First Sketchnote Attempt!

I remember going to the Agile Testing Days last year and seeing several people working on the big sketchnote of the conference. I was really impressed by their drawing skills and thought “wow, I could never do that”.

I decided to get into sketchnoting as well. I went to a half-day workshop on Visual Thinking here at my client and it was so much fun! They taught us some basic tips and tricks to get into sketchnoting. I still think I’m not good at all, but all you can do is practice, practice, practice.

So, here are my first attempts at skechnoting. I made them at the TED-style knowledge sharing event at my company Xebia. TED talks have the advantage that they are quite short, so you only have limited information to go from. Continue reading

Tests are a form of waste?

I was in a meeting where a developer said: “every test is a form of waste”. Coincidentally, this meeting was about how the build was taking too long because the tests were slow, so I can see how the connection was made in the mind of the developer. It must be the tests, right?! What a waste (a waste of what actually? Time, money, effort?). However, I think this is a fallacy and I would like to use this blogpost to explain why.

In my career in IT I have heard remarks from some developers in different shapes and forms about how testing is wasteful: it takes too long (“I have spent 3 hours developing the functionality, now I have to spend 6 hours writing tests, how stupid!”) , it is boring, tests are flaky and besides: after all the effort put into making the tests work there are still bugs! Gosh. Continue reading

An Agile Test Strategy: Some Ideas

There are a couple of misconceptions when it comes to an agile way of working. Some people still believe you don’t need documentation (seriously, that myth has proven really hard to debunk). I also notice that a lot of focus is on automating everything when it comes to testing. I think that is a noble goal, but you will never be able to automate all testing tasks, since the ‘real testing’ happens inside a human brain.

So, even in an agile context it is a good idea to have some kind of test strategy. By this I explicitly do not mean a test plan. You know, those 50 page documents that nobody ever reads. An agile test strategy should be short and concise. It should explain to people who matter how you are going to approach testing in your context. It is also a good way to think about testing with your team.

Continue reading

Mapping Biases to Testing: Confirmation Bias

I use terminology from earlier blog posts about biases. If you have missed those posts, read part 1 here. I explain the terminology there. In the second post I wrote about the Anchoring Effect.

Let me state the ‘bad news’ up front: you cannot fully avoid the confirmation bias. That’s actually a good thing, because if you could you wouldn’t be human. We jump to conclusions (with System 1) when our assumptions are likely to be correct[1] and a mistake is acceptable. For example, when you meet a new person you immediately judge him or her based on stereotypes, what type of clothes the other person wears, his/her posture, etcetera. This happens so quickly that you cannot stop it.

confirmation

However, jumping to conclusions can be a bad thing when the situation is unfamiliar, the stakes are high and when there is no time to collect more information[2] . This screams ‘testing!!’ to me. We are often dealing with unfamiliar situations, the stakes are high and we usually face a deadline. How do we deal with this? Let’s explore what the confirmation bias has to do with testing. Continue reading

How I ended up in IT

This is a long read, be warned 🙂

Honestly, I never thought I would end up working in IT. Now I’m here and enjoying myself, but it took me years to figure it out. I would like to tell you my story of how I got here.

When I was fifteen years old, I thought I would end up as a musician. I started playing the clarinet when I was nine years old. When I was fifteen I joined an orchestra with adult people in it for the first time and I enjoyed it so much that I formed a dream of doing that as a pro. Music was something I was at least excelling in, and besides, the rest of the school curriculum didn’t really interest me much. I only loved writing, philosophy (they offered that as a class in my high school) and reading for my literature class. So I poured my energy into getting better at making music. Getting extra classes on music theory, learning to play the piano and practising a lot of clarinet. After I had done my final exams for high school I also had to do an audition to get into music school. I was rejected in Utrecht (horrible experience), but accepted in Rotterdam. Continue reading