The Art of Bug Advocacy

Testers find defects and raise awareness about quality. What happens after the bugs are found can be any tester’s guess, though. Bugs may get delayed, postponed, go unnoticed or linger on due to lack of information.

In my article for Ranorex blog, I talk about how Testers need to champion the cause of their bugs in order to avoid unneeded delays in fixing defects that are important. At the same time, testers should maintain a distance to make it an impersonal and impartial experience. Testers need to master the art of bug advocacy!

Why is advocacy important?

Advocacy is basically pleading the case for a bug to be fixed. The testers who find the bugs are the ones who need to advocate for their bugs. It is important that they take a stand and voice their opinions.

Some bugs may not be deemed important from a business perspective, as they seem too small. But in reality, they may be blocking an important feature for a particular user group. On the other hand, some bugs may seem more critical than they truly are, and while fixing them may be important, it may not be the highest of priority.

Whatever the case, testers must aim to present the facts and data in such a way that decision-makers are able to make well-informed resolutions about the issue.

Communication is key

Advocating for anything is not a one-way street. It takes discussion, debate and reaching a consensus on key points to make a collective decision. This is where testers’ communication skill plays a key role. Testers need to have good communication, both verbal and written.

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Understanding Burnout Symptoms in Tech Workers

Work in the tech industry is very demanding. We pointed out before in our article entitled ‘Mental Health for People in Tech’ that this industry is characterized not only by long work hours, but also high stress and great pressure to perform well — all of which can adversely impact your mental health. Not only that, but they can also cause burnout, which is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a syndrome caused by chronic and unmanaged workplace stress. Sadly, we often fail to recognize when we are suffering from it.

That said, this article will help you identify burnout symptoms so you can understand this syndrome better for yourself and for those around you who might be experiencing it too.

The Symptoms

The following are some warning signs of burnout:

Irritability and indifference

Tech Republic notes in an article on burnout warning signs that being irritable and indifferent are telltale signs of burnout. Granted, getting irritated is a normal reaction — but if it happens more than usual or if you end up snapping at someone for the smallest reason, you’re likely burned out. The same holds true when both your attention to detail and job interest wane. This increasing detachment is one of the three dimensions of burnout, according to the WHO.

Exhaustion

It’s normal to feel tired at the end of your work shift, but if you feel drained just hours (or even minutes) after starting work, then you’re probably burned out. This energy depletion is yet another dimension of burnout, and it can be exacerbated by the long hours expected of you.

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Personality Traits that make a great tester

Testing concepts and techniques can be learned. But having a knack for testing is different. What makes someone a born tester? What are some personality traits and skills that can make a person innately good at this profession?

In my latest article published at https://blog.gurock.com/natural-traits-great-tester/ , I have described four traits that belong to people who naturally make great testers. Developing these traits can help you in your testing career, and if you are a manager, these are the traits to seek when looking to hire new testers for your team!

  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Curiosity
  • Meticulous Organisation

These traits may not have much to do with technical side of the job, but they surely contribute to the testing mindset and success of a great tester in a team. Read the full article -> https://blog.gurock.com/natural-traits-great-tester/

The Partnership of Testing and Checking

Human Testing is a craft that is more than executing a bunch of tests, performing clicks and actions. A tester has a unique understanding of the system and ways to critique it. Over time, the tester develops a deeper comprehension of the application and its intricacies, integrations, weak points, and history. This makes them the best judge to find out the failure points of the system and comment on its health.

The Product Risk Knowledge Gap is the difference between what we know about the product and what we need to know. The purpose of testing is to close or at least reduce this gap.

While automated checks can help in determining problems in what we know (and have scripted as checks), it may not help as much in the risk areas of what we do not know about the product. That requires exploration, creativity, intuition and domain knowledge. This is the human aspect of testing.

The creative and human aspects of testing lie with the tester, which I have experienced as well as written about a few years back as a hands-on tester myself here – https://testwithnishi.com/2014/12/31/automation-test-suites-are-not-god/

Your Name: Review:

Automated Checks-

Automated scripts have some built-in steps in the form of test data that we pre-define and verifications that we add. These steps are helpful for areas of the application that we need to check, double-check or re-check a number of times, and because these types of checks can be made explicit, they can be automated. Since the same steps will be performed the same way over and over again, it is better called “checking” rather than “testing.”

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Top 3 New Year Resolutions for Testers!

Here we are gearing up for another new year! As time flies by, we may start to feel stuck in one place, unable to move forward in our careers. Testers can get bogged down by too much to learn, too many directions to take, and so many tools and technologies.

But that’s no reason to stagnate. By making some goals now, you can aim to start improving yourself and your career development right away on January 1st.

Here are three goals testers should have for the coming year. Make it your New Year’s resolution to achieve them, and go for it with an action plan in hand! Read the full article at –> https://blog.gurock.com/new-year-resolutions-testers/

Improve your Mindset

The first resolution should be to create and maintain a healthy mindset. Mental peace and team harmony should be the goal.

Continue Learning

There must be a routine, a drive to better oneself and a constant search for improvement. All testers must resolve to take up some kind of continuing education so they can always be adding to their skill sets. Learning cannot be a one-time activity.

Get Better at Networking

The next resolution a tester must make is to participate in the community in some way.
The knowledge you have is better shared with others, and the pace of learning in a community will be much faster than alone.

Read More —>

Mental Health for people in tech

The technical industry is characterized by high stress, long work hours as well as workplace pressure. This demanding environment blurs the line between your professional and personal life.

Your mental health suffers a lot in the constant social pressure to network and make a name for yourself. Here, are certain ideas to implement at your workplace to take care of your mental health.

Speak your mind

Speaking your mind can help you maintain your mental health. Don’t consider sharing your feelings as a sign of weakness; it’s a part of taking charge of your wellbeing.

Though it’s hard to talk about feelings at work, but if you have colleagues you can talk to, it can really help. Find your tribe at work who can be your peers with whom you can share your day to day problems, issues and seek advice, or open up with family and friends outside work.

Identify triggers

Everyone has different triggers for anxiety in the workplace. It could be doing a presentation or writing reports or going to a company function. You must track situations that make you uncomfortable in order to prepare.

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Defining Exit Criteria for different phases of your Agile project

Exit criteria are a list of items to check off that define the end of any activity. Exit criteria can be defined for any activity you want to undertake: You can have exit criteria for cooking veggies to the desired doneness, or for a city tour to be sure you see all the sights, or for a meeting to assign action items for everyone! Exit criteria are helpful to tell you (and others involved) when to stop the activity. Specifically, for an agile project, having clear and concise exit criteria makes it easier to understand the scope and avoid going overboard while keeping a tab on your quality. 

In my article published at Gurock https://blog.gurock.com/agile-exit-criteria/ , I have discussed some ways to structure your exit criteria at the sprint, user story, and task levels in an agile project.

The first rule for exit criteria is to have them defined up front, before beginning the activity.

For an agile project, let’s say we want to have exit criteria in place for the end of the sprint. We will need to work on defining them at the beginning of the sprint, or at the release-planning stage. Once the activity begins, the goal is to achieve all exit criteria by the end. We cannot have people defining or changing the planned exit criteria during execution of the activity, since that will not be upholding the quality standards set in the beginning.

The second rule is to have standard exit criteria for all similar activities. So, exit criteria defined for the sprint level apply to all sprints in that release, and exit criteria defined for the user story level apply to all user stories in all sprints. This upholds the same standard of quality and expectation of work required for each of these work units.

In the article, I have discussed sample Exit Criteria for Sprint, User Story or Task level and also shown how to create your own exit criteria based on your project’s and team’s context.

The important things to focus on are having the exit criteria defined up front and ensuring follow-through by sticking to the criteria throughout your release cycle. Being consistent with checking off everything on your exit criteria list ensures a smooth flow of high-quality work.

Check out the complete article here – >

Metrics your Agile team should & should not be tracking!

Agile teams are constantly running toward goals, requiring constant planning, monitoring, and re-planning. Metrics can help support these efforts by providing useful information about the health and progress of the project.

There are a few common metrics we use in agile teams: sprint burndown charts, release burnup charts, team velocity. They’re common because they communicate practical information, but they’re not the only metrics we can employ.

In my recent articles for TestRail blog, I described 3 Uncommon metrics you can easily create that will be very useful for your agile team. I also wrote about 3 Metrics that are not useful and you must stop using now!

Here are the posts–>

Three Uncommon Metrics Your Agile Team Should Be Tracking

Here I described 3 most useful metrics –

Defect Health

Defect Health Chart

Test Progress

Metric for weekly test progress

Build Failures

Sprint-wise metric for No of Build Failures

Click here to read the complete article —>

Three Metrics Your Agile Team Should Stop Using

Metrics are supposed to help and support an agile team by providing useful information about the health and progress of their project. But not all metrics are always beneficial. Going overboard with them can sometimes cause more harm than good.

In this post I have described three metrics that can impede your agile team instead of motivating you.

  • Defect Counts
  • Hours
  • Lines of Code or Defect Fixes per Developer

Click here to read the complete article–>

Please share your experiences with metrics and how they helped or impeded your progress!

Cheers

Nishi

Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communications in Agile Teams

Communication is the foundation of success for an agile team. Agile teams need to set up effective communication channels and have a culture of constant communication for complete transparency.

However, there are often several challenges that act as barriers to productive communication and may lead to people problems as well as delayed or failed projects. In my article for TestRail https://blog.gurock.com/agile-barrier-communication/ , I have discussed some of the most common barriers to effective communication for agile teams, as well as how you can overcome them.

  • Physical Barriers
  • Cultural and Language Barriers
  • Emotional Barriers
  • Perceptual Barriers

Read the complete article here ->

Agile teams require constant communication, so it immensely benefits the team to recognize their barriers to effective communication and take some measures to overcome these barriers. Every step taken in this regard leads the team farther down their path to true agility.

The Agile Mindset: Cultural Changes for Successful Transformation

Agile transformations can be a challenging undertaking, and many organizations struggle with what is probably the hardest part of the transition: adopting an agile mindset. It is imperative that teams embrace the agile culture before they can fully embrace agile.

Let’s discuss the major cultural shifts needed for a successful agile transformation. Full article-> https://blog.gurock.com/agile-mindset/

Collaborating to Make Decisions

As I always like to say, agile is more a mindset than a process. It guides you to a better way of working and collaborating in order to deliver the most value to your users. But how you choose to implement those guidelines is up to you, and most teams coming from a traditional style of software development find this aspect the most challenging.

Teams are left to find ways to work together rather than having a process forcing them to do certain actions, follow certain processes, or organize specific meetings. There are no templates or techniques to adhere to and no rules to follow strictly.

This may come as a surprise and leave teams guessing since they are used to being told what to do and how. Agile drives them to think on their feet as they plan and replan their way through the development process. Read More–>

Being Comfortable with Visibility & Exposure

Agile gives everyone a voice and values every person’s opinion. Many teams have been used to only the manager speaking for them or having one representative in most meetings. As a result, some team members may feel flustered now that they’ll occasionally be in the spotlight. People who are not used to voicing their opinion are expected to speak in all forums. Hiding behind the team is no longer an option in agile.

This also means team members are valued as individuals and everyone’s contribution is recognized. Agile treats all team members as equals, whatever their role or designation. They are expected to estimate their own tasks, pick things to work on, collaborate with other team members, and provide value by the end of each iteration. Continue Reading–>

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