23 January 2013

The year I became a passionate tester, part V

November 1st
Worth a special mention. The day was crazy for several reasons but three highlights:
  1. Securitas Direct asked for a second interview
  2. Invited to SWET 4
  3. My note taking post was retweeted by Michael Bolton (may sound silly but it was huge to me at that point)

RST (Rapid Software Testing)
RST started great, I was on top of my game, asking relevant questions, thinking, observing, reacting... all until the first break. I don't know exactly why but I lost track after that (had a great time anyway but was not happy with my own contribution to that).

When apologizing to James he responded:

I was going to say you should talk more.
First thing tomorrow you'll see something you haven't seen.
Well, don't worry about... or worry if you want, because I'm going to have you do the Mysterious Sphere problem.

I immediately scanned google, RST blog posts and other resources but found nothing.

A good ten hours of sleep made the trick and day 2 I was on top of my game again! Just before lunch James turned to me and said something like:

After the break we'll see Erik here, test the Mysterious Sphere, the only exercise that has made anyone cry during my class.

It was amazing! I still go "Ohhhh! That's why... I should have... what if... now I get it!" when I think about it. I'm forever grateful I got the chance despite my bad start!

Day 3 wrapped up an amazing experience! I left RST with my precious blue pouch (RST graduates will understand), new contacts, a raised confidence in myself as a tester and 21 pages of sketches, ideas and epiphanies. Thanks James Bach, Tobbe Ryber, Robert, Niklas, Per, Tiago, Layer10 and all the others that made this experience possible/invaluable! If you haven't participated yet I suggest you check out David Greenlees post on how he got to RST and schedule a meeting with your your boss!

Get the most out of RST:

  • Get there well rested (important!), the course will demand a lot of you.
  • Look up the word heuristic to make sure you understand it.
  • Show you want to be challenged (be active), it'll make the course even better.
  • Check out the RST slides before, I think that helped me stay focused on the discussions.
  • Don't care to print the slides and bring them to the course though, as slides will be skipped, order changed and the exercise slides are hidden anyway.
  • Faking will only lead to problems.
  • Read up on the Socratic Method (a low pressure example, expect more "pressure" in class)
  • Make sure you know how to get to the facility, have travel tickets in place etc.
  • Ask questions!
  • Drop the idea of finding the ultimate answer to the questions asked (important!). Most questions will not have one! Accepting that will help you both learn and contribute more.
  • Don't worry, things will just happen and you'll do great!
Thanks to Johan Jonasson, Joel Fridfjäll, Joel Rydén, David Månsson for contributing to the list together with James Bach, Michael Bolton and Paul Holland.

SWET 4: Intro
Please read Johan Jonasson's great post on SWET 4 for details on the event. Maria Kedemo has also shared some thoughts, especially check out the "what happens now" section, great reading!

After receiving my invitation I called Johan Jonasson:
- Am I really qualified for this?
- Go there and find out!

It was amazing! The presentations were interesting, the following discussions even more so, the lightning talks were cool and the people inspiring, I had the time of my life!

A funny thing: Maria Kedemo was presenting "Model based exploratory interviewing" or, in other words, her interviewing model when recruiting testers for Securitas Direct.

On the topic of switching roles: SWET started 2 days after RST ended, felt a bit weired to go from being James "unknown student" at RST to become his "peer" at SWET. Weired as in a good, interesting way I should add.

Want a quick reason why I think Securitas Direct and Sectra are two great companies for testers by the way? Both companies' test managers were among the 15 invited to SWET 4 (Johan Åtting couldn't come though and sent Joakim Thorsten instead).

I need a separate post to describe this crazy experience in any detail but one advice: If you ever get the chance, take it! I was really intimidated by the concept and merits of the other testers but as I arrived I quickly understood why great testers love peer conferences, you (can) learn so much! Going was definitely one of the best decisions this year!

One final advice: Prepare your lightning talks, I changed topic ten mins before walking up, the result was messy.

Special thanks to Torbjörn Ryber, Henrik Emilsson and Rikard Edgren for arranging this amazing event as well as giving me the chance, and thanks to Martin Jansson, James Bach, Sigurdur Birgisson, Sandra Camilovic, Anna Elmsjö, Johan Jonasson, Maria Kedemo, Oscar Cosmo, Saam Koroorian, Simon Morley, Joakim Thorsten... and myself... for helping them make it amazing!

New job
After interesting discussions, cool exercises and talks to potential future colleagues it was time to make a decision. In the end it came down to details; both Securitas Direct and Sectra have amazing testers, culture, test managers and products. Finally I decided to go for Securitas Direct choosing, what I interpreted, as the bigger challenge over Sectra's more helpful environment (all but one tester at Securitas Direct work in Malmö, not Linköping where I work).

Anyway, I think Joel Ryden (brilliant guy, test consultat at Securitas Direct and former employee at Sectra) summarized my situation quite well: "Whatever you choose it'll be a great choice". I'm thrilled to start my new job at the end of next week, something I'll talk more about in a later post!

Jiro dreams of sushi
This documentary is great enough to mention here. Watch it!

Finally... kids can smell when you really need sleep (like the day before RST and SWET). But at least that gives you a lot of time to hug them before you leave. Jokes aside, coming back from SWET 4 having my two boys rush into my arms was by far the best of all the cool things in November. Be passionate about testing but remember what's most important!

My boys pairing up to test/hack/crash a tablet.

November was crazy, feels like I've just mentions half the cool things that happened! Anyway, three key take aways:
  • Don't worry about if you're good enough or not, just get out there and learn until you are!
  • RST is a mind-blowing course that I recommend to every tester!
  • Practice putting thoughts into words (blog, reflect, join debates...), it's a critical skill to anyone, not just testers!

Starting level: Prepared
Finishing level: Self-recharging bomb of inspiration


  1. Good job Erik! Have been enjoying the series.

    So, you did the mysterious sphere exercise - cool - another one for the "Testing Balls Hall of Fame"! (link: Got My Testing Balls!)

    Hope to see you at SWET gatherings in the future!

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  3. Hi,

    Thanks for the posts.
    Lots of new things i am exploring through this.