Tuesday, 9 November 2010

STC: A tester is for life, not just for Christmas

I have completed my form have you?

The Software Testing Club will be creating an ebook to help raise money for Oxfam this Christmas.

It needs your input as a tester – so if you have not yet completed the form go to the website and do so.

You can help by filling in this form, promoting the book and/or donating.

Then you can make a donation to OXFAM and promote this worthwhile cause by any communication means you have at your disposal.

For example
your blog
over drinks at the bar,
Whilst whispering sweet nothings to your sweetheart.
(oops strike the last one – that might get you in trouble)

but I hope you get the message the more people that know about this the better.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Exploring the World

I have noticed that I have been a little remiss with my blog recently, this has been due to a combination of different things such as workload, home life and not having a great amount to say, which is fairly unusual for me. I don’t want to blog for the sake of blogging I want to blog when I feel I have something to say about the testing world.

I will soon be on my travels again to talk about exploratory testing and testing skills this time in Israel as part of an internal company workshop. I find it interesting that again I will adjust my material to match my audience on a cultural level, see my previous blog about training in India (http://steveo1967.blogspot.com/2010/06/training-in-india.html).

I wonder how many of us do this and how many of us just keep the same material and just recycle it regards of the audience?

This brings me to the point of this blog, if we treat software as different cultures and we try to explore and communicate with these cultures in the exact same way each time without making adjustments for the cultural differences.

Are we going to get to know anything about this culture?
What will we learn?
Will this culture give us any useful information back?

If we compare this the approach I use when presenting you can see that I learn about the culture. I am exploring by communicating with it and finding out about all the subtle differences there are. I try to avoid the traps and fopars that can cause offence by being ignorant of the culture. I consult oracles that have knowledge of the culture; I use heuristics when presenting to test the reaction of the audience.

Does it respond well to what I am saying?
Is it losing interest?

I then adapt my presentation on the fly to try to re-engage with the audience.
I am using the exploratory approach when presenting and I do this naturally. I very much doubt that most people who read this blog do not change their material, communication methods and approach when working with different cultures.

So why do we as a testing profession still insist that we can test software with scripts that do not change or adapt to the slight differences in culture? Yes there is an argument that says something’s do not change regardless of the culture and that is true. However if you go to a different culture and you are ignorant about their values and beliefs and you are unwilling to learn then you will leave that culture none the wise or richer in experience and understanding.

Do not be ignorant about exploring software, yes you can use the same techniques and methods you have gathered over the years to explore the software but do not fall in to the trap of following things by rote.

Hopefully there will be a few events coming up soon in which I can get some more topics to blog about.

If anyone is interested I will be at Eurostar (http://www.eurostarconferences.com/) this year in Copenhagen Denmark and it would be nice to meet up with like minded people and hopefully have some great discussions over beer of course.