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Spend Time With the Baby December 31, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Uncategorized.
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It’s New Year’s Eve, and as usual, my goal list of all the things I want to do is fully loaded. I love the internet. An endless library to browse and learn from. So many tools and technologies for us to play with. So many people to connect with.

I’ve been loving these past months of learning, reading, writing, blogging, and networking. Who knew being unemployed could be so fulfilling?  But this last couple of weeks, over the holidays, I decided to take a break and concentrate on family.

See that adorable baby? That’s my little grandson (I’d like to add here that both his mother and I had our first born at very young ages. He is the only person that is allowed to call me “Grandma” which still sounds like: “Ah!” (The word he uses to describe everything.))  I’m lucky enough to have that cute little guy (along with his parents) living 30 minutes from me. I also have a son going to Medical School in Denver and another son, my 15-year-old baby, still at home.  I haven’t had to run off to a job for the past 6 months, yet, I’m sorry to say, I didn’t take advantage of spending more time with those people that are most important to me.  Funny that when I was working, I seemed to make more of an effort to achieve “work-life balance” than I have since I’ve been unemployed.

The internet can be so addicting. It’s great to enjoy our work, technology, and all our virtual friends and contacts, but not at the expense of the “real” people in our life.  So, while my resolution list still includes plenty of job-related goals, my most important resolution is to spend more time with those people that I love.

Diego, Grandma will set you up with a Twitter account, and we’ll get you tweeting that cute little “Ah!” all over the Web.

May 2010 be filled with peace and happiness.

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Santa is learning how to telecommute December 24, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Uncategorized.
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The FuMP.

I’m happy to see that even Santa is getting set up to telecommute! Last night, as I inched my way along the highways in a Colorado storm to get to and from a holiday event, I thought how glad I was that I didn’t have a commute.   There are some definite perks to unemployment.

Of course, ideally employers would realize that with the technology that’s available to us these days, most people can work from anywhere — not only can they be effective, they can often be MORE productive than when they’re in the office!

You go, Santa! Let’s keep the trend going!

Tester Types eBook – Courtesy of The Software Testing Club December 21, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Uncategorized.
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Just out today, in the category of “fun stuff to read” is the new Tester Types eBook put out by Software Testing Club‘s Rob Lambert and Rosie Sherry.  The book outlines 19 different Tester Types, complete with a cute avatar depicting each type and a description of their personality.

I, of course, like “The Boss.”

THE BOSS
Observed Behaviour : Chilled, relaxed, in control, great communicator and has the respect of the
team
Favourite Phrase : Not a problem
Nemesis : Senior Management
The Boss is essentially the opposite of the Micromanager.

The Boss gets R.E.S.P.E.C.T. The Boss can say ‘No’ to management and often does, which
makes them unpopular above, but truly respected by those below. But The Boss doesn’t see anyone as
being below or above. They just see a team and a set of goals and respect all for their opinions and
skills. And if The boss has goals that are vague or impossible, The Boss will say so.

The Boss picks a team of people who will work well together, not just individual talent. The Boss
picks a well balanced team of experienced and junior team members. The Boss considers the social
make up of the team, rather than the individual team members. The Boss understands that junior
team members need to learn and often have the most creative minds. The Boss understands that
teams can make or break a project.

The Boss buys cakes and beer for their team. The Boss trusts every member of their team. The Boss
is fair, yet critical at the same time.

In other words. The Boss is a leader….an inspirer. They have integrity, honesty and trust. They stand
up for what they believe in, but are not arrogant or misguided. And if you find a boss like this, you are
very lucky indeed.

I like to think this is an accurate description of the type of Boss that I am.  One difference, though…

My Nemesis isn’t Senior Management.  (I feel it’s especially important to note this lest any Senior Managers out there want to hire me.)  If I could name a Nemesis, it would probably be the Whiners.  I have a hard time tolerating people who whine and don’t take action to correct whatever it is they’re whining about.

I can see this book being the new Myers-Briggs (only it would have to be called Lambert-Sherry) personality typing system for testers.  And maybe the new set of playing cards (like Pokeman or Yugi-oh).  There could be a whole handbook that describes vulnerabilities, strengths, and power points.  And next will come the movie!

Note: The Software Testing Club has made this eBook available for download and sharing as long as you abide by the Attribution No Derivatives copyright, reference the creators and have fun in what you do.

Michael Bolton, Exploratory Testing, and Beyond Certification December 18, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Uncategorized.
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I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a few days, but… where to begin?  I guess I’ll start with last week when I attended James Whittaker‘s presentation on Exploratory Testing.  I blogged about it, and then another industry great, Michael Bolton, left a comment, pointing me to a whole bunch of other resources on Exploratory Testing!

This list keeps me busy. There are a lot of interesting articles and documents and as I explore each resource I find additional resources, tools, and techniques…  It goes on and on!  It’s one of those cases where the more I learn the more I know I don’t know.

Meanwhile, Michael Bolton joined Beyond Certification! Yay! Another celebrity in our midst. It’s like I’m having a party and a bunch of movie stars are joining. (I guess I’d better clarify for those googlers who may be looking for Michael Bolton, the singer, I’m not talking about him.  I’m talking about Michael Bolton, the QA guru guy. You can still join my Beyond Certification party, but there probably won’t be any love songs being sung… )

So there are more and more people at this so-called party, but I need to have some entertainment! (Maybe I should consider a little music!  I think that IS available via Ning.)  I was thinking though, of trying to organize all this great data on heuristics into an easy database app of sorts.  Even though there are so many excellent resources, I’m not finding an online app that will organize it for easy search and updates.  It might be a cool project for our newly formed group…

The 12 Bugs of Christmas December 17, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Management.
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My friend, Chris York, passed this along to me today in email, telling me it would work well to the tune of the  12th day on The 12 Days of Christmas.  He didn’t know the original source, but gave me the A-OK to post to my blog.

Update: I discovered the origins of this…  It’s by Alam Saeed and was posted at Computerjokes.net)

My comment:  I think Alam  Saeed might want to rethink #5. I’d say it’s pretty dangerous to ask for a dump after demanding #12-#6….  I’m just sayin’ …

For the twelfth bug of Christmas, my PM said to me:
12 Tell them it’s a feature
11 Say it’s not supported
10 Change the documentation
9    Blame it on the hardware
8   Find a way around it
7   Say they need an upgrade
6   Reinstall the software
5   Ask for a dump
4  Run with the debugger
3  Try to reproduce it
2  Ask them how they did it and
1  See if they can do it again.

The Bugs of Life December 17, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Management, QA.
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I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking of those irritants in my life as bugs.  It’s been a buggy week. First I got a flat tire when driving my son to school. Normally, this would be a P3 or P4… I’m on Big O’s Warranty program, so usually getting a flat tire is not that big of a deal. But, unfortunately, I’d just changed to snow times, and had NOT purchased the Warranty on these tires (no disaster recovery plan, no rollback plan.)   This wasn’t just one of those flats you can patch. My tire was decimated.  I don’t know what I rolled over, but it ripped that tire up.  To make matters worse, my jack is lost. Yes, I know that cute little place in the trunk where it’s supposed to be stored, and it’s not there.  So, this whole flat tire situation was really more like a P2.   There have been other bugs this week…  I got sick. Not really sick. Just P3 sick.  Better make that P4 when compared to my Dad who’s P1 sick.

But then I started thinking how I’m always finding the bugs.  My Dad made a little progress today. He was able to get from the bed to a wheelchair.  He’s still P1 sick, but not as sick as yesterday.  And even though my Honda is still sitting in the garage with its P2 flat tire, I have a Toyota Previa that usually just sits in the garage. It’s a fine workaround until I can get that tire fixed.  Other good stuff happened this week, too. Lots of good stuff. But what do we call that? What is the opposite of a bug? There’s gotta be a word for it. Butterflies?  Those are the things we should be looking for!

It’s too bad that in QA we are trained to look for the bugs. I think we should learn to look for the butterflies, too. Even though we need to find the bugs so we can fix them, we can learn a lot from the butterflies.  There’s a lot of beauty in well-crafted code.  Don’t spend so much time looking for bugs that you forget to appreciate the butterflies.

Enough Lurking Around – Start Engaging! Take the Challenge! December 12, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Social Media.
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“Lurking”  is the term used for people that read but don’t participate on online forums, chats, networks, etc.  I usually advice people to “lurk before you leap” when joining a new community.  It’s a good idea to get an idea of the culture before you jump in and ask a question that will highlight your newbie-ness.  However, once you’ve had a chance to lurk around, the next step is to engage! Make comments and share content.  According to this article, 90% of the people on online communities are lurkers.

So how do we get people to engage? In my new online community, Beyond Certification, I’ve decided to issue challenges.  The idea of the community is to learn how to operate successfully in a distributed agile environment. I believe in order to be successful on any team, it’s important to actively participate.  When you’re remote, it’s especially important to find a way to build friendships and trust.  So, the rules of my first Challenge for the Beyond Certification community are below.  If you think you may want to participate, please join and spread the word!

If you’re not interested in distributed agile, I’d still challenge you to start engaging with the online communities that you ARE a part of.  Make comments on blogs or forums or groups.  You can start here by making a comment on this blog with either an introduction or answering any of the questions posed in task #3 of  the Challenge below:

Objective: Getting to Know One Another
Why: One of the biggest disadvantages of Telecommuting is the difficulty in forming trusted relationships from a distance.

Time Commitment: Minimum: 15 minutes. Max: However long you want to spend
Tasks:
1) Upload your photo rather than using one of those standard icons
2) Fill in your profile
3) Add to this discussion and answer the following or add your own commentary:
– Introduce yourself. Do you have a blog? Point us to it.
– Have you ever telecommuted? Was the rest of the team distributed? What were the pros and cons?
– What tools did you use to make the experience more successful?
– How are you able to foster relationships with other from a distance?
– What are thoughts about a distributed agile team?
4) Add additional photos and or videos
5) Once introductions are made (or before if you want) add people that you want to know better to your “friends”. Interact with them.
6) Let me know any recommendations you have open source conference calling. I tried one once, but not with much success…

Challenge #1 Conference Call: (Tentative) – Tues, Dec. 22 (Time TBD)

Exploratory Software Testing with James Whittaker December 10, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Uncategorized.
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I just finished listening to the uTest Webinar with James Whittaker about Exploratory Testing.  James is the Director of Test Engineering at Google and has written “Exploratory Software Testing: Tips Tricks, Tours, and Techniques to Guide Test Design.”

So this was interesting stuff!  I always thought of “exploratory testing” as “adhoc” testing, but as James pointed out, it’s much more.  He started by giving several examples of some classic anecdotal bugs…  One such bug is demonstrated in the map… rather roundabout way of getting from Start to Finish!  James noted that there are techniques that testers use to figure out what the most important tests are and how to go about executing them.  Often this comes from experience. These can fall into patterns. James calls these “tours.”  In his book, James describes a variety of different types of “tours” used as metaphors, that capture the methodology of discovering bugs that are likely to occur in certain situations.

“The Intellectual Tour” is the “tour” where the hard questions are asked…the most complex data or complicated task is done with this tour. The “Rained Out Tour” is about doing things that you didn’t originally plan to do (ie. when your tour is rained out, you take a different route than usual) so you would “cancel” prematurely with this kind of testing.

Another example is the “Landmark” tour.  This is comparable to using a compass in the woods in order to locate landmarks.  With the Landmark tour, you identify a set of software capabilities (the landmarks) and then visit those landmarks, but randomizing their order.  Sometimes, by changing the sequence of events, an unexpected error will occur.

James described how to use Attribute / Component / Capability  matrix (using a Google spreadsheet) to help do a risk analysis and prioritize test cases, testing the most important things first.

Many of us find bugs that are the same kind of bugs that are being found all over the world, based on tester’s creativity and their test strategy.  What if we could capture these “strategies”  (aka “tours” or “patterns”) in a global repository  so that other testers could use those same strategies to find similar bugs? James has begun to do that with his book, and he has challenged others to do more than test…  When you find a bug, document your methodology.  Did you use one of his tours? Or did you come up with a new tour? Let James know on his blog!

After the presentation, James  said he’d give out books to those that asked the best 5 questions.  I frantically struggled for two minutes trying to figure out how to get the question screen up. (I really like to win this kind of stuff, especially being an unemployed test manager who’s trying to sell herself as an expert!)   I finally got the screen up (phew!) and asked if there was an online repository available to share our bugs/tours (patterns, strategy).   James read questions and then he came to the same question that I’d asked (but, unfortunately, asked by a different person) and said, “Great question! Give that person a book!” I’m going to try and make a case that I should get a book, too, especially since  I’m even gonna do one better than just ask the question. I’m going to set up such a repository in the Beyond Certification network.  Maybe being the KUQ (Kiss Up Queen) that I am, I can even get James to join!

Today! – Exploratory Software Testing with James Whittaker December 10, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in Uncategorized.
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I guess I should have given you all an earlier notice about this, but I wanted to let you know that uTest is hosting a Webinar about Exploratory Software Testing with James Whittaker TODAY at 11am MT!

I believe you have to be a member of uTest to attend the Webinar, which I highly recommend.  Even if you don’t want to test, uTest has a lot of great resources and is a cool site (and, of course, my favorite… it’s free! In fact, you can even make money if you test!)

Anyway, this Webinar is today and is described as follows:

Free webinar with testing guru and best-selling author, James Whittaker.
He will discuss topics from his new book on Exploratory Software Testing (we will also be handing out five free copies to attendees, which will be announced at the end of the webinar).

Content:
– How to make test planning more streamlined and prescriptive
– How to be more conscious about testing and test case design
– Techniques for helping testers come up with better test cases
– How to communicate the purpose and intent of test cases

I’ll take notes and blog about it later!

Lisa Crispin’s in my Beyond Certification Agile Group! December 10, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.
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I’m really excited that the Beyond Certification network is growing.  In two days 45 members have joined, with a wide range of Agile experience.  The most exciting thing is that Lisa Crispin, one of the author’s of the very popular, “Agile Testing” is one of the members!  She is the Queen of Agile!

It’s so funny because before I even started blogging about QA, I was perusing the bookshelves at Borders and this “Agile Testing” book is the one I pulled out and added to my Christmas wish list.  I made a little note to myself to look for Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory on the Web.  Then I unexpectedly found them on Chris McMahon’s Writing About Testing site and I’ll get to meet Lisa at the conference in Durango in May.  She lives in Colorado and was even going to be presenting at the SQuAD meeting last night (which, unfortunately, was canceled because of the snow).

This is kind of like saying you want to play golf, and the next thing you know, you’re scheduling a game with Tiger Woods. (OK, maybe I shouldn’t mention Tiger right now.  On the other hand, since he’s such a big news items these days, it might help my Search Engine Optimization. Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods.)  But I digress.  We’re talking about Lisa Crispin here, not Tiger Woods.

Lisa, very graciously, joined the Beyond Certification site right away and added some input about tools for distributed agile. I know she’s really busy, but she’s taking time out of her day to contribute and help my new community grow and thrive.  She is a really nice woman!  However, it looks like The World Agile Qualification Board is not treating her as so well.

I read today on Matt Heusser’s blog that

The World Agile Qualification Board has, for a second time, plagiarized the work of Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin by cutting and pasting the outline for their book and using it as a course outline – without permission or attribution.

Matt is asking that the Agile Alliance formally censure the group . As is common practice on the Web, we spread the word of both the good and the not-so-good, so I’m doing my part in passing this along.  Santa, are you listening? Lisa: Nice!   World Agile Qualification Board: Naughty.