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Category Archives: Testing

STANZ speaker profile: Karen Johnson

If you’re interested in testing you’ll want to hear what testing experts have to say on the subject. At this year’s STANZ (Software Testing Australia New Zealand conference) there will be presentations from four international testing experts. Each week we’ll tell you a little bit more about each of them. This week we’re introducing Karen Johnson.

About Karen:

Karen is a software test consultant. She is based in Chicago but travels to speak at conferences around the world and work with organisations planning test strategy.

She has worked as a software tester or test manager since 1992 after catching the testing bug (pardon the pun) while writing technical guides.

Karen’s testing history is very varied. She has worked with banking, manufacturing and ecommerce software as well as content management systems, medical software and business intelligence initiatives.

As well as teaching and testing Karen is a contributing author to the book Beautiful Testing released by O’Reilly publishers. She has published numerous articles and blog posts about her experiences with software testing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in STANZ 2011, Testing

 

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Performance agreements when you are on projects

I was happily running a class when someone asked about how performance agreements work if you are on projects.

“Really well” I replied, “you just need a new one for each project you are on.”

My answer didn’t seem to go down well though. After all, who wants yet another piece of administration to do?

Then we discussed the problem that both permanent staff and contractors often have with projects. Contractors get no real feedback on how they are going until their contract ends, while permanent staff have to have a series of discussions based on a document that bears little relationship to what they are doing on their projects.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Business Analysis, Testing

 

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Learn from international experts. For free.

While you are progressing in your I.T. career you want to hear from the smartest people in the industry, right? Here at SoftEd we sell two and three day MasterClasses presented by industry experts, but if all you have is a couple of hours you can still benefit from attending a SoftEd sponsored meetup. Our speakers present at small, community events in Australia and New Zealand throughout the year; the next two talks will be in Brisbane and Sydney.

For Business Analysts in Brisbane

If you work in business analysis you have probably heard of Alec Sharp, author of the bestselling book, ‘Workflow Modelling’. He spends part of his time running his consulting business, Clariteq Systems Consulting and the rest of it conducting workshops and presenting at conferences. Any time which is left is dedicated to following his favourite ice hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks (and presumably sleeping). On the 28th July he’ll be in Brisbane presenting at the Agile Academy Meetup Group, talking about Agile Modelling. There has been a lot of change for business analysts over the past few years as companies have moved from ‘traditional’ software development which includes a huge amount of documentation to ‘Agile’ processes which have cut down documentation (sometimes dramatically). If you’re finding it tricky to negotiate between enough detail and information overload then Alec’s experience, tools and techniques will help you strike the right balance. As a result, your developers will have a better understanding of your project, your stakeholders will be happier and you’ll have an easier life, what could be better? If that sounds good to you please RSVP to attend.

Alec is running his Advanced Business Process Management course this July in Auckland, Wellington, Brisbane and Sydney and there are still a few places left if you would like to sign up.

For Testers in Sydney

If you work in testing you may have gone through the ISTQB to get certification, or you may have decided that it was not relevant or necessary and gone without, as one well-known testing expert, James Bach, has done. He is quite a controversial figure in the world of testing and is a powerful speaker who doesn’t shy away from challenges and rigorous debate. This means his Rapid Software Testing course is great for testers who want to examine what they do and why they are doing it, helping to concentrate their efforts and improve their confidence. James has partnered with SoftEd for years and we regularly bring him out to this part of the world to run courses, if you’re interested in hiring him to train your testers you can get in touch with us.

James will be in Sydney next Monday presenting at the Sydney Testers Meetup. Keep your eye on this group for future events because they’ll have more guest speakers throughout the year.

What’s next?

Who knows what the future will hold for you and your career? We don’t have any crystal balls, but we do have the phone numbers of international I.T. experts and if you subscribe to our blog or follow us on twitter we’ll let you know the next time they’re in town.

 

Kiwi Software Testers Unite!

Last weekend SoftEd and James Bach hosted the first Kiwi Workshop on Software Testing (KWST) at the SoftEd offices in Wellington. This event is special because of the very specific way it is set up and run (which I’ll discuss below). This particular event was also very special because of all the people who came along (on a Friday and Saturday) and contributed so much to the discussions we had. It definitely felt like the beginning of a conversation about the future of the testing profession, rather than a stand-alone event and we can’t wait to see what happens next! For more on the content of the KWST, read Brian Osman’s blog post.

Everyone!

So what are the rules? Firstly it is by invitation only and has a maximum of 20 participants. This is to ensure a wide range of backgrounds and opinions, but also some shared attributes, so in this case all of the participants were testing managers who would have enough shared experience to understand each other, but enough unique experience to learn from each other. Also keeping a cap on numbers is helpful because the conversations can go on for a long time. Even with the 20 or so people we had, KWST could have easily lasted two weeks rather than two days!

Hard at work!

Secondly the facilitation role is essential (massive thanks to Brian Osman for his heroic efforts there!). This is because everyone who attends KWST can make a presentation or deliver an ‘experience report’ and then a discussion can stem from there involving the whole group. There isn’t always time for everyone to give a presentation, but everyone gets the chance to participate in the discussion and it is not over until everyone is satisfied, which also has the consequence that a typical event will be able to cover no more than two or three topics at the most.

Facilitation cards

To aid the facilitator there are cards which each participant is given. If someone wants to contribute to the current discussion they hold up their yellow ‘same thread’ card. To start a new thread on the same topic they hold up their green ‘new thread’ card. Where they have something of high importance to contribute they hold up their red ‘high priority’ card and finally (perhaps most importantly) if the discussion is going off on a massive tangent anyone can hold up their purple ‘rat hole’ card. There is a fantastic blog post on how to run these events which covers more detail, especially about the role of the facilitator and to be honest if I were to write anymore I’d merely be copying what it said, so if you’re interested please follow this link to read it.

Of course you can also include games, plenty of breaks and delicious food to keep the brain active. For even more info on what was discussed at the event, the best thing to do is read the twitter feed of some of the participants: James Bach, Brian Osman, Aaron Hodder, Farid Vaswani, Oliver Erlewein, Richard Robinson and Nadine Brown or you can do a twitter search for the hashtag #KWST to see all the news! This new event framework has given us lots to think about. If you have any thoughts or ideas you would like to share, please leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you.

See the rest of the photos from the event on flickr

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Testing

 

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Exploratory Testing is Dead! Long Live Wombat Testing!

During one of my many customer visits last week I was talking to someone who has been a software tester and business analyst for the last six years. We talked about the variety of training courses there are available and the benefits they provide (letting them know that we offer lots of great testing courses at SoftEd of course!).

This customer hasn’t been on any training courses so far in their career but they did attend our STANZ conference in 2008 and it proved to be an informative experience. Without any specific guidance their team at work had come up with their own terminology for what they did, such as “Wombat Testing”. This was the name they gave to the practice of ‘burrowing’ through a system looking for bugs. After attending STANZ they realised that what they did had a ‘proper’ name: Exploratory Testing; and that actually lots of other test teams use it as well and have had great results.

I thought this was interesting for two reasons. Firstly I’ve heard people say ‘I don’t have time for training’ so many times, however when people have been able to go on a course or go to a conference we get an overwhelmingly positive response. This was certainly the case for this particular tester. They were in the middle of a big project when STANZ 2008 was on, and they had to make a case for attending the conference, but because they were successful they not only got to meet other testers with similar war stories but they also acquired new skills to improve their “Wombat Testing”. Secondly I think “Wombat Testing” is a brilliant name – Exploratory Testing is Dead, Long Live Wombat Testing!

(By the way, this is meant to be a story more than a sales pitch but if you do want to know more about STANZ you can visit our website and if you want help making a business case to secure your attendance this year, get in touch with SoftEd!)

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Courses, Testing

 

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SoftEd and Revolution IT partner up!

Last month Software Education and Revolution IT became partners, which means we can offer our customers the same fantastic software testing and business training courses, now run even more frequently in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Auckland and Wellington.

Software Education have been training providers for over 20 years and we pride ourselves on having excellent trainers. Our testing trainers consistently score top marks from our customers for both their knowledge and teaching ability. For more information on our testing courses have a look on our website and get in touch with us to book a place.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Testing

 

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Rex Black hosts a free webinar this Friday – Testing Metrics

This Friday at 1.30 (New Zealand) or 11.30 (NSW/QLD) Rex Black will be presenting a webinar entitled Testing Metrics: Project, Process and Product. If you use facts and figures to understand your business or your product, you’ll know how useful they can be. The problem is making sure your metrics are correct and useful. In this webinar Rex looks at how we can use metrics for testing, including which metrics we can use to measure the test process, metrics we can use to measure our progress and what metrics tell us about the quality of a product.

Those of you who know Rex will know that he speaks at several conferences and workshops around the world and has written several books on testing. The most popular of his books, “Managing the Testing Process”, has sold over 25,000 copies and has been translated into several languages. He is President and Principal Consultant of RBCS which is a leader in software, hardware and systems testing as well as past president of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) and the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB) and is co-author of the ISTQB Foundation and Advanced Syllabus. Phew! What a long list!

The other thing you might want to know about Rex is where you can do one of his courses. In Australia and New Zealand Software Education are exclusive partners with Rex so we’re the only organisation that run his courses. Drop Paula (NZ) or Bridgette (Aus) from our sales team an email if you’re interested in finding out more information.

This webinar is one of several FREE webinars which Software Education has hosted. We post all of our upcoming and previous webinars on our site. Some of the webinars are run by our partners (like tomorrow’s webinar) and some of them are done independently by us (these happen once every three months). This week Shane Hastie presented a webinar entitled ‘Building and Working With User Stories”. There were around 300 attendees from 14 different countries, including a handful from the U.S. which is even more impressive when you consider that it was about 5 a.m. for them! We have had some great feedback about the session and are really pleased that it has proved useful for people. At Software Education we’re always looking for ways to help our customers and fix their problems so do get in touch if you want to suggest topics or just tell us what you think in general 🙂

If you attend tomorrow hope you enjoy it (I’ll be logging in as well!) and if not then I hope one of our upcoming sessions is of interest. Thanks.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Testing

 

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