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Keynote: Surviving or Thriving: Top Ten Lessons for the Professional Tester
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Keynote: Surviving or Thriving: Top Ten Lessons for the Professional Tester


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As testers and test managers we often find ourselves struggling just to survive within our organization—sometimes with the possibility of job loss due to outsourcing looming. Often, we are told to …

As testers and test managers we often find ourselves struggling just to survive within our organization—sometimes with the possibility of job loss due to outsourcing looming. Often, we are told to become more “effective,” “efficient,” and do “more with less.” However, most testers and test managers are unsure of what those mandates actually mean. Today, it is not sufficient to just survive; we must take initiatives to thrive. Lloyd Roden shares ten valuable lessons on how you can become better at testing and thrive in your career. Lloyd's lessons include the importance of using modern technology in testing, using test design techniques when reviewing documentation, testing the testers with techniques such as bug seeding, reporting project waste, providing management with feedback on decisions that they made, becoming a pioneer or explorer rather than a settler or outlaw in your organization, and more. Lloyd’s advice is practical—and challenging—for all testers, test leads, and test managers.

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  • 1. KW2 Keynote 5/1/2013 10:00:00 AM Surviving or Thriving: Top Ten Lessons for the Professional Tester Presented by: Lloyd Roden Lloyd Roden Consultancy Brought to you by: 340 Corporate Way, Suite 300, Orange Park, FL 32073 888-268-8770 ∙ 904-278-0524 ∙ ∙
  • 2. Lloyd Roden With more than twenty-eight years in the software industry, Lloyd Roden has worked as a developer, test analyst, and test manager for many different organizations. Lloyd was a consultant/partner with Grove Consultants for twelve years. In 2011 he created Lloyd Roden Consultancy, an independent UK-based training and consultancy company specializing in software testing. Lloyd’s passion is to enthuse, excite, and inspire people in the area of software testing. He has spoken at conferences worldwide including STAREAST, STARWEST, Better Software, EuroSTAR, AsiaSTAR, and Special Interest Groups in software testing in several countries. In 2004, he won the European Testing Excellence award.
  • 3. Surviving or thriving: Top 10 lessons for a professional tester Keynote Presentation Written by Lloyd Roden Version 1_0 © Lloyd Roden
  • 4. thriving-1 Surviving or Thriving: Top 10 lessons for a professional tester 1 Contents Survive or Thrive? Top 10 lessons to thrive Which one do you want to be? 2 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 5. thriving-2 Surviving: what comes to mind? 3 Surviving is mostly negative !   companies surviving the recession !   old people surviving the winter !   protect animals to enable them to survive definition: to remain alive or in existence, to carry on despite hardship or trauma…to persevere is this what we are doing in testing today… to remain alive, carrying on despite hardships or trauma…to persevere? 4 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 6. thriving-3 Thriving: what comes to mind? 5 Thriving is positive !   in Greece s sour economy some shops are thriving !   thriving companies in this economic climate !   thriving wildlife triggers hope for marine life definition: to make good progress, to prosper, to grow vigorously…to flourish, to succeed shouldn’t we be like this in testing…to make good progress, to prosper, to grow vigorously…to flourish, to succeed 6 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 7. thriving-4 Contents Survive or Thrive? Top 10 lessons to thrive Which one do you want to be? 7 Thriving lesson #1: tailor your test documentation…. and use modern technology don’t be boring make it exclusive challenge quality and quantity of what is produced exploit modern technology 8 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 8. thriving-5 Thriving lesson #2: use test design techniques as a review technique !   example requirement: A thermostat displays the temperature of a greenhouse from 15oC to 35oC. If the temperature falls below 20oC then “too cold” appears on the display and a blue light flashes. It the temperature exceeds 30oC then “too hot” appears and a red light flashes. by reading this requirement we may have a few questions, or we might think we understand what is required. However… 9 Review using test case design techniques !   sharpens our understanding !   generates tests !   finds more defects with requirements Tests for our example: Temperature Expected result 17oC, 15oC, Too Cold, blue light flash 20oC, 25oC, 32oC, 35oC 10oC, 40oC 30oC No display, no light? Too hot: red light flash ??? 2 lights or 1 light? whole degrees? up to and including… where is the temperature taken…isolated or whole room? 10 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 9. thriving-6 Thriving lesson #3: provide management with feedback on decisions that the make !   example: 4 weeks of testing: Number of bugs 120 100 80 60 Actual 40 20 Management want to implement the software, but you suggest a further week of exploratory testing and a final week of regression testing due to the high number of bugs that have been found 0 0 1 2 3 4 !   new data obtained: Number of bugs 140 25 new bugs found and fixed…full regression pack run 120 100 80 Actual 60 40 20 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 11 Using data to report back !  cost of bugs to find and fix in test = 1000€ !  cost of bugs to find and fix in live = 3000€ !  1st month of live operation customers find 10 bugs !   if the old date (4 weeks) was used !   assume 35 bugs found by customer !   DDP = 100/135 = 74% !   cost of fixing = 35 * 3000€ = 105,000€ !   if the new date (6 weeks) was used !   DDP = 125/135 = 93% !   cost of fixing = 10 * 3000€ = 30,000€ + 25 * 1000€ = 25,000€ = 55,000€ Thriving120214 cost saving 50,000€ DDP increase 19% Therefore a good decision by management " 12 © Lloyd Roden
  • 10. thriving-7 Thriving lesson #4: learn to be a weather person weather people… !   predict what is likely to happen using trends and forecasting !   understand statistics and probability !   use historical data to substantiate their synopsis !   understand correlation between systems !   are becoming more accurate however… !   don’t always get it right !   not always liked…but it is not their fault! !   but we still use them to plan and implement our activities 13 Learn to predict the “projects” weather 250 !   to predict what is likely to happen at an early stage !   to use basic statistics and probability !   to gather and analyse historical data !   understand the correlation between graphs !   to become more accurate 200 150 100 50 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 50 40 30 20 10 0 BUT: you wont always get it right, you wont always be liked, but it’s not your fault 14 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 11. thriving-8 Thriving lesson #5: Test the testers/tests testing is quality control on development BUT…how good are your tester/tests? Who is performing quality control on the testers? developers bug seed, plant 100 bugs and see how many are found provide an application for new testers with known bugs and see how good they are at finding them we deserve the best…mediocracy is not an option 15 Areas where this idea can be used !   testing your regression tests !   manual or automated !   discover how effective they are !   testing the outsourced teams !   let’s wake up! !   discover whether they are cost effective !   testing new testers wanting to join the team !   aim to recruit the best !   quality gate into testing 16 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 12. thriving-9 Thriving lesson #6: make your test environment the strongest link !   often the test environment becomes the weakest link !   concentrate too much on test cases and test scripts !   we believe the environment will happen !   often difficult to set up well !   reliant on other people !   make it the strongest link !   constantly think about your environment !   make it a priority prior to test execution !   learn to recognise environmental issues and raise these with your managers 17 Bad environments if your environment is wrong, out-of-date, volatile, not representative, or messy then testing cannot succeed ignore your test environment and the bugs will breed 18 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 13. thriving-10 Be environmentally friendly without a good testing environment testing will not succeed !   recycle your tests !   need to re-use tests as much as possible !   improve efficiency !   to conserve human energy !   do not neglect the “data-layer” !   data is an integral part of the environment !   offset your manual footprint !   automate as much as possible !   grow your own experts !   become independent and autonomous manual experts investing in the testing environment will be an investment for the testing’s future 19 Thriving lesson #7: stand out and be different what have these stores got in common? what have these stores got in common? 20 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 14. thriving-11 Create a unique selling point… !   what makes you/your team different from others… !   that are cheaper? !   that are faster? !   your USP is so that you thrive…not just survive !   example USPs ! recognising and eliminating waste !   being able to find those “nasty” bugs quickly !   measuring and reporting the value of testing !   having a positive attitude at work !   collaborating always !   constantly improving efficiency 21 Thriving lesson #8: become a pioneer (or explorer)…not a settler or outlaw !   four permanent attitudes to consider Pioneers Explorers Settlers Outlaws 22 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 15. thriving-12 Pioneers and Explorers ! ! ! ! ! !             Pioneering Attitude ideas creative breaking new ground early adopters R & D - mostly R often seen as crazy !  ! ! ! !         Exploring Attitude explore/test ideas produced by pioneers highly analytical R & D - mostly D enjoy challenges often finish and implement ideas 23 Settlers and Outlaws !  !  !  !  !  Settling Attitude majority will follow the status quo rather than lead allow others to develop infrastructure reliant on Pioneers and Explorers difficult to motivate ! ! ! ! ! !             Outlaw Attitude critical pessimistic & negative can be destructive often historical management overhead often failed pioneers 24 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 16. thriving-13 Thriving lesson #9: believe in yourself …and your abilities practice looking in the mirror each morning and saying… “I am great!” !   low self-esteem is one of the main contributors to lacking drive and enthusiasm: !   reignite your passion !   fan the flame before it goes out !   see change as an opportunity rather than a threat !   create good habits !   66 days to create a good habit !   set yourself daily goals and achieve them !   John, Susan, Nora and George 25 Thriving lesson #10: take time to sharpen your axe complacency is only one step ahead of apathy make it your mission to become the best at what you do don’t procrastinate create tools and utilities to make testing more efficient share your ideas with others understand new methodologies and technologies and how they will affect you (keeping one step ahead) !   measure your own effectiveness and improve !   try something new !   create ‘me’ time ! ! ! !         26 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 17. thriving-14 Contents Survive or Thrive? Top 10 lessons to thrive Which one do you want to be? 27 Are you just a survivor … or a thriver Mediocracy is not an option if you want to thrive !   #1: Tailor test documentation !   #2: use test case design techniques as a review technique !   #3: provide management with feedback !   #4: learn to predict !   #5: test the testers/tests !   #6: make your environment the strongest link !   #7: stand out and create a USP !   #8: become a pioneer or explorer !   #9: believe in yourself and your abilities !   #10: sharpen your axe 28 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden
  • 18. thriving-15 Summary !   surviving has many negative associations !   to thrive in the society we find ourselves in today we must be different and better than others !   adopting some/all of these thriving lessons will help us stand out from the crowd 29 Thriving120214 © Lloyd Roden