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Mnemonics Thrive in Software Testing

By , January 26, 2011 10:45 am

In June of last year I blogged here sharing that I had created a resource page on my website with a listing of mnemonics. I spent many hours and was excited to find a sizable list at the time. It seems the software testing community has been busy since then crafting new mnemonics and revising existing ones. After tweeting about Nancy’s new SPIES mnemonic last night I received a bunch of emails and tweets with updates to the listing.

Requirements Analysis and Feedback Mnemonic by Darren McMillan
Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, Knowledge, Experience
Read More on the WWWWWH/KE mnemonic

Mobile Application Testing Mnemonic by Jonathon Kohl
Inputs, Store, Location, Interactions/Interruptions, Communications, Ergonomics, Data, Usability, Platform, Function, User Scenarioes, Network
Read More on the I SLICED UP FUN mnemonic

Device Orientation Testing Mnemonic by Maik Nogens
Portrait, Audio, Objects, Landscape, Overlay
Read More on the PAOLO mnemonic

GUI Step Automation Mnemonic by Albert Gareev
Synchronize, Exists, Enabled, Displayed, Number of Arguments, Type of Arguments, Log, Investigate
Read More on the SEED NATALI mnemonic

Test Strategy Mnemonic by Jared Quinert
Budget, Goals, Risks, Approach, Dependencies, Environments, Data, Stakeholders, Coverage Models, Resources, Information, Prioritization, Tradeoffs, Tooling, Schedule
Read More on the B GRADED SCRIPTTS mnemonic

Microtest Mnemonic by Industrial Logic
Small, Precise, Isolated, Fast, Frequently Run
Read More on the SPIFFy mnemonic

I also found out that the PROOF mnemonic by Jon Bach had been revised by Henrik Andersson to PROOFLA.
Session Based Test Reporting Mnemonic by Jon Bach and revised by Henrik Andersson
Past, Results, Obstacles, Outlook, Feelings
Read more on the original and revised PROOFLA mnemonic

Check out the Mnemonics resource page for the full listing of software testing related mnemonics. Let me know if have a mnemonic I do not have listed.

SPIES Addition to the Mnemonic Listing

By , January 25, 2011 10:22 pm

I am excited to share the latest addition to the mnemonic listing on my Resources page. My colleague and friend Nancy Kelln recently posted “International SPIES in Testing” sharing her new mnemonic SPIES for testing internationalization.

SPIES stands for:

  • Special Characters
  • Pages & Content
  • Integrations
  • Error Messages
  • Special Formats

Read Nancy’s post here for more details on the SPIES mnemonic and insights on the complexities of internationalization testing.

Check out the Mnemonics Listing for a listing of software testing related mnemonics.

A Journey in Advocacy

By , January 24, 2011 2:25 pm

This week I realized it has been ten years since my passion for testing was ignited. My career started sixteen years ago as a programmer working on telecommunications software. I quickly moved into a leadership role and was overseeing our collective product life cycle from the RFP stage with potential buyers through implementation and support. I enjoyed six years with the same company and gained tremendous insight on the analysis, design, development, testing, implementation and support of enterprise scale, integrated applications. On a whim in 2001 I decided to check out an opportunity in another city.

During the interview it became apparent that they had a serious challenge with their testing team. They were projecting significant growth to support the multi-million dollar project and needed an experienced manager to take on the team. Although this was not what I had applied for I began to seriously consider it. At this point I envisioned the greatest benefits of this opportunity to be gaining experience in a new company, in accepting my first contract role, and in the overall complexity and scale of the initiative. Never at any point in time was I overly excited about the prospect of leading a whole team of testers.

It is important to clarify that up to this point in my career testing was something the programmers were responsible for. Having programmed a great deal early in my career I knew this was an important responsibility and I had always taken great pride in the quality of my work. However, I had never worked with anyone who viewed software testing as a profession. I decided to take Test Manager opportunity and my perspective on software testing was about to be transformed.

Projections for the size of the testing team began to grow and finally settled on 30+ members. To help establish the practices of the group a local consultant specializing in testing practices was hired to partner with me. In my early meetings with the consultant I was impressed with her passion and realized how extensive the field of software testing was. In the months that followed I was surprised by the extent of the challenges facing the testing effort; from tester’s skills to management perceptions. My immersion into software testing ignited a passion for advocacy that I could never have foreseen.

For the past 10 years I have focused on the leadership and management of software testing teams and improving organizations ability to deliver valuable software. I have experienced the gamut from small to large scale organizations, minimum to extensive support for software testing, 1 person to 40+ person test teams, and waterfall to agile practices. A great deal of my energy is expended on the advocacy of context relevant software testing and quality management practices. The majority of my advocacy has been within organizations and my local IT community until 2009 when I began presenting at conferences in North America and eventually internationally.

I remain as passionate as ever about the craft of software testing and have an over arching passion for software quality management as espoused by Jerry Weinberg. My journey has been filled with immense learning and the opportunity to meet some of the incredible voices in the software testing community. I am excited to see where the craft of software testing goes in the next 10 years.

Thinking Outside the Box

By , January 19, 2011 9:27 pm

Yesterday I overheard a tester being told they need to “Think Outside the Box”. We often find this phrase being referred to when we talk about people who we believe excel in their roles. For example, “Jane is such an excellent tester, she really knows how to think outside the box!”. I find this to be very interesting as when you get right down to it no one seems to be able to define how someone should go about thinking outside the box.

For simplicity I pulled Wikipedia’s definition and found:

Thinking Outside the Box is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking. This is sometimes called a process of lateral thought. To think outside the box is to look further and try not to think of the obvious things, but try and think beyond that.

Hmmm, I find myself still scratching my head as I wrote an article last year on how dangerous the word obvious can be. If to think outside the box is think of things that are NOT obvious it begs the question…obvious to whom? When a person shares their brilliant idea it may appear to have come from “out of the box” thinking; however it may in fact have come from “in the box”, obvious thinking for them. Thinking outside the box for me is not going to produce remotely the same results as someone else. So what box are we trying to think outside of?

I believe that to think outside the box is really to understand the confines of your current thinking. Each of us has our own consciously and unconsciously defined box that our thinking exists within. These boxes are framed by our cultural, intellectual, geographical, environmental and personality differences and further shaped by our life experiences. To think outside of our own box requires us to learn a more about how and why we think the way we do.

Have you ever examined your thinking process to understanding the point in time in which you stopped thinking? I find it interesting to consider the reasons why we settle on that decision. I like to challenge my thinking using Jerry Weinberg’s Rule of Three: Before responding to any one interpretation of the clues, think of at least two other possible meanings. This can be useful to see the many ways we may be limiting our thinking process.

Thinking about thinking is known as “Metacognition”. Metacognition refers to having knowledge concerning your own cognitive processes. I have found understanding how and why I think the way I do about something to bring valuable insights. It allows me to challenge myself when I better understand the ways I am likely to be led astray or hindered with my own thinking.

Improving your ability to think outside the box is about having the desire to understand what intrinsically and extrinsically motivated you to arrive at your current perspective, and to willingness to extend the possibilities. You may just have the next revolutionary idea … if you think outside your own box.

Listen In! Time Well Spent with Johanna Rothman

By , January 18, 2011 10:20 am

I just posted a blog entry sharing the news about Gil Broza’s upcoming interview with Johanna Rothman. As an advocate of the Gil’s Spot On interviews I often blog about them to help spread the news. I am especially excited about this month’s special guest.

Johanna is a much sought-after speaker and consultant, working with people to improve how they manage their product development. I started following Johanna’s work in 2006 after attending the Better Software Conference in Las Vegas. At the time I had tried registering for the “Behind Closed Doors – Secrets of Great Management” tutorial with Johanna and Esther Derby and was disheartened to learn it was sold out. Dang it!

Since 2006 I have really enjoyed Johanna’s blogs Managing Product Development and Hiring Technical People. I have also read Johanna’s book Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (co-authored with Esther Derby) and found it really useful. I wrote a blog several months back on the book that you can read here. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Johanna in person at the AYE Conference and attending several of her excellent sessions. Johanna’s style for sharing her knowledge and experience really resonated with me and I had many fantastic takeaways.

I really encourage you to attend this upcoming interview for the chance to spend some valuable time with Johanna and Gil. Read more about the interview on my my blog post here. You can read more about Johanna including a listing of her books and articles on her website at www.jrothman.com or follow her on Twitter @johannarothman.

Gil is hosting an excellent series of “Spot On” interviews with guest experts every 2 months. I recommend you check out his “Spot On” series and his “Q & Agile” podcasts on his website at www.3pvantage.com. You can also find Gil on Twitter @gilbroza.

Next “Spot On” Interview Jan 24 – Guest Expert Johanna Rothman

By , January 18, 2011 9:16 am

3P Vantage Agile Coaching, founded by Gil Broza, is bringing another industry expert to you! Every two months Gil is hosting “Spot On” interviews. This interview series is intended to open new horizons for IT professionals interested in effective software development. The selected guest experts, while not strictly promoting Agile methods, teach and consult in related areas. Their specialties overlap and align with Agile; like Gil, they promote effective, humane software development.

The interviews are 45 – 60 minutes long and are free to attend. You should attend if:

  • you love learning new perspectives and ideas about your work
  • your haven’t been lucky enough to meet the expert at work or at a conference
  • you could use help with your professional development

Gil has been bringing pragmatic, effective Agile software development to companies for almost a decade. Relying on his vast experience in programming, management and organizational development, he helps professionals implement non-dogmatic Agility that truly works. Beyond teaching skills and methods, Gil helps people overcome limiting habits, fears of change, blind spots and unhelpful beliefs.

“Agile Management Beyond The Single Project”
Date: January 24, 2011
Time: 2:00pm EDT / 12:00pm MDT
Register: Registration Link

January’s guest expert is Johanna Rothman. Johanna is a much sought-after speaker and consultant, working with people to improve how they manage their product development — to maximize management and technical staff productivity and to improve product quality. Johanna is the author of several books:

Johanna writes columns on “extreme project management” for Gantthead, and writes two blogs on her website, www.jrothman.com. She is also a host of the Amplifying Your Effectiveness (AYE) conference.

The topic will be “Agile Management Beyond The Single Project” and the interview will cover:

  • balancing keep-the-lights-on projects with growth projects
  • who’s responsible for managing the portfolio, and the qualities they need
  • politics in portfolio management
  • making portfolio schedule promises when the underlying projects are Agile

The interview will take place on January 24 at 2:00pm EDT / 12:00 MDT. Register to secure your spot. As an added bonus you can submit questions for Johanna and Gil when you register. If you are unable to attend the call you can register and receive the recording afterwords.

Read more about the “Spot On” interview with Johanna Rothman here.

POST Workshop 2011

By , January 17, 2011 12:14 pm

The POST 2011 Workshop is fast approaching…in fact there are only 53 days to go. I am really looking forward to this year’s workshop.

Planning for POST 2011 kicked into action as Nancy and I headed down to Phoenix for the AYE Conference back in November. We discussed many possibilities and ended up settling on test estimation. Invitations for the workshop were sent out in December and we are looking forward to abstracts arriving in mid February. Based on some of the buzz we have been hearing I think the presentations are going to be an interesting mix from absolute solutions to thumb guessing. The discussions are bound to be very engaging!

POST 2011 Workshop

“Test Estimation – Perspectives on the Facts and Fictions”
March 12 – 13
Calgary, Alberta Canada

Please check out the POST Workshop website for more details, www.postworkshop.ca. Please contact Nancy or I if you are interested in more details.

POST Workshop Background

The Calgary Perspectives on Software Testing Workshop, POST, is an annual peer conference for software test practitioners, co-founded and co-hosted by Lynn McKee and Nancy Kelln. POST aims to provide an intensive opportunity for experienced individuals who are both passionate and thoughtful about their work in software testing to get together and share their experiences and insights. The workshop also strives to promote contributions to the field, and help to move thinking about testing forward. Each workshop focuses on a single topic in software testing.