the conference, but once I saw the programme, and used the app to select tracks and workshops I wanted to attend, Training and mentoring and automation were my main interests, so there I got my plan.

I went to talks about automation, about why not to get the bottleneck on the project when you are writing tests, about accessibility issues, and how they impact 15% of world population, accessibility features are one human right, nice for some, and vital for others, and how they will impact even you, my friend, as you get older.

You too can learn some Simple Tests For Accessibility Every Tester Should Know is you feel like.

I went to a workshop to better understand GitHub actions and set up and ran my CI :D

And a workshop about learning, and coaching, and using (Who, Where, What, How, When) instead of (Why) when having my sessions, to help drive the conversation.

And consider that it is Time to Think and when you are listening, understand what your reactions will be, if you are going to (Understand what they say, Crack a joke, Destroy the argument)

Here a list of Culture Books, if you feel like, enjoy the trip.

It has been a great conference, I am really happy to get back to these events.


Since the conference would end on Thursday evening, my wife took a Ryanair from Alicante to Liverpool, and we spent the weekend together with the kids.

Cowny Castle

We visited Liverpool, Conwy and Chester, and as a tester who has been testing text fields for a living, I almost made it to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch station, it was just three stops away.

But hey, we´ll get back to Wales for sure, and I´ll get my selfie in the station sign that has been in my skeleton key file for these long years, annoying developers and frontenders who tough that their town name field could perfectly render any input.

Life is what happens while you make plans...

Monday 26 December 2022

Looking back to 2022

 But wait, did I ever write a recap about 2021? I think not, so let´s do it...

I started 2021 hiring more testers for our team in Voicemod. We did build a fairly good automated testing solution for not only testing the interface, but also testing sound effects and voice filters.

And we did met, for a remote team like ours this was a great event! We went to Madrid to spend a day working together, and if  I´m going to pick a memory of my working year, it might be this one.

But I was ambitious about growing into a team lead, and my manager had a different view, so by the end of the year I left the company and started a new chapter as consultant with Amaris.

Uh, and we sold the Vespa, after owning it 20 years.

We did a trip to Morella, and while crossing the mountains of the Maestrat I understood that I was being too audacious with this little old bike.

So the way of getting a new bike was to sell the old one, and fill in the void with a second Honda Rebel.

And this is how 2022 started.

I work for Mantu, along with another 50K friends, but the teams I log into has 75 members, and for the projects I´m engaged in, I would share things with 4 to 6 people, so it is manageable.

We have an office in Valencia, that is 10 minutes away from where I live, and yet I work from home most of the days. If the client, and my team will be elsewhere, going to the office to spend the day doing videoconferences does not make sense.

My projects have been around training new testers and doing consultancy. I been doing some performance testing, some quality assessment and some team leading.

My wife and I we keep riding, we did a summer trip to the Pyrenees, this time from Seu d'Urgell to Nerín, and a few weekend trips, sometimes just for a coffee and a view.

On summer the whole family went to France, and visited Normandy and Bretagne on a two week road trip with the car.

Traditions are made by repeating something overtime, in our case, a roadtrip in summer is becoming a family tradition, and I´m fine with that.

I haven´t blogged this year, even that I do keep my diary to date, and my approach with the blog is changing, I do feel like posting stuff, but also I don´t feel like broadcasting the writings, at least not these personal posts.

2023 is starting with plans, work, and projects. Not bad.

Saturday 19 November 2022


 Last time I checked Twitter, it made me feel like an old man, sitting on a bench, close to another old one, who happened to still be on the bench close to me.

Not that we were close friends, not that we did great things together...

We both had better times in the past, we both did great things...

But at the end, Twitter is just a social network. They would show me ads, promoted tweets, and sometimes I would find an interesting thread that would bring me elsewhere.

Yes, I been there for 11 years, yes that seems a long time, yes I made wonderful connections with people, but I've seen people I liked leave the network, and I've seen a lot of things I didn't really like happening there, so the good old times seem both good and old these days.

And as I write this short post, loggin in to twitter to complain about how the old days were does not make sense either.

One day I will be an old man, but there is no hurry, I don't need to go to the bench.

Sunday 10 October 2021

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

 I used to read books about software testing.

And when I moved to Product Management, I started reading books about Product Management.

But last year, when the whole world changed upside down because Covid-19 and I got fired, I was unable to read anything work related.

The only thing I could read was Terry Prachett's Discwork books.

I started reading them for my kids as bedtime stories, and as they grew up and didn't want bedtime stories anymore, I continued reading them for myself. I found very pleasant to read about Discworld, it would allow me to catch sleep in very difficult times, and I got over the first 20 books in one year.

Sam Vimes it has been a pleasure meeting you, but I really feel like going back to reading about software testing, and quality, whatever that is.

This is the second time I read this book. The first time must have been around 2009, when we started writing blogs and learning about testing and quality. It's fun to observe how different the book feels when you read it for the second time, 13 years after, since the book has not changed, it must have been me!

The book is an autobiographical story about a bike trip that Robert M. Pirsing went to across United States in 1968 with his 11 Year old son riding a small Honda.

I like riding motorcycles, and last month we went for a 3 day trip with my wife and out 13 year old kid.

What might have changed in 50 years of motorcycle road trips according to this book ...

Pirsing did his trip in a Honda CB 450, a medium sized bike that would do 180 kmh with his 43hp twin engine.

We did our trip in a couple of Honda CMX 500, a low seat cruiser that has a 47 hp twin engine, and whose top speed I'm not aware of, since I never bothered to test.
On paper, you would say both motorcycles look very similar.

They are not.

Pirsing depicts how he would service the bike, change oil, adjust carburation, tighten valves, weld a loose chain guard and perform several other maintenance tasks.
I did none of that. These newer bikes require a service every 12.000 km, this means I could ride from Valencia (Spain) to Moscow, ride back home, and then do the whole trip again before needing a new oil change. Motorcycles have gone a long way when it comes to maintenance.

Now we have fuel injection, so we don't need to adjust the carburator needles when reaching higher grounds, we have ABS so we don't worry about riding in wet weather, we have bluetooth comms so we communicate from rider to rider the whole trip.

Of corse you need to take care about things when you are riding. You still need to get fuel, food and rest when tired, those things remain the same.
Your intercom devices need recharge and they don´t like getting wet, your mobile phone can run out of signal or battery, so you better know where you want to be riding, just in case your Google maps is not able to tell you where you are.

To became one with the landscape, to be part of it, to get cold when crossing long tunnels and high peaks, to get burnt by the sun and to become amazed, when a road suddenly opens to a landscape you did not expect.

To feel alive, to understand that 11 months of working from home are worth if you can ride one week out in the wild.

This has not changed in 50 years, and I hope it does not for the time I will be around.

I think that the same thing applies to Software Testing.

Yes, the tools are evolving, we now automate a lot of the setup, the testing, the monitoring, our systems require a lot less of maintenance than before, and are able to scale way better.

But yet, it is about the people who are working on a project, it is a matter of the relationships we have inside the team and the company.

It is about describing problems, helping others understand the risks and what coices we have.

Yet we have not figured out quality, we are not able to bake it into the product, it can not be created afterwards, it has to be the most important thing to consider when building a product, or it won´t be.

I might get back to this book some years from now. I plan to continue riding, and to make software testing a living for a while.

And to ride with my kids.

Friday 22 January 2021

Looking back to 2020

Yes, a lot of things happened, but since we're going to forget many of them, let's review a few worth remember.

European Testing Conference.

I was invited to Amsterdam to give a talk explaining my journey from Tester to Product Owner.
The conference went fine!
I had the chance to de-virtualize people I knew for a long time, to meet new people and to see old friends.

The talk went quite well, and somebody thanked me for waking up their tester soul.

Hey, that was a nice praise! and that was a great last European Testing Conference.
I want to express my gratitude and admiration for all the people involved in running those 5 events, and for letting me help a bit along the way, it's been a pleasure.

And yes, somehow we turned this conference trip into a family adventure, but this is how we like doing these kind of things.

MoT Tour.

So, my good friend Tomislav came up with a fun idea, how about delivering 3 talks in 3 days in 3 cities?
Of course, I accepted, and there we went. 
We delivered three talks in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia in 3 days. I got the chance to meet a lot of people and had a great time, even that I finished quite tired at the end, but as Bon Scott once said, it's a long way to the top.

Family time.

As the situation evolved, and quarantine was imposed, I moved to work from home, and the kids moved to study from home as well, so we got a lot of time together.
We have been playing games, watching movies, discussing life and finding ways to adapt to this ever changing situation, and it didn't go bad, at least we made it through the year, one day at the time.

My wife and I we have been together for 20 years now, and one thing we been doing more often this year is going for a ride.

As Keith Klain well said, the road is the journey, and there are plenty of roads out there waiting for us.


Summer came and we didn't have any plan. With all the situation evolving, there was no way to make plans, let alone going for a road trip like we have been doing since 2013.
But then, things happened, and Iberia announced a discount for healthcare workers, and in a couple of weeks we went from not having a plan, to flying to Tenerife and spend a week in this wonderful island.

Good times never come alone, you need to plan for them, but sometimes plans come together in unexpected ways.


I'm back to testing!
I never went too far away, but starting in July, I joined the Voicemod team as a Software Tester to help with the testing thing. 

You know, make questions, evaluate requirements, test working software, write bug reports and test session reports, have fun with the team, automate tests, learn about software, processes, infrastructure, tools, users, competitors, grow as a professional, be a professional skeptic, all things I love from this job.

I got lucky that we also hired Belén, and that together we have been building an interesting automated test suite that is helping the team to achieve the levels of quality we're searching for. She even wrote an article about it. 

Good things will come out of this team, just wait and see.


My former company made it to the news, but this time it was because they decided to do a layoff due to COVID and the change in the business context.

It was not the first time I saw this happening, but the perspective of being one of the laidoffs was new and interesting for sure. 

As it happens in any spaceship, it turned out that I didn't have my astronaut suite, I was part of the fuel.

But hey...

Pradeep Soundararajan wrote a book, The buddha in testing, this book helped me understand that it was just a business as usual.

He also wrote an article with a new job description, Product Owner's Testing Assistant, and featured me, along with Jon Bach as somebody that would fit in that job description.

I'm very grateful to Pradeep, for helping me understand many things, for many years, in different ways.

And I'm grateful as well to all the flymates, for these good years we had.

As Johnny Cash sings...

"Now I been out in the desert, just doin' my time, Searchin' through the dust, lookin' for a sign
If there's a light up ahead well brother I don't know, But I got this fever burnin' in my soul
So let's take the good times as they go, And I'll meet you further on up the road"

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Ride to Cabo de Gata

In July 2020, we went for a three day ride, the longest bike trip we been to, up to this date.

Some context.
My wife is my riding partner. I been riding since I was 17, she got her license after we got married. I bought a Vespa PX200 back in 2002 when I worked as a courier and I needed a cheap bike that was easy to maintain.
At some point, back in 2012 we started renting a second bike and going out for a ride, and since we did enjoy this time together, we do go for a ride every now and then, so in January 2019 we bought a Honda Rebel 500 as a second bike.

The planning.
Given this is 2020, and we have COVID-19 cases all around us, planning a trip is a complex task.
The problem is around the uncertain evolution of the cases, the more to the future you want to plan, the greater uncertainty you have to deal with, and you don´t want to put your money in advance for a trip you won´t be doing.

So this time the plan was different. There was no plan, we only had options.

We managed to arrange a weekend where the kids would be taken care of, then we decided that we had three places where we would like to ride. We had two nights out, and we were riding out of Valencia, Spain where we live, so...
We could try driving north to mount Tourmalet, West to the Sierra de Cuenca mountains or South to Cabo de Gata.
We also decided not to book a second bike in advance, to not put money in stake, but to just drop by the bike dealer on last Thursday and give it a try if they had anything we could rent. If we didn´t find second bike, I would do the trip on the Vespa.

The bikes.
Then, when the Thursday arrived, I went to the local Yamaha dealer. As any decent bike dealer, they have a set of test bikes you can use for a quick test ride before purchasing one. Many dealers offer this service, but Yamaha Spain went a bit further, and they also offer the chance of renting one of the demo bikes for some days.
They had a spare Tracer 700, so after the brief paperwork, we had the bikes ready.

The ride.
On Friday morning we checked the news and the healthcare information, COVID-19 cases were worse to the North, so we decided to go South.

We managed to travel 1200km in three days. We went all the way down to Cabo de Gata on our first day, then went up north to Albacete by crossing the Cazorla natural park, and the last day we went back home by riding to Requena.

Some lessons.

The Tracer700 is a great bike for travelling, it has fairing, powerful engine, wide tires... and the Honda Rebel did exactly the same trip without any of those. It's not the bike what makes the biker, it's the attitude.

Riding without a GPS is fun, but you will get lost, and by the time you're back on your track you will be tired and late.

Have a bandana on your neck, and if it get's too hot, soak it in cold water when you stop for fuel.

Get a bluetooth intercom, so you can talk with your riding partner.

If you are going to an area with plenty of accommodation, you can book a room by the time you get there. But if the hotels are scarce, you better book in advance and plan accordingly.
Our first idea was to sleep in Riópar, but by the time we went there we could only find a room in Albacete. And this added a couple of riding ours to an already long day.

Some people don't ride out of their commuting route, some people ride a lot and afar. It doesn't matter what others do. Find what kind of riding makes you happy and enjoy the ride.

Atomic Habits book review

  Atomic Habits is becoming a popular book about dealing with you own habits. The book is an easy read, where concepts are presented in a wa...