Tuesday, January 9, 2018

It's That Time Again: The #StateofTesting Survey 2018

As in previous years, I have decided to take part in "The State of Testing" Survey and I encourage anyone else who is actively involved in testing endeavors to do the same. Note: I did not say "testers" need to take it, though that's likely who it's directed to. As I have become more involved in software delivery as a process, software testing is a key part of what I do, but it's not the only thing I do.

As I see it, software testing is transitioning. There will certainly be areas where dedicated testing as a role, a responsibility, and a job title will remain for quite some time to come. However, I also see that testing as a dedicated discipline in many organizations, if not disappearing, is definitely getting to be hazier. In previous decades, I might have been worried about that and truth be told, I was. Today, I take heart in the fact that there is much we all can do to be successful and do meaningful work. as I often remind myself, my mentor Ken Pier was fond of saying "there is always work moving from theory to practice".

The following I am borrowing directly from the Practitest QA Intelligence Blog, so I am presenting it in its entirety below (Thanks, Joel and Lalit :) ):

What is the State of Testing?

The State of Testing™ seeks to identify the existing characteristics, practices, and challenges facing the testing community in hopes to shed light and provoke a fruitful discussion towards improvement.
The final report is translated into several languages and shared globally, further expanding the reach and impact this report has on all of us in the QA world.
This is the 5th year that the QA Intelligence Blog is running this survey in collaboration with TeaTime with Testers, and with your help,  it can be bigger and more comprehensive than in previous years.
Each year the amount of participants has increased, and the final reports become even more valuable as a culminated reflection of testing trends, challenges, and characteristics.
So there you have it, another chance to take part in the State of Testing Survey is upon us. Are you interested in playing along? If so, click below and let's get to it :).


Monday, January 8, 2018

Geek Crush: Star Trek Continues

One of my goals for 2018 is to write about more stuff that interests me and that helps inform what I do day to day. Yes, TESTHEAD is primarily about software testing, but often there is a lot of stimuli that feeds into how I think about testing, and a fair amount of that stimulus cannot be boiled down to "here, use this and it will help you test things better". Still, I think there's a value to it and I want to be able to talk about it in some way, so as in the past, I'm making a heading so that, if you want to play along, you can. If you don't, you can safely skip over posts that don't interest you. That new heading is "Geek Crush", and yes, it's a play on words of Charles W "Chuck" Bryant's podcast "Movie Crush", only it covers a broad range of my geeky interests, many of which help directly or indirectly in my worldview and filter into how I think about testing.

My first entry into this comes courtesy of SacAnime, an event I attended this past weekend with my daughters in Sacramento, CA, USA. We've been going thee past few years and this year I specifically went because I was excited to learn that the primary cast of RWBY was going to be there and I wanted to meet them (a future post will most definitely feature me talking about my RWBY addiction, but not today ;) ). During this event, I learned that there was going to be a special screening hosted by Vic Mignogna of "Star Trek Continues". I went to the screening and left a huge fan and with a great desire to see a lot more.

Disclaimer: Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film series intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.

First off, let's talk about what 'Star Trek Continues" is. For those who were fans of the original Star Trek Series with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, James Doohan, etc., you know that the original mission was five years to seek out new life in distant star systems and "to boldly go where no man has gone before". Well, the original series was canceled after three years, meaning that mission was never finished, at least not on film. When the movies started up in the late 70s, we picked up with them ten years later and "got the band together again", so to speak, with a lot of stuff happening in between. What happened during the last part of the five-year mission? What causes Captain Kirk to want to take a desk job? Why did Spock return to Vulcan and what led up to that decision? Vic decided that these were questions he wanted to see made into episodes, and thus "Star Trek Continues" does exactly that. It is a web series filmed in the tones, the style, the outfits and the literal zeitgeist of "Star Trek: The Original Series" with Vic Mignogna stepping into the uniform and mannerisms of James Tiberius Kirk. He's joined by Todd Haberkorn as Spock, Grant Imahara as Sulu and Chris Doohan (James Doohan's son) as Scotty.

First off, I have to say that Vic has pulled off something amazing. You literally feel like you are watching the original show, as far as the sets, the sound effects, the clothing and the mannerisms of the various characters are concerned. Vic explained that they went to great lengths to be able to do this because they knew that anything out of place would pull the audience out of the experience. Granted, Vic is not William Shatner and Todd is not Leonard Nimoy, so there are certainly visible differences. They also bring themselves into the roles, too; they are not slavishly recreating Kirk, Spock, or any of the other characters. Still, the feeling of the episodes, the tropes used, the acting style, the lighting, and makeup, all of it makes you feel as though you are watching the original series, down to the music and practical special effects.

I started watching Star Trek sometime in the mid-70s when it was being syndicated as after-school television. I did not have the experience of watching it when it was first on television but I well remember the feeling of wonder and excitement the original series provided to me during my elementary school days. Star Trek Continues brings back those feelings. I'm reminded of Gene Roddenberry's vision. Knowing how obsessive Vic is with his love of the original Star Trek, I am so excited that he made this and I am excited to see the rest of the series. If you are one who enjoyed the original Star Trek and had hoped that one day you might see more of it, here is your chance.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Testing Show: CodeNewbie With Saron Yitbarek, Part 1

Happy New Year everyone!

I'd like to present the newly retooled The Testing Show. New theme music (courtesy of my band Ensign Red) and what I hope will be a new streamlined format for the show. I've learned a thing or two about doing audio the past few years and I'm hoping to see us transition a little bit to a broader storytelling approach along with the regular interviews that we do.

To that end, that special guest I was talking about a few weeks back is Saron Yitbarek, the mastermind behind the CodeNewbie website, podcast, Twitter chats and recently the producer of the BaseCS podcast as well as running the Codeland development conference.

I joke during the intro in this show that I feel like a bit of a fanboy here, but seriously, I have wanted to interview Saron for a long time. I was a little nervous asking if she'd be on our show with her level of visibility, so I was overjoyed when she said "yes" and even more so at the natural conversation that we had. She's not just a great interviewee, she's an excellent interviewer as well, so there was a really fun give and take on this show. To that end, I likewise decided that my traditional heavy grammatical editing style wasn't suited for this conversation. Some of the audio may sound a little less slick by TESTHEAD standards, but I feel it adds to the immediacy and excitement of the conversation. I'm not kidding when I say I was a bit giddy at a few spots in this episode.

All right, fanboy gushing aside, this episode covers what I think is interesting ground. Saron is perhaps one of the few guests who has never identified as a software tester, but she totally gets testing. What's more, she totally gets the frustration of getting up the courage to commit to learning how to write code (and yes, it takes courage to do it). It takes courage to be continuously frustrated. She also shares a lot of her ups and downs and frustrations that she has had during her own journey, and how she uses that as fuel to help support others on their coding journeys.

We recorded for almost two hours, and it has been a struggle to decide what to keep the focus on for these interviews. I'm hoping I've captured the best of the conversation, but I'll leave that to you all to decide.

If you enjoy listening to The Testing Show, I'd like to ask you a favor. Please go to Apple Podcasts and give us a rating. If you feel we deserve five stars, please give it to us :). If you feel we deserve less, that's fine too, but please leave a review and tell us why you feel that way. Give us a review as to why you think we deserve five stars while you are at it :). We aim to make The Testing Show the best podcast we can and if you have thoughts about how we can make it better, as the producer, I'm definitely interested.

The Testing Show: CodeNewbie With Saron Yitbarek, Part 1: The Testing shows talks about the process of learning how to code, so we talk with Saron Yitbarek about where and how to start. Tune in to learn more!