Day 1/30 of the Mobile Testing Challenge

Hello, hello! What a nice day for a testing challenge, don’t you think so? I surely do! For the ones who haven’t heard what this is all about, you can read more about it here. For the other “peoples”, let’s get going!

So, first day:

Take a photo of your mobile test lab.

Easy, peasy. These two are it:

HTC One M8 to the left, my main one, and iPhone 5 to the right, which is used only for testing. And playing Trauma Ted. But mostly testing. Of course, I will try them both in the challenge because 1) it’s fun and 2) I want to get used to iPhone, too, and I will do that as much as time allows me. Gods of testing, give me strength!

Test on,

A. Testophiliac

The 30 Days Mobile Testing Challenge

Absolutely fantastic news! We have confirmation that a new testing challenge is going to take place next month in October, only this time it’s a mobile one! Created by the one and only Daniel Knott along with Ministry of Testing, they gathered 31 days of easier and more difficult tasks that can be done on mobile. You can find more on Ministry of Testing’s page here.

I am totally in, although I think that I might not post daily as I did in July. But I want to do this badly and learn more on how to test on mobile!

Test on in October,

A. Testophiliac

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Interdisciplinarity: When “too much” is never enough

First word = a tongue twister, I know. But for the past weeks, I kept thinking about it. And about IT. And about other things besides IT. And about how they all interconnect with each other or, better yet, how:

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The falling letters? Photoshop. The meme doge? Internet. I didn’t make the whole image in PS, though, a large part of it is in Paint (retrospectively speaking, the “I” could have used a little more tilting). But maybe I’ll see the day when I’ll make the entire photo in PS. Or even create my own doge! (Nah, I don’t think I could create a doge *sad face*)

I’ve also started reading about social media because I need some answers. For so long, I’ve asked myself “How do you get to be seen on social media?”, “What do you need to do to relate to your readers?”, “When to post so that you’d get the best engagements?” I did copywriting for a short time when I was much younger (last year, actually), but there wasn’t enough time to answer these questions and all the others that I had in mind. Right now, the time for questioning is over for me! But how would this help *you*? I’m glad you asked this question because you will see that:

You get to be more creative

You learn a little bit of this, a little bit of that, you get to talk to people. You listen to what they say and your brain adds everything up and makes the connections. “Oh, so this belongs to that and the other one is for this? I could totally use it!” Ideas start coming and coming and who knows what might come out of it? This is really helpful, especially that:

You get to understand what others are going through

If you’re a tester and you learn Javascript, it will be easier for you to understand the problems that can occur by working with that programming language. Bonus points: you will also know how to fix and explain the issue in greater detail. But the best part of it is seeing just how hard it is for the developer to do what he’s doing and learn to appreciate that his job is no easy feat. These add all up to the following idea:

You add value to yourself as a person and as a professional

How cool would it be if you knew testing, a programming language, a scripting language, photo manipulation, playing the guitar and tailoring? They seem totally different from one another and they actually *are*, but you might find out that stitching up a new dress requires as much patience as doing exhaustive testing or creating a photo pixel by pixel. Salsa dance courses anyone?

 

A downside, you could say, is that it takes up some of your time and you have to keep up a consistency to feel that you actually learned something at the end of the week. You could repeat an action every day for 10 minutes, like reading a book, and that’s totally okay. If you’d like to learn a skill, though, 10 minutes daily might not be enough, but it depends on a lot of factors. So, try as many combinations as you’d like or can and see what’s right for you! You’ll find me here, tweaking at doge pictures. So amaze!

Test on and learn on,

A. Testophiliac

First-time facilitator: what to expect? 5 things I learned at my first meetup

Last night, I had a sudden thought of writing this article after thinking about *the day* that happened two weeks ago. Of course, I’m referring to the meetup I held with two of my colleagues, Andrei and Lucian, at TechHub Bucharest for the TeamSTAR competition. You can read more about it here and, as I said in the article, that was my first time as a facilitator EVER. Like, ever, ever. So, I thought of making a list of aaaaaall the mistakes I did. I definitely do not want to repeat them next time and maybe you, baby-facilitator, will be protected by these evil endeavours with the help of this article! Firstly:

1. Don’t panic (like I did)

This is the beginning of everything and that’s why I added it as a first advice. I know it’s a lot of pressure and, especially if you’re new in the field, you might think “What could they learn from me that they don’t already know?” Well, guess what, *they* are coming to *your* presentation. *They* are interested in what *you* are going to talk about. They aren’t there because they didn’t have any other plans that night (I’m sure that a beer out sounds more interesting than going to a meetup that doesn’t interest you). They are there because they thought your presentation is interesting and really wanted to hear what you are about to say. So, do not be afraid and do not doubt yourself, you’re there to teach people something and certainly learn something back. You had the courage to say “yes” and hold that presentation, so why worry? If you’re panicky and all, whatever you do…

2. Don’t rush (like I did)

You’re in front of everyone, every pair of eyes is directed towards you and then you start talking. And talking. And talking. You relax after some phrases, but in your mind there’s some subliminal thought that makes you continuously push the presentation button and go through the slides like knife through butter.

I guess that’s a normal behaviour and it means that you really want to be over with, but you need to apply the #1 principle here. Take a deep breath and set your mind on the fact that all the people in front of you know how it is to be nervous and they understand. Just relax, don’t be afraid, but remember that before the meetup you will have to…

3. Prepare your presentation (a lot)

If you’re really anxious about it, you could prepare your presentation in Powerpoint, on a white A3 paper, on sticky notes or even bring props. I usually present in my room in front of my walls for a few times in a row, each totally different than the other, and ideas just keep popping in my head. “What if I add a note here?” “What if I add another slide with an actual thing that happened to me regarding the subject?” I always do this whenever I have to talk in front of people because I want to be sure when and what type of jokes I want to bring in. That’s just that way *I* like to present and I always feel a bit more grounded this way. Take note, though, that however much you think you’re getting ready, you should always…

4. Await uncertainties

You miss the bus. Someone spills coffee on your shirt. There aren’t as many people at the meetup as you expected to (There *never* are, just so you know). You lose your voice a day before because you’ve been at a concert and screamed the whole time (Okay, I don’t know what advice to give you. Raw egg and honey?) You get the idea. There’s always the unexpected, there’s always something that doesn’t work as you thought it did. Firstly, look at #1 from this list and then get creative: ask someone for help, improvise something, put that thing aside for good. Take a taxi and announce someone that you’ll be late. Buy another shirt from the first store you see. Present to those few people that came, don’t be discouraged. Make a joke about not being able to talk, use a mic and drink something hot whenever you feel your neck is dying. Panicking is natural and everyone might feel this, but that shouldn’t bring you down. And now the worst part comes *looks at introverts*…

5. Be friendly and talk to everyone

This is a killer, I know. I’m also guilty of not doing this. My case was also the fact that I knew most of the people and I was extremely nervous, but that was no excuse and I understood this retrospectively. As a facilitator, your job is to welcome everyone and thank them for coming because that’s how you’ll make your participants feel closer. I made a form after the meetup took place and one person thought it was “so-and-so” and his/her opinion was that the atmosphere should have been improved. I didn’t get more details, but I think that me not being closer to the people there and not mingling with them, they felt me distant from the start. People just feel this. I know it’s hard and you would just want to stand there, present and then go home, but you invited those people there, you made the schedule and you’re the one presenting. It’s your task to make them feel close to you. It might not be perfect the first time, but just try and you’ll see that there are so many friendly people out there, that you’ll ask yourself “How could I ever think otherwise?”

Conclusion

As I said, these are just the things that I noticed at my meetup, but there surely might be others. I don’t know. All I do know is that, by accepting to hold a meetup, you did what many wouldn’t even dare to do. You brought yourself in front of people and you learned a whole lot just by doing that, so do it again and again every chance you get. You’ll get better!

Test on,

A. Testophiliac

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TeamSTAR Competition post-meetup: impressions, details and much, much more

Warning: There will be lots and lots of pictures. Whenever you see one, click on it!

I can’t quite explain what has happened, but for the last weeks I’ve been trying to write a post and I just don’t like the way it ends up. I tried writing in another app, I tried typing it on my phone, I tried going to someone else’s house, shower, pub, park and even my own shower, pub, park. Nothing. But then *IT* happened. THE MEETUP *tram tram traaaaam*
Now that all the meetups have passed, it’s that time of the competition when you have to write about it. A lot. Luckily, I can write a lot because a lot happened (with pictures and everything)! If you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about (WHERE have you been?), you can check all the details here. But, long story short is that I along with two other testers, Lucian and Andrei, had a meetup as part of Tabara de Testare at TechHub, a tech location in Bucharest, to win 3 tickets to the Eurostar Conference, the biggest software testing conference in Europe. As for the number of participants, we had 12 people, which include 3 that we would never have expected.

But first there was the promotion.

Of course, having a meetup meant creating an event on the Meetup website. Not having one is like not having a Facebook account: you don’t exist. The link to the meetup can be found here, but this is not the only place we stopped by! There were also posts on Facebook:

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Twitter:

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And even Linkedin:

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I even talked at the company I work for and asked if I can put up posters so that people could join in. And I got green light:

The day of the meetup, I quickly left from the office and went straight to the location to set everything up with the guys. I have to tell you that I was nervous for hours! I had thousands of bats in my stomach and I kept asking myself “Will my presentation be as expected?” and then I started doubting myself “I’m just a junior, what do I know?” with people giving me invisible slaps on the face and telling me everything would be fine (a retrospective “thank you” to all!). So, we set up the laptop, posters, food and more posters, which I will get back to explain in a short time:

We also had a nice blackboard where we wrote the hashtags that anyone could have used for the meetup, like so:

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Isn’t it cute?

To our most surprise, three foreigners (those three people that I told you about) came by because they saw the meetup on TechHub and wanted to find out more. I think you can imagine the picture of our jaws dropping, don’t you? We even have a picture:

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Well, maybe Lucian’s jaws weren’t dropped right in this picture, but you haven’t seen mine! Andrei was surely writing a tweet in the background like so:

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We waited for everyone to join in (just 5 more minutes!), went up in front of them and then we started! Firstly, we presented about why we were there and what we were about to do, along with details about Tabara de Testare and the Eurostar Conferences themselves. Here is a photo with your lovely facilitesters at that time:

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And here is one with the participants:

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Lucian had the idea of printing out the three posters that I posted earlier, each related to the open format meetup and having the following meaning:

  • The bumblebee

The bumblebee is the one that never stays on the same flower, it always goes from flower to flower looking for the next nice sticky pollen to stick to. This means that each person (apart from the presenters, I hope) can move from one presentation to another and get whatever information he/she needs. You’re not obliged to sit to one if you find out you’re not interested.

  • The butterfly

The butterfly is totally opposite from the bumblebee. It likes to go to a flower and just sit on it. This means that it’s totally okay if you want to hear a certain presentation from start to finish. Nobody is making you change anything as long as you don’t want to.

  • The two feet

The two feet is a pretty simple concept: you have two feet, use them! You can always switch from bumblebee to butterfly, you can listen to a presentation fully and then switch between the other ones. No one stopping you as long as you have those two feet, man!

After we set our rules, we added three sticky notes on a whiteboard with the names of the presentation that we were about to hold. We decided we would only hold two for the number of participants that were present, so people had to choose which one they wanted. These were the subjects:

 

And the people spoke their mind:

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In the end, Lucian and I won, although I really, really, really wanted to see Andrei’s presentation. You’re not off the hook yet, Andrei!

I knew the storm was here and I was right in the middle of it all, but I started the presentation:

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And everything just went from one to another, really smoothly and in a nice atmosphere. I wanted to hold a presentation in which people felt relaxed and even laugh out loud, because I’ve noticed that this gets people together and that’s also what I like to see when I go to a presentation. And they did! But wait for more details!

Lucian presentation, from what I understood, was about the Cynefin framework on testing, related to a simple-complex-complicated-chaos concept, in which a project could go in either sections and even jump from one to another. Maybe you can see more about it here:

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After everything was done and we had our session of Q&As, we had a small break for a bit more networking. We all could have used a snack or two!

The grande finale arrived and it looked like this:

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A short retrospective about what had happened in both talks and some feedback from them. Also, what (or if?) they have learned anything from our presentations. I could tell you that they liked it, but I’d better show you what they said themselves. So, I made a Google Form which you can find at the link here and the outcome is this:

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Four people replied to our dying call, three of which liked it a lot, lot and one thought the meetup was so-and-so. When asked what they liked about it (optional reply), some were very nice and actually wrote something! Look:

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Wow, the first impression! This was the post-meetup second jaw dropping that happened to me.

The person who said so-and-so said that:

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So, there was something about the atmosphere that he/she didn’t like. If you’re out there and reading this, we’d really love to hear your thoughts!

This was my first time as a facilitator and maybe the only time as a “facilitester”, but there might be some more soon enough, who knows? I have to say that this whole experience was a real eye-opener for me, which made me think and made me laugh and made me be super nervous. It was clear that the format we have chosen, the open space one, meant sharing the experience one with another in a clearer and “opened” way and we will definitely want to use this type of meetup for the next ones. In the end, I found out I don’t have to be nervous or scared or an overthinker, no one’s going to kill me and that’s the main reason why we were all there that night: to learn to test and to test to learn.

A. Testophiliac

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