Category Archives: Conference

TMATLC2020 inspires you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new

Welcome to another weekly report of leadership, testing knowledge and fun. 

Monday, August 10th

This week started with the session, “Transforming with Scaled Agile and Importance of Test Leadership” by Ali Khalid.

Ali talked about the lessons learned as his team transformed to scaled Agile and how the test leadership of its own kind evolved out of it. 

Ali’s session mainly revolved around below takeaways – 

  • In a nutshell, how SAFe delivers value at pace in an Enterprise
  • Leadership and autonomy: are these two opposing forces?
  • What problems you may run into without test leadership
  • Less focus on defining processes, more on implementing and learning from the execution
  • Build synergies, that’s the only way automation delivers

Ali emphasized that testing goals should be derived from business goals. 

He also recommended hiring experts to help provide thought leadership & guidance.

The next session “Automated ADA is Testing with Pa11y and Ruby/Cucumber” by Jerren Every was a completely new topic for me.

This talk covered the story of how a company can move from manual ADA testing to automated ADA testing utilizing Pa11y and Ruby-Cucumber.  

Jerren mentioned the WCAG 2.0 guidelines i.e.

  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable 
  • Robust

Pa11y Functionality

Right after this session, we attended  “Full Stack Testing in a Culture: Drive your team to Embrace Change” by Christina Thalayasingam 

She started with the big question. What is full-stack testing? And gave us the answer right away.

The ethos of full-stack testing is the ability to test the quality of a feature end-to-end (in all aspects) and assure it is as expected before it gets shipped.

I liked this quote by Jim Rohn that she shared in her talk, “You can’t change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” 

On the question “Why should we go with full stuck testing?”, Christina answered that it is because we will have the ability to spot issues not just in functionally but any quality issue and that will enable us to narrow down bugs at an early stage. Full-stack testing enables to communicate quick feedback mechanism for every change. It is not required to rely on test teams working in silos and it creates business value by giving fast feedback loops on all layers of a technical process.

How to avoid working in silos you might ask yourself?

The answers Christina gave us were actually pretty straightforward. Even the easiest things appear hard sometimes. We should work as a team, exchange roles when doing quality checks, train each other, help each other and work together when difficult tasks come up.

Benefits of full-stack testing:

  • Versatile Team
  • The team gained vast experience
  • All-inclusive work
  • Can troubleshoot issues
  • Budget-friendly
  • Timely delivery
  • They can assume ownership of project quality.
  • Continuous learning

To start with full-stack testing it is important we pick the right tools. To choose them mindfully we will strongly depend on our requirements, tech-stack that we already have and how strongly we handle our daily workflow. We need to choose tools that fit the team skillset, which can be work-integrated and have ways that can be used for the team to be trained.

Christina gave us some tips on how to go about full-stack testing

Select a feature/story that is simple and that requires various types of quality checks. Structure the testing so most types of tests can be incorporated. And the most important point, work as a team Jo-Jo and help each other.

She also discussed some setbacks to be mindful of –

  1. Under productivity and time management
  2. Not able to keep up with the trends
  3. Confusion about team member responsibilities

My key learnings out of this session, we need to have a stable ground with product expertise, effective communication and leadership and understanding system architecture and design. To make our testing stable we need a system and end-user thinking and Software testing and test design also as test management to report, analyse and matrice. UI Level functional –  end to end unit- and security testing also as test-driven development.  CI/CD and testing mindset as an engineering performance, for example, service level performance, client-side profiling and code quality and coverage.

Tuesday, August 11th

Today I attended the session titled; “What can Testers Do to Build Their Tester Mindset and Break Silos at Work?” by Emna Ayadi

Emna started her session with this question; “How can we create links between different people?” The answer is, we need to create a community of practice.

The reason we need a Community of Practice lies within the following four catchwords.

When groups are isolated (testers, developers etc.) it’s easy to blame one particular group. To mix the groups is effective for teamwork, which means to bring people together with the same interests but not the same skills. A Community of Practice is a combination of Community, Domain and Practice.

Emna recommended some games which can help in the process of forming the CoP. 

For example – 

  • “Questions for testers” by James Lindsay, I already mentioned this game in my first week’s report which you may find here.
  • Lean Coffee can be held virtual or in person.
  • RiskStorming, to gather members to establish a test strategy also to be found here.
  • Scrum@Play, participants exchange together about Scrum using cards.
  • DevOps Cards is a game that delivers.
  • Agile Test Coaching Cards, where teams can explore their way of testing.

The Community of Practice enables us to share the knowledge one has and brings us together to build an even stronger community. 

“Knowledge is a treasure, but the practice is the key to it.” Léo Buscaglia

Emna also mentioned the five orders of ignorance by Philipp G. Armor – 

  • 0th Order Ignorance – Lack of Ignorance
  • 1st Order Ignorance – Lack of knowledge
  • 2nd Order Ignorance – Lack of awareness
  • 3rd Order Ignorance – Lack of Process
  • 4th Order Ignorance – Meta Ignorance

Recommendations by Emna to build a community:

  • Community identity and social media
  • Members Identity, 
  • Meetup schedule and frequency
  • Find the right people
  • Define purpose
  • Find a facilitator
  • Find a sponsor
  • Go to multiple locations
  • Make it fun

Emna concluded her session with this wonderful sketch which I don’t want to miss sharing with you.

My key learning from this session is never to forget this thing i.e. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Wednesday, August 12th

The day started with “Testing with ML Products” by Sri Sabarinath. 

My session notes –

What is machine learning (ML)?

Making the machine to learn to do certain things; it can be to identify objects, answer questions, detect the topic of a given content, so on and so forth.

For teaching the machine, we use mathematical concepts, algorithms and statistical models.

Sri talked about Environment Crunches. This deals with multiple items, unlike normal software world-

  1. Orientation
  2. Lightning & Colors
  3. Distance & Height Variations
  4. Backdrop
  5. Different shapes

Some of the high-level challenges with testing ML products would be :

Difficulty in reproducing a defect. Root causing the defect is not easy.

To make decisions from the results and working with ML/Applied scientists is not a cakewalk.

That was indeed an interesting session which left me wondering about the complex world of AI and Machine Learning. 

Later this day I attended “No Team, No Tests, No Time or How To Survive and Thrive when Resources are Limited” session by Iryna Suprun

Iryna started the session with a very meaningful message. This presentation was supposed to be different. It was supposed to be in NY, it was supposed to be with all of us together. Like all of the presentations were supposed to be shared in a very different way and place. 

But we have to remember it is 2020 a year that’s different to the years before and sets a mark to the years that will follow from now on. So for now, stay safe, wear a mask and use disinfection. Better times will come.

My session notes from this talk –

What are the limited resources?

Challenging deadlines, bugs in production, understaffed or no QA teams and processes, no automation available or Covid19.

There is no Time to Die.

What can you do if you don’t have enough time for testing?

  • Test parties (prod + qas + support + technical services)
  • Everybody tests their own code
  • Dogfooding (make it easy)
  • Test only what matters (money flows, security)
  • Customers = testers
  • Feature toggling
  • Just ship it

What can you do if you are too busy to automate?

  • Do you really need to automate it?
  • Really? Why?
  • If you don’t automate it what will happen?
  • On what level do you want to automate it?
  • Bug on prod = automated test
  • Tools (recording went a long way)
  • Tools – browsers and devices
  • Tools – collecting user data (for existing functionality)
  • Can you automate testing not tests
  • Ignore the numbers (you do need certain coverage %)
  • Invest in the quality of test data

You can sum up this year’s budget in one word – Help!

  • Move functional, performance and security testing as much left as possible
  • If you can use users as testers – do it 
  • Use free tools
  • TDD/BDD
  • If bugs were found fix root cause – not the code only
  • Invest in technology
  • Prioritize (tests, tasks, etc.)
  • Do not save money on analytics and requirement gathering
  • Testing environments are cattle, not pets.

Cheap ways to improve quality can be static code analysis tools. Use documentation as a test plan.

But what can we do if there is no QA Team?

Iryna gave us some points were to have quality is a team responsibility but it should have an owner. Have quality goals and figure them out together, so everyone has the same understanding. Make automation a shared responsibility and consider using TDD/BDD. 

Decide feature owners and go into visual testing to create epic kickoffs.

She also talked about some great tips on how to work in difficult situations like now, when we all had to move our office into our home and had to figure out how to be as productive as we were in our workspace without kids or dogs who interrupt our work.

And finally some thoughts on building QA Teams from scratch:

  • How many people do you need?
  • Do you need juniors or seniors?
  • Which set of skills do they need?
  • What personality will fit in?
  • Alternative: users, contractor, tools

And here are some QA processes to think about. Do not overthink, especially in the beginning, document and make each task somebody’s responsibility and adapt what is needed.

Keep calm and continue testing.

Right after I attended the “Workshop: Design Thinking for Testing Teams” by Jennifer Bonine

My session notes as follows – 

“Design thinking for testing: Connect to your customers.”

Why customer experience matters, companies with customer experience mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their industries.

Customers tell an average of nine people about a positive experience with a brand, but they tell 16 people about a negative experience.

Put your customer first
To achieve your desired business outcome, focus on the customer and take a truly introspective look at where you are.
A survey found that 80% of CEOs believe they deliver superior customer experience; only 8% of their customers agreed. This is a monstrous gap – where we can help!

Addressing the Consumerization of IT

  • Customers now consider the quality of the digital experience they receive when weighting purchasing decisions.
  • The company takes the hit for any shortcomings the blame is quickly redirected towards IT
  • IT guidance must translate to business terms to really have a meaningful impact 
  • Focus on a modular architecture approach that leverages services will better position teams for success. 

87% of US eCommerce transactions happen via mobile devices and percentages are exploding.

It’s People, Process and Technology

Digital transformation is the intersection of people, process and technology fused to help businesses better innovate, compete and win in a digital-first world.

8 Transformations attributes in companies

Discover:

Pain: Emotional or rational problem (perspectives are different)

Understand: Common understanding of the problem and defining of the design challenge.

Observe / Data Mining: Interview and observation of the customer in order to obtain “Deep Insights”

Data discovery for extracting “Deep Learning” from data.

Create: 

Define: Combination of “Deep Insights” and “Deep Learnings” in order to define the point of view.

Ideate: Development summary, and evaluation of the greatest possible number of ideas.

Deliver:

Prototype/ Modeling Experiments: Making Ideas tangible with prototypes. Experimenting and visualization of “Insights” with models.

Test / Proof of value: Join testing of the prototypes and the models, visualizations, and dashboards with customers.

Realize: Refining the concept and implementation of the solution.

Jennifer shared an idea on how to get started to think differently.

  1. Put modelling clay in some carrying container 
  2. Prep a mini-pedestal for your artwork
  3. Take it out and play!

When you’ve reached a good stopping point, pause, look at what you’ve created and asked yourself something.

This becomes the nexus of the whole experience
To learn when to pause.
To learn to see.
To learn how to question.

At this point I can add something I am using for myself, for example, you can use playdoh, it is reusable and kneading it in your hands reduces stress in the same time you are creating something new and the fun part it is available in every colour your mood is currently attracted to. Enjoy.

To completely connect to our customers Jennifer recommends to work with Customer Persona/ Avatar. Some of you might have attended the “Fictional Test Data” by Joshua Russell. He also spoke about the importance of using a persona/ avatar. If you missed his session you can find more about it in my report here.

Creating a persona/avatar, you create a detailed profile of your ideal customer. It doesn’t make assumptions or categorize people into groups and the persona/avatar on one person and outlines everything about them.

Do you work already with Persona/ Avatar? If not, then now is the time.

We would love to get introduced to your Persona/ Avatar. Let us know what Avatar you created @testmasteracad and @Jennifer Bonine and @AstridWinkler4, don’t forget the #tmatlc2020.  Get creative, finding new ways and ideas.

You are also invited to introduce us to your existing Persona/ Avatar

  1. Pick one customer persona for a product you use or work on
  2. Write down all the information
  3. Fill in:
  • Demographics
  • Sociographic
  • Psychographics

Some more insights/tips on Personas:

Personas help you know your customers, understand your customer’s needs and expectations and create better experiences that they find exciting.

Visualize the customer’s journey with all its relevant details and understand your customer’s experience.

Learn who influences your service and how they are interconnected and then organize your stakeholders in three circles – Is the stakeholder essential, important or interesting? Which ones are local, national or international?

Jenny concluded her session with the following picture.

There are a few ways we can choose to go, not everyone will be right but every experience is worth making and even the wrong way can sometimes lead us to beautiful destinations. So even if a decision was wrong, change, start again and take the knowledge with you.

Thursday, August 13th

Another day to go at TMATLC2020 and one more week will come to an end. “Transforming Insider Inc.`s Test Automation Strategy” by Chaithra Rao started my session day for me and I was excited to be part of it. Chaithra started to talk about the challenges she faced reflecting in the team by asking questions and starting a journey to find answers as a team.

What did they do to fix those?

By asking who they were as a QA team and why were they automating? They decided to change the name of the QA Team to be Test Engineering, which was just the beginning of the change when they dissolved the test framework and started to rethink their automation in the testing strategy. [Replace this with “their strategy for automation in testing”]

How did they avoid the ongoing projects from being adversely affected?

They used a lightweight framework that was simple, easy to set up and fast to run.

How did they divide the work to try different proof concepts?

With their automation strategy.

Chaithra mentioned the lessons she learned during her journey to find the answers that lead her and the team to success (and can also help you find the answers you might be looking for?) 

The lesions were –

Don’t doubt your abilities, set smart goals and clear expectations while you give and receive constructive feedback. Recognize and appreciate great work, lead with empathy and cultivate a culture of learning in your team.

My key takeaways from this session –

  • Take a step back, see the big picture and evaluate
  • Trust your instincts, your team and the process
  • Empower your team to success
  • Provide constant learning and growth opportunities
  • Lead with empathy
  • Don’t be afraid to start over.

I left this session with a bag full of answers, learnings and ideas for all my upcoming experiences I might make.

“Don’t be afraid to start over. This time you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience”

There was no time to close my bag, so I left it open because I was sure about more knowledge lined up and fill all the empty pockets I had then with the next session about “Building the QA Team of the 2020’s”  by  Kirk Walton.  And he started with, “Great Teams create great Tech.” But how to create a great team who will create the great results we want to reach?

Kirk said “Quality matters more than ever” and to support that he presented the following numbers – 

  • 33% of a customer would leave a brand they love after one negative experiences
  • 92% of customers would leave a brand they love after two or three bad experiences

This left me thinking on how many employees would do the same after one or two bad experiences happen in their job? And when is it only bad experience in their opinion?

Kirk presented Transformation Maturity Journey to help us understand better on what stage we are d where we want to be with our teams.

To find out on what stage you are with your team it is important to focus on two different paths with your team.

The part that is technically focused:

  • Heavily focused on automation and performance testing
  • The “True” SDET role
  • Upskilling opportunity for those test professionals with the ”coding gene”
  • Great opportunity for consulting help from the outside.

The part that is business-focused:

  • Quality Advocates -instil the QA mindset throughout
  • Quality Coaches – train “how to test”
  • Domain experts
  • Exploratory Testing
  • Customer / end-user advocates
  • Humanual Testing

In the session, we got some tips on how we can assess our current team – 

  • What skills do they currently have? Do they fit your future vision?
  • Identify skill gaps
  • Assess for aptitude and interest
  • Check with HR for tools they may have
  • tap QA has a high-level skill assessment we use we can share.

To build your team from the outside, Kirk recommended creating a persona and game plan for the hiring process asking yourself a few questions.

  • Who are the top performers in your team, what are their traits, behaviours, attitudes, skills do they have in common?
  • What skill gaps do you have these new individuals need to have?

And when you answer these questions, congratulations, you’ve just created your persona. 

This may be more effective than a job description.

Candidates, interview you as much as you interview them. So also make sure you are prepared and have great questions ready for the candidate. 

Here are some great questions you can use for your next interview:

  • What are you ideally looking for in a new role?
  • What’s the biggest difference from where you were 3 -5 years ago and where you are today?
  • What’s the best thing you’ve learned in the past year?
  • What’s the most useful piece of constructive criticism you’ve received?
  • Why are you leaving your current role?

When the interview is done and if you like the candidate, be sure to address their top concerns, and how your organization meets their needs!

Q A R Question Answer Reaction!

That was a long week indeed. The weekend is already here and it is time to take a break. My bag of knowledge got quite full during the past weeks and I am still motivated and excited to get more. I hope you will join me on my way.

This week again made a great contribution to my knowledge and experiences. Not only to share them but also get the inspiration to try something new and think out of the box. Even though sometimes our boxes are very cosy and comfortable, isn’t it very interesting to leave our comfort zones and try something we never thought we would be capital of?

In the worst-case things won’t work out but we will still learn from that experience and all that really matters is that we made an effort.

For now, I will leave you figuring out what it would be you can do next, that you never did before.  And I am curious to know. 

Wish you a wonderful weekend!

See you soon.

Astrid

Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from Switzerland. Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4

 

 

What has new knowledge, new chances, and new options in common? YES! A new week of TMATLC 2020

The third week started and I must admit, the time flies fast. I am always surprised by how much knowledge can be shared just in one week.

Monday, August 3rd

The first day started with the interesting session “Building Better Teams and Testers Through Play” by Jenny Bramble.

Jennifer started the session with this inspiring saying by Vygotsky – “Activity that is desired, involves an Imaginary situation, and always involves rules.”

Below are my notes from this session – 

Why should we start playing? Because to play is to heal.

  •  Play helps those with the most to learn
  • Play creates and reinforces the social bonds we need to operate as a team
  • Play is good for professional development

We find ways to bring play into our lives. Sometimes the random unstructured play- escape rooms, video games, puzzles help us. Play reinforces our social bonds, helps us grow professionally.

Flow Time is Wolf Time backwards. Wolf Time is semi-structured, regular, limited and often one person is in charge of arranging it.

Few examples for your own Wolf Time:

  • Board Games
  • Giant Jênga tower games
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Cook together
  • Scavenger hunt in the office

Emna Ayadi created this lovely sketch note and kindly let me use it for this report. Have a look at how we build better teams and tests through play in this colourful illustration.

I would summarize my understanding of this session with the below points:

  • Play is team bonding and building activity. 
  • Creatures who need to learn the most, play the most. 
  • Start small and group to bigger games
  • Any play is healthy.

Tuesday, August 4th 

I had the opportunity to attend a second session by Jenny Bramble named “Building Automation Engineers from Scratch”  

The outline for this session was: 

  • You never start from zero, you start with your assumptions
  • Setting expectations
  • Framework for success
  • Face challenges
  • Win

Here are my notes from this session – 

Assumptions – your resources;

You have a group of manual testers or are a manual tester who is interested in moving forward. You have time, resources like some kind of support system, or people willing to help to apply in this adventure. And you are willing to make a plan and execute that plan.

Framework for success;

What do you know? Remember this is a skill built on top of your existing skills, not starting from zero.  Learn to code; don’t learn to automate. You don’t just drop your manual skill set completely to pick up automation, everything you have done in your past is a stepping stone to making automation better. Have the ability to learn, and use tools including asking questions.

Face challenges and make automation invaluable, professional development means change and change leads you to victory.

Albert Einstein once said, “Try not to become a {Human} of success. Rather, become a {human} of value.” 

My key learning from this session are:

  • Find a mentor
  • Pairing between devs and testers helps
  • Dedicate time for reviewing PRs, helping other teams and other tasks
  • Refer example automation projects
  • Use coursework
  • Try games (last session by Jenny)

Shortly after this lively presentation, we continued with “Why is there a Marvel in your Nose?” by Angela Riggs

Angela recommends the following skills to help us during our work with people. 

Let me mention some of them in detail.

Even at work, we can not separate our emotions from ourselves as an individual. People need time and space to get through their emotions. Negative emotions reduce people’s capacity for effective and productive work.

Empathy gives us a better awareness of our role, relationships, and work.

Understanding emotions make us better testers because it allows us to work in a way that meets people’s emotional needs. Empathy makes us better testers to understand the people we are working with and the people we are building for better.

Leading through influence is all about building relationships and trust with people and it makes us better testers when we lead with trust and collaborate.

Communication is a way of transferring ideas, it happens whether or not we intend to happen. Effective communication means adapting your communication style for different audiences. Communication makes us better testers because we have more awareness and control over the ways we share and receive information.

Attention, you get the behaviours that you give attention to.

Angela shared an important rule about feedback. Negative feedback registers more quickly, one small instance of criticism may make a big impact on your team.  One negative feedback will overthrow five positive feedbacks. We need to mind how we are giving feedback as a leader? Keep this rule in mind and think about it the next time before and how you will communicate your feedback. 

Attention to details makes us better testers because it helps us understand the impact of our interactions.

We learn, retain knowledge, and improve the most when we succeed in something that challenges us. Our experiences make us better testers.

Wednesday, August 5th

I was very excited to attend the “Workshop: Why Your Team isn’t Performing” by Kim Adès 

For this session we were given the following agenda:

  1. Why people struggle to perform
  2. Strategies to accelerate performance
  3. Exercise for the bold and courageous

Kim explained four areas of struggle to be isolation, the fiction of communication/relationship, chronic dissatisfaction, and slippage. Based on my experience of working in teams, I can relate to some of these, especially the one about communication. 

In her session, Kim also explained some interesting thinking strategies to improve team performance, such as – 

Thinking strategy One: Challenge their (team) beliefs

What is true of what you believe? Journal it down, what are your fundamental beliefs? Are they true? Under what condition will they change? When behaviours change, all the questions you had before may not be important anymore.

Thinking strategy Two: ResourcefulnessWays of thinking process our behaviour and our behaviour is a reflection of our beliefs.

Thinking strategy Three: Focus on what they (team) really really want. How to find what you really really want? Look at yourself (team), ask yourself, all answers lie in your beliefs. Review answers to living the life you want.

One sentence stuck with me from this session which was- outstanding performance is NOT about skill, it is all about our beliefs.

Thursday, August 6th 

“Embarking into the new World of Al-First: Survival Kit” by Jennifer Bonnie

This session about Artificial Intelligence started with this interesting message; “Where we are going, good enough is death.”

My session notes: 

Foresight = discuss the future, shape the future and imagine the future

Three things to keep in mind –

  1. Put your customer first
  2. Don’t forget about employee engagement – turn them into “Innovations Agents”
  3. Transformation effort should bridge the old new

Three gatekeepers for the words of the tongue to ask yourself before you address any message to someone else. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? 

The following eight job skills, according to Jennifer, will lead to success in a post-Covid19 World.

  1. Leadership
  2. Tech Savvy
  3. Creativity and innovation
  4. Data literacy
  5. Critical thinking
  6. Digital Marketing and Coding skill
  7. Emotional Intelligence
  8. Lifetime learning

Lessons we learned today, don’t be afraid to build stuff you might throw away, keep your skills current and luck favours the present.

Friday, August 7th 

This week ended with a session named-  “What needs to change to be your best?” hosted by Amy Jo Esser And it was worth the wait and staying up late to be a part of it. (Yes, I attended it at 3 AM my time)

“Being the best version of you” changes your habits and it will change your life.

Some rules that Amy mentioned:

Rule One.

Make it a must. A Necessity.  A non-negotiable. Create and write down a big why. It’s critical you master this skill/habit

Rule Two.

“Eat that Frog” first Brian Tracy has said, that your “frog” should be the most difficult task on your things-to-do list. The one you are most likely to procrastinate on.

Rule three.

Start tiny and atomic. Tiny habits and atomic habits. To change your habits and so your life seriously, Amy Jo shared ten simple hacks to follow how to change a habit/skill for the future.

What needs to change to be your best?

  1. Answer the best leader questions.
  • What does being the best leader look like for me?
  • What skills do I need to master to be the best leader I can be?
  • What do planning, preparing, and practising look like for me?

2. Select a challenging leadership skill you want to improve or master.

  • Write down what skill you want to improve, break down the skill, write down ideas of the different areas that you may have to learn and practice in order to master this skill.

3. Manage your mindset – determine if you have any limiting beliefs around this skill that could hold you back.

  1. Plan when you will practice your skill.
  2. Create and write down why you must practice this skill.
  3. Practice this skill daily.
  4. Create and print out some version of a 66-day calendar to put a victory check on each day after your practice. Don’t break the chain!
  5. Be aware and fight “The Resistance” that will show up.
  6. Make a commitment and contract with yourself. Honour is like a commitment you would make to someone else.
  7. Print off and sign the contract. Review every single day.

Change for better NOW, there is no better time coming. Below you find a contract you can sign right now and start working towards your change. Let us know on Twitter @TestMatserAcad, @ajesser and @astridwinkler4 with the hashtag #tmatlcs2020

What are you going to change next? 

I would always remember these great words by Amy, “Every struggle is one step closer to greatness.”

We had a great week together and another one is already waiting. This awesome week full of leadership knowledge, testing wisdom, and personal growth hacks was a great push forward. 

If I may, I would like to dedicate this week to late Kobe Bryant who said,  “There’s a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals. If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision. 

Thank you for your precious time to read my summary of the third week of Test Leadership Congress 2020. I am already excited about the next week and hope you will join me again. 

See you next week. 

Astrid. 

Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4

 

The force was indeed with me – fighting against the odds and making most of it

This is my the last write up on the second week of my experience with Test Leadership Congress 2020. If you missed the previous articles then I recommend you to please read those herehere and here.

Thursday, July 30th

Today we had a repeat-delivery of two sessions .“Too Fast Too Furious: A story of being first QA manager” by Priyanka Halder and “Workshop: The Personality Puzzle: Building a Solid Team” by Brittany Sherell.  Feel free to read more about my experience with these sessions in my report from yesterday here.

This day was a bit challenging for me because some of the topics were pretty new to me considering my non-technical background. Nevertheless, I enjoyed what I could gather out of it and certain topics have raised my curiosity around this dynamic world of software testing. 

The session  “Measuring Release Quality and Delivering Release Value” led by Marina Bechaalani was interesting. However, as a non-technical person, I had to be on my toes and put a lot of energy to follow and understand everything at the same time. Sometimes it becomes challenging to understand things if you are not familiar with the profession. But I was determined and decided not to give up. So there was I, listening, learning and using all my passion in understanding things.

I learned an impressive definition of quality from this talk.

“Quality is value to some person, at some time, who matters”.

(Oh, by the way, I discussed this topic with some cool people and learned more about this definition of quality. It was originally given by the great Jerry Weinberg and James Bach apparently extended it to the “who matters” part. Isn’t it cool?)

Marina said that if we do not concretize and align upfront on the “values to persons who matter today”, we will miss the important aspects of quality that matter and it will result in a lot of rework. I agree 🙂 

Key learnings:

  1. Quality of a product does not have a meaning without knowing the concerned persons who matter today and understanding very well what they value in the product.
  2. A measure and corresponding visualization can be applied in a tester’s workplace to drive the construction of a release based on the targeted values.
  3. A measure and corresponding visualization can be applied in a tester’s workplace to drive the feedback loop on a release based on the targeted values.

“How will I measure release quality?” was the biggest question Martina faced when she was a release lead. 

And her approach has been – 

Step 1: Defining the values

Step 2: Defining the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) assessing the status of values

Step 3: Gathering feedback from releases used by clients

Step 4: Using the metrics

Right after this interesting session, I attended the “Fictional Test Data” by Joshua Russell. For everyone who could not make it, you can see Joshua again on Friday morning. In this session, I got a lot of knowledge about the thoughts a tester has to have in mind while figuring out what will be useful and what not. 

My session notes as follow –

What is the test data?

  • Master data
  • Transactional data
  • Analytic data

Create the test data that tells a clear story, with believable details, and is carefully curated, including using Personas.

And then you can design software for specific users, not some generalized user.

And use personas to represent specific users throughout development.

Here two different examples: 

Well, this makes me super happy actually. I am now convinced that the user-persona that I represent in my personal life, is surely part of someone’s test-data and making sure to consider my needs as a user. So to me, you testers surely are superheroes. Shout out to all of you.

Key highlights from Joshua’s talk:

  • Test data should be recognizable and memorable
  • Test data should be realistic and relatable
  • Test data should be curated and readily available

I am always amazed at how time flies even in a subject that is not really related to me or my work. There was so much knowledge in each and every session but not enough time to digest it all, the next session was already lined up. And so we moved on to “Cypress, TestCafe, Puppeteer & Playwright!!! Which one to use? Confused? Let’s talk and Clear the Air” by Sunny Sachdeva

Sunny’s topic was mainly about Javascript and automation in testing.

Here are some things to remember from Sunny’s session:

  • Options are open now for Selenium alternatives
  • The strategy should be based on PPP&I
  • Don’t be a victim to Affirmation bias.
  • Understand your product requirement
  • Get insights from your product analytics and check how your customers are using the product
  • Have a POC and define entry and exit criteria
  • Have weightage to each parameter in POC

And with this topic, the day concluded. With my head full of new information that I could use for my learning, I was glad I made it till the end of the day. 

Oh and one more thing. Most likely I won’t make it to the conference tomorrow and therefore you might miss my reporting for the day. 

After that last session for the week, the celebration awaits you with fantastic “Fireside Chats and Happy Hour”. I hope you would have a drink and toast virtually from your homes to this great week we had together. 

Cheers and happy weekend. 

Stay safe. 

Astrid. 

Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4

 

The Speed, Agility and Team Spirit – are you ready to embrace it all?

This is my fourth write up on my experience with Test Leadership Congress 2020. If you missed the previous three, then I recommend you to please read those here, here and here.

Wednesday, July 29th 

“Agile has Stopped My Career Growth. Now What?” by Brijesh Deb

Agile is seen by a lot of testers, especially of a certain experience range, as the adversary of testing, stopping their career growth. However, in reality, Agile has more opportunities for testers. This talk was aimed at helping people understand the role of a tester in Agile projects and addressing a common misconception about Agile stopping career growth.

After this session a group discussion on the topic, “Career Development Opportunities for Agile Testers” took place. 

The session “Too Fast Too Furious: A story of being first QA manager” by Priyanka Halder was very interesting and meaningful for everyone who isn’t a manager yet and about to become one and also for everyone who is already a manager but maybe needs some refreshers.

Here are my session notes: 

As per Priyanka, a good QA Manager has to be a great leader first. She shared three mantras for the first time managers:

  • Bring out better outcomes from a group of people working together
  • Build a great team – Care Personally, Challenge Directly
  • Give and receive feedback openly

Lead vs. Manager

Your Job as a manager is to get better outcomes from a group of people working together.

Purpose: Do we know the Vision and path to achieve it?

  • People: Understand, develop and aspire to be their best self
  • Process: Running effective meetings, future-proofing against past mistakes, planning for tomorrow, and nurturing a healthy culture.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Building a great team means to build trust, understand the motivation -inner motivation vs. outer motivation. Be compassionate and delegate to make the team self-sufficient. Appreciate privately and publicly but show vulnerability and offer psychological safety.

Which leads us to the FBI Framework for communication and feedback.

F = Feeling: What emotion did the action or behaviour of the other cause you?

(Are you angry, anxious, sad, disappointed, or happy, surprised, thankful?)

B = Behaviour: What was the exact action that caused this emotion?

(Note that you should not use the phrase “you always” or “you never”)

I = Impact: What were the consequences of this action?

A great Manager never stops growing and never stops motivate his team to grow too.


Right after this inspirational session, we were able to join a workshop which was as meaningful and important as all the other great sessions we had this week. And I am really grateful that I had the opportunity given to me by Anna Royzman to participate in this great conference.

The “Workshop: The Personality Puzzle: Building a Solid Team” by Brittany Sherell was so much fun in a serious way which made me realize how important it is to grow as a private person also as the business person. It doesn’t matter in which field you are working if you are already a leader or not, but this knowledge is for sure priceless.

My notes from the session by Brittany – 

Brittany opened her workshop with an interesting quote –

“People don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.”

As a leader, you will be able to:

  • Identify common personality types and behaviours
  • Recognize how to blend diverse strengths for improved productivity
  • Leverage individual personality challenges to create more team cohesion

But what is personality in the workplace?

And why is personality in the workplace important?

25% admit they took their frustrations out of customers.

63% reported that they lost work time avoiding someone who offended them.

78% said their commitment to the organization declined in the face of toxic behaviours.

Are you ready to play the personality puzzle?

Brittany showed us 4 different symbols and we had 30 seconds to choose one for ourselves. Which one would you choose? Are you ready to unlock the puzzle? Share your choice on Twitter @testmasteracad and @Brittany Sherell and @AstridWinkler4 and we would love to share your result with you. Don’t forget the hashtag #tmatlc2020

And now here are strategies to build a solid team:

  • Discuss team personalities and preferences (survey,  a team meeting, etc.)
  • Collaborate as a team on how each member can use their strengths to contribute in the most powerful way.
  • Create an environment that welcomes two-way, continuous feedback.

Use self-awareness to build a solid team means to ask yourself:

  • How do other people see me?
  • What are my strengths/positive traits?
  • Are my potential pitfalls showing up right now?

Key takeaways

  1. Unchecked personality clashes are costly
  2. Meshing a team with diverse personalities requires the ability to discern the positives and pitfalls at play on the team
  3. Leveraging personalities happens with communication, collaboration and strategic contributions.

Encourage your team members to share their rhythms and preferences upfront to find the proper way to collaborate. 

Later on, a Lean Coffee session happened and I am sure testers enjoyed sharing and solving their problems through discussions and brainstorming. 

And now, with all this inspiration for how to build a solid team and never stop growing for yourself and your job I will take your leave. We might see each other tomorrow.

See you soon. 

Astrid. 

Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care.

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4

Drenching in the rain of leadership – TMATLC 2020 saga continues

This my third write up on my experience with Test Leadership Congress 2020. If you missed the previous two, then I recommend you to please read those here and here

Tuesday, July 28th

Sessions on Monday kept me thinking about ideas shared, indeed. It kept me wondering about the beautiful word of software testing that appears to me. And I must admit how interesting I am finding all the talks, especially on leadership. Being a Project Manager myself I feel I can closely relate to most of the things discussed. 

With that in mind, I was looking forward to another great day and the day gave me nothing to complain about. 

Vojin Popovic opened the day with his session “Improving Communication and Teamwork Using Perceiver Element Grid (PEG)”.

Here are my session notes if that interests you: 

Perceiver Element Grid (PEG) is a particular type of qualitative grid useful in work with teams, families, and individual work. 

Usually, when we communicate on a project, we assume that our team members have the same understanding of the team values as we do. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The PEG allows us to come up with a common understanding of team values and roles within the team using a simple grid. A stable, valued team is so important especially during this critical Times we are facing right now, it becomes even more important that we have a team we can trust. 

How to use PEG with your team:

  • An initial explanation is given to the team, including the idea that everyone has their unique view on life, themselves, their situation, and each other.
  • This includes that everyone there is a set of “constructs” that we can view as calls to action.
  • Each team member is given a sheet of paper on which they can write their private thoughts. They will be able to select aspects of these that they are happy to share, but the sheet is for their eyes only.
  • The task is to imagine the team in six months or a year“ time, after which some useful work has been done and the team, though not ideal, is functioning well enough for work to be done and the atmosphere is pleasant for all.
  • Think of the team working together at this time. In this situation, how would you like to be able to see yourself? Write down three ideas, or two or just one. More if you like. 
  • Now write the names of the others down and put how you would like to be able to see them. Put three ideas down about them. Positive ideas are better, avoid using “not” or “less”
  • The facilitator helps the members with this, clarifying the task, helping them to imagine an actual situation under the improved conditions, and finding suitable words or phrases for them.
  • When the team is ready, the facilitator asks them to choose their best idea, or most representative idea, that is alright to share with the group. Enter these into the diagonal cells for each member, having drawn up a blank PEG with the correct number of rows and columns to correspond to each other.
  • These are labeled in the same order from the top left-hand corner along the rows down the columns, people as perceivers on the left, and as elements along on the top.
  • If this has been achieved satisfactory enough, one can move on to filling in the other cells of the PEG, being aware to work sensitively around in the other difficult points of tension, and ensuring a good spread of contributions from different members.

To me, this session was a great inspiration and I hope this will reach so many others out there who can use it as a help to build a team. It made me remember the quote Dawid shared in his presentation from Richard Brandson i.e. “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” If we value our team – they value our business.

The following session “Risk or Fear: What Drives Your Testing?” was delivered by Jenna Charlton and I found it interesting. 

Jenna explained her ideas with such great examples that a newbie like me also could understand how essential software testing is and why it needs to be valued.

Some highlights from Jenna’s talk –

“Airplanes have visible and invisible risks. The service cart stops rolling, and the crew can work around by carrying the drinks on a tray. We need to hold each perceived risk up to scrutiny and confirm the amount of impact and risk – focus testing here.”

Having the risk score go up isn’t necessarily bad – it can mean you learned more about the risks. Done is the goal to revisit risks as you go at appropriate intervals.

Some things to remember – 

  • Discernment: Test decisions, what is your real motivator?
  • Embracing the concept, “What is good enough quality?”
  • Reassessing risk by integrating new data
  • How to overcome bias created by fear and previous failures

I was not able to attend the last two sessions since it’s too late in the evening for me, but still, I would like to mention a few highlights of each session in this report. I am sure both the sessions were great and interactive. 

“Building Automation Engineers from Scratch” by Jenny Bramble

This talk was about building automation engineers. Creating automation engineers from manual testers is hard. Even if testers are willing, they have a lot of hurdles to get over to feel like the same kind of subject matter experts in automation as they are in manual testing.

In this talk, Jenny covered – 

  • The basic framework your manual testers need to be successful, including how to determine where the gaps in knowledge are and filling them.
  • Advice on managing the expectations of your testers and management from time constraints to what success looks like.
  • Several teaching methods are framed around a case study of a team that built itself up from the inside out and is running a successful automation suite.
  • Facing and overcoming other challenges such as ability and perceived ability, resources, time, tooling, and how to get your team excited for a new chapter in their professional development.

Another interesting session as it seemed from the abstract was – “Embarking into the New World of Al-First Survival Skills” by Jennifer Bonine

I found it particularly interesting for the Fuzzy-techie combo Jenni mentioned. I guess I would certainly watch the recordings of the talks I could not attend. There is so much to learn and get excited for. Love TLC and I must thank Anna for involving me in this project. 

 “Know what your narrative is. What your life experience is. The result is our reality and sometimes we distort reality.

Oh by the way, during the day again  Lean Coffee sessions happened which invited all the different members of this conference for interactive participation. Even though I was not able to be there I am sure it was a great experience to meet each other from across the world from the comfort of your home.

That’s it for the day. See you tomorrow.

Astrid.

Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4

The fun continues – Experience report of  TMATLC 2020 – Day 1

Some of you might have read my experience report for the pre-conference week of Test Leadership Congress 2020. In case you missed it then please find it here.

Monday 27th July

Seems like an interesting week ahead. I started my Monday with this inspiring tweet from Roberto Salas who has summarized the leadership beautifully.

The first session started with Alexander Podelko who shared his knowledge with us around “Context-Driven Performance Testing” 

Alexander recommended ApacheJMeter and  Gatling Tool as tools for performance testing and emphasized that performance testing better be part of performance engineering.

Alexander touched upon interesting bits of Performance Risk Mitigation such as –

  • Single -user performance engineering  – Profiling, WPO, single-user performance
  •  Software Performance Engineering
  • Modeling, Performance Patterns
  • Instrumentation / PM / Monitoring
  • Production system insights –  Capacity Planning / Management 
  • Resources Allocation
  • Continuous Integration / Deployment
  • Ability to deploy and remove changes quickly

Later on, Dawid Pacia shared his experience of a tester becoming a change agent of quality assurance,  in his great session called “When Startup Meets Quality…A Short Story of QA Game Changer

Dawid advised testers to show the value of testing to the whole organization.

Some highlights from this talk – 

What it takes to become a great Startup QA (Quality Assurance) Agent:

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” -Richard Branson

There are two paramount goals to be addressed at the company level which is to increase the quality of the product and to build culture across the organization.

Dawid`s definition –

  • Focus on Growth – It’s a business built to grow extremely rapidly. Startups want to conquer the world.
  • Work with technology – Startups find (new) scalable solutions to known problems (in an innovative way).
  • Searching Business Model – Search for a repeatable business model.

What can you do? Sky is the limit.

Dawid concluded his session with the words by Richard Branson.

During the day “lean coffee” sessions also happened which I could not participate in but I am sure they went great.

All in all, it has been an interesting day. Despite being a newbie to the testing world, I enjoyed the sessions I attended. Looking forward to the next awesome day. 

Signing out for the day.

Astrid. 

Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4

A week in a fun fare of Testing, Games, Leadership and Networking

Experience report of Test Leadership Congress 2020 pre-conference week

It has been great fun attending Test Leadership Congress 2020 so far. I like the fact that the conference is spread across the month and sessions are organized in such a way that there is something for everyone from different parts of the world.

Being a newbie to this field, I am still testing the waters and trying to get the feel of the interesting world of software testing, which I am getting to experience through TLC-2020. 

Here is my experience report from the pre-conference week. 

Monday, July 20th

This is my first time attending a testing conference. I have never really dealt with the topic of software testing today, but we should always remain curious and always be ready to learn something new. So I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

The day opened with a session by Ramit Manohar Kaul and Ajay Balamurugadas with the dual topics: “What Not to Do – Testing in Agile” and “Working with Tools for Testing”.

I liked this particular session because it gave us a little reminder of what we should not do while testing if we are part of the Agile team. With so much focus on delivering in time, in the world of Agile sometimes we forget or get carried away in the fast pace of things.

In this session, Ramit shared a few simple strategies to avoid chaos. For example –

  • Risk-based approach and execution based on breadth wise or depth-wise coverage or a mix of both. 
    • Breadth wise: all risks covered at a high level before moving deep down.
    • Depth wise: one risk deep testing before you move to another
  • Write a sprint objective on top of the task board so everyone remembers what and why they are doing and the outcome of it.
  • May sound funny but take breaks. If you see that the team has continuously put four hours without break, ask the team to take 30 mins compulsory break. The same goes for a heated debate.

Ajay demonstrated a variety of tools that help him do his job as a tester. Not just automation tools! All the little helpers that make professional testing easier and more effective.

Later on the day, another interesting session happened that was led by James Lyndsay. It was about a testing game including networking. This session was run throughout the week. 

James was running Questions for testers to help testers build connections. QfT works with teams who know each other well, and strangers who share an interest in testing. It is a game to connect testers and trigger conversations. 

If you are interested to try it by yourself and use it in your team in the future, then please find the information below. 

You can play it in person with cards from https://github.com/workroomprds/QuestionsForTesters or online by using http://exercises.workroomprds.com/qft/

Rules of the game

Process 1: Make a group. 

Process 2: Take turns. Each turn, one of you reads a question, and its options, out loud – then chooses one option, privately. Harder decisions are more interesting.

Process 3: Talk. The reader may give points to anyone who predicts (or sways) their choice. Return to 2.

Ranking: Points are pointless.

Give it a try and see how far you might go. 

Tuesday, July 21st

The second day started with a session about “NPV for Test Automation” talk + “Business-driven test automation” demo led by Nishi Grover Garg and Ashutosh Garg. 

Test automation seems to be an interesting thing in testing. A lot of automation projects are just started, continued, and then shunted without measuring the impact automation created. Automation should be done with a purpose, either saving effort (or cost) or increasing coverage. This session was focused on how we can use the NPV (Net Present Value) financial framework on test automation to decide whether to start the project or not.

The latest release of the Sahi Pro Software introduces the brand-new concept of Business-driven Test Automation which solves the problem of functional automation simply and elegantly. 

Nishi explained about data-driven and on-data driven tests using Sahi Pro. She shared how the auto-heal happens for the change in the element name & when it does not work, shown by a demo.

After that interesting talk, the founder of Test Masters Academy, Anna Royzman hosted a brainstorming event all about the questions “What’s on your mind?” and “What problems do you want to solve this Summer?”

I am sure we testers are going to ask ourselves these questions again during the conference so if you don’t have your questions ready yet, I am sure they might come later and there still will be a time to share them or you already will find answers during the talks which are planned. 

Wednesday, July 22nd

On the third day, we had the opportunity to listen to Kunal Ashar and Santhosh Tuppad, who presented the “Externalization of Test Cases for Quick Delivery Talk + “Tools are my Servants. And I am the Master” Workshop & Demo.

Kunal explained through his talk how test-case management plays an important part in determining the success of automation and how externalizing test cases help us to pre-plan cases that need to be executed based on the bug-fix/impact areas.

In his session titled “Tools are my Servants. And I am the Master”, Santhosh gave us a live demo. In this tools demonstration, he was focusing on a variety of aspects or ways in how a specific tool can be used in our testing activity.

Thursday, July 23th

We started day four with another Game + Network Session by James Lyndsay and a group testing session modeled after the famous Weekend Testing, all in the name of Test, Learn and Collaborate. It was led by Ajay Balamurugadas.

In the afternoon we attended “The Art of Situational Leadership” talk and “Scale your automated tests using all one automation tool – TestProject” (demo) led by Sumeet Panjabi and Geosley Andrades respectively.

Sumeet and Geosley’s talk was focused around a shared language for talking about leadership bringing the relationship between an individual’s development level and the leadership style to follow. He talked about how to be a situational leader allowing you to partner with your people and build an environment of higher trust, positive intentions, and significant results. It was a powerful session on the art of situational leadership.

Though I have been a silent learner and observer, I was very happy to be here this week and attended the inspiring sessions with a lot of interest and I hope to see you all again next week.

Astrid 

Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland. She is a Project Manager by profession.

Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on Twitter @AstridWinkler4

 

CALL FOR PROPOSALS IS OPEN FOR OUR 2018 CONFERENCES

We are happy to announce dates for our conferences in 2018! Read about us HERE

Test Leadership Congress

June 4th-6th 2018, NYC

Test Leadership Congress is an international conference featuring emerging trends, latest developments, experience and practical advice in software quality leadership.

We invite YOU to learn from companies and innovators that occupy technology news headlines, be among the ones who influence the future of technology, and leave with ideas granting unfair competitive advantage.

Our presenters are scientists, executives and senior specialists overseeing software testing and quality engineering strategies.

BECOME TLC 2018 SPEAKER! SUBMIT PROPOSAL HERE.

ConTEST NYC

November 12th-14th 2018, NYC

ConTEST is the conference that explores the role of software quality and testing in the context of the modern world.

We invite YOU to discover emergent trends and practices in software testing and quality engineering, lay your hands and eyes on latest technologies and immerse yourself in the thought leadership of others in 3 unforgettable days at ConTEST NYC.

Our presenters are senior technologists, managers, and practitioners who are the innovators and experts in their field.

ConTEST NYC is on the list of best testing conferences 2018.

BECOME ConTEST 2018 SPEAKER! SUBMIT PROPOSAL HERE.

Conferences Venue:

AMA Conference Center, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

CALL FOR PROPOSALS  DEADLINE IS Sunday, FEBRUARY 11th