The first day of uTest’s stop at the STAREAST expo has been a whirlwind. After attending the James Bach / Michael Bolton session called “The New Testing Agile Quadrants: Bringing Skilled Testers and Developers Together” (see tweets below), we caught up with uTest/TechWell contest winner Anna Momatava in the beautiful lobby of the Gaylord Palms Resort to see how her STAREAST experience is going so far:
Tag Archives | james bach
Last week @uTest hosted a Twitter Chat with the one-and-only James Bach — Context-Driven Testing champion and disruptor of the software testing industry for over 25 years. James was gracious enough to donate his fee for the session to Per Scholas, which is currently in the midst of bringing 150 software testing jobs to underserved communities in The Bronx.
During the one-hour chat, we threw a lot of questions James’ way, all sourced from our uTesters. There were also a lot of spontaneous great discussions that arose organically out of the discussion points.
Here are some of the top tweets and discussions that took place over the one-hour chat with James and participants. You can also check out the whole conversation on Twitter at #uTestBach.
On what defines ‘real’ testers:
A real tester is someone who's primary aim is to find important problems before it's too late. #uTestBach
— James Marcus Bach (@jamesmarcusbach) March 20, 2015
— Michael Bolton (@michaelbolton) March 21, 2015
Testing is all about discovering business risks with respect to products. It's not about resolving the risk. #uTestBach
— James Marcus Bach (@jamesmarcusbach) March 20, 2015
The popular Let’s Test Oz conference just wrapped up in Sydney, Australia. It ran from September 15-17 and featured three full days of tutorials, keynotes, and sessions from noted industry experts like James Bach.
We didn’t get down to Oz to attend the event, but we were able to follow along with the event on Twitter. Here are some top tweets from the show. And, if you want to see more, check out tweets that are tagged with #LetsTestOz on Twitter.
— David Greenlees (@MartialTester) September 15, 2014
— Alessandra Moreira (@testchick) September 15, 2014
— Craig McKirdy (@craigmckirdy) September 15, 2014
When James Bach enters the room at a testing conference, there’s never a dull moment. This morning’s keynote led by Sir James was no exception, so we round off some of the morning’s highlights from the session, the full kick-off of CAST 2014.
Be sure to stay tuned throughout the day, too, as we interview testers on the spot at CAST. Here’s some of the best of James’ talk this morning:
— uTest (@uTest) August 12, 2014
— Hilary aka H-Bomb (@g33klady) August 12, 2014
As a proud sponsor of the Association for Software Testing’s 9th Annual conference this week, CAST 2014, uTest will be in New York City through Wednesday covering all of the happenings and keynotes from this major (and now sold-out) testing event.
Beginning Tuesday here on the Blog, uTest will be providing daily video interviews with speakers from some of the conference’s sessions and keynotes as they leave the stage. Additionally, uTest will also be live-tweeting @uTest on Twitter, using the official event hashtag of #CAST2014 throughout the course of the conference’s full days on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This year’s theme is ‘The Art and Science of Testing,’ so conference speakers will share their stories and experiences surrounding software testing, whether bound by rules and laws of science and experimentation, or expressed through creativity, imagination, and artistry. Some of these esteemed speakers include:
In part II of our latest Testing the Limits interview with James Bach, we tried something a bit different this time, crowdsourcing some of the questions from our uTest Community members. Additionally, James shows us his lighter side and which of his picks won the World Cup — of his heart.
Be sure to check out Part I of our interview, if you already haven’t.
What is the biggest hurdle to testing you see testers struggle with? (Jeff S.)
JB: The hurdles that come with having no credibility. Gain credibility, and every external hurdle gets a lot smaller. If you ever find yourself saying, “I want to do good work, but my manager insists that I test in a stupid way, instead,” then probably the issue is that your manager thinks you are incompetent. Fix that. Then when you politely tell your manager to mind his own business, he will let you get on with your work in the way you see fit.
Do you see the tide changing for development teams modernizing their testing philosophy? Or is entrenched thought winning the day? (Jeff S.)
JB: I don’t know, really. I don’t do polls or anything. I can say that business is good for me and my colleagues, right at the moment.
Which area or skill is best to focus on first as a tester to build a solid foundation or understanding of testing? (Frank B.)
JB: I would say: general systems thinking (GST). See the book Introduction to General Systems Thinking by Jerry Weinberg. Within the realm of GST, I suggest: modeling. It’s vital to gain control over your mental models of products. Models are a prison from within which you test.
The 9th Annual Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST), held this year from August 11-13 in New York City, is one of the premier testing events of the year. While this year’s edition is already sold out, testers will still be able to tune into all of the keynotes and full track sessions for free from the comfort of their homes.
CAST announced that a live stream will be available from its official site on August 11 and 12, from 9am-7pm EDT each day, so you’ll be able to watch sessions and keynotes from esteemed speakers including: James Bach, Richard Bradshaw, Matthew Heusser and Henrik Andersson.
The theme for CAST 2014 is “The Art and Science of Testing.” This year, speakers will be sharing their experiences surrounding software testing – whether the experience supports testing as an art or a science.
uTest is also pleased and honored to be a sponsor of CAST 2014. In addition to the live stream hosted on CAST’s site, be sure to stay tuned to the uTest Blog and @uTest on Twitter, as we’ll not only be reporting from the event, but sharing exclusive video interviews with some of the major personalities from the show.
James Bach is synonymous with testing, and has been disrupting the industry and influencing and mentoring testers since he got his start in testing over 25 years ago at Apple. Always a great interview, James is one of our most popular guests and we’re happy to have him back for his first Testing the Limits since 2011. For more on James’ background, his body of work and his testing philosophy, you can check out his blog, website or follow him on Twitter.
In Part One of our latest talk with James, he talks about a future that involves a ‘leaner’ testing world, the state of context-driven testing outside of the United States, and why you’re “dopey” if you’re a manager using certain criteria in hiring your testers.
uTest: We know you don’t enjoy certifications when it comes to testers. In fact, in a recent blog, you mentioned that ‘The ISTQB and similar programs require your stupidity and your fear in order to survive.’ Do you feel like certifications are picking up steam when it comes to hiring and if they’re becoming even more of a pervasive issue?
JB: I don’t have any statistics to cite, but my impression from my travels is that certifications have no more steam today than they did 10 years ago. Dopey, frightened, lazy people will continue to use them in hiring, just as they have for years.
uTest: Speaking of pervasive problems, what in your opinion has changed the most – for better or for worse – in the testing industry as a whole since we talked with you last almost 3 years ago?
JB: For the better: the rise of the Let’s Test conference. That makes two solidly Context-Driven conference franchises in the world. This is related to the general rise of a spirited European Context-Driven testing community.
Nothing much else big seems to have changed in the industry, from my perspective. I and my colleagues continue to evolve our work, of course.
uTest: In a recent interview, you mentioned that you see the future of testing, in 2020 for instance, as being made up just of a small group of testing “masters” that jump into testing projects and oversee the testing getting done…by people that aren’t necessarily “testers.” Do you see QA departments going completely by the wayside in this new reality of a leaner testing world? Wouldn’t this be a threat to the industry in general?
JB: I’m not sure whether you mean QA groups, per se, or testing groups (which are often called QA). I don’t see testing groups completely going away across all the sectors of the industry, but for some sectors, maybe. For instance, it wouldn’t surprise me if Google got rid of all its “testers” and absorbed that activity into its development groups, who would then pursue it with the ruthless efficiency of bored teenagers mopping floors at McDonald’s (a company as powerful as Google can do a lot of silly things for a very long time without really suffering. Look at how stupidly HP has been managed for the last 20 years, and they are still, amazingly, in business).
So it comes as no surprise that in a recent blog, James provided some fodder for a great discussion in the uTest Forums, arguing that there aren’t enough intellectual testers in the field — that is, testers that are willing to challenge themselves or the status quo:
“The state of the practice in testing is for testers NOT to read about their craft, NOT to study social science or know anything about the proper use of statistics or the meaning of the word ‘heuristic,’ and NOT to challenge the now 40 year stale ideas about making testing into factory work that lead directly to mass outsourcing of testing to lowest bidder instead of the most able tester.”
While there was a fair amount of pushback to this, a surprising amount of uTesters tended to agree, including one tester that even went so far as to call it a “pet peeve” of his. However, while agreeing with Bach’s assessment, these same testers argued that it isn’t necessarily their fault — it’s a product of their environment:
“To conclude, I believe that the issue lies with how projects are managed. If no time is left for more robust testing, then it almost doesn’t matter how intellectual or technically savvy a tester is if all he/she is going to have time to do is create and execute tests against specifications. In other words, intellectual testers don’t have much opportunity for more intellectual testing. A strong tester would not be able to showcase those skills in this environment.
Henrik Andersson and David Greenlees are two well-known contributors to the context-driven testing community and together co-founded the Let’s Test conferences, which celebrate the context-driven school of thought. Let’s Test Oz is slated for September 15-17 just outside Sydney, Australia, and uTest has secured an exclusive 10% discount off new registrations. Be sure to email firstname.lastname@example.org for this special discount code if you plan on attending.
In this interview, we talk with Henrik and David on trends in the context-driven community, and get a sense of what testers can expect at Let’s Test Oz.
uTest: Like James Bach, you’re both members of the ‘context-driven’ testing community. What drove each of you to context-driven testing?
HA: Actually, James did. I had close to no awareness of the context-driven testing (CDT) community before I hosted James’ RST class in Sweden in spring of 2007. During my discussions with James, I found that we shared lots of fundamental views on testing, and he insisted that I should meet more people in the CDT community.
James told me about the CAST conference that took place in the States, and that just before this, there would be a small peer conference called WHET 4 that his brother Jon hosted. A few days later, I got an invitation from Jon Bach to attend. At this workshop, where we spent a weekend discussion on Boundary Testing, I met testers like Cem Kaner, Ross Collard, Scott Barber, Rob Sabourin, Michael Bolton, Dough Hoffman, Keith Stobie, Tim Coulter, Dawn Haynes, Paul Holland, Karen Johnson, Sam Kalman, David Gilbert, Mike Kelly, and, of course, Jon and James Bach. From then on I was hooked!
DG: Difficult question to answer without writing a novel! I wrote about my testing journey some time back, however, that doesn’t really touch on my drivers toward the CDT community. If I was to pinpoint one thing, it would be the book Lessons Learned in Software Testing (Bach, Kaner, Pettichord). This was my first introduction to the community and to what I believe is a better way to test…in fact…the only way to test.
What keeps me here is the fantastic people I come across each and every day. We challenge each other, we’re passionate, and we’re not afraid to put our opinions out there for the world to hear and critique. This all adds to the betterment of our craft, which is our ultimate goal. I’m a firm believer that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to testing, and when you add that to my natural tendency to explore rather than confirm, I find that the CDT community is a great fit for me.
uTest: And speaking of James Bach, he’s one of the keynote speakers at Let’s Test Oz in the Fall. Can you tell us a little bit about the idea behind the show, and why you felt it was time for context-driven conferences in Europe and Australia?
HA: Let’s Test is all about building, growing and strengthening the CDT community. We have successfully arranged Let’s Test three years in a row in Europe, but the attendees are coming from all over the world. The idea behind Let’s Test is to create a meeting place for testers to learn, share experiences, grow, meet other testers, do some real testing, and, of course, to have a whole lot of fun.
When David Greenlees and Ann-Marie Charrett told me about what they were looking to achieve, I immediately felt that it was in line with Let’s Test, and believe Let’s Test can be a great vehicle to grow the CDT community in Australia.
Last year, we did a one-day tasting of Let’s Test in Sydney, and this year, we did one in the Netherlands. In November, we will be hosting one in Johannesburg, South Africa. The purpose of the small tastings of Let’s Test is for testers to get a glance at the Let’s Test experience, at a really low cost. If you cant come to the real Let’s Test, this is a great alternative to check out what it is all about.
DG: From the Australian point of view, it’s fair to say that the CDT community is very small. We refer to the area as ‘Downunder’ — this is our way of saying Australia and New Zealand. I felt it was time to change that, and one way to help the CDT community thrive is to hold a CDT conference.
For quite a few years now, I’ve felt that Downunder needed a different style of software testing conference, one where conferring is the ultimate goal, and so I emailed Henrik, and he was extremely positive and encouraging…so here we are.
So we had to dig back deep into the archives to see when the last time was that we featured some testing quotes worthy of hanging up on the ol’ refrigerator. To our horror, it was over three years ago, so we decided it was time again for another roundup. Without further ado:
“Testing means learning. Learning requires faith in one’s ignorance combined with the confidence that it can be extinguished.” – James Bach
“Testing is organized skepticism.”— James Bach (A double dose of Bach!)
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs
“There are only two things that seem to be even close to universally true when it comes to testing – things are constantly changing, and if you put three testers in a room with a testing term or topic to discuss, no more than two of them will ever agree at the same time.” – Scott Barber
“A ‘passing’ test doesn’t mean ‘no problem.’ It means no problem *observed*. This time. With these inputs. So far. On my machine.” – Michael Bolton
He may need no introduction to software testing vets, but for those starting off, there’s no better guy to turn to for testing advice than James Bach.
James has been disrupting the testing industry since 1987 with his blogs, lectures, courses and books on software testing and the context-driven school of thought. For more on James’ background, his body of work and his testing philosophy in general, you can check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.
In the meantime though, we’ve rounded up some of the best (and animated in discussion!) videos and lectures from the one-and-only Bach.
Open Lecture by James Bach