Software Quality Conference – London, 5 Oct 2009
Posted by Matt Archer on August 24, 2009
For the last couple of weeks I have been preparing my slides for the Software & Systems Quality Conference that is due to take place in London on the 5th of October. I’m scheduled to deliver a presentation called “A picture is worth a thousand tests” and whilst the abstract (below) doesn’t suggest as much, the talk was inspired by 3 things. My use of visual images within the training courses I run and two commonly asked questions I receive when out and about at other companies. “Can you make me into an agile tester?” and “Do you have a template?”
I’ll explain more on the day and try to write a follow up post with more information as a reference.
If you’re interested in attending, I have included links below to the registration page and program overview.
Abstract: A picture is worth a thousand tests
People have been using visual images to effectively exchange ideas for thousands of years, often opting for a single picture instead of several paragraphs of written text. From the ancient Egyptians and their enchanting hieroglyphics to modern day astrologers and their charts of the solar system, images have been widely used to preserve and communicate information in almost every area of life – apart from manual software testing.
When it comes to manual software testing, almost every test is captured as a series of written steps. At a glance, one test looks much like another and tests are routinely read from beginning to end to understand their purpose. What’s alarming is when two tests from the same area of an application are studied in detail, similarities are often found at a deeper level, with duplicate steps and instructions being commonplace. In summary, tests preserved and communicated using tables of written text are often time consuming to create, execute and maintain. Considering these factors, it’s not surprising that many of the brilliant test ideas conceived by testers never find their way into the project’s official testware.
This presentation demonstrates how using visual images can allow a tester to provide meaningful feedback faster – a key measure in today’s agile environment. Based on examples, the first part of the presentation discusses the advantages of using images to preserve and communicate tests, including how they can support a more agile way of working based upon reduced preparation and maintenance costs. The second part of the presentation discusses the practical challenges that a team must overcome when using such an approach and the changes in mentality a team must make in order to deliver the desired benefit of meaningful feedback faster.