I came up with a list of my own 6 random questions for Jamie. Enjoy
Hi Jamie. Welcome to 6 of the best by Breaking-Software. This is where I ask you 6 questions and you give us your answers in your own unique way.
Breaking: What are the top three things that give you the shits about testing?
JL: Three main things:
- The main thing is some people’s lack of respect for the test team. Inexperienced Dev’s and Managers see Testing as a complication and a pain in the arse, but it is the most critical and important phase that a project goes through.
- Incorrect attitude. I mean this in terms of your test team, but really it applies to anyone. If someone is new and has the right attitude, they will go far and learn the things they need to learn. Someone can have all the experience and skill in the world but without the right attitude, they’ll go nowhere.
- The question: “Why didn’t you find this defect?”. Well, why do you think?! More than anything, this demonstrates a lack of understanding of what the Test team do. Pointing the finger ‘gives me the shits’.
Breaking: What don’t you like about Agile?
JL: This isn’t a problem with agile as such, it’s more a problem with the people who think they are doing things in an agile way…but clearly aren’t. Just because we talk about burndown and have a SCRUM, this doesn’t mean we are agile. This in itself is a flaw of agile, as it appears to be open to differing interpretations. Whereas Waterfall is Waterfall. I think we all know what that entails. Otherwise, I see massive benefits to operating in an agile way. The method puts the customer first, which is absolutely the right way to approach delivery of software in most domains.
Breaking: Do you think testers need to be more technical or more business focused to survive long term in the industry? By technical I mean knowing the application stacks from different vendors, knowing how to configure a test environment, deploy a specific operating system for testing on a virtual machine, possess some coding skills, set up a build server, etc.
JL: Oh, I’ll slice right down the middle here, as you might have predicted! To deliver a reasonably complex program of work, the test team need to be able to wear different hats. If they can’t, you’ll physically need the two very different skill sets in your test team.
Breaking: Name the top four skills/traits/abilities that a good project manager possesses.
JL: I’d say:
- Task oriented. This helps focus on one thing at a time and on details. Focus on this will mean you uncover more risks / issues prior to delivery.
- Experienced. Of course experience doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good’, but it can help.
- Attitude (see question 1 answer!)
- Flexible. Dates and tasks will change and some people won’t deliver what they said they will when they say they will. A good PM needs to be adaptable to this and plan for it.
Breaking: Repeat the same for a test manager and why they differ.
JL: As my answers are reasonably generic (and can be applied to many roles) I would argue that they are very similar. All of the items in the list above also apply for a Test Manager. I would perhaps change the ‘Experienced’ answer slightly but I think it is very useful if a Test Manager understands test techniques and how and when they may be used, in order to help his own team grow and learn from them.
Breaking: What curly/tricky questions do you ask of potential new hires during interviews for a testing or lead role? Give me your top five.
JL: For this question I think its useful to take it back to basics in order to understand if the candidate understands the basics…!! I’ve given 7 though. So sue me.
- Walk me through how to write a test case.
- How do you teach someone testing? (Someone who doesn’t even know testing exists)
- You have 2 testers in your team (one more technical and one more business / GUI focused). Your project testing should be split into two streams, but both require a more technical type tester. What do you do?
- You’ve done your test estimates / planning poker. Your Product Owner thinks they are wildly inaccurate. What do you do?
- You have requirements in your project which focus on Security of the system. As the TL, what do you do with these requirements / stories?
- When managing a test team of people who aren’t based in your office (offshore / outsourced), what do you find is the best approach the getting the best possible outcomes?
- What does ‘focus on risk’ mean to you?
That’s it for now. I’m going to hit up some other contacts for more random questions.