Happy Holidays and 2022 Testers!

Just wanted to send the quality engineering and software testing communities a short holiday note of appreciation for all the work you do.

Testing software is hard. Very hard. And not unlike plumbers, your effort is frequently not appreciated when things are working and first to be criticized when things go wrong.

Years ago I wrote a post trying to define why I like the business of software testing and specifically working with testers and why our work is so difficult.

“Testers spend their days trying to figure out what “might” go wrong by looking for ways a product is already broken – staring into the cosmic abyss of the impossibility of complete testing for all of us takes it toll. All the while competing in an industry teeming with unenlightened vendors, consultants and “experts” undermining their own value proposition by selling “bug free” methodologies, certified super-tester training programs and “automated algorithmic defect predictonators”.”

It doesn’t have to be like this, but it is, and there are lots of us fighting every day to make life better for testers while you make our systems safer, more reliable, and more equitable for the people who use them.

So from me, to you, thank you for all your hard work and know that I see it and appreciate it, even if a lot the world always doesn’t.

Wishing you a happy holiday season and great New Year.


Damian draws strangers . . .

Can’t love this enough! Many thanks to Damian Synadinos for the amazing artwork he does at I Draw Strangers. His drawing perfectly captured my “not you again with the same bullshit” look, so check him out and give him a commission to counter all this AI art crap! Cheers!

Letting Sleeping Watchdogs Lie . . .

I’m working on a larger piece on #artificalintelligence, testing and ethics, but I had to say something about the really depressing panel on #ethics and #AI I attended at the Cyber Security and Cloud Exp in London today. The conference in general (Cyber Security & Cloud Expo | Technology Conference | London (cybersecuritycloudexpo.com) was a great event and really well done, but I heard two comments from the “Keeping it Ethical in AI” panel that left my mouth hanging open.

Continue reading

Software Testers Survival Guide: Interview tips . . .

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.Groucho Marx

The hits just keep coming these days, with new tech sector layoffs being announced seemingly on a daily basis. And as we limp into 2023, there are rumors that this is more than just a reaction to the market, but a new era being ushered in for austerity measures for hiring in tech. In light of this, I wanted to get something out to folks on interviewing tips to accompany my advice on how to stand out as a tester during economic downturns. For a more in depth analysis on managing your career in testing, I would point you to stellar works from Benjamin Kelly on and David Greenlees as well what I consider as essential reading on succeeding in tech, Secrets of Consulting by Gerald Weinberg.

Continue reading

All models are wrong, but some are useful . . .

In light of the current state of hiring in tech right now, this talk seems pretty relevant again and hopefully sheds some light on how test teams are often reviewed for performance…enjoy!

“Over the course of my career I’ve reviewed the performance of countless software testing organizations, test teams, and testers looking for ways we can improve. Typically, the first suggestion when asked “how can we improve the state of testing here”, usually relates to something that OTHER people should do. Very few people or teams take an introspective approach to improvement based on their own values and principles. This talk is the review model and heuristics I use to identify things that are working and areas for improvement including efficiency, process improvement, and aligning your test approach for relevance to your business.”

SIBOS 2022: Everything, everywhere, all at once

In Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s brilliant film, “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once“, as Michelle Yeoh’s conciseness jumps universes, she’s confronted by a version of her husband who tells her, “When I choose to see the good side of things, I’m not being naive. It is strategic and necessary. It’s how I learned to survive through everything.” As someone who’s career has focussed on software and system quality, I couldn’t help but feel something similar when returning from my trip to Amsterdam last month to attend SIBO

Continue reading

Rhyming’ and stealin’ . . .

Think the state of the software testing industry has improved much? Guess what year this slide was presented about the “challenges” facing testing compared to the 2021 “State of Testing” report. History may not repeat itself, but when it comes to our business, it sure does like to rhyme… 🙃

Software Testers Survival Guide: How to get through an economic downturn as a tester . . .

They are stressful, usually unnecessary, and IME always the fault of bad leadership, but from a quick read of the news and what’s happening in the tech sector it, it looks like layoffs are back on the menu. In my over 25 years of managing software testing in enterprise tech, I’ve experienced layoffs in every single one of them. For some folks in tech companies, this may be your first time living through this, and testers are usually the first to go, so here are my quick tips for increasing your value to your business to avoid the cut.

Continue reading

Second verse, same as the first . . .

What do Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Twitter, Lyft, Stripe, (just to name a few) all have in common? Layoffs.

I’ve worked in enterprise tech for over <coughs> 25 years, and experienced layoffs in every single one of them, and they are always due to poor org structure and over optimistic growth projections. What’s going on with Twitter and the broader tech sector right now has been coming, IMO for at least the last decade (if not longer) – and the blame falls solely on leadership. But as always happens, employees will bear the cost of those bad management decisions at the price of their jobs and security…

Continue reading

Maybe . . . just maybe

When someone in the software testing business is warning against over-reliance on test automation, metrics or AI for assessing system or software quality, that doesn’t mean they are against automation in testing or to be treated like a luddite. Maybe….just maybe….you should think about it the same way that people like Timnit Gebru and Harry Collins warn against artificial intelligence – as people with deep experience who see ethical and systemic risk beyond the superficial and immediate returns. #justsaying

SIBOS 2022

Really excited to be attending SIBOS next week in Amsterdam! Come meet me at KPMG UK booth F15 to talk about #qualityengineering and #softwaretesting in the world of #digitalpayments and #fintech. Hope to see you there!

TestBash Recruitment Fair – 2022

Had a great time in Manchester last night talking about KPMG UK and our #qualityengineering and #softwaretesting practice at the Ministry of Testing Recruitment Fair. Please reach out if you want to learn more about our practice and all the open roles we’re actively hiring for in #testautomation #nft #accessibility #erp and #testmanagement Check us out HERE