Thursday, 18 June 2009

Thoughts after June BCS SIGIST

I enjoyed SIGIST this time, last time I went I had the overwhelming urge to scream, something like "What are you people thinking!?" or maybe just ""STFU!" which may have ruined what little reputation I have as a thoughtful individual. Thankfully Michael Bolton was there this time so the bar was raised.

I was also seriously pleased to have a few beers with him and other folks last night and today just spend time absorbing what he had to say. James Lyndsay was there today too, I think he sneaked (snuck?) in. It was a bit of a double-take when I saw him having never met him before either. My colleague Ian has, he went on James' Rapid Test Course and is a changed man. Michael suggested a line of study to me, it's little things like this that mean a lot.

It's not wrong to say that the thinking Ian is coming up with now combined with my own stuff is rocking our clients world. 18 months ago when I joined NMQA I finally got time to really 'think' (write, post, ask, rethink) and study the work of folks like James B, James L and Michael (crap loads still to learn of course). In a few months after being taught by James L my colleague and I are as good as on a par with each other regards the really kick-ass test approaches.(Yes we still ahve different experience, unique perspectives, etc. we're not twins)

I think that having been absorbed in this way of thinking is why I'm writing this blog when i should be in bed. It was the presentation after me that has me twitching, I couldn't f*&^%&ng believe it frankly. I doubt he'll ever read this blog hence my uncharacteristic spleen venting. Dood, are you stuck in a f*&^%&ng timewarp? Listen to me.... "No, no, no, no,no" to infinity.

I can't remember the last time I wrote a 'real' Test Strategy in the sense of the 47 page monster example I have on my laptop that I copied when I left a previous employment about 7 years ago. I remember liberating it because I thought it would come in handy, it didn't. I just checked my website too and see I have a Test Strategy Template there.

I have a confession to make, after posting it up there maybe two years or so ago I've never used it. I hate them, I don't write them, I contribute to a Project Strategy if there's one. If I'm creating document like this I write Test Plans that are never over two pages.

Strategies like this are as bad as the typical test case suites that make me want to slit my wrists because it would be quicker than watching my life being wasted with them. If I intended to spend 2/3 of my time writing documents, updating them, explaining them, version controlling them and have become a bloody documentation clerk or administrator. I wasn't hired because I can use word.

By the way, I really don't care if I never see a formally reviewed, 40 page, version 2.0, signed and sealed Specification. It won't stop me testing, I don't need it to test, in a twisted way I have more fun when I don't see them. Anyway, it makes my cringe when the organisation I'm working in churns these out.

As for 'why am I testing if there are no requirements'? There shouldn't even be any code! So it won't be a problem, even if the document is missing I've got this crazy ass idea, I could talk to the developer! (Conference, Reference, Inference - Lessons Learned)

We're testers, so ffs focus on testing. If you want to look after all that crap become a project manager or something. It kills me to see what you presented, no one cares, just focus on testing.

At NMQA we have a couple of phrases that get reused often:
* "Just enough definition, just enough control - nothing superfluous to needs" and
* "Test stuff - a lot!"

Test, test, test, that's why we're here, be militant about testing, the doing of it. Not being able to test because you're waiting for documents is an excuse when there's software available, an excuse incompetent testers use.

Go look at how you can use Bug Reports as test cases, post it notes on a white board as a requirements catalogue, shake your thinking up and read, read, read, read, read, then go read Lesson Learned in Software Testing.

It's hard, it's uncomforatble, it's work to change but the change in perspective that's possible will blow you away and make testing the most exciting, challenging, engaging, fulfilling job you can stay up late and blog about!

I feel better now, time for bed.