Hans Buwalda presented this talk on Soap Opera Testing at the Hexawise software testing talks during StarEast 2017.

Quote from Hans' article explaining Soap Opera Testing:

The end users were the people with the most practical knowledge, but they had no IT or QA background. The testers lacked the proper financial background and the day-to-day experience. To solve this, the testers and end users were asked to sit together in small work groups (four to five people each) and come up with stories based on the most extreme examples that had happened, or that could happen in practice. Imagination was invited and exaggeration was welcome. To help the process, I asked the groups to imagine that they were writing soap operas.

Michael Bolton (from the video):

I am so excited by Hans' presentation... He has touched on this fork, and the fork is, are we going to confirm repeatedly, relentlessly, the same stuff, that we have seen over and over and over again (which I worry sometimes the action word stuff drives us into) or are we going to do really exciting stuff that soap opera is good for. Which is to actually investigate what happens when things are non-routine and things are non-routine far more often than we believe. I love the soap opera concept, I absolutely love it.

Hans:

Exploratory testing is all about curiosity. If you are not curious you do not find bugs...

Hans also mentions "exploratory test design" where you think about the business (not the User Interface UI).

This idea of planning exploratory testing is often overlooked. It is important to think about the critical business rules and how those ideas should be tested. Planning out areas and concepts that need to be covered during exploratory testing is important. Soap Opera Testing can help with this, as can Hexawise test plans which help you consider interaction effects.

Related: Testing Smarter with Hans Buwalda - Maximizing Software Tester Value by Letting Them Spend More Time Thinking - Using Hexawise to Reduce Test Cases by 95% While Increasing Test Coverage

By: John Hunter on Apr 19, 2018

Categories: Software Testing, Software Testing Presentations

This interview with Bob Galen is part of our series of “Testing Smarter with…” interviews. Our goal with these interviews is to highlight insights and experiences as told by many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.

Bob Galen is an Agile Methodologist, Practitioner & Coach based in Cary, North Carolina. In this role he helps guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other agile methodologies and practices. He is Director, Agile Practices at Zenergy Technologies, a leading agile transformation company.

photo of Bob Galen
Bob Galen

Personal Background

Hexawise: You have a background in agile software development: what led you to expand the scope of your advice to include a particular focus on software testing?

Bob: My background is in software development or as a developer. Early in my career, I accelerated in leadership roles and began to lead testers (and other roles) as well as developers. I felt that it would be impossible for me to lead folks whose role and skills I didn’t understand, so I sent myself to school for testing.

Hexawise: Which person or people have had the greatest influence on your understanding and practice of software testing?

Bob: Ross Collard taught my first 5-day workshop on the art and practices of software testing. To this day, he’s had a great influence on me. As has, Rob Sabourin, Lisa Crispin, and Janet Gregory.

Hexawise: Who have been your greatest influences from a management perspective (not necessarily  specifically related to software testing)?

Bob: I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some outstanding leaders whom I consider mentors, colleagues, and friends. One is the late Rick Bozzuto who I worked with while at Micrognosis. The other is Ralph Kasuba, who I worked with at iContact, Teradata, and ChannelAdvisor. Each of them had a more modern servant-leadership style that I learned from. In particular, Ralph was a great role model in how he was egoless and truly walked his talk.

We have to view software testing in the same way we view software development. It’s a crucial skill, activity, focus that needs to be done by professionals in order for us to deliver world class products.

Hexawise: What one or two software testing-related experiences have you found to be most personally satisfying in your career?

Bob: They’re always from a leadership perspective and they align with my leadership style and agile approaches as well. I have unfortunately, quite often take on “beaten down” testing teams. In that they are overworked, undervalued, misunderstood, and second-class citizens to their development counterparts. Turning this around on at least 5+ occasions has been one of my greatest pleasures. Seeing testers “rise and shine” is something I cherish.

Views on Software Testing

Hexawise: What do you wish more developers, business analysts, and project managers understood about software testing?

Bob: I don’t think it’s about software testing as a discipline itself. Although I always encourage folks to become more well-rounded, as I did. I guess I more want them to be more respectful of the discipline of testing and empathetic and respectful of their tester/testing colleagues. We have to view software testing in the same way we view software development. It’s a crucial skill, activity, focus that needs to be done by professionals in order for us to deliver world class products.

Hexawise: What advice do you have for those responsible for managing software testers?

Bob: Well, I think I’ve answered part of this before. That is, hopefully understanding the depth and breadth of the science of software testing. So that you can respect it, it’s value and its practitioners.

A current trend, largely driven by agile adoption, is to have developers serve as SDET’s or software development engineers in test. And by doing so, these testers typically report to development management. I generally think this reporting relationship causes the testers to struggle to differentiate themselves. And this isn’t a tester problem. It’s a development leadership challenge to better understand and support the testers and testing.

Hexawise: Describe a view or opinion about software testing that you have changed your mind about in the last few years. What caused you to change your mind?

Bob: I’ve been fairly consistent in my views on software testing for quite a few years. And I really haven’t changed my mind. I’ve shifted though. For example, I’ve shifted towards valuing Exploratory Testing more and more as a valid testing tactic. Especially in agile contexts. I’ve also shifted my views towards test automation strategies. Moving away from single-source tools and UI-driven strategies. But I think of these as more evolutionary than 180-degree shifts.

Industry Observations / Industry Trends

Hexawise: What specific suggestions for testers working within an organization using agile software development methods?

Bob: Stop thinking of yourself as a tester that is independent of the developers. Meaning waterfall or silo-based thinking. Instead, realize that if your testing on an agile team, you are part of the team. And the overall team is responsible for the testing decisions and execution and for the overall product quality.

Hexawise: Have you seen agile retrospectives used in the testing context? What advice would you give those interested in including testing in the retrospective process?

Bob: Yes, well, not in the testing context. In the whole-team context where testers are part of the team and the team has periodic retrospectives. I would say that an agile organization has a whole-team responsibility to include all team members in any retrospectives. Period!

Hexawise: Have you seen a particularly effective process where the software testing team was integrated into the feedback from a deployed software application (getting feedback from users on problems, exploring issues the software noted as possible bugs...)? What was so effective about that instance?

Bob: Again, in agile, it’s whole-team. And as such, then the product owner should be facilitating this feedback for the entire team to experience. Customer engagement and transparent interactions are key for the team to effectively deliver software for their customers. Software that delights them and fully meets their needs.

Stop thinking of yourself as a tester that is independent of the developers. Meaning waterfall or silo-based thinking. Instead, realize that if your testing on an agile team, you are part of the team. And the overall team is responsible for the testing decisions and execution and for the overall product quality.

Hexawise: Large companies often discount the importance of software testing.  What advice do you have for software testers to help their organizations understand the importance of expecting more from the software testing efforts in the organization?

Bob: I know. And it continues to make me sad. As far as organizational understanding, I’m not sure they can. One of the advantages of agile teams is the testers don’t have to “sell” their importance or value. The entire team does. So agile instances can help with this.

But the other point is that some organizations are “stuck”. And the only thing they might understand is testers moving on to greener, more supportive, pastures. Voting with their feet, if you will. Perhaps a large drain of these great folks will get their attention?

Staying Current / Learning

Hexawise: I see that you’ll be presenting at the The Triangle Information Systems Quality Association conference in North Carolina this month. What could you share with us about what you’ll be talking about? What gave you the idea to talk about it?

Bob: I’ll be sharing on various aspects of testing (automation, team dynamics & tools, and leadership dynamics) at the conference. These are workshop topics that I’ve been co-delivering with my colleague Mary Thorn for a number of years. They are usually packed and the feedback is very positive, so I think the topics are still quite relevant and useful to our “clients”. Which is the why behind our sharing.

Hexawise: What advice do you have for people attending software conferences so that they can get more out of the experience?

Bob: Network. Even if you’re an introvert, force yourself to engage with others, have conversations, and extend your network for future learning. The essence of conference is “confer”, so folks need to be prepared to do that.

Hexawise: Do you have advice for testers looking to move into roles that involve supervising or other management responsibilities?

Bob: No. I’d actually recommend that everyone stay away from roles/titles that emphasize “supervision” or “management”. Instead, focus on stepping up to lead from wherever you are. Leadership skills are key and, again, you should find opportunities in agile teams to lead.

Here are two presentations I've made that might provide further insights into my thinking:

TechWell interview on management: Why Managers Should Stop Managing and Start Leading.

Hexawise: What software testing-related books would you recommend should be on a tester’s bookshelf?

Bob:

Profile

Director, Agile Practices – Zenergy Technologies

Bob Galen is an Agile Methodologist, Practitioner & Coach based in Cary, NC. In this role he helps guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other agile methodologies and practices. He is Director, Agile Practices at Zenergy Technologies, a leading agile transformation company. He is also President and Head Coach at RGCG.

Bob regularly speaks at international conferences and professional groups on topics related to software development, project management, software testing and team leadership. He is a Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), and an active member of the Agile & Scrum Alliances.

He’s published three agile focused books: The Three Pillars of Agile Quality and Testing in 2015, Scrum Product Ownership, in 2009 – 2nd Edition in 2013, and Agile Reflections in 2012. He’s also a prolific writer & blogger and podcaster.

Bob may be reached directly at: bob@rgalen.com.

Links

Podcast: Meta-Cast, an agile podcast Bob's Blog Book: Three Pillars of Agile Quality & Testing Twitter:  @bobgalen LinkedIn: Bob Galen Presentations: StarEast

By: John Hunter on Feb 13, 2018

Categories: Agile, Interview, Software Testing, Testing Smarter with...

This interview with Sudeep Chatterjee is part of our series of “Testing Smarter with…” interviews. Our goal with these interviews is to highlight insights and experiences as told by many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.

Sudeep Chatterjee is a senior technology leader with 19 years’ experience with top tier Investment banks, FinTech and Consulting firms managing testing globally for enterprise-wide change programmes.

Currently Sudeep is working as Programme Test Manager/Head of Testing at Bank Of America Merrill Lynch within FICC - Global FX Technology group.

photo of Sudeep Chatterjee
Sudeep Chatterjee

Personal Background

Hexawise: If you could write a letter and send it back in time to yourself when you were first getting into software testing, what advice would you include in it?

Sudeep: Coming from a technology background, I did not give enough emphasis on learning business when I started getting into software testing. The advice I would like to include in the letter back to myself is the importance of learning about business.

Hexawise: What drew you into a career in software testing?

Sudeep: I found software testing as a branch of software engineering where one needs to have the diverse interest of learning both technology and the business for which the software is built.

Software testers needs to learn the technical architecture and the underlying technology stack to work with the developers and find technical issues as well as work with business users to learn how the application will be used and find the functional issues.

Besides this in test management other skills are also required like project and programme management, stakeholder management and strong influencing skills. For software testers - learning never stops and never a dull day!

Views on Software Testing

Hexawise: What testing practice(s) do you most wish the software testing community would embrace?

Sudeep: As organisations embrace Agile and DevOps practices, it is important for software testing community to embrace the change and the opportunities and threats it brings along. There is a growing need for software testers who have been in the industry for many years, as well as individuals who are joining this profession, to have clarity on how they will bring value and make a difference to the business.

As developers get more savvy with the business knowledge by working closely with operational users as well as adopting test automation practices like Test Driven Development (TDD) and Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD), the old effectiveness and efficiency measures of defect leakage prevention to production by Quality Assurance (QA) is not relevant anymore.

Hexawise: Do you have specific suggestions for testers working within an organization using agile software development methods?

Sudeep: Software testers working within an organization using agile software development methods need to embrace the change of Agile and DevOps and first and foremost ensure that their role and goals in the agile team are well defined.

There are some agile teams where the Business Analyst or Product Owner writes the feature/story file which is then automated by developers using shared classes between unit and acceptance tests. These tests are run using automated tests at each build and software testers may have to review these tests and add additional tests as well as slowly learn the coding language (C++/Java/Python etc) and help developers write/maintain the automated testing framework.

There are other agile teams where the expectation is on test members to work with users and build the feature/story files using software testing techniques and ensure both positive and negative scenarios are covered as well as write the code to automate these tests.

There are other agile teams where tester write and execute tests manually in a sprint/release and different teams (separate test automation group) automate the tests in the following sprint/release. In this case the testers are manual but maybe having deep functional knowledge.

Depending on whatever the maturity level of Agile is in the team, it is very important to discuss and agree with other team members and management team what is the role of testers in the agile team vis-à-vis developers, business analysts and business users.

Industry Observations/Industry Trends

Hexawise: Have you noticed a change in the way the business side of organizations approach software testing in the last 10 years? What are the most significant changes? Have they made your life as a manager of software testing operations easier or harder?

Sudeep: The business side of organisations have really warmed up to software testing discipline of software development lifecycle in last 10 years and appreciates the value of structured test cycles before the product is released to production.

There are operations teams now who hire and train resources on the product and then allocate them to the project team as either Product Owner and/or User Acceptance Tester who have performance objectives to work alongside developers and QA members to ensure the product quality is high and limit issues in production. These resources may lack some knowledge about the technical aspects of software delivery but make it up with their deep functional knowledge which complements the development team really well.

in test management other skills are also required like project and programme management, stakeholder management and strong influencing skills. For software testers - learning never stops and never a dull day!

Hexawise: How would you like to see the practice of software testing evolve over the next 5 to 10 years?

Sudeep: The practice of software testing will really evolve in next 5 to 10 years with main difference being that emphasis will be given in grass roots computer science education about software testing. Not many computer science graduates currently aspire to be software testers and the primary reason being that software testing as engineering discipline is not explained to aspiring youths well.

Another big change that will evolve will be that senior management technology positions will have candidates who have been in software testing discipline rather than only having candidates from the development side. These leaders with a software testing backround will act as role models for the next generation of software testers.

As we get more CTO’s, CIO’s, Programme directors from software testing wing of the organisation rather than only development or architecture, will give more confidence for the new graduates that the software industry respect software testing as a profession and show there is sustained career growth model.

Staying Current / Learning

Hexawise: What advice do you have for people pursuing a software testing career? As a manager that must hire software testing expertise, what experience and skills are most valuable (what steps can software testers take to do advance their careers)?

Sudeep: People pursuing a software testing career need to be very clear why they have joined this field as unlike developers or architects, software testing is in constant threat of showing the value as there are always developers who are better technically than the tester and BA’s/Users who have more functional knowledge about the product.

As a Manager, when I need to hire software testing expertise, I go back to see what problem I need to get solved which cannot be fulfilled with current team set. If I need more automation done, then I would like to hire software testers or software developers who can build test automation frameworks and then integrate with DevOps tools for continuous testing.

If I need testers for functional testing then I look for software testers or business analysts with strong functional domain knowledge for e.g. for investment banking I would look for candidates with Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Financial Risk Management (FRM) certifications.

As organisations embrace Agile and DevOps practices, it is important for software testing community to embrace the change and the opportunities and threats it brings along. There is a growing need for software testers who have been in the industry for many years, as well as individuals who are joining this profession, to have clarity on how they will bring value and make a difference to the business.

Hexawise: What books or blogs would you recommend for someone interested in management positions within software testing?

Sudeep: Management and leadership within software testing is no different to any other discipline of software engineering so reading the management books and models by thought leaders like Michael Porter, Peter Drucker, Stephen Covey, C K Prahlad, W. Edwards Deming etc. is very important.

Some of the management books I have personally found very useful are

  • 7 Habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey
  • How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie
  • Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • The first 90 days - Critical Success Stories by Michael Watkins
  • The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

Profile

Sudeep is a senior technology leader with 19 years’ experience with top tier Investment banks, FinTech and Consulting firms managing testing globally for enterprise-wide change programmes.

Currently Sudeep is working as Programme Test Manager/Head of Testing at Bank Of America Merrill Lynch within FICC - Global FX Technology group.

Prior to Bank Of America Merrill Lynch, was Head of Testing with Lombard Risk, Barclays, UBS, GE and Accenture, primarily focused on building high performing multi-disciplinary testing teams and delivering testing for complex technology-driven business transformation initiatives.

A quality evangelist Sudeep loves to solve organisational problems through improved thought leadership and quality assurance and testing strategies.

Sudeep is active member of software testing industry and has been part of industry events like:

  • Speaker at QA Financial Forum London (2018)
  • Judge - European Software Testing Awards (2016 and 2017)
  • Judge - DevOps Industry Awards
  • Keynote speaker on European Software Testing Summit - Best Use of Technology in Testing
  • Conference speaker on National Software Testing Conference : How Is Software Quality Measured
  • Contributor of European Software Testing Summit Report 2017 and 2016

Twitter - @QualiAssure

LinkedIn - Sudeep Chatterjee

Some previous Testing Smarter with... interviews: Testing Smarter with Alan Page - Testing Smarter with Angie Jones - Testing Smarter with Michael Bolton

By: John Hunter on Feb 6, 2018

Categories: Agile, Career, Testing Smarter with..., Software Testing, Interview

Kathleen Poulsen spoke on using Combinatorial Software Testing at Fidelity Investments during the StarEAST conference last year.

Hexawise sponsored an evening gathering with short talks on software testing by various experts. Kathleen discussed the use of Hexawise at Fidelity Investments, as seen in this video.

We hope you enjoy this video. We plan on added several more from the speakers at the evening sessions.

Quote by Kathleen, in the video:

We had more than 20,000 less than 30,000 test cases that were in place. 95% of them were redundant; either with the integration layer below them or themselves because people would come on board for 6 months and they would quit and go somewhere else and someone else would come along and reinvent exactly the same test.

I could see that now. When we went with in Hexawise we could see how many tests it actually took and just so small compared to what we had been testing. The first time I ran the full suite of [new Hexawise designed] tests I went back an hour later and I told the manager "we're done you can move ahead you're all right now." By "move ahead" I meant promote to a new environment. And he said, "what, I thought I would see you again in 2 weeks", but it was the same day.

That's the kind of difference it is making.

The complexity of managing testing over time on complex software is a serious challenge. There are many ways in which Hexawise makes that process more effective and less burdensome.

Our core competency here should not be around how to use a tool. And the problems that I have had with some of the open source tools is they took a heck of a lot of effort just to use them. And Hexawise was a lot simplier.

Related: Examples of the Benefits of Using Hexawise at a Large Bank QA Department - How Do You Know You are Executing the Right software Tests? - Hexawise Test Plan Revisions

By: John Hunter on Jan 23, 2018

Categories: Business Case, Customer Success, Hexawise, Software Testing, Software Testing Efficiency, Software Testing Presentations, Testing Case Studies

This interview with Janet Gregory is part of our series of “Testing Smarter with…” interviews. Our goal with these interviews is to highlight insights and experiences as told by many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.

Janet Gregory is an agile testing coach and process consultant with DragonFire Inc. Her peers voted as the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person in 2015.

She is the co-author with Lisa Crispin of Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, and More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team. She is also a contributor to other software development books.

photo of
Janet Gregory

Personal Background

Hexawise: If you could write a letter and send it back in time to yourself when you were first getting into software testing, what advice would you include in it?

Janet: Dear Janet, Talk with the programmers instead of writing bug reports. You will save time.

Hexawise: What one or two software testing-related experiences have you found to be most personally satisfying in your career?

Janet: I think it might be with an organization whose QA Director had the foresight to get the testers trained and understanding their new roles before the programmers did. By the agile teams were created and set up, the testers were ready and started at the same time. They didn’t have the normal issues of mini-waterfalls that most teams I see experience when they first transition.

Views on Software Testing

Hexawise: What testing practice(s) do you most wish the software testing community would embrace?

Janet: Learning to work through examples with their teams before coding happens so that the whole team has a shared understanding of what they are building. It makes it so much easier to test a stories and features. Of course, along with that, they need to be able to explore the system to find out what they didn’t think about.

Hexawise: In What’s a Tester without a QA Team? you and Lisa Crispin discuss the value of software testers working together with the entire software development team in an agile environment. What suggestions do you have for softer testers moving to such an environment from one that had the software testers separated from software developers and product owners.

Janet: I had to go back and reread the article you mentioned and it is still valid. My suggestions would be very much like they were then, perhaps with a few wording changes and maybe some updated links such as the SoftwareTestingClub is now The Ministry of Testing or (MoT).

I have a whole keynote at Star Canada on “Key Skills and Attributes for everyone who tests software.” That the video will be available after the conference.

Industry Observations / Industry Trends

Hexawise: How have you seen the practice of agile software testing evolve over the last 5 years?

Janet: I think the biggest change I see (not including technology changes), is the inclusion of operations – DevOps. With Katrina Clokie’s new book “A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps”, I expect to see testers getting more involved in the whole development pipeline.

Hexawise: Large companies often discount the importance of thoughtful software testing. What advice do you have for software testers to help their organizations understand the importance of expecting more from the software testing efforts in the organization?

Janet: That’s a really big topic, but a couple of ideas I do have are:

  • testers need to understand what is important to the business, and be able to articulate the power of testing in words that they understand. For example, using metrics like the last release we put out cost the company xx,xxx.xx dollars in rework because we built the wrong thing, or $xx,xxx and xxx time fixing defects we missed because we rushed the release.
  • also, teams and testers need to be able to have the quality conversation and understand what it means to them in relationship to the rest of the organization.

Talk with the programmers instead of writing bug reports. You will save time.

Staying Current / Learning

Hexawise: What software testing-related books would you recommend should be on a tester’s bookshelf? What blogs would you recommend should be included in a software tester's RSS feed reader?

Janet: I already mentioned Katrina’s book. Another good one is Elisabeth Hendrickson’s Explore It!. As far as blogs go, there are so many that it is hard to pick a couple. I often look at Testing Curator to see a nice consolidation of articles and blog posts.

Hexawise: How do you stay current on improvements in software testing practices; or how would you suggest testers stay current?

Janet: The first half hour (or hour) of most mornings is spent looking at new blog posts / articles, sometimes bookmarking them to read later in the day. I may see a new book mentioned on twitter that I want to read and order that. I also love going to conferences to see what people are talking about. I could probably spend all my time learning if I didn’t have to do anything else.

Hexawise: A great deal of making agile testing successful is a factor of how the organization practices agile within the organization, by which I mean things that are not exclusively related to software testing (so things like providing customer value, working together instead of in isolated departments, flexibility). What favorite sources (books, articles, blogs, people) on practicing agile methods (even if they are not focused on software testing)?

Janet: Two that come to mind are: Matt Wynn’s writings on example mapping, and Ellen Gottesdiener and Mary Gorman’s book “Discover to Deliver” for thinking about requirements elicitation.

testers need to understand what is important to the business, and be able to articulate the power of testing in words that they understand.

Profile

Janet Gregory is an agile testing coach and process consultant with DragonFire Inc. She is the co-author with Lisa Crispin of Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, and More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team. She is also a contributor to other software development books. Janet specializes in showing agile teams how testers can add value in areas beyond testing the software after it is built.

She works with teams to transition to agile development, and teaches agile testing courses worldwide. She contributes articles to publications and enjoys sharing her experiences at conferences and user group meetings around the world. Her peers voted as the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person in 2015.

Blog: Janet Gregory

Blog with Lisa Crispin: Agile Tester.ca

Twitter: @janetgregoryca

Related: Testing Smarter with Mike Bland - Testing Smarter with Angie Jones - Testing Smarter with Matt Heusser

By: John Hunter on Oct 11, 2017

Categories: Agile, Interview, Testing Smarter with...

Carrie Puterbaugh's presentation at the Twin Cities Quality Assurance Association on using Hexawise to improve software testing at her organization (a large bank).

In one example she discusses in the video Carrie's team used Hexawise to create an optimized test suite and provided that to the software vendor to have them run it prior to delivering the software to her bank. In this example historically they vendor was finding 67% of the defects and Carrie's bank was finding 33%. Now that the vendor is using the Hexawise test suite the vendor is finding 98.5% of the defects and fixing them prior to delivering the software to Carrie's bank.

Based on these results her team was able to move staff off of testing this application and onto other testing needs of the organization. They are saving 90% of what they used to spend on QA on this project.

Another project she talked about was a high priority and high risk release that they used Hexawise on and achieved the highest quality software release they have ever had.

It was great... We were able to go to management and say "we reduced the amount of test cases we ran and we got a better quality application.

Carrie discussed how valuable Hexawise was to improving the regression testing they must do on their large number of applications. She also mentioned how much value Hexawise added by presenting software testing plan information in an easy to visualize way that greatly improved the discussions between her (as the software testing manager) and the business executives she interacts with.

Related: Large Benefits = Happy Hexawise Clients and Happy Colleagues - Kathleen Poulsen of Fidelity Investments on Using Hexawise to Improve Software Testing Results - How to Pack More Coverage Into Fewer Software Tests

By: John Hunter on Oct 3, 2017

Categories: Business Case, Customer Success, Hexawise, Pairwise Testing, ROI, Software Testing Presentations, Testing Case Studies

This interview with Santhosh Tuppad is part of our series of “Testing Smarter with…” interviews. Our goal with these interviews is to highlight insights and experiences as told by many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.

Santhosh Tuppad fell in love with computers when he was 12 and since then his love for computers has increased exponentially. He founded his first startup in 2010 and was part of growing the company to nearly 80 people.

In short, he is a passionate software tester, security researcher, entrepreneur and badass in following his heart come what may!


Santhosh Tuppad

This post includes highlights from our full interview with Santhosh Tuppad. The full interview is long and packed with great thoughts.

Personal Background

Hexawise: What drew you into a career in software testing?

Santhosh: I have loved computers since I was 12. My father enrolled me into a computer course and I got to experience Disk Operating System for the first time where I used computer using command-line terminal and also played Prince Of Persia game. And I was addicted to gaming during this phase.

After my gaming stint, I was introduced to the internet and picked up an addiction for IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Here, I met various hackers and used to communicate with them on various channels which were heavily moderated and were invite only. I had to demonstrate my interest in hacking to these folks to invite me to their channel. My first hack was to hack the dial-up network credentials and use them at my home when the internet shop used to close at night. We used to have Internet Packs at those times in India and I had to pay money to buy those: and I did not have money during my teenage years.

Without much ado, let’s skip to software testing part. After my graduation, I did not know what should I be doing (one thing I knew for sure was, anything that I do has to be with computers as I was passionate). I understood that, I cannot settle for anything which doesn’t synchronize with my heart. I was on the journey of finding which becomes part of me. And finally, I enrolled for the software testing course. And during the course days, I could connect my hacking skills (security testing) to software testing. This part of my life is what I call finding bliss.

And the story continued and I started growing in the industry as a tester, international speaker, participant in conferences across the globe, entrepreneur in software testing, keynote speaker, blogger, author and what not.

Hexawise: If you could write a letter and send it back in time to yourself when you were first getting into software testing, what advice would you include in it?

Santhosh:

Oh my dear soul,

I see that you have found yourself in a country where everyone is pressurized to become something else than they want to be. You identified something crucial and beautiful about yourself, that is you follow your heart with patience and kindness and don’t settle for something that doesn’t make you come alive. Like I know, passion is a variable and it may get boring at times; but being bored is just a temporary phase and an emotion which doesn’t mean your passion is dead. So, be rational and decide for yourself while you are kind to others. Accept yourself and forgive everyone.

You are stepping into what you love and I know you are confident about your journey and you believe in it. That’s beautiful.

It may be easy to fall into routine and get into monotony of things in your career. Nevertheless, you know how to sail through things and get out of them to start fresh or continue in a different path. You can swiftly shift based on your visceral.

Grow by following your visceral feelings and have no regrets. Be good at connecting the dots and growing out of them. The beauty of software testing has not been known by the world so well as of today, so work on your skills and demonstrate them to the world and educate professionals and students about the greatness of software testing. It’s not about you or me or anyone, it’s about next generation testers who could help their next generation and their generation to enjoy the fruit of invention which includes software. Let software make the life beautiful and not buggy.

I know that you know about your journey, but I am just saying.

With love, Your other self


Wedding picture of Gina Enache and Santhosh Tuppad in the temple at Bengaluru, India

Hexawise: What kinds of activities do you enjoy when you’re not at work?

Santhosh: I love meditation forms; talking deeply with a friend sitting on my balcony of my apartment; watching documentaries of various types; and conversations about psychology, life and many other topics with my wife Gina Enache.

I feel that educating customers is the key and it takes more leaders to spread the greatness of exploratory testing style to the world through demonstration.

Views on Software Testing

Hexawise: What do you wish more developers, business analysts, and project managers understood about software testing?

Santhosh: I wish that developers, business analysts and project managers understood that it is not low-skilled job which anyone can do. And also wish more of them learned to collaborate across the teams in order achieve the common goal.

At the same time, I also feel that testers should upskill and demonstrate the value they provide in order to gain credibility from those on other teams. I also wish to see them spending time together instead of just seeing their role as limited. Last, but not least; manage conflicts and work as a team.

Hexawise: What challenges and advantages are there to managing an exploratory based, thinking software tester organization (as you designed Test Insane to be) compared to the still common "checking" style software testing organization.​

Santhosh:

Challenges

  • Not many customers understand how exploratory testing can be valuable. And it’s hard to educate them as well because most of them do not want to hear.
  • Hiring is a bigger problem. In my experience, I have trained new testers or made some testers to unlearn their testing way and I have been successful, but it’s hard to scale in my view in the current world.
  • Pricing is something that customers choose over the skills. It’s sad, but true. Most customers appear to be happy with “checking” style organization because their pricing is good for customers. Value based testing still needs to be understood by customers. However, I have been trying my best to talk about good testing (exploratory skilled testing/technical testing) to business owners at conferences I participate in or speak at.
  • Most of the testers have half-baked knowledge about exploratory testing and yet they call themselves exploratory testing experts. This makes it hard for context-driven leaders to see a scaleable model for exploratory testing. Thanks to Ministry of Testing community which is really spreading a great message to the testing world. I appreciate Rosie Sherry, Richard Bradshaw and every CDT member who are working on scaling it up and spreading the right message to the world.

I feel that educating customers is the key and it takes more leaders to spread the greatness of exploratory testing style to the world through demonstration.

Advantages

  • Starting TestInsane (Exploratory Testing and Check Automation Services Company) has also enabled me to bring in a change and demonstrate to the world the worth of good testing and value-based testing that can be done through the exploratory testing style.
  • Experienced testers who joined TestInsane unlearned the checking style and learned exploratory style testing and they are leaders who spread their knowledge and also are happy with their profession.
  • Customers are happy when they see test coverage and have acknowledged that it helps them to make better informed decisions about shipping or not.
  • Recurring business from customers who saw the value
  • The sense of freedom with responsibilities that my team members have. And this is because they enjoy exploratory testing and they perform amazingly. Freedom has always been great, but it comes with challenges. And one of the challenge is constantly learning and adapting based on the context.

I recommend that organizations hire security specialists because you don’t want to just rely on checklist based testers unless they have mastered hacking and have practiced enough to create a mindset of hacker.

Hexawise: Do you believe security testing for software requires testers that specialize in security testing? Certainly some security testing can be incorporated by most software testers, but does the complexity and constantly evolving nature of software security mean that only specialists can provide sufficient security testing?

Santhosh: This is very context specific question. And I am glad that you mention “Certainly some security testing can be incorporated by most software testers” which is true. Most of the software testers can be “Survival Mode” security testers who follow the checklist or guidelines (The Script Kiddie I mean).

However, what the organization needs for better coverage and deeper security testing is a tester who can be an explorer and find security vulnerabilities like a black-hat hacker. I recommend organizations hire security specialists because you don’t want to just rely on checklist based testers unless they have mastered hacking and have practiced enough to create a mindset of hacker.

I believe strongly that we need better security testers who are not just certified by EC-Council (nowadays, anyone can get this certification), but are known for skills and can show it via demonstration. Even in today’s world, we need security specialists if we are serious about software security. Period.

My articles on various topics of security testing provide additional reading on security testing of software.

Industry Observations / Industry Trends

Hexawise: India is a worldwide center for software testing. What risks do you see to that business going forward? What can testers (or testing companies) in India do to protect their market and gain customers going forward?

Santhosh: In my opinion, I don’t see the risk at all in India for these reasons:

  • Overseas companies who outsource testing are happy with bad testing
  • Customers think automation solves testing problems just because they are blind to good testing and they think - "good testing is automation" - which is incorrect. Like I say, automation is a myth. Automation is just a Ferrari (faster), it doesn't solves testing problems by itself.
  • India has more manpower in terms of engineers. Now, this can be a boon or bane for individuals who were pressurised by society or parents to study engineering. However, India has more engineers and that means more manpower.
  • There is nothing that testers need to do until the customers understand the value of good testing which is value-based instead of running the N number of test cases and showcasing some decorated spreadsheets which speak about good/bad testing.
  • Companies are moving towards automation and artificial intelligence thinking it will solve their problems of testing. A big no. I believe that ideas are driven by the beautiful brain. And people believing the myth of AI and automation is not a risk as long as customers are loving them. In short, customers pay for this and people love to make money without educating the customer.
  • There can be a risk if and only if there is any other country which will gain the traction compared to India and maybe show what is good testing in a bigger proportion. And only then there may be a risk for Indian based companies.

Here are the risks for a tester anywhere around the globe if they fall into any categories mentioned below (not just India):

  • Falling into the phase of monotony and routine where there is no new learning.
  • Believing that, “If I stick to this company for long time, then I will have job security” (We do not know when things change in this rapidly changing and evolving industry).
  • Not getting to the depth of a problem and also not practicing thinking skills like lateral thinking, critical thinking, cognitive thinking etcetera.
  • Not spending money and time on credible conferences and workshops
  • Not adapting to the new learning and also being rigid by saying I cannot adapt.
  • Lack of passion. There is only survival with lack of passion. If a tester wants their work to be great and satisfying, passion is must. Or else they can only survive and not enjoy what they do. The solution to lack of passion problem could be, creating a passion for the profession by learning OR identifying a passion even if it’s any other profession (This is a context-based advice).

Hexawise: Have you seen a particularly effective process where the software testing team was integrated into the feedback from a deployed software application (getting feedback from users on problems, exploring issues the software noted as possible bugs...)? What was so effective about that instance?

Santhosh: The answer to this is available in this interview in the “Staying Current / Learning” section of the full interview.

The effective thing about that was, both developers and testers got access to the bugs that really matter. And once the fixes started rolling based on the feedback analyzer tool where feedback from users were being used in order to test better, there was improvement in terms of page views, time spent on page and also orders were checked out smoothly and quickly. The company started getting more orders (eCommerce platform) while they had great positive feedback and the when measured monthly feedback statistics, the negative feedback eventually reduced which spoke about “the effectiveness” of using the feedback from users and accommodating in the testing practice for better.

Working closely with programmers/developers is one of the beauties of an effective team. And Agile to me just means human values and these values have to be incorporated in the team. I believe there has to be great training in the companies/teams about conflict management, communication, motivation, solving problems etcetera in order to power up the teams to perform better and deliver better products to the world thereby helping the business move forward.

Staying Current / Learning

Hexawise: What do you look for when hiring software testers? What suggestions do you have for those looking to advance in their in software testing career?

Santhosh: In my experience, I have hired testers based on their attitude only. And some times, I have hired them only for their skills. I have had my own lessons and I have some checklist or guidelines that I follow in order to good testers with mixed ingredients of attitude. Well, the attitude is a tricky part because unlike WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors, humans are not really WYSIWYG. It’s the perception during the interview that one carries about attitude. And attitude during the interview maybe based on best interest of the candidate to get hired. Most of the times it’s manipulation of the attitude which will fade away in months or days or years. I repeat, hiring is really a tricky situation and one can learn only through experiences and eventually grow with good hiring methods.

What do I look for based on my learning experiences in hiring?

  • Technical testing skills - My highest priority is for this. For example: If I am hiring for web application testing, I interview them concepts like web browser rendering engine, developer tools usage, tampering POST requests via Network tab, about HTTP headers and why are they important, depth knowledge about cookies, session management, their unique ideas to test web application and providing them with my own custom buggy web application that I have developed in order to analyse their skills hands-on and finally understand if a candidate can be a better fit for my team. (Note: This example is for a fresh candidate or someone who is 1 to 2 year experienced in web application testing). I would like to say that, I knew more about web browsers, sessions, cookies, tampering, hacking (thanks to my love for hacking when I was 16 and it’s been more than a decade being a security tester. Now, you know how passion is important if you want to do something great and well.
  • Attitude - This has been tricky for me and I am still learning how to hire based on attitude. Based on my experiments, I love to have discussions with the candidate and have transparency and also in the journey, speak like friends because those are the times the candidate opens up and feels comfortable.
  • Knowing the short-term plan of a candidate - Now, this is a checklist to see if I can have a good hire. Nevertheless, I need to see how a candidate performs in real environment once hired. In my experience, both these environments differ very well based on the context. It’s just like a web application or a software performance after being deployed to production/live environment.

Hexawise: What software testing-related books would you recommend should be on a tester’s bookshelf? What blogs would you recommend should be included in a software tester's RSS feed reader?

Santhosh: The first book I shall recommend is “Lessons learned in software testing” by James Bach, Bret Pettichord and Cem Kaner.

Here is the list of books that I love in testing,

  • Testing Computer Software by Cem Kaner
  • The Black Swan - By Nasim Taleb
  • General Systems Thinking by Jerry Weinberg
  • AmIaBug.com - Online Book by Robert Sabourin
  • Showing Up - Book by Olaf Lewitz and Christine Neidhardt
  • The Psychology of Software Testing - By John Stevenson
  • The Web Application Hacker's Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws - By Dafydd Stuttard and Marcus Pinto (for security testing aspirants)
  • The design of everyday things - By Don Norman
  • And many more books. (follow me on twitter if you need any specific book suggestion as I cannot flood this post with so many books)

Blogs that I follow and recommend for a tester:

Hexawise: Have you incorporated a new testing idea into your testing practices in the last year? Will you continue using it? Why? / Why not?

Santhosh:

The problem statement: When I was working at Tesco on a testing engagement, I happened to see that Tesco website had a feedback form with rating system, checkbox options and radio buttons which is used to collect feedback from its users. As part of my testing activity, I love to speak to cross-functional teams in an organization and extract the information that can help me test better.

So, looking at the feedback forms I wanted to know how is this feedback processed by the test team in order to improvise their testing by learning from users feedback. I approached the Test Manager and asked him, “Hey! Are we looking into the feedback from users so that we can improve our testing practices?” to which his response was, “Santhosh, that’s a very good question I hear for the first time and sadly we do not use it because there are thousands of feedback responses and we are confused on what to focus on. Only our customer support looks into it to address the issues and we don’t really use the feedback system to learn and better our testing”.

The Solution: In a week’s time, I along with my friend developed a feedback analysis system (a web based application) which could consume the feedback in a *.txt format and then reveal the feedback in organized and intelligent way. Basically, the application we developed sorted the information in a readable format and categorized the feedback.

The surprising factor was, developers also started to use the tool as they cared about the quality of their code. This was an amazing success of how cross-functional teams can work together and develop something to achieve a desired common goal.

Since then, I personally work on developing such tools along with my programmer friends in order to do better testing. This phase I call as, “Success by collaboration and being creative”.

See the full interview for screenshots of the tool they developed and more information.

Profile


Gina Enache (my wife) and I in Germany

Santhosh Tuppad fell in love with computers when he was 12 and since then his love for computers has increased exponentially. After his graduation (Santhosh puts it this way, “Somehow, I graduated” J), he worked as software tester in one of the organization in India and he quit because he was bored with the work he was doing. After that, he started his first startup in 2010 and was part of growing the company to nearly 80 people. Alas! He got bored again in his first startup and also he was not happy. He made a choice to quit and started his second startup. He is going to start his next startup soon. He says, “Getting bored is a sign of something new to be started and it excites me”.

In short, he is a passionate software tester, security researcher (Started as unethical hacker and transformed to ethical hacker for good), entrepreneur and badass in following his heart / visceral come what may!

Social Media Contacts: Twitter: @santhoshst

LinkedIn: Santhosh Tuppad

Facebook: santhosh.tuppad

Skype: santhosh.s.tuppad

Related: Testing Smarter with James Bach - Testing Smarter with Ajay Balamurugadas - Testing Smarter with Alan Page

By: John Hunter on Sep 25, 2017

Categories: Career, Exploratory Testing, Interview, Testing Smarter with...

Hexawise is hiring a senior consultant to help our clients improve their software testing processes and results.

Job description

Your mission will be to help Hexawise’s clients achieve dramatic improvements to their software testing efficiency and effectiveness. To do so, you will be providing consulting, training, and implementation support services to ensure that our customers are successfully achieving their business objectives using our test optimization and test automation SaaS solutions and are progressively expanding their usage of our tools.

Your testing expertise will make you uniquely qualified to share best practices and recommendations with existing and target customers. Your customer expertise will make you uniquely qualified to advocate on behalf of Hexawise customers and influence internal strategy and provide leadership to the overall activities of Hexawise’s professional services.

Your job will encompass a diverse set of responsibilities. You will be a highly valued member of the Hexawise team, reporting directly to the CEO.

Responsibilities: Existing Clients

  • Develop strong operational relationships with clients’ project teams and stakeholders to maximize customer satisfaction and seek additional service opportunities.
  • Provide training and implementation support during initial product implementation followed by project-specific consulting, and ongoing adoption support.
  • Contribute to increase revenue throughout the post-sales lifecycle: increase product utilization; identify and close new consulting business within existing accounts; and minimize churn.
  • Offer guidance to clients during launches of new products, features, and/or service offerings.
  • Lead project-specific consulting engagements, and provide test optimization and test automation guidance to Hexawise implementation initiatives.
  • Return important customer insights to the Hexawise team, with the goal of influencing internal strategy and securing the success of our customers.

Responsibilities: Target Clients

  • Clearly explain the benefits and limitations of combinatorial test design to potential customers using language and concepts relevant to their context by drawing upon your own “been there, done that” experiences of having successfully introduced combinatorial test design methods in similar situations.
  • Develop tailored rollout strategies which include integration of Hexawise Optimize and Hexawise Automate into client processes.
  • Define and present comprehensive training and consulting proposals that will enhance Hexawise adoption and keep customer churn extremely low.


Matt Dengler in Japan
Pictured: Matt Dengler, a Hexawise consultant who recently traveled to Japan to help an insurance client design more thorough sets of software tests.

Requirements:

  • 3-5 years of experience with software testing, preferably with an IT consulting firm or a large financial services organization
  • Ability to master the functional capabilities, methodology, and use cases of Hexawise solutions in order to advise customers and promote best practices
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to persuasively communicate recommendations, thoughtfully answer tough questions, effectively champion customer needs, and overcome organizational inertia
  • Industry acumen, with knowledge of current software testing trends and an ability to converse with customers at a detailed level on pertinent issues and challenges and describe to clients where Hexawise fits into the competitive landscape of software testing solutions
  • Ability to travel regularly (likely to be no more than 40%)
  • You must be eligible to legally work in the USA.
  • Working from our offices in Durham, NC would be highly preferable. We might consider remote working arrangements for an exceptional candidate based in the USA.

Learn more about the position and apply.

By: John Hunter on Aug 23, 2017

Categories: Career, Customer Success, Hexawise, Software Testing

Mind maps are an effective way to gather information quickly and organization those ideas. For software testing they provide a great tool to share test plans with product owners and testers in an easy to comprehend manner. The visual clarity of mind maps display content in a usable manner.


Hexawise allows you to import and export mind maps. So you can brainstrom ideas together (users, business analysts, product owners, testers, managers...) and agree on the imporant items to test. And then you can import the mind map into Hexawise and it will generate an optimized test plan with efficient combinatorial coverage (enhanced pairwise testing to test the performance of the software interactions between parameters and parameter values).

You can even use mind maps to edit and maintain your test plans: see Hexawise training explanation of how to use the editable mind maps to edit your plan.

image showing mind map edit screen for airplane ticket reservation in Hexawise


Image of the edit screen for the mind map for an airplane ticket reservation system (the first Hexawise sample plan - you can view the plan in your Hexawise account and experiment with the mind map feature).


Related: Mind Maps: What, Why and How - Create a Risk-based Testing Plan With Extra Coverage on Higher Priority Areas - Automatically Generating Expected Results for Tests Using Hexawise

By: John Hunter on Aug 1, 2017

Categories: Combinatorial Software Testing, Hexawise, Hexawise tips, Software Testing, Testing Strategies

This interview with Katrina Clokie is part of the Hexawise “Testing Smarter with…” software testing interview series. Our goal with these interviews is to highlight insights and experiences as told by many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.

photo of Katrina Clokie

Katrina Clokie


Katrina Clokie leads a team of around 100 testers as a Test Practice Manager in Wellington, New Zealand. Katrina is an active contributor to the international testing community as the founder and editor of Testing Trapeze magazine, a co-founder of the WeTest New Zealand testing community, a mentor with Speak Easy, an international conference speaker, frequent blogger and tweeter.

Personal Background

Hexawise: Do your friends and relatives understand what you do? How do you explain it to them?

Katrina: Honestly, I don't think they understand what I do. But I think that's common for most people who work in IT. Fortunately my husband is a software developer, so I can have work-related conversations with him and he understands. But otherwise, I usually avoid talking about the details of my work with my friends and relatives.

Hexawise: Related post by Katrina: How I explain software testing to people who don't work in IT.

Hexawise: Failures can often lead to interesting lessons learned. Do you have any noteworthy failure stories that you’d be willing to share?

Katrina: In the first role where I was involved in testing, before I had the word 'tester' in my job title, I was part of team that released a piece of software in a mobile phone network that had a serious bug in it. I had completed the installation and pre-release testing of the network in a South American country. After returning to New Zealand, a member of the public found a loophole that allowed multiple account top-ups with a single prepaid voucher code. It quickly went viral, and my team came under a lot of pressure to find and fix the problem as within 36 hours the mobile network operator was losing significant amounts of revenue.

The root cause of the issue turned out to be a race condition that we fixed by changing the order of our voucher recharge workflow. The experience was an eye-opener for me. It made me a lot more wary as a tester, and more willing to think of the ways that a system could be misused. It was a hard way to learn the dangers of being too confirmatory by only sticking to known error scenarios. On future projects I tried to be more creative in my testing.

Views on Software Testing

Hexawise: In How do you hire a junior tester you state "I am looking to create testing teams with complementary individual strengths that mean we are collectively strong."

I appreciate your focus on the importance of building a team that works rather than focusing on making every person have the same skills. Why do you think organizations so rarely focus on creating a strong team?

Katrina: I think that organisations who use agile principles for software development often focus on creating strong delivery teams. Recruitment activities are for product-oriented teams rather than discipline-oriented teams.

From my experience, the role I occupy is unusual in that I have influence in hiring of testers across the entire test competency of my organisation. I am fortunate that the people who are managing testers day-to-day are willing to take my input in their hiring decisions, and that I can drive the broader vision for testing. Without this oversight, particularly in agile organisations where there may only be one or two testers in a cross-functional team, it can be difficult to create meaningful diversity within a discipline.

The experience was an eye-opener for me. It made me a lot more wary as a tester, and more willing to think of the ways that a system could be misused. It was a hard way to learn the dangers of being too confirmatory by only sticking to known error scenarios. On future projects I tried to be more creative in my testing.

Hexawise: Please describe a view or opinion about software testing that you have changed your mind about in the last few years? What caused you to change your mind?

Katrina: I regularly change my mind. If you work in an industry that is constantly evolving, then I think you have to have that flexibility. Here are a couple of examples of people who challenged my way of thinking in the past 12 months. Both are sharing details of the evolution of their role.

Jesse Alford works at Pivotal in the US. He spoke at CAST2016 on the topic "Against a Harmful Divide: Testing as the lifeblood of development" sharing a really interesting perspective on the "we don't need testers" phenomenon.

Sally Goble works at The Guardian in the UK. She spoke at Pipeline Conf 2016 on the topic "So what do you do if you don't do testing?" which, again, is a real experience report on a significant change in the role of the tester.

Industry Observations / Industry Trends

Hexawise: Your post, Test Manager vs. Test Coach, echoes Dee Hock's quote: "If you don't understand that you work for your mislabeled 'subordinates,' then you know nothing of leadership. You know only tyranny." Do you have hope the testing community will gain more leaders, managers and coaches that focus on helping the team instead of directing the team?

Katrina: Yes. But I don't think that helping a team and directing a team are mutually exclusive. In the post that you reference where I contrast the manager and coach roles, I wanted to create a polarity to emphasis the differences. As evidenced in the comments section, the reality is a lot murkier.

I am often surprised by the rich conversation that happens when you take the time to ask people for their opinions. I always learn things that I would have liked to have known sooner. If you're a manager you may think that you have an open door policy, but there is more to learn when you seek out information rather than wait for it to come to you.

Hexawise: There has been a rapid increase in workers telecommuting in the last 10 years. And software testers do this even more than most other professions. In your post, Finding the vibe of a dispersed team, you discuss ideas on how to succeed at managing disperse teams. What other advice can you share on creating successful teams spread across different locations?

Katrina: I found it extremely difficult to work remotely as a coach. So much of my role is in face-to-face interaction, which the tools for remote working didn't support to a level that I was happy with. For testers though, it seems to be more of an option. If someone were to ask me for advice, I would refer them to Alister Scott or Neil Studd, who I think are both currently working as testers in distributed teams.

Staying Current / Learning

Hexawise: What blogs would you recommend should be included in a software tester's RSS feed reader?

Katrina: It's worth checking out the Testing Bits that Matt Hutchison compiles each week on the Testing Curator Blog. It's a good way to keep up-to-date with what's happening in the community and discover new voices. Similarly you can subscribe to the Ministry of Testing Feed via RSS, but I find the content a little more variable as there's no active moderation.

A prolific blogger who I really admire is Maaret Pyhäjärvi of Finland. Her blog, A Seasoned Tester's Crystal Ball, is full of practical advice and insights. A few others that I read whenever I spot a new post are:

Hexawise: Organizations often have exit interviews to learn from those leaving the organization. In your post, Stay Interviews for Testers, you suggest interviewing those testers staying in your organization. What have been some surprising ideas you have learned from using stay interviews?

Katrina: I'm unwilling to give specific examples here, but I will say that I am often surprised by the rich conversation that happens when you take the time to ask people for their opinions. I always learn things that I would have liked to have known sooner. If you're a manager you may think that you have an open door policy, but there is more to learn when you seek out information rather than wait for it to come to you.

Profile

Katrina Clokie leads a team of around 100 testers as a Test Practice Manager in Wellington, New Zealand. Katrina is an active contributor to the international testing community as the founder and editor of Testing Trapeze magazine, a co-founder of the WeTest New Zealand testing community, a mentor with Speak Easy, an international conference speaker, frequent blogger and tweeter. Her complete professional profile is available on LinkedIn.

Blog: Katrina the Tester

Twitter: @katrina_tester

Book: A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps

Related interviews: Testing Smarter with Mike Bland - Testing Smarter with Ajay Balamurugadas - Testing Smarter with Dorothy Graham

By: John Hunter on Jul 5, 2017

Categories: Testing Smarter with..., Interview