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Showing posts from April, 2013

Making new members of your team feel welcome

Where I am at currently, we are recruiting a high number of new QA and it seems that every QA meeting there is a new face, and sometimes more than one. I'm beginning to think how can we make them feel welcome, and at the same time how can we keep some form of team spirit. So in no particular order...

Firstly, to ensure that they feel welcome it's important to have things set up and ready for them to use from their first day. This can be anything from hardware, to user permissions to even providing them with a notebook and pen. I've seen it all too often, and experienced it myself on some occasions, turning up to my first day in a new role, and not having a pc, and on one occasion not even having a desk. In order to feel part of a company, and welcome, then it is extremely important that the company is ready for you to start, not only from a financial aspect (ie. you sitting around doing nothing and getting paid, generally isn't productive for the company), but I love s…

NxtGenTesting Conference

I've just bought my ticket for the NxtGenTesting Conference on May 23rd. A number of talks are appealing to me, but these are just some of the highlights for me personally and why:

Building agile automated test scripts with Selenium WebDriver - This is a big highlight for me, and reason enough to go alone in my eyes. I've got a fair amount of experience with Selenium WebDriver, but only in one company, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how other people do it and to discuss the pros and cons of each approach.Mobile Testing - Obviously with such an increased amount of traffic coming through mobile devices to any website and with mobile browsing predicted by some to overtake fixed internet browsing in 2014, I'm interested to see how we can ensure they have the best experience as possible, but obviously this means testing on a number of new devices and OS, how can we manage that? I have a few ideas, mainly about prioritising user traffic and browser engines based on v…

Using bugs to your advantage....

Over Christmas I had the pleasure of taking my son to see Santa Claus, however unfortunately it gets rather busy if you don't prebook online, we decided in the morning on a Saturday, that we'd take him to see Santa that afternoon, so decided to look online to book to avoid the queues.

So I logged on, and went to book online, however unfortunately it would only allow you to book for the next day and you couldn't book for the same day, as it wasn't selectable in the drop-down. 

Luckily for me, I selected tomorrow and went to confirm in case we decided to go tomorrow, I happened to have a look at the URL that it generated, sure enough the date was in the URL, so I changed the date in the URL to today and it managed to take me to a confirmation page with a confirmation number confirming my appointment for today! :) Finley will be pleased, and so would mummy and daddy at not having to wait in the queue.

So we got to Santas Grotto, and sure enough the queue was massive, my wife…

Using BDD and gherkinising your Acceptance Tests

In my post Testing of Automated tests, I mention about a BDD framework which involves using BDD to drive your acceptance tests. BDD stands for Behaviour Driven Development. 

One effective method of writing BDD tests are by using a format known as Gherkin language. These consist of Given, When, Thens. The main advantage of the gherkin language is that it's readable by the business, and in an ideal world forms part of the Conditions of Acceptance around a PBI.

Also, using a Visual Studio plugin of SpecFlow, you can integrate your Gherkinised COAs into your solution with feature files, and then drive the automated tests, however, for this post I will focus solely on how to effectively gherkinise your acceptance tests.

A Feature file consists of a feature outline, which details what the feature file is testing followed by Scenarios and examples (parameters). The BDD scenarios are made up of a Given, When, Then... These are effectively an initial state (Given), an action (When) and an ass…

Raising your profile in QA

I've been told in the past that I need to raise my profile within the QA community, not just in work but outside of work as well. I need to be more vocal and speak out more in work, and get people to know me, which I have started to do and am quite enjoying it.

In light of this I want to offer advice to other people about how they can raise their profile within the QA community outside of their workplace, as well as in their workplace, as raising one will hopefully raise the other.

Firstly, I never thought I would get into this blogging malarkey  but I can definitely say it has helped make me a better QA. Someone once said to me that blogging is useful as it might help someone learn something, and if not, then it can help you and is a good point of reference if you ever need to look back on anything. I also find it quite therapeutic by writing out about how I feel about certain aspects of my job. This will help raise your profile inside and outside of work, share your blog on twitte…

Mentoring a new QA

I've recently been asked to help devise a mentoring plan for a new QA associate. I sat down and thought about it, and thought it would make a half decent blog post, so here goes!

In order to come up with a plan, I needed to identify key areas of QA that as a new QA I would appreciate. I came up with the below areas that I feel would benefit most new QA members:

- Automation
Selenium IDE moving onto Selenium WebDriver perhaps
SoapUI Pro
Obviously these will be domain specific, so if you're using QTP for automation, then obviously try mentoring in that etc... In fact this can be applied to much of the below.
- C#/Programming Language
- Writing Manual Test Cases
- Exploratory Testing
- Writing Bug Reports
- Testing Tools
Browser AddOns
Test Case Management/Defect Management (Be it Microsoft Test Manager, Quality Center etc)
-Performance Testing
-Cross Site Scripting/Security Testing
-Breaking down a PBI 
- Release testing
- Involved in a release sprint
- Regression testing
- Spr…

Performance Testing 101

So one of my objectives is to be able to offer more in regards to Performance Testing.

Whilst I understand the basics, I figured I'd write them down and start a series of blog posts hopefully detailing my findings and explaining why performance testing is important, and the different types of performance testing.

In order to understand why performance testing is important, it will be good to know some of the more popular types of performance testing are....

Load Testing
This is testing a system to understand and analyse the behaviour of a system under a specific expected load. This is probably the most common form of performance testing, it is useful in identifying any bottlenecks in a piece of software. 

Stress Testing
This is testing a system to breaking point, so that you can understand the point at which the system fails and under what load.

Endurance Testing
Similar to load testing, but this will be load under a prolonged period of time, in order to gain confidence that the system ca…

Small change? Test everything!

As a QA our job is to ensure quality, however, all too often I hear about a small change, and the testing that a QA has said is needed is massive. I feel that QAs have a tendency to say to test everything when they don't necessarily understand the change, when with a few questions we can isolate the change down to a specific system and come up with an appropriate 10 minute test strategy.

Unfortunately, I think this comes out a lot as the QA is scared to ask exactly what the change is, what the affected systems are, and in all honesty no one should be afraid to ask if they don't understand anything. On the flip side, whoever you ask, you shouldn't take their response as gospel, do some investigation work yourself until you fully understand the risks and the affects this change will have.

I've experienced a number of scenarios where I've questioned the amount of testing or the type of testing that is being completed on a task. For example, a database change will very r…

How to get into QA?

I've had people ask me in the past that they are trying to get into QA, but don't really know how, so I thought I'd write a quick post on what I would do if I wanted to get into QA now...

This post is going to slightly contradict my previous post, in that I recommend at least getting qualified, I would recommend ISEB Foundation qualification, whilst in that post I argued against the qualification route... 

However, let me explain myself a little, the ISEB qualification, rightly or wrongly, is required by a lot of employers who wish to get into QA, and whilst it does teach you the basics, being a QA is a lot more than that. It's about having a passion for it, about having the correct skills and technical knowledge. So whilst I do recommend the ISEB qualification, this is only the start of things.

One thing that employers love, and rightly so, is passion. A passion to be the best in your field, a passion to find bugs and break things definitely helps. But how can you do thi…

The state of QA today

I recently read a blog post about the state of QA in general, and it really opened my eyes to realise that it isn't just in my current company where testing is in a state of anarchy almost, but at least for my own sanity it appears to be in a number of places.

The blog in question is here, and it references an article available here. Like the blog, I do not agree with everything in the article, but I will elaborate and discuss the key topics in this blog post.

I was going to write a similar blog post, around the state of QA contractors, however, I feel that it can now be coupled together into this blog post.

To be honest, first things first, it was a bit of a relief to realise that this is an industry wide problem, and not just isolated to where I am at currently. It is something that I care passionately about, as all too often, I see people hired by companies as QA professionals, but in reality, I have no idea how they can claim to be one.

In the blog post, it's mentioned that ap…

Useful browser addons for QA

With so many browsers to choose from nowadays, it's important to choose the right one.

For me, the wide array of add-ons that are available to aid my day to day job, definitely play a part in my choice. I choose Google Chrome, having an Android phone, means I can sync my favourites between my Mac, my phone and my work PC (100% personal reasons! There are some professional reasons below!)

There are also a wide array of add-ons that Chrome supports that helps make my life easier, and I strongly recommend any QA have when testing a web UI.

These are the ones that I use on a regular-ish basis:

Fiddler - not really an addon for Chrome, but essential in monitoring HTTP requests and responses. It enables you to change requests/responses by setting breakpoints etc. Fiddler in itself could and one day will have a whole blog post about the benefits and the uses and how it can aid with testing. 

Fiddler can be downloaded from here
FireBug - This is essential. I can not understand how a browser can…