Organizing Tests With xUnit Traits (Assert.This)

On November 30, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

Once you start to have a larger number of tests it can be important to be able to break them down into different categories or groupings. From a functionality perspective this allows you to only run a subset of tests. They can also help to provide clarity or insight to your test code, by replacing … [Read more…]

Mum’s the Word (Hiccupps)

On November 29, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

A few weeks ago I put out an appeal for resources for testers who are pulled into live support situations:

Looking for blogs, books, videos or other advice for testers pulled into real-time customer support, e.g. helping diagnose issues #testing

— James Thomas (@qahiccupps) October 28, 2016

One suggestion I received was The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick, a book intended to help entrepreneurs or sales folk to efficiently validate ideas by engagement with an appropriate target market segment. And perhaps that doesn’t sound directly relevant to testers?

But it’s front-loaded with advice for framing information-gathering questions in a way which attempts not to bias the the answers (“This book is specifically about how to properly talk to customers and learn from them”). And that might be, right?

The conceit of the name, I’m pleased to say, is not that mums are stupid and have to be talked down to. Rather, the insight is that “Your mom will lie to you the most (just ‘cuz she loves you)” but, in fact, if you frame your questions the wrong way, pretty much anyone will lie to you and the result of your conversation will be non-data, non-committal, and non-actionable. So, if you can find ways to ask your mum questions that she finds it easy to be truthful about, the same techniques should work with others.

The content is readable, and seems reasonable, and feels like real life informed it. The advice is – hurrah! – not in the form of some arbitrary number of magic steps to enlightenment, but examples, summarised as rules of thumb. Here’s a few of the latter that I found relevant to customer support engagements, with a bit of commentary:

  • Opinions are worthless … go for data instead
  • You’re shooting blind until you understand their goals … or their idea of what the problem is
  • Watching someone do a task will show you where the problems and inefficiencies really are, not where the customer thinks they are … again, understand the real problem, gather real data
  • People want to help you. Give them an excuse to do so … offer opportunities for the customer to talk; and then listen to them
  • The more you’re talking, the worse you’re doing … again, listen
These are useful, general, heuristics for talking to anyone about a problem and can be applied with internal stakeholders at your leisure as well as with customers when the clock is ticking. (But simply remembering Weinberg’s definition of a problem and the Relative Rule has served me well, too.)
Given the nature of the book, you’ll need to pick out the advice that’s relevant to you – hiding your ideas so as not to seem like you’re needily asking for validation is less often useful to a tester, in my experience – but  as someone who hasn’t been much involved in sales engagements I found the rest interesting background too.
Image: Amazon

Rethinking Equivalence Class Partitioning, Part 1 (James Bach’s Blog)

On November 27, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

Wikipedia’s article on equivalence class partitioning (ECP) is a great example of the poor thinking and teaching and writing that often passes for wisdom in the testing field. It’s narrow and misleading, serving to imply that testing is some little … Continue reading

A RubyGems SSL cerificate solution (Chris Kenst's Blog)

On November 26, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

The Problem Early last month I was trying to update some gems on my MBP and ran into an SSL error: ERROR: While executing gem … (Gem::RemoteFetcher::FetchError) SSL_connect returned=1 errno=0 state=SSLv3 read server certificate B: certificate verify failed ( In typical fashion I ignored the error and tried updating RubyGems (the package manager). That failed […]

Outlook broke important business feature (zagorski software tester)

On November 26, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

TL;DR This post is about Outlook broken business feature, carbon copy recipients. In e-mail, the abbreviation CC indicates those who are to receive a copy of a message addressed primarily to another (CC is the abbreviation of carbon copy). The list of recipients in copy is visible to all other recipients of the message. In common … Continue reading Outlook broke important business feature

Cambridge Lean Coffee (Hiccupps)

On November 24, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

This month’s Lean Coffee was hosted by Abcam. Here’s some brief, aggregated comments and questions  on topics covered by the group I was in.Suggest techniques for identifying and managing risk on an integration project.Consider the risk …

Testing and Life Collide (@Beaglesays)

On November 23, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

I often hear how testing is part of life. I even use that, or related references, myself. Over the past few days I’ve been able to observe life and testing intersecting in a setting that is not part of my “everyday life”. This story starts at 12:30am, Saturday morning. My Wife wakes me up complaining … Continue reading Testing and Life Collide

A Mess of Fun (Hiccupps)

On November 22, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

In The Dots I referenced How To Make Sense of Any Mess by Abby Covert. It’s a book about information architecture for non-information architects, one lesson per page, each page easily digestible on its own, each page informed by the context on eit…

The Dots (Hiccupps)

On November 20, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

One of the questions that we asked ourselves at CEWT 3 was what we were going to do with the things we’d discovered during the workshop. How would, could, should we attempt to share any insights we’d had, and with who?One of the answers I gave was that…

Value of UI automation tests (zagorski software tester)

On November 19, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

TL;DR After series of posts about How to kill UI regression testing, maybe you got impression that I am against UI browser automation test scripts. In this post, I will put my thoughts about the value of UI automation tests. First some context. Here are requirements for excellent UI automation tests: Language that enables you … Continue reading Value of UI automation tests

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