Skip to main content

Under Pressure


As a tester, you might recognise this feeling.

The world wants your tests to “pass.” Developers, Product Owners, Project Managers, Executives, everyone is looking at you, waiting for you, wanting the tests to “pass.” Wanting this feature to be delivered, this final piece of the going live puzzle.

Has it “passed” then?

Whatever it is, it hasn’t, it can’t, at the heart of the matter, that isn't how exploration works. There are perceived and non-perceived problems, inconsistencies, misunderstandings, and conflicting stakeholder perceptions. It’s not your judgement to give, however this doesn’t mean that you don’t feel any pressure as a human being.

When you feel it, here are some fun thoughts that you might want to bear in mind:
  • It’s really not your pressure. One of the key lessons I have learnt is not to accept the pressure of others. I’m a real responsibility magnet (there is a whole other blog there). But I make no promises when it comes to testing, I just mine for information. Stop accepting others pressure and watch your testing life transform.
  • Shit ain’t all down to you. It’s not honest, you are special and important but… For example, very early in my career, I had the last blocking bug on a gigantic, multi-multi-multi million pound offshoring project. I was being crushed by ownership of this hideous carbuncle of a bug. Afterwards I realised, it wasn’t mine. The root of that glittering pearl of a problem was way, way back in the mists of the project. Somewhere I had no control of at all. In another organisation. In the past. I had zero influence, literally nothing to be done.
  • It's quite popular to say “I’m giving information about quality to someone who matters.” Don’t even say that. Just say information to someone who matters. We need more distance from quality, not less. Every time you talk about testing and quality, you are creating a false link. It’s not real and confuses those who are already confused about what testing is for. Stop it.
  • Lastly the Zen bit. Nobody wants tests to fail, probably. But this is the rub. They don’t fail. You just learn. It’s true. Once you change from failing to learning, an infinite dimension of satisfaction opens up in your testing. You will find serenity in this thought, even in the most turbulent organisation.

Just remember, as a tester, the moment you allow the words “the test has passed” to pass your lips, turned anything green, given a thumbs up, cheeky grin, however you do it, remember the myth you are perpetuating. That the information gained from exploration is a tester’s responsibility.

It’s everyone’s responsibility. I hear that a lot. Let’s live it.

Comments

  1. I enjoyed this article. Not very long but great substance. Thanks

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Lone Tester at a DevOps Conference

I recently had the chance to go to Velocity Conf in Amsterdam, which one might describe as a DevOps conference. I love going to conferences of all types, restricting the self to discipline specific events is counter intuitive to me, as each discipline involved in building and supporting something isn't isolated. Even if some organisations try and keep it that way, reality barges its way in. Gotta speak to each other some day.

So, I was in an awesome city, anticipating an enlightening few days. Velocity is big. I sometimes forget how big business some conferences are, most testing events I attend are usually in the hundreds of attendees. With big conferences comes the trappings of big business. For my part, I swapped product and testability ideas with Datadog, Pager Duty and others for swag. My going rate for consultancy appears to be tshirts, stickers and hats.

So, lets get to it:

3 Takeaways

Inclusiveness - there was a huge focus on effective teams, organisational dynamics and splitt…

Wheel of Testing Part 2 - Content

Thank you Reddit, while attempting to find pictures of the earths core, you surpass yourself.
Turns out Steve Buscemi is the centre of the world.

Anyway. Lets start with something I hold to be true. My testing career is mine to shape, it has many influences but only one driver. No one will do it for me. Organisations that offer a career (or even a vocation) are offering something that is not theirs to give. Too much of their own needs get in the way, plus morphing into a badass question-asker, assumption-challenger, claim-demolisher and illusion-breaker is a bit terrifying for most organisations. Therefore, I hope the wheel is a tool for possibilities not definitive answers, otherwise it would just be another tool trying to provide a path which is yours to define.


In part one, I discussed why I had thought about the wheel of testing in terms of my own motivations for creating it, plus applying the reasoning of a career in testing to it. As in, coming up with a sensible reflection of real…

The Team Test for Testability

You know what I see quite a lot. Really long-winded test maturity models. 

You know what I love to see? Really fast, meaningful ways to build a picture of your teams current state and provoke a conversation about improvement. The excellent test improvement card game by Huib Schoots and Joep Schuurkes is a great example. I also really like 'The Joel Test' by Joel Spolsky, a number of questions you can answer yes or no to to gain insight into their effectiveness as a software development team.

I thought something like this for testability might an interesting experiment, so here goes:

If you ask the team to change their codebase do they react positively?Does each member of the team have access to the system source control?Does the team know which parts of the codebase are subject to the most change?Does the team collaborate regularly with teams that maintain their dependencies?Does the team have regular contact with the users of the system?Can you set your system into a given state…