Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What should testers do differently?

I had the awesome pleasure of hanging out some with Peter Walen at Agile Testing Days.  Peter is a tester that really seems to enjoy life and is always willing to share experiences.  I learned that he has many experiences outside of testing that are wonderful to hear and ponder.  You can enjoy his work by reading his blog - "Rhythm of Testing".  Every tester should have a pint of beer with Mr. Walen, so if you get a chance introduce yourself.

At some point in the conference Peter asked me a question - "What is the one thing testers should do differently in the future?"  I almost spit out the first thing that came to mind; however, I suspected a trap.  If you get a chance ask Peter about the Super Ball test.  For some reason I asked for more time to think about the question.

Seriously I knew Peter was not setting me up.  He was asking me a genuine question.  In hind sight the conference was about the future of testing so the question really makes sense.  So I have had quite a bit of time to think about this topic.  I honestly have gone all over the place with my thoughts.

I think I have boiled my answer down to this.  Testers must earn the respect of their peers.  My definition of peers would be anyone you encounter in the field of software testing or in life.

Earning respect can take on many forms such as being a team player, learning to code, better yet always be willing to learn, or demonstrate your skills.  I believe once you have earned the respect of your peers you have gained trust and trust is the key to doing some great things.  If you get a chance read the works of Christopher Avery.

Respect and trust are hard to earn.  Once earned they are hard to keep. The rewards of earning respect are plentiful.  We learn from our mistakes.  Making mistakes together as a group and learning from those mistakes can be even more powerful.

I will conclude this post by saying "Thank you Mr. Peter Walen" for asking the question.  I cannot wait to here his thoughts around the question.  I also want to thank him for reminding me that we should have fun in what we do and it is really important to have fun together.

Anyone have a different answer?

Happy Thanksgiving testers!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Buccaneer Scholar to King

Well I have not written in a while, so I will try to articulate some recent thoughts.  I am certainly not the best wordsmith or most articulate speaker, but I do have an opinion.

Some people you meet in life are inspirational.  They advocate for innovation, instilling drive and passion.  You read a great book about being a buccaneer scholar, pulling yourself up by your suspenders and achieving great things in life.  You attend a presentation at the 2009 STP Conference in Las Vegas and you come away thinking man that person is brilliant. You follow their blog posts and Twitter feeds that lead to inspiration. They teach you to enjoy games and attack challenges.  Today these pioneers seem to be taking a position of my way or the highway.  We are right and everyone else is wrong.

I am not sure that is the intent of the rhetoric or dogma as one colleague stated, but that has become my perception.

These pioneers have been extremely polarizing in their thoughts and critiques of others lately.  I am certainly OK with criticism and the elevation of thought.  I guess I think it should be done in a kind, professional, and collaborative nature.  What happened to politely learning to agree to disagree.

Word choice is an important attribute when debating or collaborating.  I am not great on my feet when it comes to word choice when debating on the fly.  When someone says I am wrong I can take it and I can listen to the point of view.  But when someone continuously attacks and says your idea is wrong it does not foster a learning environment.  I think we have missed the human side of a debate.

There are many people I respect and learn from in the industry of software testing.  Ideas should be challenged, but challenged in a human compassionate way.  We should push each other to be creative thinkers, but not at the expense of destroying relationships.

Although some people are more skilled than others we should not put ourselves on a mountain top and declare I am right; therefore, everyone else is wrong.  It is certainly Ok to think that way, but not belittle the thoughts of others along the way.

I hope the attitudes temper and we can get back to collectively improving our craft of software testing.

I will end with a humorous quote from a colleague - " I am Polish so I know all about Czech's!"

Keep on Testing!