Thursday, March 31, 2011

BBST Bug Advocacy from my perspective

BBST Bug Advocacy is the 2nd course served by AST.
After succescfully passing BBST Foundation course, I wanted to participate in the Bug Advocacy. I was quite excited and scared. According to description this course supposed to be harder and more extensive as the 1st one. Indeed these 4 weeks were extremely busy.

Background to the course
During my 5 year of testing, I have never been taught regarding bugs reporting. In each company I was informed only what are the obligatory fields to fulfill in the bug tracking tool, I learned something on ISTQB course but it was still the basics only. I have seen many testers who treat bug reporting as the necessary evil. I have also seen simple bug reports which turned immediately to hard dispute between programmers and testers. That's why I was looking forward for this course because I wanted to improve area where I had definitely lack of skills. This course was designed to improve clearly, unemotional writing and persuasive skills in scope of bug reporting.

Since my first job as a tester I always thought that one and only evidence of my work is the product itself or number of bugs reported (I know the problems involved in using metrics like this :) ) but I never realized that We as Testers are still evaluated by "quality" of our bug reports. How strong our arguments are, how much we help programmers to find and fix problem, how much value we provide with the report or maybe our reports bring to table more vagueness and disrespectful tone only ?

What I liked in Bug Advocacy

- First I had to work on something before I started learning it. In this course I have worked on definitions, I was reporting real bugs for OpenSource project and I was evaluated by others. By Cem Kaner ”You can't learn driving only by reading about it” You work on something, evaluate other’s work and then comeback to your initial thoughts and then try to evaluate yourself to see I you would change anything. Thanks to this approach there is no need to learn something by heart because you can deeply understand everything.

- There is no ready answer, first you have to work on something to understand it. Even knowing one of the definition, you have to prove that you understand it

- This course helped me to understand the diversity of the tester role.

- I realized how often our thinking is biased toward something. Sometimes one little opinion or statement from manger change our behavior and way how we see. See more Signal Detection Theory (I hope I will not be spoiling the course too much).

- I had chance for collaboration and peer review with other students.

What I would’ve changed

- This course was quite intensive. According to the course description it supposed to take 8-10 hours a week - for me it was sometimes 16 hours a week. Even though I would like to be more involved, ask more questions and pay more attention for things I didn’t have time.

- I wish I could translate my thoughts into English text more easily. I think I can communicate well but when it comes to explaining complicated idea with many details I feel I need much more time comparing to native language.

I really enjoyed every lesson from this course. I like to spend time with people who have same passion as me, people who are willing to struggle to gain more experience. I like to be challenged and professionally criticized. In my opinion this is best way to grow in any field - especially in testing. This course helped me also to stay inspired and hungry as a tester. And finally one more time I was reminded that being tester is the ongoing process of learning new things and unlearning some of the obsolete one.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Software Tester Job Offers, Part2

This post is the follw-up to previous

Hiring good people in IT market is one of the biggest challenge for many mangers but finding "good" testers can be even harder. I've been in few recruitment processes and very often I was only asked for dictionary knowledge. I don't remember if I was ever given a piece of software to test. There are some companies though which don't rely upon candidate's knowledge of dictionary definitions but are looking for their skills.
Very good example is Moolya - company based in India.

Below is the piece of description from their careers page
You could have lots of years of experience and we'd be delighted to see how good it has helped you. Please test a project (...) and send us your test report along with your name(...) If your test report interests us (...) we will provide you with a testing challenge.

There is another example from Atomic Object. To join this company, first you need to prepare answer for one of the question regarding software or your attitude toward work :

What is the most difficult aspect of writing software? What is the best way to address this reality of software development?

Tell us about a situation where you tried to change an organization or introduce an innovation. This doesn’t have to be a situation where you necessarily succeeded.

I really like the idea that as the entry point for recruitment process in these companies you first need to prove your testing skills (by simple testing something), you need to prove your communication skills, you need to respond for challenges. This is great way to look for passionate testers. And on the other hand it is great way to learn something about future employer. This approach also saves time for both part.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Software Tester Job Offers, Part1

Very often first impression about the future employer shapes while reading his job offer. When you look for a job and there is another offer which looks like a template, it's hard to learn anything good about this position and that company. I'm always confused what to think when I see in the offer things like:

* Developing Test scripts
* Executing Test Scripts
* ISTQB is a must

Does it mean that such company apply scripted approach only ?
Does it mean that this company encourage testers to execute test scripts - check instead of test ?
Does it mean that this company overvalue testers with certificates ?

Very likely.
Personally I don't believe that having certificate in testing field makes you better at anything beside having proof for dictionary knowledge. Of course it doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't apply for such position and that this job can't be really great. Depending on what you are looking for you'll never know until you try.
I am looking for something else and fortunately, more and more companies post offers which are better suited to specific roles and their image. Here is good example Congifide. See description of their offer for Functional tester role.

Would you like to...
Break stuff and get paid for it?
Become the users’ Champion, making sure software is functional, usable, simple and cool?

Do you have:
Passion and commitment to a tester role
Proactive, hands-on attitude

Even though I don't personally agree with some statements ("break stuff" - hasn't this came already broken ?) I like this description. They're looking for people which are best in what they do, people with passion and commitment. It's much better to work with someone who has passion than with people who are bored to death with their job. As always making assumptions from appealing offer can be harmless but it's always good starting point. Furthermore you can have interesting questions to discuss during interview.

Another good example comes from Atlassian. Their offer for QA Engineer is really appealing to me.
Test requirements and specifications for incorrect or incomplete information, assumptions and conclusions

I've never heard before that we are testing for assumptions. Aren't assumptions one of the most important aspect of testing, root of many problems in software projects. If they mention this, it's very likely that this company recognize assumptions as challenge.

I also like their sense of humor.

Key Skills
You don't believe it until you see it
You don't believe everything that you see

"Love to "help" smart developers by discovering ways to make their software better?"

You know that automated testing is better than manual testing
You know that manual testing is better than automated testing

It's worth to notice that with this amusing statements, they touch key aspects of testing craft. By reading above description you can easily understand how they value testing and what is their attitude toward testing activities. It's pity that Australia is so far away :)