Friday 27 July 2018

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, Book review

When I was offered a Product Analyst role, one of the first things that I did was to write a list of books.

New reads that should improve my knowledge about what and how and why and when about Product Management / Analysis / Owning / Whatever.

For some reason, this book resonated and I decided to give it a try, so here is my short overview.

This book was written by Alan Cooper in 1998, the same year that Microsoft released Windows 98, Valve released Half-Life and Blizzard released their first Starcraft.

So, given it was released three years before the Agile Manifesto, and the whole evolution that we had in software, I found myself following my curiosity about what has changed and what remains the same in 2018 while reading it.

Cooper was right in certain things, that the next revolution in software would be the usability revolution, 9 years before the first iPhone ever made.
He explains how the development process, (and the developers) are guiding the design of the user interface, and the reasons for this to be wrong.

The book explains why you should work on the design of the user interface before the coding starts, and why you should define your user personas before thinking in what the solution will be.

Yes, the examples are getting outdated, people don't really buy scanners anymore to scan pictures, but the problems of bad user interaction design, of making our users feel stupid and miserable, of believing users will understand something just because you can understand it, all those problems remain nowadays.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Being a Product Sherpa

Last month the company I work for offered me to try something new, to become a Product Analyst!

So, after being the Fellow Tester for almost 7 years, now I start a new aventure as the Product Sherpa.

What a Product Sherpa does, I'll tell you when I get anything done, but I can write about where I start from.

Here are my principles, my beliefs, my commitment, whatever you call this:

- I will understand where we want to go, how many we are going, and how long it might take to get there.
- I will offer my advice about the route, equipment, food supply and weather conditions.
- I will walk this path along with my stakeholders.
- I will bring my load all along the way, and help with the basecamp tasks.
- I won't go alone very far from the basecamp, and if I have to, I'll explain why and where I'm going.
- I will speak your language, or I will learn your language to the point that we are able to communicate.
- I don't expect to arrive the first to the mountain top, nor to arrive last.
- If we make it to our target, we'll celebrate, if not, we'll learn.

 Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita (Photo: Jon Mancuso)
As we go, I have updated the title of this blog, added some books to my reading list, started following some interesting people in twitter and figuring out how we are going to get the first problem fixed.

If you would like to know more about Sherpa people, check this article where I got the picture out from.

See you out there! हामी बाटोमा भेट्नेछौं। 

Saturday 17 March 2018

Short list about Books

I like reading books. I can't tell if I read many, but I do spend more time reading than watching TV.

Yesterday, at #testbash Brighton, when Vernon said that it was time for a 99 seconds talk, I though about trying to inspire somebody to read at least one book about Software Testing.

So, my short list of books as for March 2018 goes like this:

A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps.

In this book Katrina is able to explain how the infrastructure of a 2018 web business looks like. She does it without using plain words, avoiding any lingo hard to understand. She goes throug technology, methodology and includes a lot of references to continue down the rabbit hole if you feel like.


Ben Kelly talks about how to remain employable, how you should shape your social media, how you should write your CV and how to step into a job interview.
This book is great both if you are looking for new opportunities or if you are doing fine in your current role and you want to keep a updated profile that might help you in a future day.

Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance.

This book might be more philosophical, but if you are into testing, and you think this is important, you might want to understand why, what is there behind the concept of quality and why does it matter. Beside, if you have a motorcycle it will be easy to get hooked by the story.

The Leprechauns of Software Engineering

This book is about the folklore we have in software engineering. Why do we believe certain things are true, just because others tell us so. Laurent displays a exercise fo critical thinking applied to many of the myths you see over and over.

Becoming a Technical Leader

This is more than a book. It's a conversation with a honest wise man, with somebody who is willing to help you succeed in your career, to understand where you are going, how you are influencing others and hw are others influencing you.
This book made me start a diary, this diary is helping me reflect on my work, on what I have achieved and what options do I have ahead.

So, there are more books you could read, many of them very good ones. But if you are looking for somewhere to start this might be a good list.

And if you are already into reading, you might have a huge pile of pending books, so why not stack one of them.

Friday 19 January 2018

Looking back to 2017

2017 is good as gone, and here is my bit of how it went...

We first went to Barcelona to Test Academy, a nice one day event where we had the chance to meet Maaret Pyhäjärvi, Dan Billing, Almudena Vivanco ...
We learned about Exploratory testing, about webpagetest, Dan gave a very interesting introduction to Security Testing, and we got to know people from Barcelona. Conferences are to confer, and this one was a nice chance for that.

We flew to Helsinki to attend European Testing Conference.
MC got a ticket thanks to a Whiteboard Testing video contest, and I gave a talk explaining how our winter peak had been.
Fiona Charles gave a very interesting workshop about leadership, at least for me, since I had been involved on the hiring process for the last months, and I felt like I had a lot to learn there.
Some months after this, it became clear that the company didn't want me for a leadership role, but these learnings remain in your bag and you never know what the future will be like.

Since flywire is getting bigger every year, we though that it would be nice to hang out all flymates together, so we went to Marrakesh for an all-company gathering.

In March, we flew to London with the kids, a chance to stroll down the streets of the City, visit the British Museum and the HMS Belfast.

I had to skip TestBash Brighton, but that wasn't that bad since Tomislav went there and explained to all of us how it went on our TestNight.

After reading Becoming a Technical Leader from Jerry Weinberg, I recorded a video about where ideas come from.

I went to Stockholm for the final edition of Let's Test.
The mood of the conference was a bit low, since it was the last happening of this event, but we did have some fine workshops, Specially the one about code refactoring from Katrina Clokie and the one about web page testing by Alan Richardson

We did a weekend trip to Canfranc, probably Europe's most awesome train station. I can not imagine how well this masterpiece of architecture would have been preserved if it was built in France or England. Sadly in Spain we prefer to invest in Calatrava rather than preserve our heritage.

Before summer, we realised that with three testers we weren't enough for testing everything, so we opened a job offer...

The Engineering team did a public speaking workshop, and even that I wasn't delivering any talk, I managed to join by recording the talks and taking some pictures.

And since everybody was in the talk delivery mode, I recorded a talk (In Spanish) explaining what you get out from Exploratory Testing and Automated Tests, what is the difference and why you should care about both.

Another trip to the Pyrenees, and this time my kids wanted to test the boundary about being in just one country at the time. Here they stand with their left feet in Spain, while their right one is in France!

Starting Summer, we rented a second bike, and went our for a ride. Valencia - Utiel - Ademuz - Salvacañete - Teruel - Valencia. More than 400 km of wineyards, forests, rocky mountains... pure awesomeness.

Finally, after searching for the next tester to join the team, we found Juan Verdú, right out of Texas! Or Juan found us, you never know for sure...

I went back to London for the Tester Gathering Workshops. This time I learnt about Cynefin, How to tell stories, What Blockchain is all about and what is Amazon web services, what Lambdas, Buckets, S3, SNS, SQS, SWF... and all this SRE lingo stands for.
Yes, and the Pubs in England, those places with centuries of history, where bucaneers, sailors, traders, pirates and Software Testers sit together to tell stories and make plans about the future.

The summer holidays were spent on a Family roadtrip from Valencia all the way up to Denmark. Two weeks across France and Germany so that we would have plenty of time to walk and discover the places where we were stopping for the night.

Back to work, Tomislav and I we went back to Denmark for the Copenhagen Context Conference. We delivered a talk about how we are creating a testing community out of nothing in Valencia, what worked and what didn't work. Also, helping Morten Hougaard with his conference was a great pleasure since this conference has been a turning point for the career of both of us.

We went to the local testing conference VLC Testing. And apart of observing how well the testing community is growing in Valencia, we got the chance to listen to Claudia Badell explaining their approach to Testing. 

I recorded a short video introducing the Cynefin framework (In Spanish) just for the fun of it.

And for closing the year, after one of those weeks where you live in the office, I decided to get some family points back and we went to Karlsruhe (Germany) to a Music festival, to see Hammerfall perform live.

I started this blog back in 2012, after a post by Pradeep about why a tester should blog, and for my very first post I used a phrase from Joacim Cans, the singer of the band, that he said back in 2003.

The band has evolved in these 15 years, their presence on stage is more mature, more coordinated, more powerful, and at the same time they keep interacting with the audience and having fun.

It was nice to see them again, it was nice to be there with my wife, we should repeat this from time to time.

2017 has been a great year, let's see what we get out of 2018.

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