Posted in Uncategorized

Have a chip on your shoulder

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As today we have #Eurovision contest in Kiev (привет! to all of my Ukrainian friends:) ) the warming up would be music-related.

Some time ago I’ve attended a workshop, on which I’ve learned that everyone is able to sing. People claim, that they cannot sing, they have no voice or they are not talented. The truth is, that if you can hear a sound – you are able to repeat it. Less than 10% of population is not able to do it it is not likely you are in that group:) )

On the other hand, the problem with singing is more in our heads than in other organs  responsible for the act of singing (like larynx, diaphragm or mouth). Since childhood, most of us is thought that some people have “special abilities” for doing artistic things whereas the other don’t. It’s just not true.

It is our inner critique that imprisons us and makes us more harsh for ourselves than for the people around. That’s why we should open our minds and get back to the natural abilities of each human being, which is shouting, screaming and singing.

The post won’t be about singing though, but about testing and learning new things.

Since the beginning of my professional career in testing I had always a chip on my shoulder that I don’t have technical education. I did my best at work, but still was missing something. People around me – testers, developers – they all had a technical degree. I believed that they KNOW some magical things, which I didn’t know.

My education was a huge obstacle for me at the beginning, but I am not used to giving up quickly :). Eventually, I did my best and learned new things by heart from the web (thank you testerzy.pl), books, workshops and meetups.

I was wondering – am I the only person in IT industry, who thinks this way? What is more, maybe even some experienced testers feel the same way when they leave their comfort zone and start new project, new job, new team, familiarize themselves with a new technology.

Even if you work in the IT industry for a while, at the beginning of each new task you always start like:

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No matter if you are smart-ass and Technical University graduate or have completely different background (like I do).

What is my point?

Go and learn, girl! Put yourself together, boy!

There is no excuse. You don’t have technical background but want to be a tester? Learn! There is no magic. No mystery. I’ve read that IT industry has a space for anyone. Sure, it has a space for everyone… who wants to learn.

I know a bunch of testers, who graduated from different faculties, such as: English Philology, Chemistry, Architecture…. We have one thing in common – all of us spend free time on reading about agile, SQL, Java, UI, UX… and much more.

Gathering new abilities extends your horizon and exercises your brain. Think of it like of a training, which will help you remain younger and better organized.

After some time of such training you will be able to jump from this position:

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… to be more like:

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There is no worst thing than a tester who thinks he has enough. There is always not enough. You cannot stop learning, because the web changes, trends change, methodologies change and it is fast, rapid and happens now. If you don’t keep up – you become Windows XP (if you know what I mean 😉 ).

Today I want you to get up and search for something new each day. You’ve been thinking about familiarize yourself with SQL, but have no time for get it done? Find your time – 15 minutes a day, on the bus, in the queue – wherever you can.

If anyone can cook, anyone can sing – what stops you from being the best tester in the world? (Or, at least, in your organisation).

Go and make me proud!

Posted in agile

Tester is not the quality police

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I wish I could invent this sentence, but unfortunately I have not. It’s been a while when people discuss the subject on Twitter, so I would like to give my short comment on that as well.

The whole team approach

During my panel about being Jedi tester, people agreed that agile tester:

– executes tests
– gathers requirements
– chases designs
– keeps good product quality
– has technical knowledge
– does multiple tasks apart from testing

He is Agile. Whole team approach. Right. Have you ever heard about developer doing things mentioned above? Or about a developer who gathers requirements, chasing for designs, organizing project or taking care of the quality a whole?

Neither do I 😀

So where is the whole team approach?

For some reasons, it happens sometimes, that a Project Manager, who is introducing the tester into agile (not only) project, thinks that having a member of QA in the team solves all of the  problems. Tester would be some kind of policeman watching developers and defending the code from bugs.

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I do agree that tester’s role and certain approach to developing good quality of software products is unique and is a must, but when other team members don’t care about quality – tester’s effort is pointless. The whole team approach means that everyone is responsible  for the product and have good quality in mind.

When we succeed – all of us can celebrate. When we loose – the whole team looses – not just a developer or a tester.

Software tester cannot be a policemen who watches the code. Some people may say that he should be a quality evangelist, who teaches developers proper approach of dealing with code and bugs, but without certain mindset and maturity of team members – single tester is not able to cope with difficulties. He’s role is important, but he is not able to change anything alone.

When thinking about agile project – all of us should think about quality – starting for Project Manager. What is more, each developer should be as quality aware as possible.

On the other hand, tester is a person, who points the purpose and leave some breadcrumbs for developers in order to help them, but the act of quality is whole team’s responsibility.

Don’t think about the testers as villains or policemen. We are neither of them. We care about quality and do our jobs as good as possible 🙂

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

You follow the leader, because you want to

when we honorthe earth, we honor ourselves

You follow the leader, because you want to…

you follow a manager, because you have to.

This very simple truth that I’ve heard some time ago might fit to your professional career as perfect as it fits to mine. Some smart guy said to me a few days ago that people join the companies, but leave managers. This is so true.

I always thought that joining the company and considering their values and principles as important are consistent with mindset of all people inside them. Apparently – it is not. Even when company’s values are perfect and eye-catching through recruitment process for you – the real values and day-to-day behaviors of their employees may differ as much as many people work within it.

However, it may not necessarily mean that employees harm company values on purpose. Sometimes people join certain companies, because some benefits such as: technology, brand or possible profits are equally or more valuable for them than the company values. Nobody gave me the right to condemn such behavior.
On the other hand, it might mean that your manager doesn’t share the company values, which are important to you. It might also mean that your manager would not be the best leader in the world. It happens.

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The Earth is not as flat as you initially thought it would be

Let’s assume that company A strongly believes that Earth is flat.

Accidentally – you – the great geologist – believe that as well. What a coincidence!

The Earth is flat – finally somebody said it out loud! You start your recruitment process believing that you’ll change the world and FINALLY the truth will be revealed to the rest of the humanity.

All goes well and you’re joining Company A. You start your geologically – centered work and at day 1 meet Jason.

Jason is your manager.

Jason joined company A, because it is a known fact that they pay well and this is what he was looking for. On the other hand, Jason is personally strongly convinced that the Earth is not flat, but it is a tiny cube. He didn’t revealed it through recruitment process and no one noticed so far.

Jason was promoted to be a manager in company A, because he was dedicated to his work, his professional experience was flawless and his passion to tell people what to do was great. His personal believes are now started to be more visible, but not as important for the company as his performance.
Pro: Jason is a great asset for the company.
Con: He starts convincing you that maybe the Earth is not as flat as you initially thought? Maybe it is more cube-like rather than being flat?

In Polish we would call it “Sytuacja ambiwalentna” – you’ve joined the company in the first place, because you’ve shared the same values and – at the same time – you’ve been given the manager who doesn’t share those values at all.

Sometimes it is not possible to change your manager or project. Surprisingly, it may be way easier to change the company.

I won’t say that this situation is common, but it happens. As I wrote at the beginning – you follow the leader, because you want to – you follow the manager, because you have to.

It was always funny to me all those LinkedIn’s pictures showing how the REAL manager should behave in order to encourage people to be more effective at their work.
Today, I think that meeting a real leader is important to everyone’s professional career – no matter if the leader is running the whole company and is simply an inspiring person – or –  is your closest manager. Being led by wise, hard working managers, who share the same values as you do means more than money or benefits. Everyone would prefer to follow people, who support them, show them how to achieve their targets.

We spend most of our working days at work. It is a lot of time. We could use it wisely or not. It’s up to us.

I wish all of you to meet leaders only. Be inspired by them and make the change.
Don’t let yourself be managed by poor managers.
Don’t stick with the companies who promote poor managers.
Grow.

The Celebration Continues!

 

Posted in accessibility testing, kiss, mobile testing

Minimalism design in testing

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Usability Heuristics

A while ago I wrote a few words about Usability Heuristics and what is their role in software testing. You might also heard about the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) rule, which seems also to be impotent is such activities like web or mobile design. In this post I would like to focus on one particular issue (or trend), which becomes more and more popular nowadays. On the other hand, it seems to be just the common sense output of your software development – The Minimalism.

Good application – what does it mean?

Each year Android community chooses applications that were outstanding during the year. Competitions might differ in details, but one feature is clear and repeatable among all winners – good design.

When we are talking about design, we might be thinking “wait a minute, isn’t it an art – related stuff like sculptures, paintings or furniture?” Well – yes. But not only. I’d say that web or mobile app design is as important as it’s final working version. At the same time the role of software tester in development process, who is aware of good design importance, is essential as well. If the application works fine and causes no error, but simultaneously it is ugly – no one would use it. Or – in best case scenario – he’ll use it once (and it’s get deleted 🙂 ). Keep in mind that 80% of mobile applications are being deleted after the firs use. Why oh why? Most of all because they don’t work as expected, but sometimes – because they’re ugly 😀

A stunning example of beautiful, thought through application is Hopper – the one and only last year winner of best apps ranks. I’ll recommend you to download it from Google Play or App Store and just play around. Using this app is so pleasant and surprising like playing with a piece of art.

When I think about examples of good mobile design – I recall Hopper all the time. Pure love.

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Aesthetic and minimalism design

Minimalism is achieved by reducing a design to only the most essential elements.

This heuristic states that aesthetic (which is rather a subjective feeling) and minimalism design (which can be measured somehow) are important.

For example: dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility. This heuristic is extremely important to be followed in mobile app design.

Mobile applications are not supposed to be over packed with tabs, buttons or unnecessary content. App designers should keep layout as tidy and simple as possible. That is also a great challenge for the tester in the very last phase of each development – to make sure that all elements that have originally been designed are delivered within the working application. Always remember about the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) rule. It’s equally important on each stage of development process.

Testing usability is somehow about taking beauty into consideration.

Following trends

Essentially, minimalism is about breaking things down to the barest elements necessary for a design to function. In addition, taking things away until nothing else can be removed without interfering with the purpose of the design it’s also a minimalists’ routine. Remember, though, that certain design and graphical elements will directly affect the readability or usability of your website. Note, that it might be highly important in accessibility testing.

Minimalism could be applied to various branches of art or architecture, including web design as well. Testing minimalist websites or mobile applications might seem challenging, but possible for anyone.

Before you test anything in the area of usability – make sure that you are familiar with good web (mobile) design examples. It is good to know what’s on at the moment, keeping in mind basic rules as well. Take advantage of big players like: Twitter, WhatsApp, or less known such as: TheMinimalists, NorthKingdom, Sarah Hultin.

Don’t think it’s easier, because it’s simpler

When it comes to minimalism, don’t think it’s easier just because it’s simpler. Because there are fewer elements, you must provide the same level of usability (perhaps even better) with less interface. To balance aesthetics with functionality, minimalist web design is defined by use of space, amazing visuals, vivid photography, striking typography, and an overall focus on the content itself – and nothing more.

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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.