Exploratory testing – four modus operandi

EuroSTAR published my latest blog. This month I’ll be talking about exploratory testing. Although exploratory testing is with us for some time, there is not a real industry standard. You can tune it to your needs. Trigger for this blog was a presentation I had to give at a client site. Since they were quite new to the concept,  I did not want to send them into the real world with a mere “Anything goes”.  In my course I therefore introduced four ways (modus operandi) on how to apply exploratory testing. Just to get them started.

The video explains in 45 seconds what the blog is about:

Interested in the four modus operandi? You can read the blog on the EuroSTAR community pages.

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SCRUM battle: a fun way to experience Agile

Begin September we gave the SCRUM Battle at Quby. Quby is a dynamic organization with the ambition to enable people to get grip on their energy consumption. They do so by developing products and services that are smart, easy and relevant. Toon the smart thermostat is one of their best-known products. It can be found in many households.

During one evening circa thirty employees were trained to cooperate in an Agile environment. Quby’s own newsletter describes the experience as follows:

“Even though the tasks themselves were nothing more than making pictures of your group members, or searching the internet for pictures of snakes and puffins, the real learning experience was learning to work together to complete these tasks as fast as possible.”

During this simulation game, the four teams tried to deliver as much business value as possible. Along the way they gained understanding of the success factors of SCRUM and they also experienced some of its pitfalls.

“The success of the evening wasn’t only because of the enthusiasm shown by the participants, but also thanks to the incredibly engaging Scrummasters, Marcel Schaar and Derk-Jan de Grood. They made learning this Scrum-technique fun and entertaining to do. I doubt there was anyone present that evening that did not learn something new that evening.

Since the SCRUM battle is a battle, only one team wins. But the other teams do not go home empty handed. As Cynthia Hoekstra explains in the news letter:

 ”In the end, we discovered that we didn’t learn the most of doing everything right, but by doing it wrong. Failing forward, as Derk-Jan has said himself.”

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Explosive Software

Today I uploaded the PDF of my Bits & Chips Column. In this edition of the column I compare the way we perform Risk Analysis in IT and in the petrochemical industry. As I state in the column, in the petrochemical industry the impacts of risks are far more tangible than IT. Image a chemical plant out of control. We are confronted with explosions, health risks for the operators, etc. Would we do a different risk analyses if our software could explode?

Continue reading

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19th Testing Retreat was awesome

Testing Retreat 2014

This weekend I spent my time in Denmark. Together with 10 other testers from various nations like the Netherlands, UK, US and Denmark, we settled for the beautiful Lungholm Castle, home for the 19th Testing Retreat. The Testing Retreat is a peer conference that aims to discuss relevant test topics and inspire its participants. During normal conferences there is mostly little time to have the in-dept sessions of the kind that the retreat hosts. Some of this year’s agenda topics were:

  • Increasing the value of testing,
  • The new ISO29119 standard
  • Testing the internet of things,
  • Shifting Left, Up, Down and Right,
  • Craftsmanship and professionalism,
  • Conflict handling using the conflict diagram,
  • Targeting your product using persona’s
  • Test strategies Qualifiers and Disqualifiers and
  • Practical review strategies.

It was a very nice, inspiring weekend, that I trust enables participant to improve their value as test professional and to see developments in right perspective. I am already looking forward for next year’s edition.


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GoTestIT, a valuable source

Today I discovered the GOtestIT site. GOtestIT.net is an up-to-the-minute news site that collects information and news. As the video proclaims, the site aims to be the add-free place for news and the guide to what people are talking about in the Testing & Quality Assurance Industry. “Agile, Mobile, Automation, Big Data and Cloud, we have it all,” says Rob Priest.

A first glance tempted me to linger a bit longer on the site, and read more…. so it might indeed fill up to the promise. Go Test It yourself.

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The power of not knowing

During my studies I was once automating a research environment. In a meeting the teacher asked, “You do refer to the red machine, don’t you?” My research partner and I doubted, but afraid to strike a goof nodded yes. One hour after the meeting the teacher stood in our office. He had walked over to the other side of the complex and had determined that the machine was if fact… blue. “If you do not know it, admit it.” He advised us stern.

This experience inspired me in writing the 7th blog on the EuroSTAR community pages. Want to know more and learn how this experience is related to Edward de Bono’s theory and the 6 hats from Belbin? Curious to what Patrick Lencioni has to do with this topic? View the video introduction and read the column.

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CDMA: Liander’s private wireless network

Currently I am working for the KPN (Dutch Telecom) on Liander’s CDMA project.  Liander is a large energy provider in the Netherlands, who has taken a lead in creating a SMART grid. A dedicated mobile network is being build. It’s like the Dutch GSM network, but this time its is based on CDMA technology.  By enabling devices, like the smart meter, to communicate with each other and their back-offices, the mobile network may set the standard to manage and save energy in the near future.

Valori is involved with setting up the overall test strategy and guiding the tests for the CDMA network. And I am glad that Liander made this nice video. Now, I can share what my colleague and I are working on. Great stuff.

Film is produced by Trackto in cooperartion with Arjen van Kleef, Erik Moll, Jos Brakband.


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Going Mobile: Technology is changing our lives

As an introduction to my presentation on mobile testing, I have compiled some footage that I found on the internet. It goes to show that Mobile is penetrating our lives more and more. Watching the video you’ll see augmented reality, mobile banking, mobile health and the way devices evolved over the years. Like the lady from KXAN states: “technology is changing our lives”.

The used video fragments are owned by the original makers, I do not intent to misuse it, our claim any ownership. The title song is from “Who’s Next” by the Who and inspired me to call the video “going mobile”.

I hope you like it.

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Going mobile: testers, get involved in development


Last week I spoke at the 6th world conference on software quality (wcsq6). I gave a presentation on mobile testing. Baseline of the story is that organizations benefit from testers that know how to do technical testing, (Mobile testing comes with technical challenges), and that can guide the organization during the development process.


Using a extensive mind map, I explained some of the design considerations that need to be made during the app development. The choices to be made are driven by the business goal that the organization has with going mobile. And both of these drive the tests that need to be performed.

Beside all the content that I presented, there is an underlying message: testers, get involved in development.

You can see the slides and mind map in my previous post on mobile testing.

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Implementing Test Automation, a story about changing insights and experiences

Today I gave a presentation on the Test Automation day. In this presentation I explain a simple strategy for implementing Test Automation in your organization. A simple strategy? I tell the story of my experience so far and look back in retrospective to the presentations I gave at the Test Automation Day before.
In this presentation I state that:

  • Organizational Maturity (like measured with TPI or TMMi) should not raise a threshold for getting started
  • In order to become good in Test Automation, we need to get started and learn from our mistakes (fail forward)
  • There is a shift from technology and tool selection toward selling the business case
  • But the real implementation is a process of organizational change, where people, and budgets play a key role.
  • People need to learn their new roles, need to work with new processes and you need to have a good story if you want to interfere with projects.
  • In the end, I conclude that once you completed the journey, and got the organization to start with test automation, you end up with the technical challenges again: What tool are you going to use, what architecture, and how do you write effective scripts….

A simple strategy? I am still learning.



The above presentation was preceded by a presentation from Ard Kramer. Today he gave this presentation alone, previously we gave this presentation together at the Dutch testing conference. The topics are very much related and its slides can be found here:


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