A distributed mob testing session


After I had facilitated a distributed Exploratory Testing workshop, that same client asked me to help them out some more and expand on the topic. I thought it would be a good idea to try out a distributed mob testing session to help them. It would have the added benefit of showing them how effective testing with a group can be. My first experience with mob testing was with Maaret Pyhäjärvi back in October 2016, so I learned from one of the best! I learned a lot by observing how she gave the gave tips and which questions she asked to help the group progress.

In my last post, I mentioned some difficulties with the distributed part of the workshop when it came to doing exercises that the participants had to do alone. I had no way to keep tabs on how they were doing. Therefore, I opted to do everything as a group this time. The workshop was 100% distributed this time, since I did it from the comfort of my own home (the first time I had 2 people physically present with me). Continue reading

Agile Testing Days 2016, Day 1

Never have I ever….Been hungover before a conference even started. Oops, guilty.

I have never started a conference on such a weird note. I guess I have to tell what happened. The short version is: IF you cannot handle a lot of alcoholic beverages, THEN don’t drink a lot of said alcoholic beverages. Seems easy enough, right. Somehow, this little bit of reasoning was too much for me to comprehend.

It all started on Sunday evening, in the bar. This conference is secretly starting on Sunday evening, when some of the people already arrive. It was so nice to see a lot of people again, hugging all over the place! Meike even brought her dog, Hagrid. Such a beautiful animal. We played board games all evening and had a good time. Continue reading

Exploratory Testing with the Team: The Sequel!

As luck would have it, one of the developers I worked with during the time I was doing experiments with getting my whole team hooked on exploratory testing is now also working at my current client. He came to my desk and asked if I was interested in teaching his team about exploratory testing, because he felt it would be very useful. Great to hear, of course! I was faced with a new challenge though. How do you set up an exploratory test session without any domain knowledge? Would it even be an issue? In this blogpost, I’ll walk you through what I did to make the session a successful event. 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

The abysmal state of ‘testing’ in 2016

I wish I didn’t have to write this blogpost, but here goes. Time to bring out the famous hammer metaphor. As a child I learned how to use a hammer. Not that I’m an expert user, but I’m skilled enough to slap some nails into a wall with it. As a child, I even participated in a yearly week-long ‘carpenter camp’ (timmerdorp, for the Dutch readers) and we built huts together; great fun!

Now, imagine that I’m going to start using the hammer for everything. My sink is clogged?? Time to bring out the hammer and bust it open. My oven has stopped working?? HAMMER TIME. You’re probably already tired of this metaphor and I hope you get the gist.

It’s ridiculous to use a hammer for everything.

Then WHY IN GODS NAME do we think it is okay to equal testing to automation!?


I’m freaking tired of seeing lousy job ads asking for an agile tester, when in the description I read ‘We’re looking for an agile tester who is constantly busy with automating tests. We don’t like manual work, we are too busy for that’. I’m looking at you Albert Heijn (text of the ad is in Dutch). If you don’t like manual work, maybe you should fire all the people and get robots to do the coding for you.

Moreover, during my work I sometimes feel like I have to defend myself when I do some testing myself. Sometimes a developer is truly puzzled why I don’t automate something. They can’t look inside my head and probably think I’m doing the same thing over and over, while in fact I look for subtle variations and new combinations. I’m exploring! I’m using the software while trying to ‘think like a user’, ‘think like a hacker’, or whatever persona I can think of. I always use tools to support me during testing.

Do I hate automation? No, of course not. For the first time, I’m working with developers who are heavily into unit testing and doing it quite good! So I’d rather team up with them to see what we are unit testing and what we can automate on another level. Put that in a CD pipeline and you have a great baseline of checks running without having to lift a finger. Awesomesauce. But that’s not gonna prove your product works. It’s only proof that you’ve built it right.

Did you build the right thing?? That’s only for humans to evaluate. And a tester (or anyone else from the team) can help you with that in various ways.

Please, dear people, stop equating testing to automation. I get that you want the world to be a simple place, but it is not. And if you think I’m wrong, please hire the developer (because you’re not going to hire a tester if you’re asking for automation only) and enjoy testing software with only boolean outcomes.

And now I’m going to relax and sip some tea, cheerio folks

Thanks to Petri Kainulainen and Patrick Prill for enraging me (I see that as a good thing when it’s inspiring me to write blogs), cheers guys!