Happy Belated Birthday, uTest Blog

cakeAs you may have seen, uTest turned five years old last week. To celebrate, our very own CEO Doron Reuveni posted a brief retrospective, along with this cool infographic highlighting some of the major milestones we’ve achieved along the way. There was also a cake.

I’m horrible with birthdays. I don’t like celebrating my own, I hate the happy birthday song with a white hot passion, and I forget almost everyone’s birthday, every year. Even with the reminders on my phone, I still somehow manage to forget. Case in point: I totally forgot that last week was also the uTest blog’s fifth birthday.

So as a happy belated birthday to the uTest blog, I wanted to share some of the more memorable posts over the past five years. Sorry, no cake and absolutely NO singing! I mean it.

At the time of this writing, our blogging team has published over 1200 posts, so there were certainly plenty to choose from. The list you see here is based off my own preference, not based on page views or number of comments.

So without further delay, here are some of the most memorable posts from the past five years. Enjoy!

Ah, memories. Happy belated fifth birthday, uTest blog. You don’t look a day over four.

Sidenote: After four and a half years of contributing to the uTest blog, I’ll be moving on to new adventures. A sincere thank you to everyone who read, shared or commented on the uTest blog over the years (even you, angry commenters). I hope you had as much fun reading as I did writing!

Here’s to the next five years!

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Testing the Limits With Jon Kern, Agile Manifesto Co-Author

What an honor it is to have Jon Kern as this month’s Testing the Limits guest! Although his career spans multiple industries and disciplines, Jon is perhaps most well-known for being one of the co-authors of The Agile Manifesto for Software Development from 2001. For more on his background, you can check out his LinkedIn profile, read his blog or follow him on Twitter.

In this interview, we get his thoughts on the evolution of Agile; some common Agile myths; the false arguments of the naysayers; why Agile is always the right answer, and more.


uTest: As a long-­‐time agile coach, you can probably tell right away if agile is going to be employed successfully within a company or organization. If you had to pick one quality or trait that’s required for agile success, what would it be? In other words, what’s the first thing you look for when beginning a coaching project?

JK: Willingness to change. That’s all I ask. Be open minded to trying things a different way.

uTest: Looking back, did you ever think the agile movement would grow to where it is today? What’s surprised you the most about agile’s course over the last decade? The good and the bad.     

JK: No. How could 4 measly bullet points cause so much ruckus?! The biggest problem I see is the co-opting of the term “agile.” That is, folks are doing agile in name only. They don’t really get the subtle nuances about what it means to be agile, and simply go through some motions and try to “do” agile. While learning by doing is a key technique for learning anything new, somehow, many people seem to just do a handful of activities without much reflection or introspection.

uTest: Fill in the blank: The most common agile mistake development teams make is ____.

JK: Not thinking. Agile requires continuous use of thinking… Are we improving? Will this help? Should we stop doing this activity? Should we do more of this activity? It takes effort to avoid complacency, which is hard for most of us.

uTest: From what we read, much of the inspiration for the agile movement originated not in the software space, but rather the production/manufacturing space. How often (if at all) do you consult on non-software projects and how does it change the way agile is applied?

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Private vs. Public: Which Apps Have More Bugs?

public vs privateIf you had asked the Mike Brown from ten minutes ago, “Which apps do you think have more bugs: public sector or private sector?” he would have said public, by a wide margin. But in the ten minutes since then, he came across this article on net-security.org that completely proved himself wrong. He will stop referring to himself in the third person, starting…now.

Anyway, if the data is to be believed, private sector apps actually have more bugs than their public sector cousins – and it’s not even close. The article is packed with tons of great stats, but here were my favorites:

A new study identified private sector businesses in the banking, retail and mobile sectors, more likely to suffer software malfunctions than public sector organizations. The SQS team analyzed two years’ worth of news reports about software and computer failures, covering 964 stories and 245 UK-based organizations. While the level of public sector computer-glitch reporting remained constant during 2011 and 2012, reports on private sector computer problems have tripled.

The retail sector was the most error-prone in 2011, with 21 per cent of all stories, while mobile followed at 10 per cent and banking and local government at 6 per cent each. In 2012, reports of banking sector computer failures rocketed to 61 per cent of all stories, followed by retail at 7 per cent, mobile and education at 4 per cent, while local government claimed 2 per cent of glitch stories.

Of course, that is the “what” but not the “why.” For that we turn to Stephen Fice, MD of SQS UK, who explained:

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Job Swap: Software Testing is Like Being a….?

GonzoYears ago, I wrote a post on 8 Alternate Careers For Software Testers. Not that I would ever encourage anyone to leave the testing space, but if they were so inclined, I wanted them to understand they could make it elsewhere. I must have been guidance counselor in a previous life.

Anyway, one of the roles I listed was that of a journalist (I actually was a small-time journalist in a previous life). I briefly explained how QA professionals were like journalists in that they “must ask tough questions, dive deep into complex issues and report them to the layman in a clear, concise and objective manner.”

Of course, the similarities go much deeper. Now that I’ve had a few years to think about it, I wanted to share some of those similarities for your reading pleasure. My intention is to revisit this type of comparison periodically, as I think it’s helpful to be able to explain what testers do using other professions as examples. So if you see a post comparing testers to hostage negotiators or tour guides, you’ll understand why.

So without further delay, here are a few ways that software testing is like journalism.

Investigation: As a journalist, the great stories don’t come gift-wrapped in the mail (mail bombing stories being the exception). They are generally incredibly hard to find and require keen investigative skills. The same is true of software testers. Sure, some issues are easy to find – 404 pages, pages that won’t load, graphical issues, etc. – but the real issues require some digging. They require a tester to adopt the mindset of someone else; to think of their motives. They must think as a user, as a customer, as an admin, as a hacker. Every testing project is an exercise in investigation.

Here’s a quote from Michael Bolton that could basically describe the role of an investigative reporter:

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

What Type of Software Tester Are YOU?

CC000552From my perspective, there are two types of testers in this world:

  1. Those who read the uTest blog
  2. Those who do not

But from the perspective of James Bach (who has a little more credibility on this matter) there are actually seven types of testers, which he outlined in a recent post. In order to make sure you read his full post, I have only included three of his tester types. Take a look:

Administrative Tester. The administrative tester wants to move things along. Do the task, clear the obstacles, get to “done.” High level administrative testers want to be in the meetings, track the agreements, get the resources, update the dashboards. They are coordinators; managers.  Low level administrative testers often enjoy the paperwork aspect of testing: checking off boxes on spreadsheets, etc. (I was a test manager for years and did a lot of administrative work.) Warning: Administrative testers often are tempted to “fake” the test process. This pattern does not focus on the intellectual details of testing, but more the visible apparatus.

Social Tester. The social tester wants you! Social testers discover all the people who can help them and prefer working in teams to being alone. Social testers understand that other people often have already done the work that needs to be done, and that no one person needs to have the whole solution. A social tester knows that you don’t have to be a coder to test– but it sure helps to know one. A good social tester cultivates social capital: credibility and services to offer others. (I follow a lot of the social tester pattern. My brother, Jon, is the classic social tester.) Warning: Social testers can get lazy and seem like they are mooching off of other people’s hard work. Also, they can socialize too much, at the expense of the work.

Analytical Tester. The analytical tester loves models and typically enjoys mathematics (although not necessarily). Analytical testers create diagrams, matrices, and outlines. They read long specs. They gravitate to combination testing. (If I had to choose one category to be, I would have to say I am more analytical than anything else.) Warning: Analytical testers are prone to planning paralysis. They often dream of optimal test sets instead of good enough. If they can’t easily model it, they may ignore it.

This leads us nicely into a quick discussion on why diversity is so important to a test team (and quality in general for that matter). And when we say diversity, we’re not referring exclusively to languages, locations or even skill-sets. We’re also referring to mindsets and personality traits.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing