Thursday, 14 April 2011

Testing a Tester - Should be fun

This post can be considered as a gist of different emotional phases that I have gone through in these past few months.

Learning is a mode that never ends and should never either. People who know me will not delay a minute to say “Ya, right, you don’t dare to sit in front of the books for more than 30min and you say learning should never end. Yes, that would be the fact, you will never complete any book J

That’s cent percent true I have always hated textual learning, I love to try things, analyze it and learn from my experience. But recently my experience wasn’t pleasant. Given a choice I would not have chosen to explore this experience. But life is a package of circumstances and not choices; Its left to the person in that circumstance to make the best of it. Life always has positive energy in it which we miss out and highlight only the unpleasant aspect of it.

Recently, I was forced to stay off work and rest back home due to medical issues. If I illustrate my emotional phases in a table it would appear something like this

Emotional Phase
Energy Levels ( 1 – lowest, 10 – highest, 0 – Re energizing mode)
Full of fighting spirit, energetic

During my analysis phase I felt I have already been in this situation many times in my professional career, but I ignored to learn from that and hence had to go through tough times.

Being a tester you might think where would you have come across this situation? Just recap, If you have ever worked on any prolonged project, if so you will see this as a familiar cycle.

Initial project phase will be energetic, filled with fun and enjoyable; but slowly it gets monotonous. This is where we rework our strategies, approach and perspective; this rework energises back the testing sprit and fun associated with it.

Paid for my ignorance, during this phase I was testing a tester inside me. But it was hard to conclude weather my personality has higher impact on my profession or vice versa.

My Nature
·         Experiment and learn from that experience
·         Will never accept anything until analyzing all / most perspectives
·         Hate to quit; Try until achieved
·         Not harmful
·         Role of a tester – To explore, analyze and resolve issues
·         Attitude of a tester – To break stuff responsibly  
·         Plus to a tester’s attitude – Curious, Learn by exploration
·         Tough for a tester – Acceptance of failure
·         Negated attitude of tester – Constructiveness

Either wise glad I am back with my fighting spirit. Was a fun experience which I wanted to share. 

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Self motivation key for self maintenance!

Recently, I noticed that there is been a slight de-motivation and distraction in my behaviour, attitude and in my work (sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously). This raised an alarm in my mind and decided that there is a retuning needed.

The changes that I noticed apparently in my attitude and thinking:
  1.  Distraction on every aspect
  2.  Lack of interest
  3. Very mechanical
  4. Discomfort as I was not able to justify my action and if I did it was lying to my conscious.
  5. Not dealing with my responsibilities to the level of my satisfaction
  6. Negative thoughts had more power than my self-confidence about my abilities
  7. There was a day where I was almost at the verge of Resigning L.

Out of all these, the last thought triggered a huge alarm that there is something wrong and there needs a corrective action. I choose to work all these days because I like my role and I was passionate about testing!

So started testing myself, questioning myself and finally realised it’s just lack of motivation which was the main cause for this terrible phase.

The way I handled it:
  •        I started to challenge myself at every stage and tried to overcome 30% of my problems. (Because I love taking up challenges and learn things in that mode)
  •        Experimenting and trying new things motivates me – so started doing things a bit different – Simulated paired testing.
  •        Reading blogs and articles generally motivates me – so spent lot of time reading (though can’t read books, hate them to the core so avoided it)
  •        Training – I believe its sharing ideas, information and learn; so did some training too and kept myself busy and opened doors for new ideas.
  •        Time bound challenge – Learn selenium in 15days! I generally prefer manual testing as I get to think lot more than automation, but still wanted to do this to see if any forced task might not get me back down.   

The result, I am confident and back in track. This whole rework took about 2months time and it feels good. Outcome to the effort is I am recharged, read a lot and learnt new things, know how to use Selenium, have played with it.

So I feel, every person has got to go through this phase sometime and it’s good to identify ways of self motivation and share it. Because next time if I come up to same stage the same old tricks might no more work J

Simulated Paired Testing:
As solo tester in the project paired testing was not possible. I choose paired testing because it gives us chance to learn from others, highly productive, creative and quicker to analyze.

So I tried to stimulate 2 testers from within me.  There can definitely be a better way to do this but this is what I tried.
  •        Time bound exploratory testing sessions were run in the complete test cycle.
  •        First session was to gather all the key areas / functionality / testing types to be covered. These were listed down and made chits of these. The consecutive sessions were picked from the chits to randomize the order /sequence of thoughts in the whole product testing. (This might not work very well for a big product)
  •        Debriefing twice a day rather than end of each session – Analyze, organize and get the coverage measures!

  •        Functionality and product stability validated in 4working days (Generally took 5 working days)
  •        Complete coverage achieved
  •        Debriefing helped to redo certain sessions to get complete coverage
  •        Risk based / Priority based testing was not possible – as aim for the session was randomly picked.
  •        This might not be suitable if we have got to test on multiple platforms, Getting the test setups ready might take longer time every other sessions unless you set it up everything at one go!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Missing Weekend testing badly...

It is been ages that I have had chance to attend any of the weekend testing sessions. Its was just 1 session that I attended but the impact was immense. The only way that I am trying to be still in line with weekend testing is via Experience reports and discussion - Thanks for all those who are involved.
It’s an awesome platform for those who are testing lovers and keen to improve their skills and attitude. I have been learning through the experience reports, discussions and feeling a lot low that I am not able to take part.
Right, I know what people have got to say – past 8moths you could not make 2 hours free for yourself then it’s no worth cribbing about it. Common, I get to be with my family only over weekend as my husband comes from Bedford only over the weekend!
I wish we could have had at least one session a month on a weekday in evening rather than weekend; Or if we can change the timing of the session to sometime in morning may be around 9.00AM or so that if we got to go out we could still do that post session.
I think I am going to make this proposal on the forum and see if I can convince the team to get it sorted out!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Weekend Testing - Motivating and knowledge sharing platform

Weekend testing is an excellent platform for testers to have fun, learn and interact. Anna and Markus facilitated a session for this weekend where we tested an open-source magnifying glass

Initial introduction and briefing started about 3.00PM GMT and then Session mission was stated and all of us tested the application for about 1hour. Discussions and de-briefing kicked off at 4.30PM GMT where every one summarized what they did, how did they do, why did they do and what did they learn from this session.

This (WET) platforms people to learn from others experiences which is the key because we may not have enough time to learn everything from our own experience. Further, we get to think out of the box, our routine work might be so monotonous that we might have lost our creative thinking and experimenting capability. This recharges us to perform our tasks more effectively even in our day to day life.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

I speak for the User - how true is it for a tester

I have had a pretty busy week with a couple of bug fix releases on plate. Weekend was cool to energize again for the week :-)

I did spend most of my time reading. Read a few interesting software testing articles and a couple of managerial tips and tricks.

"I speak for the User" a general tester perception right - first time saw some article which speaks about the above statement being so false when not dealt properly. Good to know other stakeholders who are with similar mindset and how to handle such situations and what would be the best to do.

I Speak for the User