Posted in agile, conferences, scrum

How to become Jedi Master

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Lady Vader strikes again

My previous post was about Quality Excites conference in Gliwice. This time I would like to say something more about vivid conversation that took place during my discussion panel.

I had a chance to meet wonderful people and share inspiring ideas. It was an unique opportunity to hear about personal experiences and best practices worth to share.
As I wrote many times before:

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How to become Jedi Master?

I do believe that every software tester is a kind of Jedi Knight. He fights for quality and the Quality is his light saber.
Who is a Jedi Master though? A person, who understands agility, quality and has a need for working together.

My best example of Jedi Master, who should lead all Jedi Testers, is Master Yoda. The same one, who talks about Agile:

“You must unlearn what you have learned”

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Going further, I’ve asked people 3 – in my opinion important – questions about cooperation in an Agile team:

  1. How to communicate?
  2. How to introduce new people?
  3. How to share knowledge?

How to communicate

Nowadays, it is in job advertisements, small and large companies, everyone works in Agile.

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When scrum team sits together – it is a perfect situation.

My concern was if a spread team (team located in several cities or countries) is still an Agile one.

I – Kinga Witko – claimed that spread team is not a real scrum team.

No one agreed with me 😦 Fine. (Misa no wise)

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On the other hand, I need to underline here the one and only truth, that emerged as a discussion result:
Spread Agile team MUST use CAMERAS. And talk. Talk. Talk. All the time.

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This is the fact, which everyone put their attention on. I do agree with that. When we don’t sit together – we talk, ask questions, get angry and happy together. However, when we work together, but there is no day-today interaction between us, we need to stay as close as possible to one another. Talking, laughing (even swearing) are the team-building features.
We are all humans, we have better and worse days. All of us need attention and understating. It is not possible to be achieved via Skype chat or other Slack-ish tool only. Conversation is the key to success within a team.
There is no team without little chats or coffee breaks, sorry!

The other important thing in agile approach is a mindset. If a team member is not eager to cooperate, denies flexibility or talking – it is maybe not the right place for him (or her).

I do agree that agile approach to software making is not suitable for everyone and is not fitted to every project. It is fine.
It is also OK if you are more comfortable with working on legacy code, together with a waterfall approach. You don’t need to force yourself do be AGILE. There is a lot of space within software industry for every style and every tester or developer. Chill!

New team members

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In every Jedi Master’s life this day comes – he has to train young ‘Padawans’. Either a new team member, company member or a trainee.

Some time ago I was asked if there is a good way to introduce people into the project? The next question is – how will you know that the new team member IS READY to perform on his own.

Surprise! Surprise! (there is none)

People are not robots, it is not possible to predict what will happen. Going this direction – there is as many ways as Masters. The way you teach usually depends on your skills, empathy and understanding. And good will, of course!
There are such things as company values or project – related directions, but – AGAIN – conversation is the key.

People on my discussion panel suggested clever solutions, such as:

  • never imprison new testers with boundaries – let them explore your software
  • teach through example
  • less talking – more doing
  • provide documentation and lot of freedom.

Again, it depends on your skills and new-joiner’s abilities, what is possible to be achieved. Another point in this discussion is a recruitment process. If a correct person is selected, he’ll perform good testing in a short period of time.

People spotted also, that a new team member is fantastic benefit and opportunity for ourselves. In the position of trainer we are able to:

  • learn how much do we know
  • acknowledge our limitations (Context Driven Testing)
  • explore with a fresh look (Exploratory testing)
  • find unknown bugs
  • fix old bugs (for example those, that everyone got used to)
  • avoid knowledge silos.

Knowledge sharing

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Modern companies have lot of ideas to share knowledge. Most of the times, employees are able to run or attend cross-team / cross-technology workshops or presentations, take part in training or read books.

As I love to collect clever knowledge-sharing ideas – I’ve asked people “How do you share knowledge in your teams/organizations”.

Some of you may already know Michał Buczko – he encourages developers and testers to work in pairs (Pair people!) – it is a convenient way of broadening your horizons and extending knowledge.

In order to share knowledge, you may also “rent time”.
It may be an hour / day of a developer, tester or other team or company member.
How to do that? Just book a time with the person and take part in his / her day. You can exchange afterwards – it’s up to you.
I know that there are companies, which even “swap” jobs among completely different departments to FEEL the other person’s real working environment (I’m talking about you – Ocado:). All of those brilliant ideas may seem tiny, but they really work and empower people to do ingenious things.

Maybe some of those practices shall be a software company standard at some point?
I wish it to all of my test-buddies and to myself as well.

Should you have any comments, ideas, things that work fine at your company and you would like to share – comment down below or stalk me on Twitter.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the summary – see you all on my next discussion panel 🙂

Cheers!

 

 

Posted in conferences, Uncategorized

Quality Excites me!

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Hi Guys!

Last weekend I had a chance to be part of Quality Excites conference in Gliwice.
Fantastic energy, creative people and willingness to learn and share – those are the features which make Quality Excites SOMETHING.

Location location

Gliwice is a city in Poland.
The conference itself took place in inspiring spot, surrounded by post-manufacture buildings, adapted into modern conference rooms. Well planned conference spaces, helpful service, air conditioning ( 🙂 ) made the location work.

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The crew

What makes QualityExcites (in Gliwice) and Test:Fest (in Wrocław) special is that they are free of charge. If the tester, developer or any other person REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wants to take part in it (and has a bit of luck) – he can. He has to ‘just’ invest own time to receive knowledge and motivation in return.

It was a unique opportunity to chat with enthusiastic testers, who create local test communities in Poland.

It was my first chance to attend Quality Excites, so I won’t compare it to previous editions.
I am  truly amazed by the event’s QUALITY. I could only imagine the amount of hard work and planning hours to achieve such result. I believe that all attendees felt warmly welcomed, knew where to go and what to expect next.
No one was hungry 🙂
Everyone had coffee 🙂
WELL DONE Future Processing!!!

Me – the speaker

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I was not only the conference attendee, but I was also a speaker! They’ ve chosen me to run a panel “How to become Jedi Master“. (Lady Vader strikes back 😀 )

When I saw it in conference’s agenda – together with two other presentations and a workshop – I was both excited (because it was my panel yey!) and rather not very optimistic about the number of people coming to talk with me about Agile.

However…

Suprise! Suprise!
14 people came (sic!)
They were exchanging ideas … even arguing a bit.

IT WAS AWESOME !!!!!!!!

What was my discussion panel about?

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When a true Jedi Knight wants to become a Master, first he must answer three important questions: How to communicate in an agile team? How to on-board new hires in the project? How to share knowledge? Basically we were talking about Master Yoda and what he tells us about Agile. Obvious, isn’t it? 😀

After all, it was quite a nice discussion. Thank you, guys! – In some next post I’ll try to go deeper into this subject.

All the best

Quality Excites’ agenda consisted of vibrant workshops, panels and presentations. The pace was diverse, topics differed, so I believe that no one is disappointed.

There were several presentations about Agile, some about test automation and DevOps, what seems to be a hot topic nowadays.

I took part in several lecturers.

I loved keynote’s – Gáspár Nagy – “Behavior Driven Web UI Automation with Selenium and Cucumber/SpecFlow” the most – it was well presented, consistent and brought lots of useful ideas for better UI automation. Gáspár recommended his website bddaddict.com , so if you are interested in BDD – just browse.

One of my favorite speeches was Michał’s Buczko – “DevTest Pairing in DevOps” – during which I was able to acknowledge that:

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When you don’t pair – it makes pandas sad.
Words of wisdom
 This year’s conference was full of such brilliant words of wisdom such as:
„Spojrzała w stronę słońca Pokiwała żółtą głową, I wyszeptała do sąsiada- Już po zimie.” (3)
“Testing on production is like a foreplay after sex (“SQA in TestOps era” – Dawid Pacia, Tomasz Janiszewski)

„Spojrzała w stronę słońca Pokiwała żółtą głową, I wyszeptała do sąsiada- Już po zimie.” (1)
The bus factor – “Agile mythbusters” Michał Drzewiecki, Monika Januszek, Tomasz Lepiorz
„Spojrzała w stronę słońca Pokiwała żółtą głową, I wyszeptała do sąsiada- Już po zimie.” (2)
Proper-sized DevOps team will be full after 2 pizzas (“DevTest Pairing in DevOps” – Michał Buczko).
As you can see – we had a lot of fun out there:)
It was a pleasure to be a part of such awesome event. See you (hopefully) next year!
Posted in conferences

How to become Jedi tester

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Lady Vader

That will be the blog post explaining where my new nick name is coming from:) And, in some more details, what my discussion panel at the Test:Fest conference was about.

Can you see the picture above? I used that to describe myself instead of my personal one. Best idea ever. Thanks to Tomek Olszewski – one of the Test:Fest organizers – I become “Lady Vader”.

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Test:Fest

As you probably know, I had an opportunity to speak at Test:Fest conference that took place in Wrocław last weekend. Title of the discussion panel was “How to become Jedi tester” and I tried to combine agile ideas with Star Wars background there. You’ve asked me if I could write something more abut the panel itself. Let me try:)

My biggest fear was if anyone would talk during the panel, but apparently everyone was eager to speak:)

As agile is my favorite working approach and methodology – I like to talk about it and hear people’s opinion. I believe that everyone would like to be the real Jedi – why not to become Jedi tester?

Our force is quality:) We have power!

My Jedi-related panel consisted of 3 main areas:

Do you Agile?

Will “Tester” survive?

Is agile certification worthless?

Agile

It was clear very soon that everyone understands agile in a different way. Some of attendees thought about agile as a whole package (team, scrum, kanban, retrospectives), others implemented just some elements in their projects. On the other hand agile is the ability to be adoptive to changing project environment, so that was also an issue during our discussion.

There was even one brave-heart who confessed that he works in waterfall (We support you). Discussion was vivid, so I am happy with the result.

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Will “Tester” survive?

My point is that when we’re talking about whole team approach, roles of each team members should consist of : PM, BI, dev and test duties. During the discussion it occurred to us that everybody thinks that this is a tester role to adopt – to be agile. Did you hear about developer gathering requirements or testing (by heart) his own code? Nice output btw.

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Is agile certification worthless?

I’ll leave you with this question as there is as many opinions as people. Should you have any comments, write them down here or tweet me.

I would also thank everyone taking part in the panel and discussion, it was a pleasure to meet you.

 

Posted in conferences

Test:Fest Wrocław

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My first time as a speaker during testing conference

It won’t be a objective opinion about Test:Fest conference that took place in Wrocław (Poland) yesterday. It will be highly subjective, as they allowed me to run a discussion panel about agile there 🙂 #fame #MeSpeaking

Apart from this amazing fact, I would like to give a short feedback from attendee/speaker’s point of view.

Test:Fest

This free conference has 3-year long tradition now. People, who put it into life, dedicated their spare time, over hours and plenty of good will to make it happen. This year the event was amazing – over 400 attendees, 26 speakers and whole-day event. Awesome.

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Presentations

All presentations were great and well prepared – my favorites: Antoni Roszak (Wojna o jakość, czyli co ma lotnictwo wojskowe do testowania) talking about battle that testers fight for quality and Tomek Dubikowski (Level up your Quality) with his game 😀

 

My debut

The most stressful for me – talking to people about agile and getting feedback. There were surprisingly lot of attendees at my discussion panel (How to become Jedi tester). Discussion was vivid and involving. All went quite well, so I think I’ve done my homework.

I had the one and only supporter Daria – who stood behind my back and was amazingly supportive the whole day and during the panel.

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In the end – my presentation was ranked as 3rd best so… not bad, isn’t it? I believe that everyone now is able to be the real Jedi tester in their teams.

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Summary

I am very excited that I had an opportunity to meet people and talk to them. I love such events as this is a unique chance to meet people that I basically know from Twitter or Facebook.
The whole event was great success. Starting from crowded reception with dozens of people waiting for registration, through well-organized coffee brakes and amazing spot, to the calm and chilling after party. You can feel that Test:fest is created by people and their involvement.
Testing is growing in Poland, so do we!

Posted in conferences, Uncategorized

‘Social’ is your second name

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It’s been a while since I used my favorite cartoon graphics, but for me – Minions – are great metaphor of software testers. They are dedicated to work, creative and hard-working. They lack the common language, but still communicate a lot with one another. They seem to be irreplaceable and sleepless at the same time.

Some mean people might say that a Minion might also be a perfect synonym of
a corporation employee, but what would I know? 🙂 As friend of mine used to say –
I am just a poor tiny tester.

Be a social nerd

What this post would be about? Mainly about doing and talking.

Tester, as a member of the team, who usually faces customer as often as other team members, is not just a geek. Not only within the agile projects, he seems to be the most ‘people’ person. Even when he is not – he is expected to be one. 🙂 That might be surprising for introverts, who focus on quality, and at the same time, hide themselves from the world.

Does it mean that being a tester is not only to proceed the testing itself?

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When you are a novice in software testing world, you might wonder – isn’t the whole testing thing about checking quality of the software products? It is, but traditional software testing process consists of many elements such as:

1)    Planning and Control
2)    Analysis and Design
3)    Implementation and Execution
4)    Evaluating exit criteria and Reporting
5)    Test Closure activities

In agile projects that would be all of them combined together, proceeded in non-structured form with great dose of planning, talking to people and expecting the unexpected.

Today I know also, that in testing there is a lot about talking. In worst case scenario, you might end up with talking to yourself. But what I’m thinking is talking to people. The more you talk the more you know.

Share your knowledge

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Testing within the project might be notorious and repetitive work, BUT it gives you  unique opportunity to learn certain things. What is more, those things you do on daily basis, are dedicated to your project. Even if your team is using the same set of tools and approaches as a friend of yours elsewhere – you may use them differently.

What is a benefit of this situation? You know things that no one else knows. You could use  a tool that some people may have heard of, but never used them in the way that you do. And, last but not least, your way of using them might be inspiring for someone else.

Why am I even writing about it? Because to level up your skills – you have to share your knowledge.

No matter if that is among your team members, your colleagues among organisation or with a bunch of guys attending meetups. You might loose your uniqueness in the range of skill set, but maybe you’ll help someone else to solve they inner-project problems.

Some time ago I was convinced that being a novice tester means to listen and learn – nothing more. In addition, I was also sure that just like John Snow – I knew nothing. After some time within the industry I realized, that there are so many aspects of testing that no one is able to know all of them.

Being a part of several projects gave me a chance to learn great approaches and tools, so why shouldn’t I share that knowledge with others? I started from my company, when I did a speech about issues in mobile UI testing and guess what – there were people who have never heard of things that I was talking about. That gave me a kick:) I still know nothing, but I try to share all of that little things which I am familiar with.

I would like to encourage you to speak at events and conferences. The benefit would be mutual – for you and your audience. I’ve learned that presentations might be technical or completely not – but still inspiring. And all of it is good.

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Go ahead and save the world.