How I broke free from script testing

I became a tester without any training. I was doing testing as part of “Making sure what we deploy to live is working” as a sub section of my day, job and I loved it. I decided that subsection should be my job and I applied to become a tester without ticking most of the boxes in the job description.

At that time testing as a job was not popular in my country. So naturally, I used the online guidelines. They were talking about documented test plan before the development, doing testing development phase, make sure test scripts created and followed as it is.

My main task was to create test scripts in my first job as a tester. I felt bored as all I did was going through a web site and write test scripts. When I found issues, they went to a backlog where they will looked at later. No date given. Nevertheless, they were live issues. Some issues can cause customers not fulfil their journey. I suggested that we should start testing with what we have developed than waiting for the last minute. My thoughts are very unpopular because the tech lead/team manager did not like me coming up with new ways of working also not adhere to the process they are committed. They also commented on my lack of experience as a tester. I left the place in 3 months, as I was not enjoying my work.

I started questioning my decision on changing to a tester. I felt lost. In my next job, I started asking questions from a developer mind-set. Fortunately, there were right questions to ask and that helped the team to think. I created test scripts and shared with the developers but kept some scenarios for myself. I guess I wanted those failed scenarios. I wanted to make sure I clear myself as a person who finds the cleverest issues. Be the cleaver one. It paid off. While a new section develop, I just wondered in the application. Came up with situations that are clearly not behave as wanted or a missing requirement.  Not everyone impressed as my issues was delaying the project. However, I was so satisfied with my job. Company closed due to financial troubles and I was on job-hunting again.

Meanwhile I did ISEB beginners course. It helped me to understand some concepts and open few doors to experiment.

Next job required script writing as well. Nevertheless, I slowly moved away from it as the script writing and updating them so much of my time. Slowly I negotiated with the PM and used the scripts as a guideline. As a basic test to provide some documentation that, he needed. One thing I realised is some testers in the team did not know the application well enough to explain it to someone else. They used to follow the scripts and they did not know anything outside the scripts. I did not like the fact. I wanted to wonder around the application and learn about it. How it works and affect with different inputs. I learned so much about the application and found issues in the same time. I was able to explain the application and discuss the functionality with others without a problem.

I practiced the same in my all other jobs after that. People were not happy about it first but I gave them results. Therefore, I was able to walk away from scripts slowly. When there is UAT I had to create scripts as we wanted the people who do the testing to follow exact steps. No room for users to wonder around and find issues. My objection to this dismissed in all projects that needed a UAT.

In current job, when I first started I needed to write teat scenarios for each story. Of course, I did not like it but did not raise my concerns as I was more adjust to the country, people and their practices. Later with my confidence grow I stood up to my beliefs. Wrote a line or two of what I test to make sure I remember what I have covered. I have commented on this several times but I did not change as my manager wanted. She was a project manager and not have any experience on testing. She made sure she read about testing online and make sure I followed the same. However, she slowly gave up following me up with what she read and I got things my way.

Later I read that what I was doing was a flavour of Exploratory testing and I was right to get away from scripts and scenarios. I read the reasons behind the decisions. Nevertheless, I know I am still not doing the Exploratory testing on the right way. Which I am trying.

Lesson learnt was to follow your heart, show results and slowly break away from things that take away your time for documentation and reporting.

Think differently when working with distributed teams

Distributed teams. We all working with distributed teams. Whether it’s in different countries, different cities in the same country, different floors in the same building, and different teams in the same floor or working from home. All count as distributed.

What issues do we face? There is a lot! However, when we start to discuss the issues, we always see the negatives and we talk about issues caused by the other side.

What we can do to correct this? We go hands on the air and say they should do this and that. Yet, we never think what might they think? What we can do to help? What behavioural, thinking and communication changes we can adopt?

These discussed in a Testbash workshop where Steve (@sjwatsonuk) and I attended. We recreated the workshop in our company as a pilot. Due to its success, we did it again to a different set of people and it got all positive feedback. Positive feedback for the workshop is brilliant. How positive the people feel at the end of the workshop matters. However, how much they practice the learnings is a question. Which we hardly get any feedback.

I am fortunate that most of my team was in the pilot program. From the next day onwards, they started to discuss how they could do things different. Now they are thinking differently. Take actions to include the nearshore team more in team discussions. They see why this is important. The nearshore team ran few retrospectives from their end and as well as conducted few stand-up sessions. Progress…

I believe if we think open-mindedly, we can collaborate successfully. Distributed teams created to deliver more work with a high quality while maintaining the costs or reduce cost. Everyone is part of  the project success. Build trust not pointing fingers, build communication openness on both sides so no one feel left out, build environments where everyone can ask questions and give answers to make the product better. Give constructive feedback and encourage it to come from every team member disregarding the location. Learn about their culture and try to help them to connect with you. Specially, praise each other when do well.

Have you ever worked from home? Was it easy to connect with your team virtually even you know them? Can you find people when you need an answer? Have you deliberately picked up work that you can do without the need of anyone else when you planning to work from home? If you are getting frustrated with your team when you work from home for one day, how your other teams might feel when they have to go through it everyday?

I am working with Abby (@a_bangser) who is one of the original presenters of the workshop, to deliver the same workshop in Helsinki for European Testing Conference. An exciting opportunity to help more people build empathy towards each other.

Remember, we all distributed to each other and small change of thinking can make a big difference.

LeanCoffee style online meetup : Experience report

My first LeanCofee experience was with TestBash in 2015. It was before the conference start and I was very excited about the concept because it gives everyone a voice.

I wanted to introduce this to my company but was not able to do it for a while because I was looking for ways to do it online as most teams we have are distributed.

Leancoffeetable tool was introduced to me by the weekend testing group. It is not the most advance tool but it does the job. I trailed it by myself several times before introducing it to wider group.

We have a QA chapter in the company and I wanted to introduce LeanCoffee to them just because only few people raise their ideas. The rest are not actively participate because either they are not interested or they do not know how to contribute. However, I believe everyone have their unique experience which worth sharing.

The introduction went well and people wanted to try it out. So we dedicated a one QA chapter session for LeanCofee.

First, we thought we will do the leancoffee with four small groups and then feedback to the chapter but we had issues with number of people who wanted to join the chapter itself. So finally a one big LeanCofee session online, facilitated by me.

We got participants from differently businesses across company and from different geographical locations. In a normal day in the chapter, someone will do a demo or a presentation about a new tool or practice so this time it was time to share. We heard voices we have not heard before. Current issues the testers face in their own projects and want to know how others will react. What to do? Seeking information that we thought everyone is aware but not.

Meanwhile the discussions I have created a mind map for each point as well. This shared later as the meeting notes / summary.

Topics discussed,

  • Can developers help with testing in scrum?
  • How to get developers to do more unit testing?
  • How to plan testing when there is no documentation?
  • How to encourage testing community to engage more in RBI?
  • What value QA chapter add?

1.5hrs passed quickly. There were number of issues we have not addressed due to timing constraints. Nevertheless, we achieved a lot.

Feedback was fantastic. For me, it was a great experience. People share their ideas and experience to others who need help is what a chapter should be. That is what we achieved.

Most of all they want to do the chapter in a LeanCofee style from now and that I call as success…!

Recreate Building Quality in With Distributed Teams

After attending an exciting and educational workshop in Brighton (read more), Steve (@sjwatsonuk) and I decided that, we should recreate the workshop for our colleagues in Reed Business. I am very grateful to Lisa (@lisacrispin) and Abby (@a_bangser) who not only helped us with sharing all materials but with plenty of encouragement as well.

Since we are a big organisation with many different projects, we thought to stick to the projects that we are in as the pilot. We also included members from a team who deals with internal clients as well. The presentation tweaked but the rest of the workshop was as it was originally.

The teams were well mixed up and distributed over different floors (we were not able to book the rooms in the same floor). We took the liberty to mix and match people and that they work with majority of people that they do not know than the number of people they know.

We got two excellent and exciting helpers as well. Saima Poorghobad and Michael Lopez (@lopezma) was continue to support us by showing thing that we have not noticed. Fantastic!

All started well on the workshop. Steve and I had a plan but not rehearsed a thing. Therefore, we thought we would improvise as things go. We got people to talk. They came up with the issues that they face with working with distributed teams. Everyone was facing the same issues such as communication, culture, language etc. The examples we gave related to each business. We also mentioned the internal teams that support different projects that have a different level of distributed team challenge, which normally overlooked.

Then two teams sent away to different rooms with their tools. Straight away communication issues bubbled up. Lync was not working properly. Sound quality not there, video not working.

In the team I looked after as the Product Owner (PO), rushed to get in to work without even looking at the schedule. They wanted to get things done. Therefore, the inception and planning sessions were almost wasted. Many assumptions made. They did not ask me the right questions in the beginning until I clearly said I am not happy with the work they done. Offshore was asking what my favourite colour was than asking the right questions. Then they all started asking what my requirement is for each individual piece of work than one person dedicated for that – because of not planning the session and not assigning roles. Offshore team tried to gather the requirement with the work that they assigned but it was harder. Therefore, Lots of frustration! Time pressure! People running up and down! It was chaos!

In the retroactive it was highlighted that product owner did not have any bandwidth to answer all questions. I hinted saying I would be happy if one person talk to me than all. It was fascinating how teams forget the basic roles under pressure.

Another thing I observed was that the offshore team were trying their best to get the attention from the onsite team but they all busy either talking to me or colouring away. The offshore contact had to talk very loud several times and to shout to get the attention. Also later, I have to know that they were there with less or no work for most of the second sprint.

Everyone came back together and discussed the issues that each team faced. Offshore teams were frustrated and was very vocal about the whole thing. Then we decided to give additional 5 minutes to the teams to decide how they want to do the next sprint from the challenges they have/had. That was something Steve and I came up at the time so the people can learn the importance of planning and communication.

There were team members who wanted to talk to me and gather requirements while the planning, share information and retrospective sessions. This shows how people want to get on with their work than making sure they work as a team and achieve a common objective. Alternatively, let the others do the communication while these individuals busy with the ball rolling. Either way it was not helping the team.

The third sprint was a success. Steve and I took 2 minutes holiday and done a change of mind on a requirement. Teams did not seems to mind it at all. The requirements gathered for most of the work so they were caring out the work. How great is that!

Later we talked about the culture differences a bit more. I talked with my personal experience. As I speak about how other side of the table might be thinking I saw some eyebrow raises, nodes, note taking, and look of surprise. I might have invoked some thinking and awareness.

At the end, there was real light bulb moments in most people on how to do things differently. We asked what they would do differently and things like make sure communication issues (technical, non-technical) resolve sooner than later, involve product owner with offshore discussions, gather / clarify requirements early, make sure the offshore see the bigger picture and be more understanding are some of the things came out.

Well, all workshops we have people who think it is a waste of time, as they know the subject better. We had couple of them and they had given us negative feedback. One response was that, that person already knew these challenges and nothing new. Well in my point of view, everyone knows the issues but how they react to solve the problems is the key.

Two negative feedback against 21 from 23 participants. I take that as success!

 

Next, we have to collate the feedback and present to a wider group and who knows we might be able to take another group of people the same journey and help them to build quality with their distributed teams…

We learned a lot how this could improve. Such as dedicate someone else to coordinate the timing, bit more descriptive in the inception, bit more organised with the rules and do some adjustments to the schedule.

You still reading? Great… Few more lines…

Finally would like to thank Steve for encouraging me to do this workshop and made me believe that I can talk in front of many people without making myself a fool. Great co-host to work with. In addition, Saima and Michael was so helpful and given us fantastic feedback. Could not ask for more enthusiastic helpers than them. We were very lucky.

In summary, it was a great experience for us and as for the participants. Looking forward to recreate the workshop and of course looking forward to learn more.

If you like to read Steve’s experience you can find it here.

Is networking important?

Recently I went to a Lean-in meeting organised by my company and the topic of the day was networking. What is networking, why it might be difficult to network as a woman and what we as woman can do? We listened to a video done by Professor Herminia Ibarra from INSEAD business school and I think what I learned is both helpful for all genders equally. Therefore, here I am with the topic networking…

Why networking important? Networks allows you to generate new ideas, get information and support, and expand influence and more impact on you and your career.

According to her study, people often not focus on having a network because you depend on get things done and move ahead with the career. Most of the time people say they do not have time to network. Of course, it takes time to build and maintain a network but the real reason people not interested to have a network is it is not a top priority as part of the day job and do not know how to build the correct network.

Most people think that networking should happen between people who just click with each other in a more spontaneous way. The risk of this that you ended up networking with people just like you. Same class, same neighborhood, same hobbies. That kind of a network does not give the diversity of information that you need to advance yourself and your career.

Another aspect she described was that we tend to network with people we know for some time resulting a close network. However, mostly the people who we do not know very well or people who we do not see very often who also called as “weak ties” are the people who help with new career opportunities. It is not that the close relationships not help you but they share the same information as you compare to the weak ties.

She was talking about three kinds of networking

  • Operational – Relationships with people at work that allow you to get today’s work done
  • Personal – Relationships of your choosing, popular you like to hang out with informally
  • Strategic – Relationships that help you envision your future, sell your ideas and get the information and resources you need (most important network for career advancement)

Great strategic networks are,

  • Broad – Connected to diverse range of people
  • Connective -Lined or bridged across people and groups that would not otherwise connect
  • Dynamic- Responsive and adaptive, growing as you grow

It is challenging, particularly for woman to build and maintain an effective network. According to her study, men’s work and social work tend to overlap whereas woman’s work and social work not overlap. That overlap keep expanding when woman have kids as then the focus is shifting to the needs of the kids and their friends and families. Woman often weight the importance of attending to a networking event with go home for the kids and attend their homework.

One of the facts she mentioned was to focus on the value you bring to the network than what the network can do for you. With that, you can raise your profile among the network and grow within. Also as a woman who have different priorities in life to start small. May be one event and focus to get the maximum out of it.

Strategies for building an effective network she described as,

  • Engage in activities both inside and outside your organisation
  • Connect through people you already know
  • Focus on and develop the value you bring to your network
  • Priority and invest in few activities – favour active over passive networking

How to go in to a conference, seminar and network? Professor Herminia advice everyone to go in to these events with a curiosity. What you could learn about the people? What could they learn about me? 

At the end of the video ,it was the time to reflect, share and discuss the topic with others relating to individual experiences.

Question: What your networks currently look like? Do you have mostly “just like me” convenience networks? Do you have valuable “weak ties” in your network?

My answer: My network is currently shaping up. I am working on it. Most of the connections I have are  “just like me” “weak ties” mix. {This is where you go “Eh?”. } Well I have connections with lots of testers (just like me) but I am not seeing them very often or talk (weak ties) because they are all over the world. I am sure some of these connections are very strong which helps my own development.

Obviously I have more to achieve. But so far i am happy about my progress. 

Question: What challenges have you faced when cultivating your networks? How might you address these challenges?

My answer: My language, my cultural differences, the fact I did not knew anyone in the UK were few of the challenges I faced.  Blogging, tweeting, contributing to discussions were some of the things I think I have done right. Ah! being confident of me, my knowledge and my experience is also helped.

So, what are you waiting for?

Think what you would like to gain from the network, think what you can give to the network, think of whom you would like to network with and plan. Then review and do the adjustments. Make sure your network grow to a strategic  network and make sure it grow with you.

Simply, Just start!

Greener grass on the other side?

We all have seen people leave companies / projects. Some you like and will missed and some you are glad that left. In addition, there is you and I who move from one company to other. Everyone hoping for a greener grass on the other side.

Why do we move? Some of the reasons commonly known to me are,

  • Career progression
  • Higher salary & benefits / Not paid enough
  • Change career / retire
  • Moving away from new responsibilities
  • Dissatisfaction with work assigned
  • Colleges
    • Strong characters who over power you
    • Cultural differences
    • Not feel like you are part of the team
  • House move
  • Travel issues
  • Kids
  • Technology that is used is not interested
  • Not appreciated
  • Migration to another country

In addition, some people give a complete lie and cover up the actual reason to leave.

I recently read some articles on why people leave the company and some were suggesting people leave their bosses not the companies. Some suggest otherwise.

One thing I have seen are most people do not speak about their dissatisfaction and they wait thinking the problem that they have will resolve by itself. This will only cause more stress and disappointment and ultimately, the whole team get to know your problems except your manager. What can your team do? Advice you to quit mostly. I was victim of this situation and I think you may as well.

Most of the time managers surprised when some people give the resignation. Just because they are unaware of an issue. So why people really leave? Mostly due to reasons, they do not want to share with managers. Sometimes the manager itself is the problem. Once I left a company within 3 months because my manager use to dictate what I should every day and not given me the opportunity to do what they hired me to do.

Following are some of the characters I have seen in managers are…

  • Do not care whether the employees leave or stay
  • So strong where employees do not open up to
  • Make people leave because they create a unfriendly environment
  • Senior and powerful that intimidate people to open up to them
  • Want to help and coach
  • Empathise others
  • Like to have favourites

Another common character I had seen is people had become a manager to fill a gap of a leaver. They are not happy about it and not speak about how they truly feel. Even though they get the necessary training, they are not happy of being a manager. I had seen people/teams under such managers suffer from coaching/mentoring and inspiration. They mostly continue the work but can see they are stressed and not energetic of new responsibilities.

I guess the conclusion “People leave their manager not companies” somewhat right. Nevertheless, if a company not revising the pay, not revising the benefits, not revising policies to make the employees life better, then of course people leave the company regardless of how supportive their manager is.

So where does these people go to? How companies attract these leavers? What does people look before they choose a company. Some common facts are,

  • Salary & benefits
  • Learning opportunities
  • Location
  • New challenges
  • Feeling that the people who interview you believe in you and what you are capable of

When people apply, do they go for companies that they had not known of? Well yes and no.

Yes mostly if you are desperate to leave the current company and desperate to find a job. In addition, if this company gives you the above mentioned.

No because you do not trust this company, give you what you want. Why they are not popular? Is it because they are not a big company? Is it because they are not mastered the field that you are interested on? Is it because the company is a start up? Is it because majority of the employees are not in your age range so you are not aware of the company? Is it because the company had not advertised in media that you are interested in? The list goes…

My biggest worry when I change a company whether it is a popular company or not, is what kind of manager I will get (Sometimes it is not the immediate manager who conduct the interview). What kind of a team I will work with. Will they welcome me? Will I like them?

Sometimes Interviews and actual working environment is very different. The members in the interview panel matters. They can show a different picture of the company to what it is because they want the candidate to accept the offer. I have seen people disappointed after a month or so in a company because that is not what they have told at the beginning. There were time at the interview I have told that I would have growth opportunities, learning opportunities and recondition. In actual environment, I was doing a monotonous job of testing a third party application customisation and support, not allowed to move to a different project because I had the knowledge. They offered me everything they rejected when I tell them that I am leaving.

In addition, the best candidate who see in the interview can be the worst team member you had ever worked with as well.

Some companies go through job agencies because they want to be anonymous and/or because it is easy to do so. However, they can be the reason people not apply as well.

Once an agent offered me a job, where you need to travel by train and then by bus and then walk (I did not had my driving licence at that time). Of course, I refused and the agent told me that if I were “picky” like that I would never find a job. Well I did found a job quicker than he thought.

I personally like if the companies contact me directly than job agencies annoy me every now and then. In house recruiters have this polite way of addressing you and explain what the job is where most of the job agents who contacted me just want me to apply to the job even I do not want to.

Are you familiar with statements like “work for a leading financial services company based in Surrey”? Well how do I know whether I am applying to the same company that I am working right now? How do you think people will apply to a company just taking the word from a job agency? Well I do not. Normally these agencies do not tell what the company name or where it located until they get hold of your CV. So then you run in to the risk that they call you every 6 months with job offers whether you like it or not.

Of course, companies know these issues. They invested/investing so much to retain employees and hire the best. Managers sent on training courses and teams are encourage on giving 360 feedback. Companies does try to improve the benefits and work life balance.

In addition, I have seen companies advertise the best things the company does, the things that company most proud of, spread out to meetups/conferences by being a sponsor, use their best employees to talk to potentials, be active in social media and target the age range and expertise groups.

Nevertheless, if you are an employee and if you have an issue, you have to talk to your manager or if possible manager’s manager or HR. I am sure they will give you a solution or a work around. Mostly if you like the company at least give them a chance to work out what they can do before deciding to leave because the grass in the other side is not always green. That I know for a fact…

Mistakes…

Thought to note some mistakes I have done in my career. I wish at that time someone had shaken me and told me not to do these. So hope someone will learn from my mistakes.

In many occasions in my career at the edge of my promotions, I have moved away from the company and joined another for the same position. Why you may ask. At that time, I was telling everyone that it is time to move on. If I stay here, I will not be able to do what I want to do. That answer had in me so deep and I did not feel I am doing badly for myself.

However, when I turn back now I know I was running away. Every time I move on, I sow how disappointed my managers are. They say that I can do great things. I am one of the best people they had worked with and I have skills to move in to senior positions very easily. Promotions came to me quickly. However, I was scared to take a risk. I always thought they are just telling these just to retain me. May be they are. Nevertheless, I know some did not. I was happy to be in my bubble and move away to another company when I feel my world is about to change.

How wrong I was. I think now I understand that I have done great mistakes in my life. I was scared to fail when everyone had high expectations for me. I always wanted to be that person everyone praise but never wanted to be a reason for a failure.

When I move to UK, I had to start everything from the beginning as I started looking for work after 1.5 years. I had to take a career break. Again, everything changed. Different culture, people and expectations. Within the first 6 months, I had become a key member in the team where everyone respected my decisions and judgements. Within a year, they planned to promote me. Here it goes again…Do I move? Do I stay? I had to think hard and decided I am not moving and I will take the challenge. It is almost 5 years since I started in this company and I should say it was never dull a moment. The challenges, the failures and the success grew me stronger. Now I am working towards my next promotion. Building up my profile in the company. Taking pet projects to challenge myself more. Managing and mentoring people.

If I have taken the challenges in the 7 years before I move in to UK, I know I would have been very successful. There were no mentor for me at that time to understand what I am going through and advise me what is right or wrong.

I share my story with the people I mentor because I think it is my responsibility to tell them what not to do. The advice I never got. Therefore, I hope if you are reading this as a new starter then you will learn and understand what not to do. Not hold back and take risks. Believe in yourself. If you are, an experienced person may be you can share my story or ignore it completely 🙂

After all… Life is all about choices…

You should never give up!!!

This is a note to myself appreciating the fact that I have not given up…

There was this bit of functionality that I have not covered in the regression test suite I need to attend. Simply because the functionality is becoming complex and risk of the solution to the business is increasing.

So I started.

The application is a scheduled task which generate zip files. My task is to check the format and data on different xml files inside that zip. To trigger the functionality I have to trigger a bat file. All these are in a remote machine.

I have not done this before and I didn’t want to attempt because I did not know where to start.

So the mission started about 9 days before.

So,

I Googled and ask the fellow developers how to do this. My husband suggested I should try Psexec. With the help of one of the development team member in the team I got the bat file run through the test.

Then…

Read the generated files in the remote folder. Again I Googled, asked my fellow developers. They said its possible but they haven’t done it before to help me. I was going in loops in same documentation for few days…

Yesterday I found how it needs to be done…

Finally,

I am in the process of writing the complete check now.

Lesson learn… never give up. Even though you are at the edge of giving up, never stop thinking. One way or other you will find the solution. These are the things that keep me motivated to be a Test analyst…

 

Why effective communication matter?

Have you ever felt that it is difficult to pass your message to others? Have you ever felt that some people do not understand you? Feel restless when you talking to some people?

It is all about effective communication. Understand and practice below and you will be amaze how powerful it is. At least I did.

For the communication to be affected it should be a two-way conversation, well we all know that. You must prepare, structure the content, and adhere to correct body language. However, can we use the same tone, body language to every one we know and for every situation? Of course not.

Different parts of business have their own language and focus. For example, language the technical team is using may not be understand by the top management unless they are technical too. In addition, the level of information one need to know is different from person to person according to their position in the team.

Example situation:

There is an issue when the users login to the application from checkout cart page.

How above will communicated after investigating the root cause.

Development team reports back There is an issue in the A&E library where when we call the login object from the checkout class a timeout happens. This can be due to the latest refactoring we have done.
Testing team to Project management There is a high priority blocking issue in live where users cannot login from the checkout page.
Project management to Top management The login from the checkout page is currently unavailable and this will affect only the users who require to login from Checkout page. Customer services and sales teams are aware of a workaround. Fix to be deployed within x number of days.

 

Not all want to know the detailed technical explanation – not every time. There can be situations where technical explanation is the only way to describe the solution. Again, the explanations should tailored to the audience. It is just because you are excited about a certain technology/solution that does not mean you can tell everything to the audience. You have to think what their backgrounds are, what do they need to know to take decisions, how much detail you want to give to keep their attention.

I was in many meetings with business where tech team start to discuss the solution in technical level rather than in a language/context known to the business. Moreover, they try very hard to focus and then they reach out their phone, or start write down something or read their mail or excuse themselves and leave. There are number of times I have jumped in between such conversations and ask them to take that conversation outside the meeting – well in a polite way. There were times they agree and there were time they just ignore me. Every time they ignore me, they lose valuable time to confirm requirements with the business as they are continue to focus on the solution.

As a tester communicate effectively is very important to me. In current project, I have a positive relationship with the editorial, sales and customer services teams. I deliver both good and bad news to them over the site and I need to make sure those teams understand the issue but not overwhelm them. Again, within those teams the level of information they need to know is different as well. Customer services and Sales teams needs to know how to explain the issue to the customer, work around if possible and/or when is the delivery date. Therefore, before I go to each team I need to structure my message tailored to them. Use their language. Ask them whether they understood the issue or the new feature. Repeat some words if they need more emphasis.

With words, body language and tone of voice comes in. There are some tips on https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/Body_Language.htm. Learn them, observe them on others and practice them.

If you are listening to someone who is talking in same tone, will that person able to keep your interest over what he/she has to say? Same rule apply when you talk to someone else as well. Use pauses, tone variations according to the message.

Be mindful about both positive and negative traits you use when communicate. Observe how successful people use their words, body language and tone of voice. Observe how your colleagues communicate. Practice the positive traits and try move away from the negative traits. Start slow, see what is successful for you, and enjoy your progress…

There and back again : A note to myself…

I was going through a period where I was thinking whether I should keep going as a tester, change my career as a Business analyst, or project management. I was in two states of mind. I was not sure.

I have tried business analysis and I have tried project management in smaller scale while being a tester. Did I do well? Yes I did. Did I like the job? Yes I did. Do I want to go for a job change?  Hmmm…

I like being technical. I like to change configuration values and see how application behave. I am happier when I find a bug where no one thought of or create a test or a small application to help day-to-day work. I like to put my nose in to code and see how things work.

If I become a business analyst, I know I will always go and dig the database. Even if I become a project manager, I will want to brainstorm over test strategy. I will circle around the world and will come back to testing.

Being the one tester in the team is not open up many doors and I felt everyone progress in their careers except me. However, I know it is not true because with time I realise being the only tester in the team or one of the testers in the team I can make an impact. Mentor and inspire other testers.

I have started helping out with the tester’s chapter at the office and realise how much I can do to help and how much I enjoy being able to help and inspire others.

So am I going to change my job? Nah! Why? Because I am a hard-core tester…