What can you do about improving the coding when you are a test manager?


The idea for this post came up recently on the quite fruitful meeting, on which it was discovered that the code quality in the project is quite good, according to tools the team is using – is impressive and looks ‘green’ 🙂

On the other hand, when we’ve analyzed the other code metrics – it turned out that the cyclomatic complexity is not so great.

If you are not familiar with the term, cyclomatic complexity is used to measure the complexity at the class or the method level. It is a quantitative measure of the number of linearly independent paths through a program’s source code. It helps to keep the code in as testable and maintainable way as possible, by indicating unnecessary complexity.

Example taken from https://craftofcoding.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/cyclo_complexity.jpg

In the project, I am thinking of, the complexity goes up, completely unnoticed. It may mean that there is no one in the project, who pays attention to the overall coding progress and its’ quality. Developers to their job, use Sonar Cube to check their recent changes and when no bugs are discovered, they are happy with the result.


The question is – what can you do about the code quality when you are not a developer? There will be always a person, who claims that he knows better and in fact, you know nothing about the coding.

Our simple answer during the meeting was – you can check the metrics and then talk to people who can do something about the coding quality.

Is it always possible? Only in the projects where all of your code is covered by good metrics, which measure something and when your team write unit tests that test the code – not to pretend that they do 🙂

Each project is different and each is a challenge for both – developers and the testers – but every time you wish to improve the quality – it is possible.

Testing management is still quite a big unknown for me, but I still try to act like a tester but behave more like a manager.

I spend some time every day thinking of how to test differently, explore, how to x-ray the code to get more information about vulnerabilities and flaws. What helps me out? A set of tools that I use on a regular basis – they may not be always associated with testing, but I found them very useful – from a management perspective.

The first one is Jira plugin X-Ray and the second is SonarQube. I am sponsored by none of them, I just find them ok and worth to use.

X-Ray turned out to be a nitty-gritty tool when you use Jira daily. It just adds value to your work. It gives the opportunity of managing all test cases, not only the automation but the manual ones as well – all in one place, with pretty visual reports. I like it, my bosses like it, you should try it.

I’ve also discovered, that SonarQube may not necessarily be just a tool for developers, but also useful toy for the quality manager. I check Metrics and Activities tabs and look for points for improvements.

I don’t mean spotting the obvious errors or bugs – I mean rather mean hunting for vicious code in the project and implying the constant need for improvement.

If you have anything to to with the test management or quality assurance as well- I recommend this short exercise for you every day: start your working day from a short trip around different metrics – nightly builds, code coverage, cyclomatic complexity and so on. I guarantee that every day there can be a discovery that you can later address to improve the quality and stability of your product. If you tend to forget the obvious, as I do, make yourself a reminder in your calendar. It will help you structure your work and do better every day.

Managing, checking, metrics blah blah blah – “Do you fix it on your own, girl?” hahaha.

Here comes this harder part of the job – when you approach people and kindly ask for help or advice. I think that testing, managing or whatever is always about talking to people and working for the same goal – good quality. So the reports themselves or improved cyclomatic complexity won’t make your project better or worse – the point is what would you do about them and what you can achieve as a team. But this is a completely different story 🙂

If you would like to know more about tools that I use or if you have a better tool to recommend – just let me know in the comments section below or on Twitter.

ISTQB Advanced Test Manager – is it worth to take the exam?

istqb advanced test manager

I can see those faces – Witko and ISTQB exams? This blog post is not sponsored by ISTQB 😀
I decided to step out of my agile comfort zone and dive into ISTQB knowledge once again. Not mentioning the fact, that my current company – Capgemini – is very supportive in this area.

What was the purpose?

I’ve chosen ISTQB Test Manager extension in order to see what is it about. I was very disappointed after Agile extension to ISTQB. I don’t see the value in exam’s content, I’d rather recommend you both Lisa Crispin & Janet Gregory’s books: Agile Testing and More Agile Testing. It is a definitely better way to invest your time in agile testing learning

In addition, I’ve heard stories from people I know, that the Test Manager exam is complicated and hard to pass. My new project demands from me more management – related knowledge and skills – so I decided to give it a go. I’ve started from the course and continued with the syllabus and another subject – related materials.
After a first glimpse on the exam’s structure, I had two thoughts – the exam is demanding and weirdly-scored, moreover, you need to prepare for the exam itself, apart from interesting exam-related materials.
There are 65 questions and 180 minutes of time. Questions are scored 1-3 points. Some questions are simple and require syllabus – based knowledge, but most of them are vast, contain a story and make you think. You get A4 page of description and then A4 page with … question? It is not helpful. the impression is that it just wants you to fail.

You need to gain 65% of 115 points to pass the exam. Piece of cake! :D:D


To be honest, I do appreciate the syllabus content, but let’s face the truth – it was written in 2012. In 2012 I was not even a software tester. In 2012 in Poland probably just a few companies used Agile – most of them were comfortably setting milestones and writing tons of documentation in their V models. That’s why I treat the exam itself as a historical material about “how the testing used to be like 7 years ago” and I think that’s ok. I just hope that people don’t treat it as the only way of truth in modern IT world 🙂
On the other hand, I find the exam’s materials really useful for my future project improvements. It gave me some insight to the areas of testing and management I was never thinking of.


How can I benefit from the exam?

We need to understand two things – learning to pass the exam is a completely different thing from learning in order to gain some test management – related knowledge.

In the end, I am sure that learning always is good. It’s a gym for your brain. I am a certified Test Manager now and I am very proud of myself.
Would I take the course and exam again? Yes.

Is is worth to take the dedicated course beforehead?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Find yourself a teacher with materials and experience. I have not taken a course before Foundation level, I don’t think it is necessary anyhow. In this case, though, I won’t feel comfortable without good set of hints from an experienced teacher. in my opinion, it is good to find one. As I said, passing the exam requires technique. The course was really helpful in it.

We just make ISTQB richer.

It’s true. 100% agree.
The certificate is expensive and it is not a must-have. So if you don’t need it for work – just don’t take it. It may become useful for your future recruitment processes or in some more formal projects.
There are organisations, customers, projects, which demand such “proofs” of tester’s knowledge and I do understand that. ISTQB is common and recognisable, that’s why it’s and desirable.

On the other hand, I benefit a lot from all the materials I went through.
I think they are valuable and can give you some hints and directions required in project work. If you don’t need the certificate – just download materials from ISTQB website and read them. Then you can decide if you find them useful or not.

What do you think about ISTQB certification? Do you have any?

Comment down below or stalk me on Twitter. Cheers!