Daily Posts

2310, 2019

Definition of flaky tests

By | October 23rd, 2019|

Anyone who has written automation scripts has faced flakiness, and we all hate it to our bone.

But everyone defines a flaky test a bit differently..

For me, a flaky test definition could be “a test running multiple times under the same conditions gives different results”

How would you define flakiness?

#QsDaily #automation #flakytests

1910, 2019

Automation without test strategy

By | October 19th, 2019|

Mostly when companies talk about transforming, automation come up as the most hot topic.

While that certainly is important, without your quality strategy & foundations it’s not going to work.

Immediately people start running towards buzz words and new shiny tools.

Knowing what quality means for your product, what to test and how to test should precede any automation effort.

If you used so ship garbage at a slow pace, with new shiny tools and terms it’s going to garbage coming out double time..

#QsDaily #Automation #Testing

1610, 2019

People over process

By | October 16th, 2019|

Ever been in a working environment with a lot of processes?

While I agree ‘some’ of them are needed, but mostly they become shackles and hamper progress.

It’s a fine line sometimes to make a process which is effective and efficient at the same time,

In case of doubt, my personal preference is always to make it more leaner.

After all, that’s what the manifesto says, people over process.

Many organizations begin with the assumption employees are unable to make right decisions

Therefore, there they need ‘processes’ to ensure they operate as expected.

The problem: it’s impossible to come up with a ‘perfect’ process,

So instead of a rigid process, have general guidelines and have faith the people will make the right decision.

#QsDaily #processes #WaysOfWorking

1510, 2019

Automation is meant to help testers

By | October 15th, 2019|

I hate when testers doing exploratory testing don’t look at automation run results…

This mentality of us vs them among Automation engineers vs Exploratory testers has to go

And I wouldn’t blame testers only for this, when management feels automation will help them get rid of manual testers, It’s only natural for testers to feel insecure

For the 100th time AUTOMATION IS MEANT TO HELP TESTING!!!!

A common question I ask teams – If I stop automation runs today, will that change the time you’ll take for exploratory testing?

If the answer is no, i.e. with or without automation our testing time remains the same, then WHY IN THE WORLD ARE WE DOING AUTOMATION!!!

#QsDaily #CommonSense #Automation #Testing #regression

1410, 2019

Big data and data quality

By | October 14th, 2019|

Testing in big data area has typical challenges,

A big factor is quality of data ingested.

The analysis results has a heavy dependency on the ‘quality’ of data ingested (obviously),

What often happens is inconsistency across the data from down-stream sources, missed records, missing data within records etc and other data quality issues.

Unless these issues are flagged at the lower levels, problems creep up and start reflecting in the analytics results.

While having automated data checks on massive data stores might not be an easy job, it certainly is worth implementing.

1210, 2019

Automation Regression Percentage

By | October 12th, 2019|

Have you ever calculated Automation Regression Percentage?

I think it’s one of the most misused metric. Mostly used to show ‘cost savings’ on pretty graphs.

Here’s how to use the metric get some actual value:

#QsDaily #Automation #Regression #Testing #AutomationRegression

910, 2019

Give me a fixed date to automate

By | October 9th, 2019|

A client asked me to ‘Quote a budget and timeline for completely ‘automating testing’ while giving no context of the product.

I refused to work with them (obviously), here’s why:

Even if disregard the ‘automating testing’ ask, which is a BIG ask..

Getting a budget and time estimation of a complete project might be a common ask before any project sign off.

But I consider this the biggest anti pattern to agile.

Decades of practical experience has showed us we are horrible at estimating.

On the other hand I understand we need to budget and calculate what return we might get.

What might be more practical is to have a ball park range for budget and work we can deliver in first three months.

You can extrapolate and calculate the total estimated cost and use for long term budget planning, but remember it’s always going to be wrong.

We get so hung up with the detailed plans & good old

gantt charts (which were invented in WWI) and forget the ground reality.

#QsDaily #projectestimation #agile

710, 2019

Fault injection post Agile

By | October 7th, 2019|

Fault injection / mutation testing is among the things I miss from the old waterfall days.

More on fault injection in my talk at QA&TEST conference this month end.

In waterfall days it was okay to spend time on improving testing and coming up with better testing techniques.

After the agile apocalypse, many teams found excuses to get away with perfecting their craft under the inaccurate pretense of urgency.

In my understanding, agile never meant not to get half cooked stuff out of the door, in fact quite the opposite, important activities should be part of the Definition of Done.

The only difference was to break a big project into very small deliverable.

So essentially all the good practices from before should continue, just implement in bite sized pieces.

Fault injection is one of those practices.

#QsDaily #Agile #Testing #MutationTesting

210, 2019

Fault Injection at QA&TEST Conference

By | October 2nd, 2019|

I am furious on hearing a tester saying ‘this is out of scope’.

I’ll be talking about one way to solve this at QA&TEST this month (https://www.qatest.org/ali-khalid/?lang=en).

Most of the time I’ve seen testers say this because they don’t know how to test that feature.

Instead of trying to go under the hood and understand the architecture and code base, they just raise their hands.

What really should be done is understand how that piece of code can be tested.

Yes developers should be doing unit tests, but even then tests on module / component level should be figured out

In the world of embedded systems and especially safety critical devices, letting a functionality go untested is not in the cards.

Using fault injection / mutation testing is one technique which I’ll be discussing at the conference.

2809, 2019

Big data and Data Quality

By | September 28th, 2019|

Like industry types, testing applications dealing with big data is very different.

One of the biggest quality challenge in the big data space is of ‘Data Quality’.

Big data mostly deals with analyzing large data sets and extracting useful information / insights from it.

The real currency here is data, therefore quality of the data you get will heavily affect the results, hence quality.

What ‘data quality’ would mean for each product & insight will be different.

So the first step is, figuring out the ‘definition of data quality’ for a particular product and the insights we are trying to get.

#QsDaily #BigData #DataQuality

2309, 2019

User Journey testing instead of End to End testing

By | September 23rd, 2019|

I very much dislike the word end to end testing,

It means different things to different people, instead I use testing the ‘user journey’…

End to end can mean:

1. From the UI to the DB level and back (ends of the tech stack)
2. Can mean a user story executed from the UI
3. A feature (group of stories) demo over the UI
4. The end user’s complete journey which cuts across multiple applications

For me, only no. 4 is end to end, but it’s so hard to explain to certain people.

I find testing the ‘user journey’ much easier to get across to the audience.

And this part of testing is the most neglected, where a user flow is going through multiple systems,

Each team’s feels responsible from the start and end of their product only..

#QsDaily, #testing #softwarequality

1909, 2019

Reorgs and centralizing decision making

By | September 19th, 2019|

Many re-orgs are done to change the culture and how decisions are made,

Often I’ve noticed in the process they end up centralizing decision making even more,

This notion of a select group of people having enough background to make right decisions has to go away,

The typical old management style of information flowing up and decisions coming down, like in the military just does not work.

The complexity of today’s work place is far too much for any select group to be able to make all decisions.

Although the re-orgs mean to decentralize but letting go is just so hard,

Ultimately going even further way from the goal of gaining efficiencies by reducing waste in decision making

If we stick to the fundamentals of reducing waste, making these structural changes might become more easier.

For more, refer “scrum” By Jeff Sutherland

#QsDaily #agiletransformation #scrum

1109, 2019

Waterfall from NASA

By | September 11th, 2019|

Did you know ‘phased program’ – (waterfall SDLC) was developed by NASA

And inspecting the failed programs, this process was found to be extremely inefficient

The phased program / gated development process / waterfall model was said to be very good at trying to show an over-glorified picture of the software

The focus was on documenting rigorously and proof.

I guess that’s where the Agile manifesto said – we value working product over comprehensive documentation

Many of our teams might have moved into an ‘agile’ model, but this idea of valuing working software over documentation still has not gone away

We insist on over documenting nonsense stuff, and under-documenting where needed.

Classic example – still maintaining those long test cases, and having very less context around stories or importantly writing feature files to agree on the product’s ‘behavior’ with the team

#QsDaily #agile #testing

1009, 2019

You are paid what you are worth

By | September 10th, 2019|

A guru of mine once said – You are paid exactly what you are worth – I thought he was joking

Looking back, I can say he was right, at least in the long run, here’s one reason why..

I was having a chat with fellow testers the other day talking about tester’s career progression.

The biggest mistake IMHO people make is to not learn how to solve problems..

In today’s world, all businesses are focused on solving their customer’s problems, especially in tech.

Folks hired in these tech firms primary role is to develop solutions to solve these problems.

A few people find this very taxing and unexciting, because they never trained themselves in problem solving.

If you are working in tech, regardless of your position in the org, your primary role is to develop solutions for the target market’s problems.

If you can’t handle that job, you have no place in tech, and let’s then stop talking about career progression (or griping about it).

If you are solving problems, and your organization is not treating you well, you can get a better opportunity and leave.

So, in the end, you are paid what you are worth..

 

409, 2019

Most Important KPI for Software Quality

By | September 4th, 2019|

I figured it out.. the first and most important KPI for software quality..

Can you guess?.
.
Time from ‘prioritizing a feature’ to the time it is ‘ready for deployment’ in production.

Now some might say testers don’t have control over the whole process, that is true but we should be working to develop that maturity

Or we might say time to market is not as important as quality of the product,

My answer would be – Quality is subjective, best to get feedback from people spending money determine quality

That does not mean we ship crappy stuff, some things are no brainier, seeing exceptions, basic functionality not working are obvious

The part which is subjective is, certain features we might feel are very helpful, or as the user expected and therefore give the product a higher quality,

In the end customer’s experience, they might see that as a hindrance in using the product and would have a different perspective of the level of quality here

So, anyone working towards developing software (including testers), the foremost measure should be: How quickly we can go from ideation to deployment.

Thoughts?

#QsDaily #testingmetrics #transformation

109, 2019

Quality Metrics Headings

By | September 1st, 2019|

After years of going around in circles, I’m going to get it done.

A set of quality metrics that help improve productivity, and I need our community to pitch in..

I’ve gone through relevant content I could find, and to be honest there is just so much on this topic, both good and bad content.

The mistake I have done and see other do is, we measure things we ‘think’ will generate value, like automation coverage, but never the actual outcome we want – time to market and product quality.

Also there are some process factors which usually get skipped, which are also responsible for hitting these goals

In lieu of these, want to classify the metrics in three categories with some “SAMPLE” metrics, not an exhaustive list, just to explain the heading better.:

  • Practices maturity
    • g. Scrum ceremonies and best practices in them
    • Three amigo sessions
    • Defining the complete user journey for each epic & feature
  • Continuous testing
    • Automation pyramid
  • Business value
    • Time taken from pull request to ready for demo
    • Trend of issues coming from support which have to be fixed

Under these three headings will be a list for each.

Thoughts?

3108, 2019

Learning Vs Money

By | August 31st, 2019|

Tech stack, money, growth or company culture, what is most important when accepting a new position?

From this list I’d say tech stack and company culture.

Technology stack is an important factor. Working on a platform which has demand in the industry certainly is more lucrative.

Company culture – Learning better ways of working is often not given due importance.

Being exposed to better ways of working where taking an idea from concept to implementation in the shortest possible time is vital. This is the core of a DevOps culture.

Money and growth are by products IMHO,

As one matures technically and learns efficient ways of working, money and growth should follow.

2908, 2019

Leaders and transformation

By | August 29th, 2019|

To transform your organization you need leaders.

And leaders are those who expect higher standards, from themselves (and others)!

The key in any transformation is to change behavior.

That requires leaders leading by example and demonstrating change.,

Then can the rest of the organization be expected to change.

Therefore leaders should put themselves to a much higher standard than others.

#QsDaily #transformation #agiletransformation #leadership101

1508, 2019

Daily stand up

By | August 15th, 2019|

What are daily stand ups for? giving status..

Actually, that’s not the main purpose.

The main purpose is to actively remove any impediments the team is facing.

Secondly, for the team to actively work towards a single goal, the sprint’s goal.

A stand up ran done correctly, helps in aligning purpose and gives a boost of optimism.

In Jeff Sutherland’s point of view, it’s a ceremony to create harmony between the team, what he calls ‘transcendence’

The three activities to discuss therefore are:

  1. What did you yesterday “to help the team finish the sprint”
  2. What will you do today “to help the team finish the sprint”
  3. Any obstacles in the “teams” way

Keep stand ups inspiring, people walking out should feel ‘hell yeah, let’s do this’..

Reference “Scrum” by Jeff Sutherland

#QsDaily #scrum #motivation #agiletransformation

 

508, 2019

Autonomy and Transcendence

By | August 5th, 2019|

Do super star individuals deliver greater results or super teams?

While we all might instinctively feel the team would do better but…

Super start individuals can sometimes deliver up to 10x results

That’s why companies tend recognize individual performers more.

However, super teams outperform other teams by 100x!

The ‘economies of scale’ come from alignment of purpose and empowerment

Now how do these 100x results come about? When scrum teams have:

  1. Autonomy. All the skills and needed resources reside within the team and they have no dependencies outside
  2. Transcendence. Alignment of purpose, everyone thinks and dreams of the exact same goals.

 

Reference: Scrum (By Jeff Sutherland)

1807, 2019

Passion to learn

By | July 18th, 2019|

The 900 miles journey in one night – just to meet and learn in person, that’s passion.

 

This was when Vignesh came over to meet in in NYC few weeks ago (details in post linked in comments)

 

Hard work and passion are a must if you want to advance your career

 

When I see people who don’t want to put the hours and want success, that’s like trying to learn swimming without getting into the water

 

I’ve also learned that’s not the only success criteria, you also have to be smart about what you are working towards and keep evolving your direction.

 

But by no measure does smart work mean you don’t put in the hours. There is no success without the grind.

 

If you are a tester and you haven’t been upgrading yourself, I wouldn’t lie your up for a tough time.

 

And it’s not just testers, the entire global economy is changing, t’s going to affect everyone, some a bit harder.

 

So instead of blaming developers and rest of the world, lets buckle up and get to learning.

 

More on that in the post below:

 

900 miles to seek knowledge

 

1706, 2019

Do you need Test leadership?

By | June 17th, 2019|

I’m uncertain as to why sometimes it’s so hard to explain the importance of ‘test leadership’.

People can have a lead architect, a lead product owner, a lead developer and even a ‘lead of leads’, but having a test lead would somehow kill autonomy…

The argument is in agile world the team does the job, so they should be self-reliant, and no one needed to ‘manage’ them.

What they fail to understand is testing with technical competence is not something abundantly available in the industry.

Most companies have to manage with the few senior resources they’ve got and use them to train rest of the teams.

IMHO the root cause is this deep-rooted ignorance that testing is just a matter of doing some ‘monkey testing’ and that’s about it.

I’d argue testing and specifically automation take as much resources as developing the service, whoever plays that role requires critical thinking, strong technical skill and exposure.

One would assume after decades of blunders and evolution we would have realized why strong testing is important, no wonder restating your PC when software is not working seems to be ‘perfectly normal’.

1206, 2019

Building context to requirements

By | June 12th, 2019|

Generally how does your team go about doing testing or automation?

Most people (in my experience) jump right into writing test cases or automate written tests… anything wrong there?

The source of tests is usually a bunch of written statements without any context from which testers start create test scenarios

Occasionally might have a chat with the BA or product owner if they find the time.

What’s missing here is the context, the understanding of what problem we are trying to solve

Now just if you wrote a ‘story’ doesn’t mean you got all the context.

It is imperative to talk to marketing, product and support to understand why we are building this product, how is our solution different from others in the market.

Understanding the competitive advantage and pain points of the consumers gives the testers context and a yard stick to gauge what’s important.

Shadowing how the customers use the product in the field is another good way of gaining context into the solution.

Any other techniques you’ve used to understand the context better?

1006, 2019

Why Re-Orgs happen

By | June 10th, 2019|

Why do many enterprises go through Re-Orgs?

Here are a few reasons I’ve figured out so far:

  • To increase efficiencies
  • To reduce cost
  • Technological innovation
  • New management comes in with a new mandate

The root cause of most of these is large organizations having problems with adapting to change and having a hard time innovating

Could be because of:

  • People are far away from the vision of the organization, feel like a small cog in a big machine
  • Extra governance, lots of red tape,
  • People become complacent doing the same job day in day out
  • It gets harder to hold people accountable due to long and complex processes
  • People have no reason or motivation to change

IMHO the mother of all problems is lack of motivation.

Whatever course of action is taken to solve the organizational problems, if the teams are not motivated, long lasting change is highly unlikely to happen.

906, 2019

Give permission to challenge

By | June 9th, 2019|

Leadership lesson – Give permission to challenge

 

What does this mean:

  • People sitting at the meeting table should feel empowered to disagree with any point of view, especially if it is of the leaders in the room

 

Why is it important:

  • It is not individuals who take the day, teams are the ones to bring success. Physiological safety is the secret of team’s success
  • Unless the team feels they are empowered to speak their mind, physiological safety cannot exist.

 

How to do it:

  • The leader should not share his / her opinion at the outset, so everyone feels comfortable to share their opinion
  • Probe people to challenge the status quo
  • Do not let anyone feel punished for challenging the status quo – ever

 

Trouble shooting:

It is possible you might sometimes face confrontation for the sake of it and not for improvement. In such a case:

  • Time box the discussions and assert a decision must be taken before a set deadline
  • Try to use as much factual data as possible
  • If a decision is being taken against what the data says, bring back the discussion to deciding based on data

 

Reference material:

  • How Google works by Eric Schidt
  • Chapter – Decisions, the true meaning of consensus

 

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