Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Who would want to be a tester?

Well, i have been very busy over the past 2/3 weeks - a good grievance but a grievance none the less :-) promised myself some time ago that i would dedicate upwards of an hour or so a week to reading articles connected to testing, thinking outside the box and maybe in the process, learning something new along the way - a worthy pursuit but i have become sidetracked a little.

This week i have found some interesting articles & presentations which got me thinking - Who would want to be a tester? did i want to be a tester 10 years ago - hell no, didnt know what a tester was... I won't bore you all with my youthful fantasties of employment but testing, IT etc.. didnt make my list back then - so what changed??

Went to college - completed a broadly based IT course
Tried to get a job - any job!!
any of this sound familiar...
Fell into Testing and now here we are

I do genuinely like my profession and have a passion for it - more than most can say about their jobs, so i do think of myself as somewhat fortunate in that regard but my question is do people strive to become testers or do we just fall into it as a route to somewhere and get lost along the way? Where do testers come from? I would like to hear any tester's tale of how they became a tester and importantly - any regrets??

Anyhows, the article that got me thinking is by Cem Kaner - the past & future of SW testing
Hope you like it and leave me some comments on how you became testers - im intrigued..

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why Testing needs a community ?

Hi Reader,

I am Pradeep Soundararajan from Bangalore, India working as a Senior Software Engineer at Flextronics Software and Systems. I have been considered as a passionate tester by the people who have worked with me and also by those people who have gone through my Testing Blog. I am also proud to be a student of James Bach and have aimed at becoming one of the best Tester's in the near future. I am thankful to Kevin Byrne of EUROSTAR for inviting me to join this community.

Let me now start sharing something that I think/feel, as a Tester from India.

__ Why Testing needs a community ? __

When was Testing born ? Where was it born ? How was it born ? .....
Do you have answers for the above ?

Well, we realized that there is a scientific approach called "testing" especailly after doing Testing sub-consciously. Right from our child hood we have done testing but still every tester feels he is yet to learn completely about testing. Why is that ?

The answer could be : When one form of testing was born in your mind , the other form was born in mine and some other form in someone's brain and we finally end to have a count of whole population of the world giving birth to their own form of Testing.

"Now I don't believe this" by any chance if you feel/say so, I am sorry, whatsoever your native language, was formed only after borrowing a few words from other languages. Had you uttered the above sentence, its time to say "I have started to believe".

Well as many expert like Cem Kaner, James Bach, Jerry Weinberg, Jhonathon Kohl... feel, Testing even maps to epistemology which in turn refers to the study of how people think. Of course you now agree that different people think different from each other. If still you dont agree, that shows we both are thinking different from one another.

I can answer one question for you "How has testing grown and how can it grow in the future?" ,if you think I haven't answered well the questions I put up at first ( vice versa too :P )

Whatever so called definition-methodologies-documents-books-strategies-types of testing we have today, are evolved by people having a passion for testing coming together ( of course after doing some research ) discussing and framing an agreeable standard of defining an aspect of testing. Any process/protocol you take has never been framed by a single person , its people coming together , rather I should call such process/protocols have bought like minded people together.

I can be somewhat satisfied that I know something good in testing, only after mingling with ( or learning from ) Testers coming from a different community, country, relegion, caste...

Take a look at every Test Expert we currently have, they are the people who have travelled across the world, meeting up testers, presenting their ideas and also learning from their juniors.

Why do they do so ?
I think they have realized that Testing can be learnt well only through a community and the community they need to look for making themselves best testers is the ..... whole world.

So when are you going to explore the community ( the whole world, I mean) ?

__End of __Why testing needs a community ? __

"Atlast relegion/caste is useful, in bringing people together to discuss their dimension of Testing"
Thanks and Regards,
Pradeep Soundararajan
Look for more at Tester Tested! or ping me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Schools of Software Testers

So, i have learned that there are essentially 4 schools of software testing:

- Analytic School - sees testing as rigourous and technical with many proponents in academia
- Quality School - Emphasises Process, Policing Developers and acting as the Gamekeeper
- Factory School - sees testing as a way to measure progress with emphasis on cost and repeatable standards
- Context Driven School - Emphasises People, setting out to find the bugs that will be most important to stakeholders

Personally, i found this interesting and pondered for a little while before deciding which school i fell into - To be honest im fairly split between Analytic & Context Driven but as a judge of myself, perhaps i am more than a little biased :-)

I would be interested to see what others felt and how they selected which school was theirs!!
Have a read of this article and let me know

Friday, May 19, 2006

No More Second Class Testers

I found this article from the excellent Johanna Rithman site - The article is entitled No More Second Class Testers highlighting how we can work to ensure that we are in some cases heard, listened to & importantly our recommendations are put into action.

The article can be read here - Its a good read, well written and i hope you like it!

There are other articles on the site but unfortunately, i haven't had much of a chance to read through them - Ive actually started a new job and it really is taking up the vast majority (in my view - far too much) of my time and energies! Anyways, enough of that, the site can be found here

Monday, May 08, 2006

A New Programme is Born

The EuroSTAR programme was announced on May 2nd and below is an article from EuroSTAR 2006 programme chair, Jens Pas outlining the highlights of the programme and what to expect from EuroSTAR 2006.

The article was published in the EuroSTAR Newsletter. Click here to view the entire newsletter and to subscribe to future issues

Allow me to introduce to you the keynote speakers:
We open the conference with Filip Gydé, Senior Vice President of CTG Europe who will tell us about how CTG has literally invested a lot in people. He will tell us about being awarded the Investors in People certificate and how for the third time in a row, they became “Best Employer in Belgium”, elected by employees. He will link this investment to their software testers and testify how this that positively impacted on the company’s bottom line.
Those who attended EuroSTAR 2005, will remember Thorkil Sonne from Denmark, who presented a track session on his company “Specialisterne”. He told us his very moving and personal story about his life and the birth of his son who was diagnosed as autistic. Based on a series of events Thorkil made a bold decision and turned his career around. He founded a company to help autistic people by providing them with rewarding jobs as software testers. You may have read his story already in the first issue of this newsletter. Thorkil ‘s session was voted Best Track Session in 2005 and he has agreed to keynote at this year’s conference.

Flying over from the States is Scott Barber, who specialises in Performance Testing. This area of testing is becoming more important then ever, given the high speed at which the whole world is getting online.
We have a special keynote session on Thursday, I won’t say too much as I would prefer not to give away the surprise. All I can say is that James Lyndsay as host, will have a nice chat with a real senior reference in software testing, someone who, throughout his career has trained over 20,000 testers! Be prepared for a different approach to waking up at a conference in Manchester. Senior experience will be shared with the audience. New insights will be held against historical evidence. If you want a history lesson in testing, Thursday will be the day.

We end the conference with a speaker many of our delegates have asked for: Paul Gerrard of Systeme Evolutif. Many of you know Paul and some might also know that Paul is a highly committed rowing coach. Paul will share his experiences of coaching a rowing team and how this can give original and provoking insights into managing and developing a Test Dream Team.
So, I hope these keynote speakers are to your liking. Each of them are definitely experienced testers, witty speakers and just great people to have around.

Next to these keynotes, we added a couple of new refreshing things to the program to enhance the networking at the conference and to facilitate the assembly of a Dream Team. You’ll have a chance to do some “speed dating” with other testers, more details will come later. We will organise a contest which involves assembling the Greatest Dream Team. A bit like the Harlem Globetrotters of Testing!

I also invite you to have a look at the tutorials that we provide prior to the conference, on Monday 5th and Tuesday morning 6th of December. Some of the top trainers in software testing will be there to teach you the ins and outs of software testing. There will be sessions for junior testers, but also for experienced professionals. I won’t go over all the names, but I do like to point out that Martin will be there as well. You all know Martin Pol, Program Chair 2005. Martin is probably the most warm-hearted software tester I know. He embodies the essence of what it takes to make a Dream Team. Meet Martin and the other teachers in Manchester.

If all this is not enough, we have also arranged for an excellent venue for the after-show party.... a Gala Evening in Old Trafford, home of Manchester United. Who would want to miss this?

So I hope you’ll like what we have compiled for you this year. For those who submitted proposals and did not get selected, I do understand your disappointment at not being on the program. I sincerely regret that we could not give each and every one of you a slot. Many proposals were lovely stories I would love to have shared.
A final word perhaps on the Program Committee. Stefan Steurs, Clive Bates and Geoff Thompson who not only reviewed all the proposals, but also did a great job at reviewing and rearranging the program and making it nicely balanced. Thanks a lot guys for all your great help.

I’ll be talking to you in a next issue of this newsletter or meeting you all of course in Manchester.

Best Regards,

Jens Pas
Programme Chair

Click here for EuroSTAR 2006 Programme.

Operational Excellence through Efficient Software Testing Metrics

Below is an article from Ramesh Pusala asking why do we need software testing metrics. It's a interesting perspective & I hope you enjoy it! The article was published in the first edition of the New EuroSTAR newsletter.

Click here to view the entire EuroSTAR newsltter and to subscribe to future monthly editions.

Why do we need software testing metrics?

As we all know a major percentage of Software projects run over schedule and budget, yet they still have quality problems. Software testing is one activity that can provide visibility into product and process quality. Test metrics are among the "facts" that project managers can use to understand their current position and prioritize their activities, so that they can reduce the risk (or impact) of running out of time before the software is ready for release. Test metrics can be a very powerful risk management tool. Metrics help you measure your current performance and allow you to use the data to enhance your future work estimates and quality levels, otherwise those estimates will just be guesses!

What Metrics do we need?

Only collect data that you will actually use (to make informed decisions and alter your strategy). That is, if you were not going to change your strategy regardless of the findings, your time would be better spent doing more testing.

Do not base decisions solely on data that is variable or can be manipulated. For example, measuring testers on the number of tests they write per day could actually reward them for speeding through superficial tests or punish them for tackling trickier functionality.

Use statistical analysis methods to get a better understanding of the data.

Some of the key benefits of having good metrics are:

* Test Metrics Data Collection is a balanced, leading initiative which guides in predicting the direction and scope of an organization in the long term and helps to gain a more holistic view of business and identify high-level goals.
* Provide a Basis for Estimating and facilitates planning for closure of the performance gap.
* Provide a Means of Control / Status Reporting.
* Identify Risky Areas That Require More Testing.
* Provide Meters to Flag Actions - this helps make faster, more informed decisions.
* Quickly identifies and helps resolve potential problems and identify areas of improvement.
* Test Metrics are mechanisms to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of testing quantitatively.
* Supports the collection of usage data and metrics for particular business needs.
* A process is appropriate and is critical to success when it identifies measurement strategic objectives and measures against those using technology and industry accepted methodology.

Challenges in implementation of Metrics Program:

Ø Management Commitment:

Ø Measuring Too Much, Too Soon:

Ø Measuring Too Little, Too Late

Ø Wrong Metrics

Ø Vague Metrics Definitions

Ø Using Metrics Data to Evaluate Individuals

Ø Using Metrics to Motivate, Rather than to Understand

Ø Collecting Data That Is Not Used

Ø Lack of Communication and Training

o Explain why

o Share the results

o Define Data Items and Procedures

o Obtain "buy-in

Ø Misinterpreting Metrics Data

Suggested Metrics Lifestyle:

Goal-Question-Metric (GQM)
The key to efficient measurement is to first determine which goals you are striving to accomplish and which problems you are attacking. Many organizations waste time and money by measuring more things than are necessary. Before beginning a measurement strategy, determine the goals for your measurement. GQM is an excellent technique for selecting appropriate metrics to meet your needs. With GQM, you begin by selecting a few project or organizational goals. Then state the goals to be as quantitative and measurable as you can, then ask questions as to what is it that you want to change to reach the goal, then finally define what is it that you want to measure to quantify your progress towards achieving the goal.