Friday 1 September 2017

30 Days of Agile Testing.

So, there is a challenge to make 30 days of Agile Testing, and I'm in!
I'll write my progress on this post as it goes...
Day 1: Buy an Agile Testing related book, A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps by Katrina Clokie will be my choice.

Sunday 11 June 2017

How can I tell you

You know when you listen to a song, and suddenly everything makes sense with whatever you are doing?

Here is a song from the British band Madness:

It goes like this...

Communication is a skill you must acquire,
it will help you through your life, it is essential

It's not just a matter of knowing how to perform your tests, and understand how the system under test is meant to run, or designed. You also need to report the findings in a way that people can make informed decisions.
And if you think I'm only talking about passing test cases, then it is because you can't imagine how powerful a simple testers feedback can be, if he knows how to deliver it, to who and when. Believe me, we can change things, we know things can be different.

You have to walk into this world with your head held high,
be fluid child, don't become crystalline,
you're gonna have to swim with the molecules

You need to perform your testing in a way that makes you feel proud, you need to understand changing conditions, business needs, priorities, peoples life impacting their and your work, for good and bad.
How can I tell you, you have to open up your heart
How can I tell you, be honest from the very start
How I feel, make a stand for what is true
Try to be decent in all that you do.

 See, as a tester, all you have is your ethics and your reputation. Without that, nobody will trust you, nobody will understand when you are sure of something, or when you are lost and need help.

How can I tell you, you've got to give to get support
How can I tell you, a little effort & a lot more thought
How I feel, check the wonder in all that you see
You've got to get loving unconditionally.

 Love your users, love your company, love your coworkers, respect people who is different from you, in minds, ideas about life, sexual preferences, ideas, religion, race, family, football team...
You're gonna have to walk that road, you're gonna bear some heavy loads
You'll make mistakes & you'll come close
You're gonna get hurt by the one you love most

Sometimes you'll have to get grunt, and do whatever it takes to get your information, sometimes you'll find yourself learning stuff late at night when all the family is sleeping, sometimes you'll provide feedback in the wrong way, hurting peoples feelings, and sometimes this will happen to you.

You're gonna have to take some pain, accept the loss to live again
Forgive yourself as you'll be free,
there's more to love than just loving you see.

Sometimes you will be wrong, or confused, sometimes those features you though where full of bugs will hit production, and all you have left is start tracking complains from your users impacted by decisions that weren't yours.
And yet, the very next day you will start filling bug reports, and looking for ways to get those bugs fixed, now that we met that deadline, and we shipped, and we still have a long way to go.
How can I tell you, the laughter on a crowded bus
How can I tell you, making space when you're being crushed
How I feel, a letter I receive from you
A hug & a kiss when you're feeling blue

Some days, the best part of the day is when somebody gets you a coffee and a cookie, tell a joke or remember something funny to break the tension.
Or just stops by and quietly asks if everything is all right.
hmm, we don't really hug and kiss that much in our place, but we are nice with each other and it feels okay that way.

How can I tell you, the last chocolate in the box
How can I tell you, a pair of mittens & some cotton socks
How I feel, I'll make a fire when you are cold

Help other testers succeed, help your developers and product managers succeed, help your CEO succeed... there is no other way of making things right. Also, since we live in Valencia, it's not that cold usually, but it can be very hot. A trip to the supermarket and get ice cream for everyone can fix the whole team mood for the afternoon.

Don't worry darling I'll love you when you grow old
How can I tell you, 6 candles on your birthday cake
How can I tell you, a Christmas card that I helped you make

Write your test reports in a way that you will like to read again years from now, in a way that will help you remember what was going on when you where testing this feature, how the test environment was doing, what was the context like back then, this is the way you'll love what you are doing now when you get old.

How I feel, when you ran in your first race
The time I stuck an ice cream in your face
How can I tell you, the last chocolate in the box

Software development is not a job that is performed by people alone, it's a teamwork, and this means having a kind of relation with everybody in your company and the users that will make your company worth something.

Respect what you do, respect the ones you work with, respect yourself.

And listen to Madness tunes from time to time.

Sunday 7 May 2017

Book review: Snake Pilot

I just finished reading "Snake Pilot, Flying the Cobra Attack Helicopter in Vietnam" by Randy R. Zahn.

This is the story of Mr. Zahn about the year he spent in Vietnam war flying the Cobra attack helicopter. As he was deployed he wrote letters and recorded audio tapes and sent them home, and years after he managed to put all this log together and write a interesting story about his experience.

In his unit, they were three type of teams.
Team Red flying a OH-6 Loach, a small, light and fast helicopter.
Team White flying the AH-1 Cobra, a attack helicopter.
Team Blue would fly the UH-1 Huey, the transport helicopter carrying a platoon of soldiers.

Early in the morning, they would get a mission, some area to recon, something to look after, and they would take off.
Once they got to the area of operations, the Loach would descend to tree-top level, and start doing clockwise turns, getting slower and lower as the pilot would spot anything interesting, anything related to enemy activity such as tire marks, water puddles, wood fires... or direct fire!. The crew of the Loach had a short range radio, no maps, no navigation instruments, a rifle and a machine gun, but the deadliest thing they could throw away was a smoke grenade.

In the meantime, the Cobra would be orbiting hight around the Loach, making wide anti-clockwise turns in order to keep in sight the Loach while staying away for small arms fire, and if the Loach got into trouble, the Cobra would turn in, build speed out of altitude and engage with everything they could fire to the spot marked by the smoke signal.

The pilot of the Loach was responsible of exploring and finding information, the pilot of the Cobra was there to protect the Loach, to navigate from the base to the operations area and back, to use the long range radio and ask for artillery support, call for a airstrike, coordinate with gound troops and any other airborne unit.

At some point they would need somebody down in the ground, to investigate something, talk to people, evacuate a downed crew, support friendly troops operating in the area... then they would call the blues. The Blues were airborne infantry specialized on the job of getting on and off from the helicopter as fast as possible.

They were proud of the job they did, they were proud of the unit they belonged to, they had the Stetson hat as a distinctive of their uniform, they were elite troops.

Trying to get an analogy with software testing is a bit difficult. After all, when I am testing issues, nobody wants to kill me with a AK-47, my chopper won't fall apart because of bad maintenance, I won't fly into any area where artillery is about to hit, and I don't want to kill nobody either, so it doesn't matter how stressful it might get, there is no way to compare with that.

But we do share the technique. When we do pair testing, one tester is carefully using the software under test, doing wide circles first learning about the features, and stopping when he finds something unexpected and reporting it. The other tester is navigating, helping the first to not get lost, adding information when required and calling for help if the situation goes wrong.

We do like to have a target, to know what we are looking after, instead of doing a "just test everything" kind of mission, also we do get proud of the work we do.

We don't wear a Calvary hat, but Ministry of Testing stickers on our laptops, so when we meet unknown people at the lounge of an airport, checking his laptop with the sticker, we know how to salute and engage a conversation, we have something in common.

The book also has some interesting stories relating to stressful situations, war stories and leadership management, so if you got reading this far, and think you would like to know more, go and buy Mr Zahn a beer and ask him to tell you a story.

If you are not living in Alaska, where I think he lives now, you can always buy his book, that would also make it.

The pictures come from this blog.

Sunday 12 February 2017

European Testing Conference 2017

Back from European Testing Conference I would like to share how it went.

About the Programme.
When you go to conferences, usually you get plenty of talks, and maybe accidentally you could get to know other people, at coffee breaks or lunch breaks and so on, sometimes people say that those coffee breaks were the best part of the conferences.

This one is organized the other way, you will get to know people because of a lot of chances are being planned for this to happen, and at some point you will also get to a talk.

How do they make this happen, well, there must be a plan...
- Speed Meeting just right after starting the event, where you get to know 4 or 5 other random fellows for 4 minutes. Each one of us was asked to draw a mindmap about ourselves and share it with the person we had in front to start the conversation. Doing this at the beginning of the conference was setting the right tone of what was about to happen.
- Open Space sessions, where anyone could propose whatever subject they wanted to talk about and people would gather around to talk.
- Speaker dinner the night before the event started, in a very informal mood, but feeling like at home, cosy and simple, with food, drinks and sauna, all Finnish style. I got the chance to talk with some of the other speakers, spend the evening with them, and the conference was yet to start.
- Conference dinner, the organization provided everybody with a free drink brochure (in Finland this means money!), so after the talks of the first day we went to the pub where each of us could as whatever dinner we wanted.
- Coffee break after every talk, so Finish people would get their hourly dose of the black elixir that keeps them running.
- Test lab, where people could sit around devices and try to understand the patterns that they were following.

About the Keynotes.
We got 4 great inspiring talks, for all the attendees, to understand where we are, what software is about, why we need to be brave, step up, do things, change things.
None of these talks were just a demonstration about how smart the speaker was, or how wrong something was getting done, they were all about understanding yourself and drive your own change in one way or another.
Sometimes at a conference, talks seem to be like painting a wall, changing whatever was there before and putting a tick layer of information that wasn't there, while other talks connect with what you  knew and understood, and help you putting words and structure to beliefs you already had, like lighting a dark tunnel wall with a lantern, so new details and textures come into your attention.
The keynotes we had were of this second types of talks.

About the Organization.
I went to this conference invited as a speaker, they paid me my travelling expenses, the stay & breakfast at the hotel and a entry to the tutorials that were happening the day before the conference.
Also, they paid these expenses as soon I sent the receipts. 

I never seen this before. It has been a privilege for me to attend as a speaker, thank you.

About the Inspiring Women.
With 3 out of 4 keynotes led by women, this wasn't a event only for women, but nicely organized by many of them, and in a different way.
At the end of the event, I have the feeling that I had witnessed some moments, where some women were thanking others for the inspiration they found on the work they have produced, and this was happening in front of other younger women, serving as an example, showing the path as somebody to imitate and to get inspired by.
And at the same time, admitting that they are far from being 'perfect' in the sense of what society defines about being 'perfect' for a woman.
This was beautiful, and in my experience in testing conferences... unusual.

About the learnings,
in no particular order...

Be yourself, be brave, stand for what you believe and for who you are. 

Be a team player, support your team and explore the possibilities you have.

Explore the world, there are many of them out there, be it the Testing community, the Tech industry, contribute and explain what is important to you as a tester.

Cultivate and take care of yourself, nobody else will.

If you feel like writing, and you don't know where to start, here is a sample of ideas. Pick one and give it a try.
When planning for Exploratory Testing, have in mind that you might want to choose between different kind of sessions. Not all are the same, and not all of them produce the same results.

 There are three kind of software, depending on the interaction with their environment, and each require a different approach when it comes to testing.

You think Exploratory Testing is a unstructured approach? well, here you have 20 different ways to structure it.

While testing, observe the different testing activities that you perform, write them down and understand how you do your testing.

If you are using test cases, here is an alternative structure that you could try.

 Understand you role as a tester, there could be more than you think.

 Do you have difficulties to explain how do you do your testing? here is an idea why.

Understand Cynefin as a way to understand different stages of a problem, and then pick a problem, like exploratory testing, or testing estimation, or team interactions, and apply this model.

About my talk.
The talk went well, and maybe the only thing I didn't like were the last 5 minutes. I wanted to finish my talk on time, so people could go for a coffee, but also I wanted to say, that when you are working in a project as a tester, it is important that you understand that you work with information, to try new ways to get this information, and to understand all who could benefit from having it, and to be brave and try out new approaches if the existing ones are not good enough.
But given the rest of the talks, this has been said way better than I would, so at least I took my time to tell my story.

So, if you like to get to know people when you go to conferences instead of just attending to lots of talks, if you are okay having a dinner in a pub instead of a gala dinner, if you would like to participate instead of just attending, if you like coffee, then European Testing Conference 2018 in Amsterdam would be something for you to consider.
Thank you, it has been a pleasure.

Friday 3 February 2017

Finishing my European Testing Conference talk.

Great talks have the power to motivate people, they motivate me.

These days I'm busy getting ready my talk for the European Testing Conference. One of the slides that is getting me into trouble is the one about where did I get the inspiration for the story.

Do I put the slide before or after the 'Thank you!' slide that closes the talk...
if I put it after, nobody reads it.
if I put it before, I need to drive away from my story to get here and I don't really like how it flows.

So by now, I'll post it here.

My talk is about how I managed to test a high peak in our business, for this I can point to certain works that helped me a lot figuring out what path to follow.

Rob Lambert, and his Nordic Testing Days 2015 talk "Why remaining Relevant is so Important" is one I went back a couple of times. If you believe that being brave is a good asset for a tester, I invite you to check this talk.

Antony Marcano wrote a blog post about Special Forces and Agile Teams. I liked the analogy, and it helped me understand that if I was going to be a team lead, or a retrospective facilitator, or I was going to record a video or setup a rapberry pi to show production performance data in real time, it was because at that very moment, it was the best service I could provide the team.

James Bach presented some time ago his Low Tech Testing Dashboard. This is something I used to be able to clearly communicate the state of the testing we were doing, what was the plan and the progress we were making.
James also has a good text about Test Jumpers, but my case didn't exactly reflect in his story, maybe because I'm not an external contractor, just a tester in my team, but I took some parts of his concept.

The idea of the map, as a analysis document has been discussed in Joep Schuurkes talk: Helping the New Tester to Get a Running Start.

All talks and posts converge on the idea of how diverse the actions of a skilled tester can be, on how to quickly understand what is happening and take decisions.

This work, the notes I took while we were in the project, and a stop at a nice café everyday on my way to the office, is how I managed to build up this talk.

See you in Helsinki.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

30 Days of Testing

The Ministry of Testing has a fun 30 days testing challenge. It goes like this:
One challenge per day, 30 days of adventure and discovery. This kind of challenges are like going to the gym, or playing batucada. The more you put into it, the more you will get out from it.

This post will be my diary with how my journey happens to be.

#1 Get a Testing book, and read it before day 31. Getting the book was easy,  so the tricky part must be finishing it before day 31.

#2 Take a photo of something I am doing at work. We are welcoming @emerrefe our third Software Tester, now we are a team!!.

#3 Listen to a testing podcast: Podcast Addict is my app choice.

I found a podcast from The Testing Shown where they interview James Bach after his retreat in Orcas Island. The conversation was very interesting, even that I don't agree with everything James said. My team is an agile team, and I don't see my testing role to be threatened by any agilist around. However I did agree with the need we have as testers to care about our business and our own careers as testers. At the end this was a great podcast.

#4 Share a testing post with a non-tester. I picked this post from Amy Phillips, and shared it on the channel we have for readings. I'll update any conversation.

#5 Comment on a blog post. I added my comment in Javier Garzas blog.

#6 Perform a crazy test. I went for a road trip this summer with my family, 2 weeks on the road with 3 kids... And while we were cruising Germany and the Autobahn, in a non-limited stretch with no traffic I decided to test how fast our Renault Scenic would go. When I got close to 150 I decided to declare this speed as 'Fast Enough', concluded the test and went back to confy 120 km/h.

#7 Find an accesibility bug. I found a map from Valenbisi, the Public Bicycle rental service in Valencia, where the North is pointing to the East. This can be misleading for humans, who expect the North to be up, and for dwarfs who expect the East at the Top of the map.

#8 Download app and send 5 bugs. For this I picked Stridekick, a nice app that will allow you to create a challenge between people with different activity tracking devices. If you care about how many steps you take every day, and you know someone else who also cares, go and give them a try.

#9 Create a mindmap. This is not really a challenge, since I use mindmaps to document my testing plans, so every complex feature has his own. If you want to learn about what can get done with a mindmap, get a cup of coffee and check The ministry of Testing or TestInsane

#10 Find an event to attend. Finding testing events in Valencia is complicated, so we're hosting our own TestNight

#11 Take a picture of your team.
Well, here I have my small team, the ones who show up on the daily standup:

Then there is the local team, the ones we share our Valencia office.

Then there is my big global flywire team.

#12 Doodle a problem. This is something I do as I talk. My notebook is full of paintings explaining issues and tests, so instead I learnt how to do a prezi.

#13 Find a user experience problem. I reported this while doing #8, but it goes like this. If you have a mobile app, not being online should not be users problem, as an app, you should figure a way to deliver some value to the user.

#14 Step outside my confort zone. I arranged time with Customer Support team, so we spent some time watching them interact with our users. This was so fun, that we decided to repeat the experience, but since I went from my confort zone to a fun zone, I decided to try another thing.
I accepted the invitation to deliver a talk in Finland at the European Testing Conference about how is the testing I do.

Yah... this IS outside my comfort zone.

#15 Find a problem with a E-commerce site. I tried to make a Karma wireless hotspot work, but the app would refuse to accept a Paypal payment, maybe because the account was set in a different country. Again, if you plan to have users from all over the world, have this in mind when testing payment methods.

#16 Go to a non testing event. We host a Hacknight every last thursday of the month, this might be my non-testing event.

#17 Find and share a quote: I´ll give you two:

Rock'nRoll == learning new things and having fun.

Yogui Berra and his software testing estimation knowledge...

#18 Find a broken link. Doh! Found it and reported it. Hopefully we'll fix it soon as well.

#19 Find and use a new testing tool:
I got two, sublime text editor and oh-my-zsh mod for iTerm. After some months, I kept Sublime, and uninstalled the zsh one.

Uh, I also learnt something called jmeter.

#20 Find a good place to perform some security tests.
OWASP Top Ten, on our website.

#21 Pair Test with someone.
Yeah, almost every day.

#22 Share your favourite testing tool.
I'd say Xmind for mindmaps, and is you are into SBTM try Rapid Reporter.

#23 Help someone test better.
I run a weekly meeting where we watch a video from a testing conference, having a subscription to the DOJO is just an awesome source of testbash talks.

#24 Connect with a Tester you haven't previously connected with.
Not just one, I help running the local TestNight meetup, so it's pretty easy to connect with anyone whiling to attend to one meetup.

#25 Contribute to a testing discussion.
My view about what being a Context Driven Tester is like.

#26 Invite a non-tester to a testing event.
On our last TestNight, we had teachers and university students attending along with testers.

#27 Say something nice about the thing you just tested.
We made it!

#28 Summarise an issue in 140 characters or less.
As a tester,
I want to finish my #30DaysofTesting challenge
Even if it took me 30 days... and 5 months to complete.
So that I can close this project and move on to the next fun challenge ahead!

#29 Find an out by one error.
When you start writing a post using Blogger, and you get a permalink, and you schedule the publish time, when your post get's published it is under a different link.
The permalink was from the date I started writing the post.
The published link is from the date I published the link.

Then I wonder what is the value of getting a permalink that won't link to anywhere.

#30 Give someone positive feedback.
Done!, (check #31)

#31 Share your 30 days challenge.
Yeah, if you got this far, I am very grateful for your time.
Thank you!

Thursday 5 January 2017

Looking back to 2016

Here goes a post about how 2016 went. (Short story, hey, it has been great!).

We started the year with a hell of a party. Celebrating success when it happens is a great thing to do, bring on new challenges!

We managed to get Adrian (the father of the hacknight) to our office, so he got to know Miguel (the kid from the hacknight).

We went to Brighton(UK) for TestBash!

And I joined John Stevenson while Testing in the Pub.

We passed the BBST Foundations test!

We delivered our talk about 'Hiring testers from a small City' in ExpoQA Madrid, There is a recorded version of this talk both in English and Spanish.

I got visit! Gina & Santhosh came all the way to Valencia and we ended up drinking a beer together.

We hired MC! now we are three testers on the Flywire dev team.

This summer, the family went for a awesome road trip, so we visited Tudela, Bordeaux, Paris, Arnhem (That bridge, you know), Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice, Milan, Genoa and Perpignan. Good old Europe.

Because the dev team is growing a lot, we did a retreat out in the country.

I took the family on a trip to Boston, two weeks living in a house, driving a v6, shopping in a mall, discovering what living in the States is like.

With Tomislav, we delivered a talk about training testers and building testing communities at the local testing conference.

And at the end of this awesome year, I got tired of the beard, and we suited up one day just for fun.

We also tested features, deployed code to production, processed more payments than ever, hosted our TestNights, solved some of the problems that got out of the blue...

... And made plans to make 2017 another awesome year.

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...