#TestBash Germany – #PayItForward

Ich bin sehr stolz darauf zu sehen, wie meine Idee “Lass uns die Testbash nach Deutschland bringen” Wirklichkeit geworden ist. Diese Idee hätte ich niemals alleine umsetzen können. Erstmal Rosie hat mir ihr Vertrauen geschenkt, dann Patrick. Vielmehr haben Patrick und ich ein super Team bestehend aus Marcel, Vera und Daniel, die wie ein eingetaktetes Uhrwerk funktionieren. Das Gefühl mit dem Team zusammenzuarbeiten ist wunderschön!

Ministry Of Testing und TestBash haben einen besonderen Platz in meinem Herzen. Ich habe besondere Leute kennen gelernt und mich als Tester weiterentwickelt. Eine Lernkurve ist abgeschlossen. Aus diesem Grund habe ich ein TestBash München Ticket gekauft und suche nun jemanden der das Ticket geschenkt haben möchte. Es ist mein Weg von PayItForward und jeder ist eingeladen das zu nutzen.
Ich möchte jemandem die Möglichkeit geben in einem Raum voll mit lernhungrigen Testern zu stehen und das Beste für sich mitzunehmen. Sich über Testing Themen auszutauschen und ein Gefühl für die tolle Testing Community zu bekommen.
Wie kommst du an das Ticket?
Hier sind die Regeln:

Schreib mir einfach bis 24.9.2017 auf testretreat@gmail.com warum gerade Du das Ticket haben sollst.
Das ist die einzige Regel, es spielt dabei keine Rolle ob du Erfahrung im Testing, Support, Entwicklung oder Hauskeeping hast oder wie dein Jobtitel ist. Ich möchte nur sicherstellen, dass auch der oder die Richtige das Ticket bekommt und es auch einen Nutzen hat.

Creating Magic

This week I am having an operation. I had a terrible fear, but turn out that my body is very good on healing and recovering. I have a lot of time and gladly I took some books with me. Finally, I am having time to read “Creating magic – 10 common sense leadership strategies from a life at Disney” by Lee Cockerell.

The book is very clearly written. Lee describes his way from a farm to a magic kingdom through failures and lessons learned. He is the author of Disney leader strategies, which he based on common sense. For me, as a tester, the reference to common sense made a special joy!

Lee starts the book with following words: “It’s not the magic that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic”. For ten years Lee was responsible for Walt Disney World with 59 000 employees. Rational, muscular, no-nonsense business strategy of Disney is utmost care and respect. For everyone! Guests AND employees. Treat your employees how you want your guests be treated.

The whole book is about leadership as an act of care and respect; as a responsibility not as a title or role. For Lee being a leader means making the right things happen by bringing out the best in others. How oft did you experience that at your work?

“The study found that business units with the highest scores in guest satisfaction where the same ones whose leaders received high ratings from their direct reports in qualities such as listening, coaching, recognizing people’s efforts, and giving people decision-making authority.” Ration 80:20 reflects the vital importance of inspiring, motivating, teaching, and other so-called soft skills. Lee opinion is that the soft stuff is actually the hard stuff, but if you get it right, everything else tends to fall into place. When everyone matters and everyone knows he or she matters, employees are happy to work, and they’re eager to give you their energy, creativity, and loyalty.

My favourite chapter is about strategy #7: Burn The Free Fuel. The main idea is about leaders emotional impact on employees. Lee summaries it in an acronym ARE: appreciation, recognition and encouragement. He calls it cost-free, fully sustainable fuel, which builds self-confidence, self-esteem, and keeps an organisation running clean and smoothly. “ARE is more powerful than the fuels that make engines roar and space shuttles soar, because it propels human energy and motivation.”

Another chapter which talks to me is strategy #6: Learn The Truth. It is about the hard way to build trust relationships with everyone with aim to know what you need to know to make a decision. “I had no idea that was going on” is not an excuse for a leader. ”Knowing what’s going on is your responsibility”. “I’ve seen it happen to a great many otherwise competent leaders. Some rely too much on vague data and dubious information; some isolate themselves, acting as though employees below a certain level had nothing to offer; some get defensive in the face of constructive criticism; and some develop reputations for lashing out at those who deliver unpleasant facts, so people stop coming to them.” One of his suggestions is to get out regularly. In one of his previous hotels he daily checked the whole hotel, each elevator and stairwell and corridor of all fourteen floors. On the way meeting and greeting guests and employees. Lee writes: “Getting out and about regularly was a great investment of time. Not only did it allow me to see the operations up close, but it helped me get to know everyone on the staff better, and all of them in turn became more comfortable telling me what I needed to know.” In software industry – how many CEOs do you know who walks through offices more then once a week?


I am reading this book in very special time in my life – taking care of my health, moving to the new house and switching careers. Some of my work experiences I made in toxic environments, I am happy that I had the strength to leave it in the past. I wish more people, not only with fancy titles, would read Lees book and that each of us can work and evolve in an environment, which empowers us and make us the best versions we can be.

1981: How Computers Will Affect Our Future

TV story from 1981 about computers influence on daily life. Please ignore Steve Jobs name in YouTube title. Yes, he gives an interview, but he is not the only one.

In 2017 we can say that this is the future they were talking about. Interesting that in 1981 they stated: as the society, we are used to computer problems. In 2017 computers and software is really everywhere and each company is a software company today. Even schools depend on software. The high school where my son goes was hacked and suddenly everyone realised that for some of the actions there are no offline alternatives anymore.

I listened to the next Quality Remarks podcast with Mark Tomlinson and there are many things what resonates with me. Will highlight just one: “if students of software development do not learn about testing and students of management do not learn about quality, then we are in big trouble”.

New Podcast – QR

I am not a fan of podcasts because I struggle to focus all my attention to only one sense. But today I saw the info about new podcast made by Keith Klain and got curious. I opened the link and my first reaction was – are you KIDDING me? Over 1 hour!!! Who can concentrate to listen to something for so long? But I wanted to hear a lot what they talked about testers mental health, so I clicked the play button.

I listened to it all in one piece and was blown away how open Trish and Keith tell stories about their professional life and personal struggles. I wish I could listen to them 9 years ago when I started to work in testing and felt not enough.

I was so hooked that I continued and listened to the other QR podcast with Damian. He sold me his workshop 🙂 and surprised by diving deep for meaning and analysing failures. I thought I am good at this, but he takes it in a new level.

Trish and Damian both are consultants and both has beautiful and informative websites.

Now I have just one question: Keith, when comes the next?

Dictum – Factum

I am the doer. I see a problem/aim/thing I want and I go for it. If I have obstacles, I will put my mind around it, I will make compromise, but I will get a results.

I have put my finger on several key processes along my employee career and for a looong time I thought that I do not need to label my ideas and/or results as mine. Mainly because I believe in following two things:

  • an idea is more important as human who brought it to the life. If my idea/work lives and developes without me, than that was really necessary for the world and not just for my ego.
  • everyone who works together with me, knows what I am capable of and which parts of work was delivered by me.

Mostly it worked well. Everyone in the company knew QA=Kristine, even if I was not part of the project. If people needed help with testing or quality related issue, they were looking for me and I helpe as best as I could. I am also very good in puzzles – from small information bits I like to create big picture – that comes handy if you work on big projects or big companies where people do not know each other. Than one day I organised feedback workshop with my old team. We had small, but cool team and I thought it could be perfect to exercise on self-introduction and feedback giving the same time.

Nice and easy, right? To my surprise I got one negative (and 4 positive) feedback about my introduction! I was so surprised. I shaped my introduction to people with whom I work together, I was assuming that they all know who I am, what are my topics and how I am working. In this case I could excuse myself with the fact that the person, who gave that negative feedback, was working remotely. But frankly it shocked me that even people on my team can misunderstand me so greatly.

I started to rethink it all and to pay attention what is my message, what do I say. Besides other things, I noticed that in most of the cases I use “we”. One example – since almost two years I organise TestParadies – a meet-up for testers and QAs. Alone. I have no team, no sponsors, all the fees I am paying from my own pocket. Year ago I was lucky to get Petra on team to write retrospective blog posts about the meet-ups, but generally I do the whole thing alone – looking for speakers, looking for locations, maintaining platforms, writing emails, moderate discussions, deciding on topics. And still when I talk about TestParadies I say “we did…”, ” we plan…” no matter that there is no “we”. An outsider could think that I am ashamed of running a meet-up! Why I do not take the credit for my work?

Why and How Testers Should Act Like Marketeers” was talk by Rosie Sherry on European Testing Conference 2017. I was not lucky to attend it, but found her slides on slideshare. Many good ideas there! Marketing and selling testing seems not to be those things testers are familiar with. Currently I am trying to shape my blog as my portfolio and I struggle on first page – how to design it that the message is clear? I decided to visit blogs/websites of test people who do consulting to collect some of ideas. Almost everyone I checked had a personal bio, but I was very surprised to found just a few business oriented introductions. 

Some time ago I was working together with a developer on contract. He was working 3 days/week on the project and 2 days/week managing his company. At the beginning I thought that it is only an excuse, he is working on some other project and does not want to admit it. Now I see it from different angle and believe that being great developer or tester is not enough. I expand that old Latin saying to:

Dictum – Factum – Signum – Explicatum

Testing Personas

James wrote a nice post about test data and inspired me to write my approach to this topic.

In Germany “Max (Maximillian) Mustermann” is a tipical placeholder for a name. You can find examples of passports, bank cards, driving licences, CV and many other with this name.

Fun fact – person with name Max Mustermann really exists.

When I see tests from developers, it usually consist of: test test, teststraße 1, Teststadt 12345. Nothing wrong with that, but I cannot work like this,  after 2 weeks I will not be able to remember what did I test with this test user. So I came up with test personas, inspired from my family and colleagues. Here few of them mostly for bondary, layout and data mapping testing.


Anna Jautrīte Broņislava Pilz

My 90 years old greataunt is German, but born in Latvia in times when it was typical to give three given names for a child. Since WWII she lives in Germany and uses only her first name on daily basis. I was next to her as her hand bag was stolen in Berlin during our round trip. I guided her to the police office and experienced the situation with her full name. Police officers had trouble to squeeze it into the form. The field was simply too small for it.

María Dolores Martínez Ruiz and Juan Pablo Fernández de Calderón García-Iglesias

Several years ago I worked in a small company, whos 50 employees spoke 14 different native languages and none of them was English. We worked on products which main functionaly was based on data mapping. One of my colleagues came from Columbia and had trouble with his name. The system mixed up his last name with one of his given names. Here some information about traditional spanish names.

Calligenia Ioánnou Papadopoúlou

If I want to test bondaries, but not overact, than I use Greek names, which typicaly are long.

Jörg-Christian Müller

Given name with hypen. One of my developers had a name with hypen and in one of his tests he uses his own name and found a bug. Since then name with hypen is on my list.


Similar to names I use long, hypened and typical street names. In case I test something for abroad and not sure about address layout there, I search for restaurants in the specific country and use their addresses as a test address.

If I test something for ecommerce, especially for B2B customers, than I check if they have defined areas for sale representatives and use edge cases on daily bases. People tend to forget about special implementations – my test personas saved developer time already several times.

E-Mail Addresses

As I started my test career one of project colleagues showed me www.mailinator.com – free tool with free access inbox. “Isn’t it great?!Everyone uses it.” he added. I was not so big fan of it, I saw security issues everywhere. If you test an emails, than there is some information in it. For example, link to your test system. Are you sure you want it to be exposed?

Instead of that I have variety of registered email addresses, but I also use following two workarounds.

GMail Address with a dots

For example, if you have gmail address: gracehooper@gmail.com than you also can use: grace.hooper@gmail.com, gr.ace.hooper@gmail.com or grace.h.o.o.p.e.r@gmail.com – because GMail simply ignores dots.

Plus sign “+” in every e-mail address you have

For example, my email address is kristine@test.org. In this case I can use kristine+anna@test.org and kristine+calligenia@test.org to seperate my test cases by test persona.

Digital Information Units

I start new series of digital information units collection. Pieces I read and found interesting, moving or/and useful for my daily work.

  • Hackers Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures shows some very smart moves. My favourite staging cookies!
  • Blog about “not attacking people with a different understanding of terminology than you”. I like the list of misnomers as a reference that it is OK to be not correct and yes – people should not be attacked, but the same time I disagree with David.
  • Great article about developers bug diary. Do your developers write a bug diary?
  • did you test your back-ups? I remember a conversation with my sysadmin several years ago. update of our issue tracker went wrong and we found out that we do not have a backup. I partly saved the day because I never delete my emails. I offered my help to test the backup after it is set up, but the guy promised that he has it now. Week later system went down again and there were no backups again…
  • tips to organise information – simple but illustrative oracle
  • bringing value or standing in a way? We Latvians have the saying: the way to the hell is made of good intentions.
  • do you want to fail as a consultant? Here is a guideline how.