Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Celebrating 10 years of testing - the Milestones and the People

This month marks 10 years since I moved from the I.T. support field into SW testing. Celebrations often find you very busy with other activities like I am now these days, in a middle of a validation project, but nevertheless I would like to give some thought to important milestones during this testing decade.

I will follow the context driven school of testing, which emphasizes the people as the most important part of the Testing project and I will celebrate each milestone and mention the related people who helped me reach it.

Milestone: First mistake
Person: Myself (who else could I blame…?)
Bad decision – bad result – when I let development close a non-reproducible bug, it was a mistake - since such bugs tend to reproduce at a later stage... Fortunately, failure reproduced again before the product went out to certification, during the pre-certification process, but that caused a lot of noise. Believe me - learning this lesson made me a much better tester.

Milestone: Leading a team of really great testers
People: Jose & Itzik
Jose, a new student (now a firmware architect) and Itzik, a tester with some experience (now a SW developer) joined my team. Together we built a team of passionate testers who challenged the tested SW. Without knowledge of too many methodologies and processes we explored and invented new methods and tools. We did a great job for our stakeholders.
I discovered my skill as a team leader – not intimidated by the talents of others – but helping the team express their abilities.

Milestone: My really great bug
Person: Jose
When I wondered “what would happen if…” and did the extra action that exposed a major failure in the product, I did not recognize how great a bug it was. Only when Jose (appearing in this post for the 2nd time), pointed out the thought process and mindset that led me to find this bug did I understand the significance of this occasion. Since then, a framed hard copy of the bug entry hangs in my cubicle and I refer to it as my own Tester Certification.

Milestone: Redefining myself as a Tester
Person: James Marcus Bach
When I was sent to his “How to be an expert tester” session, I did not anticipate its impact. Perhaps I was ready after 5 years of experimenting and perhaps it was James’ style, but this session made me start a journey of reading, talking and thinking about testing, exposing myself to different approaches, finding my preferences and defining my approach to different aspects of our profession.

Milestone: Participating in the Methodologies workgroup
People: The workgroup members
Participating and contributing to the methodologies workgroup of my testing department was not only an honor, but a challenge. Besides reviewing the work of others, I contributed two of the chapters of our methodology document. I had to explore, define, write and discuss the methodology of bug submission and test case authoring, exposing myself to criticism and debate.

Milestone: Starting to blog
People: Shmuel Gershon, Pradeep Soundararajan, Parimala Shankaraiah
During the last year, I started blogging. The inspiration came from my friend Shmuel Gershon who has been blogging about testing for a few years. I started blogging with a first post that reviewed Test books and magazines. Then I read Pradeep Soundararajan’s post “Why good software testers should come out of the well?”, and started blogging my own ideas too. I had been thinking about it for a long time, but his last post gave me the final push after a few months of an idle blog. Parimala Shankaraiah with her refreshing blog “Curious Tester” inspired me by showing how simple ideas turn into brilliant and refreshing posts.

All of these people and milestones have made me the Tester that I am today, and made for a thoroughly enjoyable decade. Thank you, And have a great next decade.