Monday, December 21, 2009

Tuturial at Iqnite 2010 Germany

My proposal to run a tutorial titled "An Introduction to LEAN Test Process Improvement" has been accepted by Iqnite and is planned for 27 April, 2010 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

On completion of the tutorial, the participants will be able to:

• Describe the key industry test process improvement models.
o TMMi

• Understand the LEAN principles.

• Use value stream mapping to model current processes.

• Use value stream maps to identify waste.

• Define a strategy for using the LEAN model to support your test organization and process improvement goals.

• Understand how to implement these models and methods in practice for maximum benefit.

It's a lot to get through in a day! However, it is vitial for testing to continuously improve in order to drive greater efficiencies and effectiveness!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Transition to a Test Management Role

So, this week, I place my individual contributor hat aside and I join the ranks of management.

It's actually quite overwhelming because my first instinctive reaction is to open the software and start testing! But that's the hero tester coming to save the day reaction which just frankly isn't appropriate.

I need to look at my team and ensure that we don't need hero testers!

I have a great team and my role is to facilitate them doing their jobs - to ensure that they have what they need to get the job done.

What does that mean? I'm not too sure but I have copious amounts of reading to get through over the holidays. Watch this space...

Friday, November 27, 2009

SoftTest Ireland

I put my hand up and joined the committee of Soft Test Ireland this week.

SoftTest Ireland is an independent Software Testing Special Interest Group – setup to provide a forum for professional testers in Ireland. Its main aim is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge in this discipline.

We'll be annoucing an upcoming series of talks next year - I'll be speaking on Lean Test Process Improvement and how it can facilitate Agile testing.

If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to let me know and I'll advocate for you.

And especially contact me if you have testing experiences to share! I definitely want to hear about your experiences and I'm positive others will too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sogeti Webinar: TMap Next Test Methodology

I just finished viewing this webinar. It's available on the Sogeti web site at:

and is part of their Sogeti Test Leadership Webinar Series that I'm working my way through.

My notes on the webinar are available on my test-soft web site:

So what do I think? It's a blog - I should say something right?

Well, if TMap Next does everything that the webinar says it does - then it sounds great! Holy Grail great!

But, I'm a tester so I'm naturally skeptical. Sorry, I just can't help it.

Plus, I've invested a lot of energy over my career into reading (books + articles) and attending seminars and I was very surprised to learn that TMap has been around for about 15 years. So why haven't I heard of it before?

Putting all that aside, my next step is not to make any assumptions and investigate further. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 23, 2009



Sogeti have put together a page listing useful online resources for software testing.

Also, they have a webinar series: Software Test Leadership. It's accessible from here. So far, I've only attended the End to End testing seminar but it was really interesting and I'm planning on viewing the rest from their website.

The webinars are just a great way to get ideas from others without having to go through the hassle of budget approval! They're free!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sogeti Webinar: End to End Testing with TMap

Yesterday, I viewed a webinar held by Sogeti on End to End Testing with TMap (their registered test methodology).

I am not familiar with TMap and I'm about to educate myself on it. But that's for tomorrow.

In the meantime, without any knowledge of TMap, the webinar itself is very informative on the subject of End to End testing and covers a systematic way to execute such testing.

The Webinar defines E2E testing as typically a wider test and a test project in itself, covering multiple integration systems.

The Webinar is available at:

My notes are available at:


Monday, November 16, 2009

How do you test?

About a month ago I attempted to write an article describing how I test. It's a very hard thing to put into words since a lot of my exploratory testing feels as if it comes from instinct, i.e. just a natural gift at being critical and knowing where bugs are hiding.

However, it is very important to try to figure out how you find bugs. Without knowing what you do today, how can you strive to make improvements? Or how can you coach and mentor a new tester?

My article is available here:

It seems rather short considering the subject matter is so complex and mysterious.

How do you test? Can you put it into words?

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Article on

New article on "Influencing Skills" is available at

All comments/thoughts are most welcome and I am genuinely interested in hearing from you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Usability Testing???

So, first off, I think it's really important to say that I am not a Usability testing expert... I know what I like and what I don't like and I've most definitely filed bugs whenever I perceive enhancements to usability and to the customer experience can be made. But an expert? That I am not!

However, I came across the following today and I wanted to share it because it is interesting.

Jeff Johnson, UI Wizards, defines the following as facts about human perception and cognition that should be the psychological basics for user interface design:

- We perceive what we expect.
- Our vision is optimized to see structure.
- Our colour vision is limited.
- Our peripheral vision is poor.
- Our attention is limited.
- Our memory is imperfect.
- Recognition is easy.
- Recall is hard.
- We think mostly about our tasks, not our tools.
- We seek and use structure.
- Inductive reasoning is easy.
- Deduction and calculation are hard.
- Human thought-cycle: form goal -> execute actions -> evaluate -> repeat.
- Thought-cycle affects short term memory.
- We have real-time requirements.

In all my testing, I've never thought about the psychological foundation/reasoning which determines whether a piece of software is intuitive and easy to use.

I wonder do developers? Is this covered somewhere in software development classes or books?

Do you use this as an input to your testing? Let me know, I'm interested to hear from other's experiences and I can't wait to start testing which these in mind!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Why Communication Skills are so important?

Excellent communication skills are a necessity for effective testing.

Testers usually deal with customer proxies, development, marketing, their own management, and who knows who else.

Testers must communicate clearly and effectively. Why? Because the predominant output of testing is information and quality feedback!

Daily we communicate:

- our opinion of the quality of the software we test
- identify quality risks
- features which require re-design
- reproducible bugs
- areas where we hope to pursuade development to invest additional resources
- usability enhancements
- suggestions that would facilitate development producing greater quality software

To negate the "them versus us" hole that testing and development can sometimes fall into, we must remember that developers are intrinsically linked to the code they develop. When we critique their code we must critique in a manner that we do not attack the developer and that we support and encourage the developer to improve the code.

We're all here to do the one job: produce high quality software that is fit for use.

Communication enables us to do that job!

Psychology of Interpersonal Communication

I recently signed up for a university night class in "The Psychology of Interpersonal Communication". I expected something lightweight, with very superficial tips and tricks to improve my communication skills.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. The class (which I'm half-way through) delves into concepts of self, evolutionary psychology, and even the underlying reasons behind conflict. It's fascinating!

I've ordered a number of books from Amazon and I'm gradually getting through them and they are great.

And useful! The class has opened my mind up, not just to look at the superficial communication we encounter, but also what could be happening under the surface. And even just understanding that through our evolution we are hard-wired to act in certain ways, being aware of these hard-coded paths helps us recognise when we do act on instinct and divert when it's not appropriate.

If you're interested, check out:

The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour by Michael Argyle

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What is "good testing"?

I recently attended the London SQC Conference on Software Quality, where the phrase "good testing" was used quite a bit. However, we never stopped to consider what good testing is?

Here we are, trying to achieve better and better testing each software release but how often to we stop, take a few steps back, and really ask ourselves, what does it mean to do good testing?

I can tell you my opinion. For me, good testing involves:
  • testing as early as possible
  • testing the right feature set
  • testing to the necessary depth
  • customer-like testing
  • producing high-quality bugs
  • testing in the areas where bugs will be fixed
  • exploratory testing

However, first off, that's just my opinion. In all my reading, and conference attendances, I don't think I've ever seen a standard definition.

Also, I don't think it's the full story! Testing is much more than just testing!

I firmly believe that you cannot test quality into software. So, for me to be effective, I should do all that I can do to facilitate developers building quality into the software. Yes, I must test - because, frankly, that's what I'm being paid to do. But, I also should have a focus on what can I do to ensure that the software that I am testing is of as high quality as possible??

I try to answer this in my article: How Can Test Support Quality? Let me know what you think!