Training Train of Thoughts

This would be a quick test. The cells in a table had been minimised, so an empty cell had been displayed like a rectangle with the height of a few pixels. Now it had been fixed.

I used some scripts to install the latest version. I put some test data into it. Then I modified the view. The empty cells were as big as the filled ones. Case almost closed.

I quickly browsed through the description of the ticket. The impact of the change was minimal or nothing. The table was used to show information. There was no way to modify the contents of the cells, either filled or empty.

Then I noticed a comment of mine. It could also occur in another application. The same functionality was used by a different application, so the developers would have reused the code. This is an obvious assumption and it was more plausible by the use of TDD.

Some explanatory stuff ahead.
Test Driven Development or TDD is a continuous cycle of test, code and refactor. During one of our Cleancode sessions uncle Bob told about this approach:

  • Make a test, that fails.
  • Make code, that let this test succeed (and of course all other previous unit tests)
  • Improve or refactor the code.

An example of refactoring is to reduce the occurrences of the same piece of code. If it is in one place, the dev has to fix it in one place.

Refactoring can also be used in making automated tests or manual test cases. Knowledge can also be refactored. The knowledge management system is my best friend. Specific information is stored in one place accessible for everyone in my firm.

Where was I writing about?
O yeah, testing the absence of minimised cells in another application.
Right. So I installed the other application and put some test data into it. I tried to find some empty cells, but that was not possible.

Thought while blogging
I could modify the input file, but that was an invitation to errors.
Sorry no access.

Let me continue with my thoughts.
I looked at the table and thought about the installed database client. Good. I opened the application and connected with the right database and the right table. Then I emptied one cell. And the cell was shown minimised on screen. Hmmm. That was not right.

Because I sat in the same room as the devs, I knew who had worked on this ticket. I told him about my finding. This could easily be fixed.

Then I tried to find out, why it was only fixed in one application:
“I put it in the comment.”
He did not read the comment.
“Okay, what can I do to fix this? Put in the description?”
The dev said, he would definitely read it. Even it was an assumption from my side. He had no problems with it. OK fine with me.

After a couple of minutes the dev made eye contact with me. He told me it was solved. I installed the other application. Just fivesome clicks.

I started the application. Nothing happened. Another reinstall followed by unsuccessful start. I opened two logs to find some clue, but there was nothing special to be found. So I asked another dev. He listened to my story and had a quick look in the logs. Back at his workplace he discovered a process that was still operational despite the reinstall. So a script had to be fixed.

Then it was time to go home. You know family waiting for daddy to join dinner.

The next day I could finish my test. There is no such thing like a quick test.
This might lead to a heuristic.

That Feeling a Lone

After my talk about a performance test I spotted two other speakers. I just joined their conversation: “How did your talks go?” A moment later I heard Rik Marselis asking behind me: “Han Toan, how did your talk go?”

The other speakers turned their attention to me and I talked about testing. Then I remembered Rik. I turned my head, but he was gone. That evening I did not spot him anymore.

Later that week I mailed him a 20 line mail about my talk.
Did I do this, because he is a known tester in the Netherlands?
No.
Did I do this, because he was the president of TestNet, the Dutch Special Interest Group in Software Testing?
No.
I wrote him, because he was really interested in my experiences. I just sent him a Reverse Polished Notice.

@ Conf Alone
A few weekends ago a speaker reflected on a test conference. It was good, but it was difficult to make real contact. There were only 2 tweets which lead to a massive discussion. The second tweet touched the members of the test community. People were suggesting solutions and sent words of support. In turn this lead to strange reactions like “It was a great conf and I felt inclusive.”

It all boiled down to the question: what would happen, if I join a conversation? To be more precisely, if I join a conversation midstream.

Suppose you are the chairman of a meeting. All participants are people you can talk with freely. At one moment two people want to say something. You pick Cecilia and John has to wait. After Cecilia had her say, what would you do?

When I come home, my kids really want to share some stories with me. I hear the first sentences of different stories from different kids. So I have to pick. What would I do after one story has been told?

I am not really super human. Luckily, my wife is taking care that I am taking care of …

Getting Personal

Suppose I have a good friend. She is already dating a man for a month. She is still hesitating And sure I want to help her.

Suppose that evening I shook hands with a good looking man. His flow of words muted me. He had a Porsche, he had a good job and he would fly to Spain just for fun. And ..
It was like a salesman selling himself.

Suppose my friend expected an honest advice after an one directional overwhelming monologue.
What was I supposed to say?

“And here’s to you, Mrs. Recruiter
Testers love you more than you will know
Wo wo wo
We need you, please, Mrs. Recruiter
Office holds a place for those who say
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey”
[On the melody of Mrs. Robinson]

Let me get this straight: I am not looking for a job.
Another straight thing: I am badly surprised the way recruiters approach me.

It goes like this:
Hi Han,

We noticed your profile on AllConnectedNow.com. And we are looking for someone with your background.

Our customer is a well-known international company. It is number 1 in medical software in EMEA. A new product will be developed in the coming years. You can be in this team.

The candidate must have
At least 5 years of experience in software testing
4 character Test certificates
Seniority to help junior testers
At least 5 years of experience in automated testing
A background in medical software is preferred.

If you are interested about this job, please call us at 123weneedatester or send us a mail.

Regards,


Mrs. Recruiter

Some people would enjoy this mail. I don’t. Apart from the fact that my profile had not been checked properly, it is not really personalised.
Let’s say Cecilia has the same background I have in juggling. She can juggle the devilstick, pass 6 clubs, and has an act of 3 minutes. Excuse me. It was about software testing, but I only read the word background.

Let me start again. Cecilia has the same experience in software testing I have. I could start the mail with “Hi Cecilia”. And it still make sense. Another straight thing I want to share: I do not know a Cecilia with this profile. I just made it up to make my point. So if you did not find Cecilia, that’s why. By the way AllConnectedNow.com does not exist for the same reason.
I like recruiters who can spot senior testers, but I have some suggestions to connect. That’s fine with me and hopefully you.

Last months I got several friendly requests to exchange thoughts about a new job. The mails looked like the one I described. Why me? So I politely asked why they would have me in their team. The answers were .. Let me put it this way: I did not receive an answer on this question.

I felt like a number. It could be 8 or 754. So if a junior peer would ask me about this company. I am not jumping up and down for her or him. It’s just another company.

Of course some recruiters might like numbers: “I sent 100 invitations to interesting candidates this morning.”
But a company is not happy, if they get 40 junior people who are willing to do the job. But it was actually looking for senior or expert or whatever you call her or him.

In marketing Unique Selling Points are used. E.g. a company is number 1 in medical software in EMEA. Let me turn this around. As a recruiter I would look for someone with Unique Buying Points. “I noticed you have experience with medical information systems on a Windows platform.” Or even better “I noticed you tested a Dutch medical information system on a Windows platform a few years ago.” My guess is there are about several hundreds. And it is easy to reduce the scope using “information system for house doctors”. This might lead to a number close to 60 on the Whole Wide World. I would feel appreciated as a tester.

Today the world is moving fast. I ignore commercials or invitations, if they do not resonate with me. But I do remember companies which felt right or wrong to me.

“We’d like to help you learn to help yourself
Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes”
Mrs. Robinson sung by Simon & Garfunkel