2014 STPCon Recap

247931_220967294594067_6157694_aLast week the Software Test Professional Conference traveled down to New Orleans. Bookended by the French Quarter Festival and the Jazz Festival, I think we all know who brought the real party to NOLA. The four day conference was jam packed with information on test strategy, performance testing, automation testing, mobile testing and leadership perspectives for testers. In addition to standard sessions the folks at STP also debuted a few new session formats, including roundtable discussions and keynote debates.

Tuesday, the first full day of the conference, kicked off with a debate between Rex Black and Cem Kaner. The topic up for debate was, do schools of testing help advance the field of software testing or do they have a negative impact on the industry? It was an interesting conversation and while they disagreed on a lot, ultimately both parties agreed that schools of testing are not inherently negative – as long as discourse remains civil and folks keep an open mind.

The first session I attended was delivered by Pradeep Govindasamy and focused on Mobile Application Testing – Through the Customer’s Eyes. In his session, Pardeep states that prevailing trends point to a steep upward curve in both volume and expenditures on mobile application projects. To that end, organizations must ensure they understand the risks associated with multiple platform and OS usage, and have the proper processes in place in order to stay ahead of this curve.

Unfortunately I was not able to attend any additional sessions on Tuesday, however I did have the pleasure of speaking with many of the conference attendees at the two Sponsor Showcases held that afternoon and evening. We even gave away an iPad Mini to one very lucky fellow – this gentleman won not one but two iPad Minis in the span of mere minutes!

On Wednesday I began my day by being forced selected to participate in a little improv comedy. Nothing gets the blood flowing quite like a game of ‘Moving People’. After being embarrassed motivated I found my way to a session on Interviewing Testers by Rex Black. As Rex points out, a problem employee can consume as much as 50% of their manager’s time, so hiring the right people is critical. In his talk, Rex discusses strategies that will allow managers to overcome hiring challenges and ensure that they and their teams are set up for long term success.

After that, I attended a Round Table discussion on mobile testing. It was interesting to hear that despite the shift toward mobile applications and platforms, in many organizations the infrastructure to support mobile testing is still in its infancy.  It’s clear that many organizations still have a lot to learn when it comes to mobile testing which really drives home the importance of knowledge-sharing events like STP.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

How to Run a Software Testing Sprint (and Marathon)

Boston MarathonEndurance, speed, support and training. Not only are these traits a necessity for testing in Scrum sprint (more on this in a second), they are also the traits needed to finish a real marathon in one piece. No one knows each of these points better than Doron Reuveni, uTest’s CEO and Co-Founder.

Today – for the sixth time in as many years – Doron will be running in the Boston Marathon. After steady improvements each year, we fully expect him to win this year’s race. Anything less will be a major disappointment – no pressure! If you’re interested in keeping track of his progress, you can follow his Twitter handle (yes, he tweets mid-race) or search the official Boston Marathon website. Best of luck Doron!

Of course, running 26.2 miles isn’t easy – and as mentioned earlier – neither is testing in a Scrum sprint. So to stick with the running motif, I wanted to share a few scrum testing tips courtesy of testing expert Clemens Reijnen. Titled 5 Tips for Getting Software Testing Done in the Scrum Sprint, this article explains how to avoid some of the pitfalls and confusion that can often occur with what’s come to be known as “agile testing.” Let’s take a closer look at three points in particular (followed by our own take):

Tip #1: Get a Team
This is actually not a tip, it is a must. This is a kind of obvious but not common and the hardest thing to accomplish. Get a team, get testing knowledge in your team. When you don’t have it, you will fail. Teams and companies have failed to reach their agile software development goals only because it was impossible to get different disciplines together in a team.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Does Your Mobile App Have a Human Problem?

People using cell phones   Original Filename: people cell phones.jpgYou’ve tested every aspect of your mobile app – functionality, usability, security, performance and other types. You’ve tested it with simulators and in the wild. You think you’ve covered almost every angle and that it’s essentially bulletproof, but you forgot the biggest cause of app failure: People.

Yeah, those guys. According to PC World, nearly 80 percent of the vulnerabilities discovered in mobile apps are not the fault of the application code itself, but rather the result of human error.

According to the HP 2013 Cyber Risk Report, though, the application itself is not to blame for most vulnerabilities—you are. HP compiled data from 2,200 applications scanned by HP Fortify on Demand and reports that 80 percent of the vulnerabilities discovered were not the fault of the application code itself.

“Many vulnerabilities were related to server misconfiguration, improper file settings, sample content, outdated software versions, and other items related to insecure deployment,” the report states.

In other words, it’s not your fault! That said, there are some things you can do as testers and developers to minimize the risk of human error. Let’s take a closer look at some the causes mentioned in the article:

Encryption Capabilities
Both the iOS and Android platforms give developers the ability to encrypt data that’s stored within the mobile app. The problems is, many developers neglect to include this feature and many testers fail to account for it as well. These days, apps that do NOT store some type of personal data are the exception, so if you want to save users from themselves, it’s best to consider encryption as the default option.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Do Testers Still Own Landline Phones?

Testers, especially those within the uTest Community, are at the forefront of mobile technology. From iPhones, to Android tablets, to even the latest smartwatches and fitness devices, uTesters often are armed with 5, 10, even 20 devices at a time for various testing projects.

So one would think that if anyone on the planet was going to own a ghastly piece of 1990s technology like a landline phone, it wouldn’t be testers.

But you’d be wrong.

According to a recent poll kicked off in the uTest Community, in fact, 64% of uTesters have landline phones still in their homes, and it’s not just for nostalgia.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Good News For Aspiring App Designers

marvel_appJust when you thought the mobile app world couldn’t get any more crowded and competitive, along comes Marvel.

The UK startup has come up with a new iPhone app that can turn the average person into a web or mobile-app designer, regardless of design and technical skill. With no coding required, users can easily turn their concept into an interactive prototype, and share it with friends, clients, coworkers, or through social media.

To the seasoned app designer, this might seem like amateur hour. But here are 4 reasons why this has the potential to gain momentum and completely alter the software design (and therefore testing) world.

1. It’s extremely easy.
Draw your screen ideas on a piece of paper, take pictures of the wireframes and use the Marvel app to apply “touch” hotspots to the image. Apply links to screens in order indicate how you would like to app to be navigated and boom – you have a touchable, interactive prototype.

“In the past, if you wanted to see your app or web designs and ideas in anything more engaging than PDFs and PowerPoints, you needed to have the skills and the time to code it into an interactive prototype,” explains Marvel co-founder Murat Mutlu. Now, all you need is this app on your smartphone.

2. It turns the average person into a designer, and reaches a wide audience.
Remember when Instagram turned the average person into a photographer? Users could process high quality photos without needing an expensive camera or experience. People who had never edited a picture before were suddenly part of the craze.

Similarly, Marvel hopes to inspire individuals to “pick up and play” with the app and attract non-designers to give it a try.

Co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, attributes the success of Instagram to its ability to appeal to a wide audience of individuals and companies alike.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing