09 January 2013

The year I became a passionate tester, part III

This is the continuation of my 2012 reflections series, reading part I and part II first is recommended.

The great adventure you will not hear about
My greatest adventure this year is the journey from a heavyweight to lightweight test process in my team at Ericsson. However, that story just doesn't play well with the month to month format so I'll save that to some rainy day in a distant future. However here is the 10 second version and I'll also provide you a few lessons learned at the end of this post:
  1. I tried to introduce exploratory testing
  2. I screwed up badly
  3. I finally started reflecting on my work
  4. I started to turn things around
  5. I became we
  6. We kicked ass, testing was more fun than ever
  7. People (at least some) started to take note
  8. We kicked ass, testing was better than ever
  9. We started preaching about what we thought was amazing
  10. Job finished, result was, we believe, a heck of a lot better than traditionally (talking quality of test, motivation and how much we learned).
July and August - Making promises
Mostly vacation, a lot happened but only one thing suited for this post.

After having my RST (Rapid Software Testing) course request put on hold over and over since May, with no good explanation to why (came later), I promised myself two things if the request was denied:
  1. Make myself available to job opportunities
  2. At least look into the possibility of paying the course myself.
September - The final no
Early in September I told my fiancée I wanted to attend RST, with or without support from my employer. She simply answered "if that's what you really want, I trust your judgement" (I love my fiancée even more sometimes).

When I finally got a no from my job I simply requested vacation and registered myself for the course and it actually felt exactly that easy. I felt ecstatic for so many reasons:
  • I had signed up for RST, the course I wanted to attend so badly!
  • James Bach was the person inspiring me to start this journey, having him as instructor meant tons to me!
  • I had proven to myself that I was really committed to becoming a great tester!
The countdown had begun...

Insights so far
Not too much of interest in July, August and September, instead, let's look at 3 useful insights from the adventures at work.

Schedule time for reflection
Continuous reflection is key to keep you on track but I noticed the more I drifted off course the less I naturally spared time to reflect. One change that rendered great results for me was scheduling time for reflection. In my case I dedicated 1 hour per week where I dropped everything and just focused on what I was doing, issues, what my current direction/goal was and making models...

Visualize what you're doing
One of the turning points, going from chaos to success, was when I created my first visual model of what I was doing. The model was simply a timeline (for the feature/deliveries) where I started to add all the activities I was doing (without details). From that model a new one occurred; a model describing how I wanted to work. That model could easily fit on a paper and became our central tool when describing our work, discussing improvements and when reflecting in general. The model also helped me explain what I was doing better. In retrospect I think making a similar model based on how we use to work would have made the model even more powerful.
Also, the moment we could visualize our status, coverage and plan (spreadsheet with some fancy additions, can't talk about content though), our credability went through the roof.

Challenge your own ideas
One exercise I've found useful is simply to defend things I believe in against a ferocious attacker (either played by myself or, even better, a colleague). I've found it useful not only to evaluate ideas but also to improve my understanding of them, practice arguing and put thoughts into words.
- We should stop enforcing testers to document test scripts it's way to expensive.
- But what happens to traceability?
- We never use scripts when we check back on previous work, a well written title is enough. 
- But we save money each time we reuse a test case!
- That's a great idea but in reality we rarely reuse test cases since it's quicker to write new ones and also the product still changes too rapidly to make tests valid even a month later.
- But it's a great way for new testers to learn how to test!

Starting level: Inspired
Finishing level: Committed


  1. Congratulations. All the best for the new year :)

  2. Hi good posts, very inspirational.

    By the way Part IV isn't currently available? :-(

    1. Part 4 is available but I made the link before it was published and apparently screwed up... Thanks for pointing it out!

      Click "home" at the top and it'll be the first post shown.

    2. Fixed now by the way...

      (once again thanks for pointing it out)

  3. Hi,

    Do u get leaves if u want to attend the seminar/course/conferences...? (If they dont accept ?)

    This post inspires me a lot.I would like to start the way to makes the testing people proud.

    Testers are not blame persons.