Why is ’I’ a Magic Word?

June 20, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

Last Sunday I went for a brunch in Vihiluodon Kala restaurant, which serves delightful local food. They catered grilled shrimps, which especially stole my attention. Ritva told us thus:

“These shrimps happen to be especially good today. I put them last evening into a chili-lime marinade. I grilled the delicacies myself on open fire today, in fact, just an hour ago. I recommend to give them a try!”

Damn, that left a great feeling.

At the end of February I sat in the Norwegian’s plane from Oulu to Helsinki. The plane was running a bit late, since we had become stuck at the defrosting station to wait for something. Flight captain Sjöman announced that the plane would be running a bit late. At first I started to get frustrated. However, our captain’s communication did change the experience totally.

“Dear passengers. I was not satisfied with the defrosting service performed on the wings and asked the airport staff to redo the operation. I beg for your patience. The operation will be done in ten minutes and I will ensure that we will be arriving to Helsinki only five minutes behind schedule!”

Damn, that left a great feeling.

I would like to share more of similar stories and start with the words “I received a test report yesterday in which…”

The Responsibility Lies in the Listener. That Means You!

June 13, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

The word ‘game’ is a homonym. It is a word which carries multiple meanings. It can mean, for example, the kind of animals that one goes to hunt for. It can also mean an established wholeness of rules that come together to form an entertaining way to spend time, sometimes in the form of a software creation, but sometimes having a more down to earth pieces, such as is with a game of hide and seek. The language we use is full of vagueness.

Everything we try to describe through language is a crude simplification of the reality. Whether we speak of writing, speech or thinking, our language strives to describe a limitless quantity of possibilities.

We Finns have a saying relating to this. It holds true, not only with the people from Savonia, but also with the rest of us. You might have heard it, or something similar to it.

The responsibility lies in the listener.

Especially for people who are working with specialist jobs the responsibility of interpretations is a prerequisite for success. Curiosity, attention and interest compete easily for the top spots of our most important working skills.

The responsibility is not limited to dialogue only. The interpretation is also at the mercy of other things. Have you ever found yourself thinking that, for example, the energy levels of your body, your metabolism and even the current weather can alter meanings dramatically?

Acknowledging the responsibility and recognizing the factors together change the entire game.

This leads to surprising freedom. As it happens, it becomes possible with little exercise to make choices that make the world seem prettier and the results of your work pleasantly surprise the parties important to us time after another.

Is it not strange that despite our freedom there is such a large group of information system projects which they try to steer at the same time from both the contract papers and from the requirements documents? And furthermore these interpretations strive for minimum implementations?

You have not only the freedom, but the power to make a better choice. What would you choose?!

The Most Severe Occupational Disease of a Tester

May 9, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

The last time I was buying a new car was in 2012. I bought previous year’s Ford C-Max. The dark blue kind. Immediately after the deal something weird happened. It suddenly felt like half of Finland had just started to drive the same kind of dark blue Fords. There seemed to be one in every traffic light.

The world seems like that which we guide our senses towards. We notice more of that which we learn to seek.

We testers look for defects. We turn our attention to places where something might go wrong. And then we report. We model the result in a way where reproducing the defect would be easy even on the developer’s desk. Steps to reproduce.

There lies a severe hazard in practicing the occupation of testing. We condition our paths of thinking and perception towards defects. As if that would not already be easy for human beings even without practicing!

Testing as an occupation is playing around with mental health.

The best gurus have realized something exceptional, though. We testers are the experts of modeling. Steps to reproduce.

If we can model reproducible steps from defects, why would we not chip in our know-how with amazing successes?

True gurus do not play with half efficiency. They have learnt the skills to model success stories as well. What if you would give it a try? Steps to reproduce success.

Note! The next Testaaja 3.0 course is in Helsinki at 19th to 20th May! After the course, the results of your work flow from an entirely new level. What would level up mean for your colleagues, customers or superiors? Dare you join us?! Check: testauskoulutus.fi

100% Recommended the Training for their Colleagues

May 3, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

Talentum Events organized, and the testing guru Antti Niittyviita trained testers and test managers in the basics of Fast software testing at the end of April. The people were quite satisfied with what the few days had to offer. There are the unmoderated comments:

How well did this training meet your expectations? 5 = The training exceeded my expectations … 1 = The training did not meet my expectations. The answers? 3 times the highest grade, 8 times the second highest grade.

Positive surprise, of a subject matter that is regarded as boring.

My expectation was for more technical training. The end results was excellent, better than solely technical test training.

I honestly did not know what to expect, I arrived curious and left satisfied.

I did not know what to expect. A more psychological perspective instead of theory and practice or in addition to them is already a big plus!

Trainer Antti Niittyviita? 5 = excellent… 1 = awful. The answers? 6 times the highest grade, 5 times the second highest grade.

The trainer’s way to train was interesting, inspiring and motivating.

A marvelous presenter and a talker. Can hold his audience the entire time.

The trainer was in all ways a positive surprise; based on the notifications I expected some travelling preacher, but Antti was a sympathetic and charismatic talker, a man who stands behind his words.

How functional were the training space and customer service? 5 = excellent… 1 = awful. The answers? 4 times the highest grade, 6 times the second highest, 1 average.

The space was good.

Hot class space.

Thursday’s food was successful, Friday main course left room for improvement.

A really good lunch :)

The pros and cons of the training:

Good training!

Things that make me think, but in my opinion the name of the training ought to be considered for a bit, since it gives an image for a more practical orientation – yet, the training is about something else entirely. The practical exercises are good and what they yielded. Trainer is professional and good.

Could this be condensed into one day’s time?

The expertise and positivity of the trainer is a big plus.

A lot of new thoughts to make testing and how to get started fast. As the single most biggest thing I’d say was the broadening of thoughts and imagination. Hopefully, in the future I will be able to have a broader vision for the thing that is under testing, instead of being caught up in the old way.

The training offered thoughts about the encompassment and efficiency. I would have hoped for a more practical approach and maybe a little bit more of practical examples.

Pros: Right amounts of inspiration from the trainer; The group was around the right size and a lot of discussion was born in it; A lot of practice that makes me think; Good framework;

What was good in it was the psychological approach and handling with regards to testing. Made me refresh my own models of thinking and working. Good causal relationship between the trainer and the trainees in the form of discussion. What was bad might have been that Friday had a lot of working in pairs, which were not that easy and could have used more comprehensive instructions and the trainer could have walked among us a bit more to communicate and help when help was needed to proceed. Mindmeinder was a good tool! For Friday I would have hoped the same kind of verbal training, in discourse with the trainees of course. I do agree that the exercises were called for and they were very useful and fun. Antti is a top notch trainer, a wonderful person and brings forth very essential perspectives for a tester!

Antti proceeds to lead testers to the light next time at 19th to 20th May. To sign up, go here: http://testauskoulutus.fi/tapahtuma/testaaja-3-0-kurssi-2/

Tester’s Job is not to Break the Software

April 28, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

The night was cold and lightless. Leaves turned yellow by the autumn covered the moist surface of the asphalt, whose black colour seemed to absorb even the smallest rays of light, which the dim and occasionally flickering street lamp cast upon the earth. The expectation in the air manifested into pillars of steam as it met exhalation. Torn cloud cover revealed momentarily the pale moonlight, whose ghostly illumination was reflected from the Predator’s eyes in the darkness of a shadow-filled alley. It awaited for its next Victim, certain and confident. It knew that the Victim would be coming to it that night. It had happened before, and it would always happen again and again. The Victim gave meaning for the existence of the Predator.

 

The tester is an eye witness for a crime. A witness, who is called forth at the beginning of a trial. Not one, whose bloodthirsty axe split the skull of the victim with the force of a determined swing. Not the one, whose finger pressed against the trigger with the cold murderous certainty. But the one, who came to the scene just after the crime had been committed, one breath too late to prevent the sin that had taken place. The tester is a witness in an eternally continuing trial, who has sworn to give a truthful and responsible depiction of the real chain of events that transpired.

It is an undeniable fact

that the crime had already been committed

by the time when the tester arrived.

The software had arrived to the tester’s desk already broken. Some chain of events had made a weakness come about, which had settled inside the software before the start of a test cycle. That, what is known of the software during the beginning of the test cycle is usually a misguided understanding, which is based on uncertain assumptions and expectations. They fabricate a veil – an illusion – behind which the weakness can easily hide unbeknownst to anyone. The actual quality is revealed, when the heart of that illusion is sundered.

All crimes wait for their witness – the story teller – who could let the might of their words tear the veil of delusions in twain, letting the bright light flow in through the windows. Respectively, all bugs await for their discoverer, because only the discoverer can give meaning for the existence of a bug.

Tester’s job is not to break the software, but the illusion of it.

Thinking Becomes a Trap

April 14, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

In my opinion, ”I’ve given it some thought.” is a senseless expression. Little by little I find myself more certain that thinking for human beings is as automatic a function as blood circulation, respiration or digestion.

Flow of thoughts is an uninterrupted film reel of dialogue and events. Either past, or future. And, the majority of the mind’s movie has nothing to do with what is actually at hand.

While working with limited knowledge, the mind has a habit of building framework stories to support the content. And, we excel at it. You can personally stop and give it a try. What kind of mental images does this click bait headline conjure?

Weekend: Triple homicide in Kemi.

That one can make your inner storyteller go wild. Even though getting wild is fascinating, it can also easily become dangerous. Truth and circumstance are often forgotten quite easily.

We report our work by telling what we discovered or made happen. But how often do we offer the recipient the framework for its content? Would the mental images of the aforementioned headline change if we were to tell them about an armed burglar and legitimate self-protection?

Often a tester skilfully reports the product’s quality and discovered bugs. But, how often do we tell how the testing was done? Or what was the quality of our work in these circumstances?

Content without framework is either useless or dangerous. Apply frames to your work’s results. This way you inevitably lift the quality of your expertise.

Regarding Tantrums and Waving Hands.

April 5, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

It has not been long since Easter. The Sunday morning of that weekend are delightful, since a rooster or a bunny has decided to give a joyous surprise for people. With Easter eggs, of course.

Everyone loves surprises. The place of paradox is that only expected surprises are liked by people. The other kind of surprises we tend to mainly call ‘problems’.

One of the strongest indicators that predict success for a person in both projects and in life is the relationship to those nasty surprises. When facing them, one’s ability to work under pressure is measured. In the middle of uncertainty.

Those do the best, who have the most time under pressure.

In reality, each one of us has the same amount of that precious resource called ‘time’. What it comes down to is who experience the greatest peace at that point of time when stuff hits the fan.

If peace produces more efficient activities, then how could we normal people work towards that mystical resource that enhances our performance?

The first step is to stop that useless anxiety. It only makes you feel awful. Screaming and waving hands in panic does not help. Anxiety, or frustration does not serve any other purpose but to make bad situations worse.

The situation at hand is already the kind of which it is. Whether you wanted it or not.

If we accept our role, a new dimension of possibilities can be reached. The one, which remains forever undiscovered by people rushing about. The ones who can perform heroics are the ones who are capable of genuine presence first. It is followed by an ability for creative problem solving. They are the ones who have the means of doing the most when there’s a fire.

The next problem will also take you by a pleasant surprise. What if you would do away with whining and wanting? Instead you could become curious and explore the reactions of your mind and body. The dimension for the next level can be closer than you think.

Could You be the Don Rosa of Testing?

March 24, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

Don Rosa is wonderful. Once upon a time I queued at the Stockmann store in Oulu for a chance to finally shake his hand. I also got his signature to the front page of my Escape from Forbidden Valley book. I still get moved by the fellow.

To me, Rosa’s inimitable illustrations and shockingly skillful delivery of a story are in a league of their own when it comes to comic book arts. A memory of Scrooge pouring coffee in Klondike still makes me laugh. The coffee of gold diggers was so strong it had to be cut with a knife!

In comics I am the most fascinated by how their plot is based upon stills separated from the flow of time. That is, in moments of truth that converge to build a story. All the work and action takes place between those stills. The mind fills the gaps.

Have you ever given thought as to where your work’s most important stills are? Or how you could make them into an art?

By tuning the moments you choose you shape the experience of your fellow traveler. That is how the value of your story gets a chance to really grow.

Come Work for Prove (v. 2.5)

March 17, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

We at Prove believe that no one should be forced to use shitty software. Nor pay for one. If you agree and like to be active, you are sure to fit in.

We are looking for new testers to our growing group of gurus in Helsinki.

  1. Exploratory testing

Do you like agile software development and understand how exploratory testing serves the development? Have you heard about James Bach or what Rapid Software Testing is? Good. Apply to work with us. E-mail your CV to Jaakko or Antti (firstname@prove.fi).

  1. Test automation

Do you have an inclination to get interested in technical challenges? Have you ever made software test automation for a living? Do you grasp code slightly better than your average joe? Are you keen about helping software developers? Good. Apply to work with us. E-mail your CV to Jaakko or Antti (firstname@prove.fi).

  1. Performance testing

Do you understand the link between software product’s performance and business? Do you know how to script perftests or measure response times? Do you fluently discuss technology with developers? Good. Apply to work with us. E-mail your CV to Jaakko or Antti (firstname@prove.fi).

If Prove is not yet known to you, suggest a meeting. Let’s get to know each other with a cup of coffee and let’s find a common ground.

One concrete step is better than 100 on to-do list. If tuning your CV feels like hard work, then stop tuning it! The important thing is that you get forward. Send your version to us and then give us a call afterwards.

If things feel good, act now instead of tomorrow :)

P.S. You can reach Antti from the number 040 572 7204 and Jaakko from 040 563 3183.

The Sense of Control is a Mirage

March 16, 2016 | Author: Antti Niittyviita

An outrageous allegation, I confess. What about the follow-up question: What do you mean, a mirage?

For example, that the sense of control is linked to things such as wellness, energy level, clock, calendar, other people, customer behavior or project work. In reality they are things that change fast and continuously that it is useless to dream about controlling those.

One of the most familiar things to other testers might be test control. People think that the team has been working on a new software version for a long time. What is left is to run a series of 180 checks before the release decision. During the last check a critical bug is discovered. The entire work is wasted, since after the fix the important checks need to be re-run. It is difficult to control a happenstance.

The sense of control is a mirage. Often that mirage is accidentally slain. Such as when a surprise makes one face the irrefutable facts. The surprises which are the kind we often call ‘problems’.

The mirage of control can be important for a person. For example, it could be necessary for a sense of freedom. Or, for the impression that one is free to express oneself rewardingly with wisdom.

The sense of control is not born from putting in efforts to fight against all kinds of laws of nature. Neither is it from structuring one’s work, pushing loads of processes, shaping strategies or making emergency brakes before the obvious. Those things lead only to exhaustion and injury. The necessary mirage is born another way. From reflecting ability in relation to expectations.

How able does one feel in front of all the challenges thrown at oneself by the world?

It is quite obvious that one can affect one’s abilities. Merely renovated knowhow, shaping up, learning how to sleep better and following a better diet can work miracles. Yet, working for those important things just happens to be so dreadfully boring and therefore difficult.

What if in the future you would make 10 squats in the beginning of a meeting, after which no one would sit?