Key QA and testing takeaways from the Agile manifesto

My first article for Global App Testing blog is now published at

https://www.globalapptesting.com/blog/key-qa-and-testing-takeaways-from-the-agile-manifesto

             >>>Agile testing leaves very little time for documentation. It relies on quick and innovative test case design rather than elaborate test case documents with detailed steps or results. This mirrors the values of Exploratory Testing. When executed right, it needs only lightweight planning with the focus on fluidity without comprehensive documentation or test cases. 

From a QA viewpoint, we can learn from the Agile Manifesto key goals; communication, efficiency, collaboration and flexibility. If you improve your QA team in these areas, it will have a positive effect on your QA strategy and company growth.

>>>The Manifesto for Agile Software Development forms the golden rules for all Agile teams today. It gives us four basic values, which assure Agilists a clearer mindset and success in their Agile testing.

Although these values are mostly associated with Agile development, they equally apply to all phases, roles and people within the Agile framework, including Agile testing. As we know, Agile testers’ lives are different, challenging and quite busy. They have a lot to achieve and contribute within the short Agile sprints or iterations, and are frequently faced with dilemmas about what to do and how to prioritise, add value and contribute more to the team.

The frequent nature of development in Agile teams means the testing methods used need to respond to change quickly and easily. In that way, Agile testing shares some important characteristics with exploratory testing.

In this article I examine the four values of the Agile manifesto to find the answers to an Agile tester’s dilemmas and improve their testing efforts. Read More

Please give it a read and share your thoughts!

Happy Testing!

Nishi

 

Is Excel holding back your testing?

My guest post @PractiTest QA Learning center

As testers, we all worked with Excel at some point in our career. If you are using
excel now this article is for you 🙂 Excel is used as test management, documentation
and reporting tool by many test teams. At early stages, most teams rely on excel
spreadsheets for planning and documenting tests, as well as reporting test
results. As teams grow, sharing information using excel sheets becomes problematic.
What used to be easy and intuitive, becomes very challenging. Encountering
difficult work scenarios like the below, becomes a day-to-day reality:

  • The simple task of figuring out which excel has the test cases you need to run, takes longer and longer.
  • Gathering the status of the testing tasks and your project can only be done by going to each desk one by one and asking them.
  • A tester mistakenly spent 6 hours running wrong tests in the wrong environment because of an incorrect excel sheet which was not the updated copy.
  • Tester’s routinely lose their work or test results because of saving/ overwriting or losing their excel sheets.
  • Most test activities are not being documented or accounted for because writing tests is considered a luxury.

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If one or more of these scenarios sound familiar to you, you are being held back in
your testing efforts by excel!

In my latest guest post for PractiTest, I have written about how excel can be a roadblock instead of a useful tool for your testing. To read the complete article, click here—->

In here I talk about issues related with use of excel in relation to

  • Visibility within the test team
  • Configuration Management of test items
  • Test Planning and Execution
  • Test Status and Reporting

Please give it a read and share your thoughts!

Cheers!

Nishi

 

I am speaking at the ‘Selenium Summit 2018’ @Pune

Hello!

Check it out!

I am speaking at the Selenium Automation Summit 2018 being organised on 22nd March 2018 by ATA @ Pune.

Find more details about the event at : http://seleniumsummit18.agiletestingalliance.org/

I will be presenting a 90 minute- hands-on workshop on:

“Selenium with Cucumber for an extended BDD Framework”

Are you interested in looking into the trend of Behavior Driven Development? Would you like to see it in action using Cucumber? Would you like to integrate your functional tests in such a framework using integration of Selenium within Cucumber? Then this is the workshop for you!

This workshop will cover

  • Practical issues faced by most testing teams
  • Behavior Driven Development – the definition and need
  • Extending the Agile User stories and acceptance criteria in BDD scenarios
  • Cucumber as a BDD tool
  • Integration of Cucumber with Selenium in order to perform functional tests
  • Demo using Cucumber with Selenium with a real use case
  • Usage and Benefits of BDD In agile teams

Let’s meet there!

-Nishi

Getting Featured in the ‘Top 10 Articles of 2017’ at Stickyminds!

Dear Readers

It is my pleasure and honor to share that my article on

                              “Let the Agile Manifesto guide your Software Testing”

published on Techwell Community forum http://www.stickyminds.com in 2017 has now been featured in the list of “Hottest Articles of 2017” , featuring in the Top 10 Most Read articles last year!

You can give it a read at https://www.stickyminds.com/article/let-agile-manifesto-guide-your-software-testing

I am happy that my thoughts, ideas and write-ups are getting noticed, and this motivates me to continue writing more and better always!

Wishing you a great year ahead.

Happy Testing!

 

Agile Tester, ISTQB and more – What I gained v/s what I didn’t from all these certifications

I am glad to share the latest article I wrote for utest.com forum of testers globally as a part of their #BackToSchool campaign – where writers are sharing their experience with formal education , degrees and certifications on their profession.

I was excited as soon as I read about the #BackToSchool campaign on http://www.utest.com. As someone who has 5 certifications and numerous conferences to my credit, I definitely needed to share my insight and experience here.

Please read and like my article on the forum at

https://www.utest.com/articles/agile-tester-istqb-and-more-what-i-gained-vs-what-i-didnt-from-all-these-certifications

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For a background – I am certified by ISTQB at – Foundation Level (CTFL), Advanced Level Test Analyst (ISTQB Adv TA) and Certified Test Manager (ISTQB Adv TM).

I am also certified by Agile Test Alliance ATA body at 2 levels—Master Agile Tester (MAT) and Automation Agile Tester (AAT)

Just to clarify– none of these certifications were a mandate for my job or a part of my yearly ‘goals’ as some companies I have now heard do to their entry or mid-level testers.

Why did I take these up?

I took up all these certification exams at different points of my career for different purposes.

When I started out my career, I was working as a tester in a start-up like company where I had minimum guidance or hand-holding into the testing world, its terminologies and processes, during being responsible for a huge project in its nascent stage. After about a year of working I had begun to realize that there were some things missing in my knowledge. Though I had learnt about writing test cases and had gotten pretty good at finding bugs and reporting them, I hardly knew the broader perspective of why we did what we did and what the industry outside was working with. I did not have any software background before that and did not study it in my college course too. So I decided to take up some kind of course of learning about the basics to gain confidence about my own work. I looked up online and found out about ISTQB which seemed to be the most popular course and certification for entry level software testers. I started to study for the same. I bought a book, researched online, and did self-study instead of taking up a training course. The course is designed to open up the complete picture of software testing world in front of you so that being in any industry or domain or level of testing, you can relate to where you are and what is the process around you. Every day I learnt about more types of testing that can be done, what they meant. I appeared for the exam and cleared it. But the purpose it solved for me was more than the certification. It was making me confident about what I was doing, what improvements I could suggest in my processes and even what terms we were using wrongly in our team. It also made me stand out amongst my peers – not because of the certificate only (start-ups hardly care about that right) but because of this drive to improve myself and my team and the knowledge I could now share.

Note – That is why I suggest the best time to do this exam is at the onset of your testing career, probably up to 2 years into it.

This later inspired me to take up the next level (ISTQB TA) which is supposed to be an extended level for functional testers at a senior level. I studied for the course just the same, but the exam experience was a lot different from the foundation level. It was a more scenario based exam wherein I had to apply the learnt lessons into real-world like situations and exercise decision-making. That was fun – and probably that is a reason why the pass-rate is so much lower for advanced levels.

After a couple of years of doing both these, I felt now I had reached a place where they did not suffice my needs. I was in a dynamic team working in Scrum and needed a more hands-on learning. I wanted to interact with people outside my team. I looked up online and stumbled upon ATA and their 3-day program happening in a nearby city. I talked to my company and being the supportive group they were always, they agreed to sponsor me! So, I went and participated in the CP-MAT (Certified Professional-Master Agile Tester) program by ATA. Now, that was fun! I met a small group of people from different companies and had deep discussions on their experiences, the trainers who had fun team exercises planned all along and a very hands-on final exam which required actual agile tester skills.

A month after it, ATA approached me and invited for their next level training and also offered me a train-the-trainer program since they liked my drive and skills. I was interested to give it a try and so decided to go for that. I did not ask for sponsorship again from the company though, just the leaves for those days. So, I went ahead and did the CP-AAT program which was based on behaviour-driven development using Cucumber tool and its integration with Fitness tool. Since my team was not into any of these practices, I never got to use the knowledge I gained in this program. So I thought it was too specific and confined.

So, now you know about why I did each of these and that they just sort of happened over my 8+ years in the industry.

What I gained from them?

As I explained, from my first ISTQB CTFL and TA certificates, I gained insight into correct testing processes and terms, and knowledge about the things that were not happening in my team. This gave me confidence that I was relevant around the industry and to share opinions in the team at an early stage in my career. But yes, it definitely also was a plus that I could put it in my resume and increase my chances of being shortlisted for interviews, because many companies find it as a plus.

From the Agile Testing certifications I gained the insight into agile and how testing should fit in and all the hats a tester must wear for the team to succeed. Since then I progressed into a mentor and leader’s role and also acted as a scrum master and agile pod leader, so it must have helped in some way.

It didn’t hurt that it also brought some credibility and value to my profile. So, when I had to move to another city and find a new job a year later, I wasn’t worried about the switch because of the background I had created for myself. It also pushed up my biography when I wanted to submit proposals to talk at national level conferences and I got the opportunity to speak there.

What I did not gain from them?

Please be sure that though some companies may give preference to certified candidates or they may get shortlisted quicker, but a certificate can never replace actual knowledge. The interview process has to ensure that you have practical experience and knowledge instead of just having cleared a few exams.

Agile teams, start-up teams and communities like u-test do not require any kind of certificates, they need real skills.

If you have worked extensively around the industry and gained that experience, good enough!

If you have self-taught yourself by keeping updated with different skill sets, good enough!

If you have had great mentors who have guided you through the learning, good enough!

If you have studied for different courses and learnt the skills of the industry, good enough!

Conclusion:

All study must be done with the aim of learning and gaining some skills and not to get some certificate. The advantages of having the certificate are shallow and short lived as compared to the learnings you get. Do a course only if it has relevance for the level and point in your career and if you have learnt enough without it, so be it. Some certificates even require to keep upgrading or reappearing every few years to ensure that your skills are still relevant.

The real knowledge will come from practical application of the learnings and skills and that is what will distinguish you from the crowd!

Happy Learning!

—– This post has been later featured by The Pirate Tester in 2019 in his blog at –>

https://thepiratetester.wordpress.com/2019/06/18/2019-06-18-should-istqb-exist/

ISTQB Certification Camp for Corporate Team

One of the renowned corporates recently invited us to conduct a ISTQB certifcation camp at their site, where I led and trained a team with the most interesting mix of candidates having experience range from 2 years to 11 years ! Most of the candidates were domain experts shifted into testing teams , were leading testing efforts in their teams and all of them had the urge to take their learnings from our training back to their teams and project’s context.

We had some great conversations not only about the course content , various test design techniques and tools, but also about agile and the struggles they had with scrum and the measures to improve upon them.

The course delivery went great and I received impeccable feedback from the candidates! I wish them the best of luck for their certification attempt as well as their future endeavours!

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Advanced Level Workshops with industry leaders

My association with Verity Trainings recently led me to assist on and experience some great advanced level testing and ISTQB workshops by industry leaders! A great corporate team in Bangalore had invited experienced trainers as the likes of Mr Tarun Banga for their workshop on ISTQB Advanced Level Test Analyst which I happened to assist on as a co-trainer. It was an awesome experience and great learnings came from the interaction with a leader in trainings domain as well as the interaction with the team of candidates, having some proactive discussions, hands-on exercises and fun with learning environment.

 

Another great experience was hosting some hands-on public workshops on ISTQB Advanced test levels with Mr. Gaurav Pandey , where we met some excellent, self-driven individuals with keen sense of learning and quest for excellence in their careers.

With these interactions, I experienced that every trainer has their own style of delivery and conduct , even with similar content and exercises.And every candidate is bound to have their own experience with the training depending upon their agenda , quest and initiative!

Training young minds! @ ETI, Bangalore

I recently got connected to Edista Testing Institute – an initiative of STC-QAI in Bangalore, which led me to an opportunity to train a group of fresh minds for a career in software testing.

The 10-day long training included a detailed course on Software Testing , methodologies, STLC , Agile Testing , various testing techniques with practical hands-on exercises and some great quizzes and interactive sessions. It was an amazing experience coaching the young minds and driving them towards this great . The students also responded really well to the practical sessions and exercises conducted, and we had a great feedback for the complete batch. I wish them all the very best for all their future endeavors.

Here are a few pictures of our group !

Hope to see them all doing great in future!

Cheers,

Nishi