Posted in exploratory testing

Exploratory state of mind

@KingaTestaboutExploratorytesting

Exploratory testing is like agile methodology or unicorns – they’re fashionable, everybody talks about them, but no one actually had seen them.

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Let’s start from a little confession – for me – exploratory testing is finally a way to get to the basic of what a software testing is. The pure activity of testing and a joy that comes out of it, without rules and limitations.
You could argue with me now

– Come on ! – exploratory testing without limitations? What about time boxing? What about time frames? What about plan?

Calm down –  I don’t neglect all of that. You can breathe now 🙂

I just wanted to say that exploratory is your state of mind. For some mysterious reason
I found exploratory a way of braking things from scratch. Am I an expert? No. Should I be one to preach you? Sort of… maybe 🙂 Does exploratory work for me? SURE – it does – that’s why I want to share it with you.

Discovering James Bach

Back to square one. James Bach is your must, if you wanted to play with exploratory testing. His famous lecture (from 2011!!!) would give you some hints of how to start with exploratory. What I mean by that is not to tear your ISTQB Foundation Certificate apart and throw it out of the window – but to re-think the way you perform testing.
Jamse’s publications, keynotes sessions and the work that he does may destroy your structured thinking about testing like it destroyed mine. And still –  it’s fine.
The problem might exist in the organisation you are working for – so if exploratory suites you – find yourself a good place to play with it. 🙂

Take your shoe off and smash the keyboard

There is a fantastic tester in my organisation – Elisabeth – who loves exploratory testing. During my work interview she explained exploratory testing as taking your shoe off and hitting the keyboard with it. Surprisingly – it says a lot about exploratory way of testing things. If you don’t know the product – and have no idea how does it work, what does it do and how to approach to testing – every method is good. The more you try – the more you learn about the product and its flaws.

Destroying your expensive keyboard may not, obviously, be the best approach to testing (unless you’re testing external hardware) – however – destroying an expensive software before your customer does that – sounds like the activity you’re paid for. 🙂

It may happen that that there would be a developer from your team asking – Why did you do that in the first place? – but it’s the result that matters.

I had this situation last week – I took out my internet cable off my laptop and plugged it in again during the test session. My test affected the functionality and exposed an error that we had. The result was fantastic, because now we know what to fix now – but the face of a developer when I demoed my test in front of him was unforgettable 😉

Note taking

Exploratory testing is fun when we play around certain functionalities, but our memory is sometimes not as fresh as we would like it to be.

That’s why taking notes during each exploratory session is essential. You may want to prepare mind maps or use some software to help you with gathering notes out of your sessions. In order to take notes,  you can use your laptop, phone or any tool you want

BUT

I would recommend you to do go old school.

This is a pencil:

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This is a notebook:

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These are post-its:

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Grab them and take your notes like a pro. At first – doing things manually would stimulate your brain – maybe you’ll came up with another crazy idea for testing? Secondly, nothing would drag your attention from testing. There will be just a feature an you.

Note all important thoughts such as:

  • questions
  • bugs (possible bugs)
  • random notes
  • areas to further exploratory
  • any other important stuff.

Taking notes might be extremely useful to reproduce the path to discovered defect. Additionally, you can record your sessions or combine all methods together. Whatever suits you best.

Maaret Pyhäjärvi thought me this one little trick – to put a sticky note on the top of my notebook page with a purpose of my team (or sprint) written down. It acts like an anchor. I’m reminding myself all the time what is my purpose – to avoid sailing away from the functionality that was supposed to be tested in the first place.

Conclusions

Since my beginnings as a software tester – exploratory – for me – was an appendix for regular testing, according to the plan. It appeared here and there, but has never been fully approved by management or team. It is a main theme now and that suits me best.

As Maaret Pyhäjärvi said at SeeTest conference in Sofia – we all do exploratory testing when we play around different functionalities even during regular test plan – based sessions. We just don’t name it.

On the other hand, it feels like everybody does exploratory now, just like everybody is working in Agile. It’s on the internet, during conferences and in the books. And, just like with the methodologies Agile – it comes with different kinds and flavors.
Is it a bad thing this not defined definition? I don’t think so, as long as we find new bugs and expose issues in our software.

Exploratory testing is not a big bang, it has to be structured somehow – and
IT HAS TO HAVE A PURPOSE.

Testing without a reason and purpose is just a hitting a keyboard with a shoe. Nothing more. I think that it’s all about being a better tester every day, so learn as much as you can about exploratory – read a book Explore it! by Elisabeth Handrickson and dive into it.

Now – every time you see a unicorn – think about exploratory testing 🙂

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You can share your discoveries in the area of exploratory testing in comment below – on Twitter or Facebook. See U there!

Cheers!

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Posted in conferences

Just after SeeTest conference in Sofia

@Kingatest

Hi Guys!

It’s been an intense time for me recently.

My very fist testing conference abroad. My very first testing conference abroad with me as a speaker 🙂 And – again – speaking in English (which is obviously not my first language) in a country that I have never been before. Sounds exciting, isn’t it?

Where are we?

Bulgaria -> Sofia -> Hotel -> original conference rooms with sparkling crystal chandeliers(!!!!)

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I was very looking forward to the conference and was not disappointed in the end. I have to admit, that the organizers did a really good job, both – speakers and attendees – felt comfortable and were provided with any necessary piece of information. Props for that!

Bulgarian coffee is really black and strong though – I don;t know how they prepare this …. anyway 🙂

The spot was tremendous – really.

You would probably like to know how it was. Let’s do pros and cons then.

Pros first:

  • awesome tutorial sessions
  • great mixture of ideas
  • people from several countries discussing testing
  • different point of views

For me, the most inspiring thing within the hole conference, was a tutorial session run by Maaret Pyhäjärvi – Exploratory testing explained and experienced. OMG – it was so good. I’ve learned much about teamwork and exploratory, that I’m about to start a revolution since Monday (prepare yourselves, team!).
At the beginning of the class people seemed shy, but after couple of exercises everybody got open and share their ideas about exploratory testing.
Maaret did a keynote session on the next day, which was inspiring as well. We’ve learned a lot about Making team awesome during that session. For example – how to improve your value for the organisation you’re working in – and for your team at the same time.

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I’m really happy that I had an opportunity to meet her in person.

This two-days conference was fully packed with technical, agile and exploratory sessions. It is good to hear different approaches to the same problems.

I had a chance to speak as well. I think that my session – Yes, you need time for bug fixes  -energized the audience and made them think more about scheduling their project time. We had a lot of fun (again) with my funny exercise, so I think it went well. Great energy, fantastic testers and nice comments / notes afterwards.

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Could it be any better for a newbie on an international software conference?

Unfortunately, each software conference has it’s cons as well:

  • too many sessions in a row
  • too little time for questions/discussions and leisure
  • time tracking 🙂

As I said in my session – Not to track time is a crime. It’s bad for the projects and for such events as software conference as well.
In my opinion – schedule of the conference (day 2 – sessions) was so filled with sessions, that it was hardly possible to even notice what’s next. There were no brakes between some of the sessions – so we ended up with delays or speakers getting upset about their session times. It was also tiring – at the end attendees felt a bit overwhelmed with the amount of sessions.

It was inspiring

Having a chance to attend this event was extremely beneficial for me as a speaker and as a software tester. I find it very useful to talk to people from different countries – struggling the same problems as you do on their daily basis. It gives you an impression that software industry is nowadays a one living organism.

Additionally, it was also a unique opportunity to meet people that I know from Twitter in person. It was really fun!

I hope to meet at least some of you soon!

Cheers 🙂

Posted in accessibility testing, mobile testing

Accessibility testing is your social responsibility #AccessibilityTestingDoIT

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New school year in Poland has began, so for me it is time for new professional goals even more than January 1st.

It is almost a year of me writing this blog and if you are a frequent visitor, you may have noticed, that aspects of testing, coaching, agile and conference stuff are mixed up here. It is basically because I do believe that all of these are equally important parts of tester’s professional life. We can never say that agile or mentoring is not our job. It is. Not obligatory for everyone, sure, but still valid.

On the other hand, as I wrote a while ago, I think that working in the fantastic software industry is a opportunity. At first, it is a chance for us to gain knowledge, feel the modern software vibe, know what’s on and simply to make money from exciting activities. Secondly, it is a chance for the others and ‘for the world’ (sounds like Miss Universe, doesn’t it? 🙂 ) to let us make it a better place. I think that testers, developers, graphic designers, UX specialists  can still make a change, not only by creating stunning websites or mobile applications, but also by making the accessible to all users, especially to people with any kind of disabilities.

I’m going to make a series of articles focusing on certain impairments, to give you a chance for having a closer look to the problem and possible improvement solutions. I know that each of you work in different software industry branch, so all together we are quite powerful.

For a tester – it will be a matter of one – two additional test cases or test suite in our daily basis activities – for developers – it will be a better code maybe, for graphic designers an UX specialists – it will be yet another tool to make developers following THE RIGHT path 🙂

pobrane

 

Action points:

Let’s start from scratch:

  1. What is an accessibility testing you can read here in one of my previous post.

          2. Where to look for mobile development tips:

3. Is it software – related subject only?

NO

It is both hardware and software.

4. What kind of impairments would I like to cover?

  • visual
  • physical
  • hearing

I’ll try to create a separated section at the top of this website – so you’ll be able to access content at any time in order to practice your accessibility testing skills.

         5. At the same time – if you have any cool websites, services, books, articles…….. AND SO ON to share with me or with the entire community – don’t hesitate to paste it in the comment, on Facebook.

  6. Tweet any accessibility testing – related stuff using hashtag #AccessibilityTestingDoIT

Cheers!

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:

womens-rights

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.

UNIX (1)

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!

KingaWitko_QualityExcites

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!