Covid-19: 8 Business Survival Techniques

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  1. Communication: It is essential to share your current status (working as normal, delays in deliveries, closed due to government guidelines etc.) and highlight all  future plans (closing on 99/99/99, re-opening on 99/99/99, stock availability, etc.) with your customers. If you have a physical premises, provide clear updates at the front (and rear) of the premises. If you have an online presence ramp up your messaging on all platforms. If you don’t have an online presence, get one. An example of good communication (regarding the virus) is how Qantas and other airlines are currently keeping their customers abreast of their latest issues and availability. If you can, explain why you are making specific decisions; context makes a big difference and helps customers buy-in to your decisions.
  2. Finance: It is essential to be abreast of the latest government and financial institution support offers/packages. Every government (be it federal, state or local) is responding differently to support businesses; make sure you know the latest offerings for your business regarding payroll tax, government duties etc. The same goes for banks and other financial institutions; if you have a bank loan or an overdraft find out what options you have for lower interest rates/payments, deferred repayments, improved line of credit etc. If you pay rent for your business premises try and negotiate a lower rent or “rent holiday” for the next “n” months – your landlord would rather you stay in business than go bankrupt and they lose all their income.
  3. Staff: Make sure your staff are kept up to date with all relevant business decisions regarding the virus. Daily updates are best. Make sure they are issued at the same time every day, so that everyone knows when to expect the news. No news creates stress and tensions and wastes time for managers having to answer the same questions multiple times. For small and medium sized businesses simple communication channels are best – setting up a WhatsApp Group for all staff is a really simple and zero cost approach. Create an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document and make sure it is reviewed/updated daily as this is a very fast changing issue. NOTE: Make sure you time and date stamp every update, so that it is clear when the update/decision was made.
  4. Management: There is a tendency in small to medium sized businesses for the owner to make all the major decisions themselves. In times like this, this is the worst possible approach. Share as many ideas as possible with your staff. The people on the frontline of the business usually know what will work and what won’t. This virus needs to be approached like a battle. Ideally you will conduct daily updates with all senior staff to make sure everyone is across the latest developments. Early morning is the best time for this so that staff know the latest developments.
  5. Planning: Plan to get through this and come out the other side. Create a week to week vision of what needs to be done and once things become a little less frantic move to a month to month focus. The impact of the virus is currently changing daily (sometimes even hourly), so to planning too far ahead is pointless. Focus on what you know NOW, not what you think you know or don’t know. There are so many unknowns at this time (and will be for the foreseeable future) that “what ifs” are generally futile AND and major waste of time and focus. If we had the luxury of planning for this 3 months ago we could have looked at “what ifs” and alternatives, but we’re all in the thick of it, so focus on what you know, and what you CAN control.
  6. Time: We are currently all in “Covid-19 Time“. This means a couple of things. Some things are moving extremely fast (the outbreak itself, toilet rolls!) while some things are moving seemingly slowly (availability of testing kits, government promised payments, etc.). Accept that you and your business have less control over time than you have ever had in your entire businesses existence. The worst may still be to come, the worst may have past, the worst may be happening right now. The worst may never happen!! You don’t have the luxury of thinking this one through, put it in the “Someone else’s stuff” basket and focus on how best to use the time YOU have.
  7. Be Creative: Every business is different. You may be a retailer, you may be a tradesperson, you may be a performer. No matter what you do, now is the time to focus on your strengths and what it is that makes your business what it is. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do. Don’t assume that, because you can’t open your coffee shop, you can’t sell coffee. If people can’t come to you, maybe you can go to them? If you ground your own coffee, maybe selling it online is an option. If you are in a “personal beauty business” maybe you can hire a van and operate as a mobile business. You could set up perspex screens to reduce the impact of the virus. Now is a time to be creative. You never know, changes you make now could mean that your business comes out of this with more diversity and that means stronger than before.
  8. Provide Discounts and other Incentives: Help your customers through these difficult times. Major banks are beginning to offer assistance for customers, think about whether your business can do the same. I’m not saying that you bankrupt your own business to help some of your customers, but there can be creative options to make life easier for your customers. If they are prevented from visiting your place of business because the schools are closed and they have to look after their kids maybe you can provide a safe place for the kids while your customer is with you. Maybe you can “pay it forward” by providing free services to some of your clients or maybe revert to the old “bartering system” by offering your services in return for services from them. Maybe your business can offer its services to local charities or  government departments to support vulnerable people. This has the added advantage of keeping your own staff busy.

This is the first in a series of posts designed to help small to medium sized businesses get though the current Covid-19/Coronavirus epidemic. Please feel free to comment or ask questions.

The author has worked with many major organisations on “Disaster Recovery Planning” and Strategic Management.

Dateline: Melbourne, March 22, 2020

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

By the end of today (January 4 2019) I will have spent an amazing 24,000 days on this planet. That’s getting on for 66 years, if you need a more easily digestible number. Apart from the first thousand days or so (which were a blur of nappies, boobs/bottles and mushy shit dressed up as some sort of introduction to “solid” food), I’ve looked forward to and embraced each day as it unfolded.

The next 5,000 days encompassed a childhood that saw me get a new Dad, briefly meet a sister who left far too soon, gain an education and completely misunderstand puberty. Whoever invented puberty obviously hates the human race.

Fortunately, I’m still in one piece. No major limbs or organs missing. No unwanted holes in my body. The cells that make up my human form have successfully regenerated millions of times and my blood flows through my heart at a resting rate around 50 thumps per minute. All in all, I’m in a great place. If you pushed me I would admit that I could be a bit better off financially, but then, even Bill Gates would probably like a bit more dosh to splash around.

My current estimate is that I’m almost two thirds of the way through my life – based upon how I’m feeling today. So, maybe it’s time to take stock and assess what the past has taught me and what the future holds (apart from the mushy food and nappies) as I launch myself towards Day 24,001 and beyond.

Lesson 1: I have learned the importance of being open, honest, constant and consistent. I appreciate these qualities in others and aspire every day to improve these qualities in myself.

Lesson 2: I eat lots of green leafy vegetables, red fruits, nuts and fibre. For the first 23,000 days of my life I neglected to focus sufficiently on the health of my gut and suffered the consequences. The last 1,000 days have been nothing short of transformative. No more hay fever means Spring is fun again! Better eyesight (one eye is now 20/20 again) means that I now save 50% on my annual contact lens bills! Remember, you’re not a kid any longer and your body is less forgiving as it gets older. Sugar is poison; diabetes kills.

Lesson 3: I emigrated to Australia in 1990 and left behind my parents, my brother and a whole host of beautiful extended family and friends. It taught me the true value of these people and how important it is to spend as much time as possible with the people I love. I visit the UK at least once a year to keep those relationships alive.

Lesson 4: My kids have, on more than one occasion, described me as a workaholic. My Dad taught me a strong work ethic while my kids taught me balance. Retiring at 59 was a small gesture, but consigning my day job to history improved my life immeasurably. Don’t ever be afraid of retirement, it will give you the best days of your life.

Lesson 5: I’m very lucky, I love all forms of exercise – always have. I wear a smart watch and exercise at least 5 days a week. Once you stop moving, you rust up and start dying. I was still playing competitive indoor soccer in my late 50’s (against men less than half my age) – and winning trophies!! Find a way to include regular exercise in your life. It’s never too late – I coach retirees in strength training and badminton through an amazing worldwide organisation called the University of the Third Age.

Lesson 6: I’ve probably had less than 100 really bad days in my life (and only one of those had anything to do with work). That means I’ve been happy for over 99% of my days. I don’t worry about what I can’t control and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t take myself too seriously. Some days I’m a mess, just like the rest of you. Don’t worry, be happy.

Lesson 7: I dumped my ego on my 40th birthday. It was totally empowering. I accept that someone out there is better than me. I accept that someone out there doesn’t like what I’m wearing or saying or doing. I am no better than the person standing next to me on the tram and they are no better than me. We are just different. Don’t judge others – you don’t know their story.

Lesson 8: I spend as much time as possible with babies and little people. Before I grew up and became aware, I too was a baby. I was pure. I was unknowing. I lived in the moment – ALL OF THE TIME. When I spend time with little people I forget the big bad bits of the world around me and embrace the simplicity and serenity of joy and wonder. If you have the wherewithal, I implore you to have children. If your children have the wherewithal, implore them to have children. Being a grandparent is the most rewarding role you will ever have.

Lesson 9: I wake up every day looking forward to the adventure we call life on earth. I have lived through some very dark times, don’t get me wrong, but dwelling on them has never helped me or my loved ones. My Mum’s lifelong battle with paranoid schizophrenia and depression made for some days very dark, but they were far worse for her than they were for us – her family.

Lesson 10: I am the best version of me that I can be. Don’t be who/what someone else wants you to be. Be authentic. If you can’t love yourself how do you expect others to love you?

Authors Note: This Blog Post is the first in a departure from my previous focus – software testing. I hope you find it interesting and maybe even useful. Please feel free to leave your comments and/or thoughts.

Dateline: Melbourne, Friday January 4 2019

My #DeleteFacebook Story

I have been following the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica saga since it broke just over a week ago and my initial feelings were lack of surprise and “oh, here we go again”. But something felt different about this latest exposé, so I decided to delve deeper to see how much Facebook have captured (or at least what they tell me they have captured – how will I ever verify whether they have sent me everything?). This is my story, what I found out and what I’m going to do next….

I requested a copy of my data from Facebook on March 24. It was an easy process once I discovered that I could only do this via the FB website (at the bottom of the General Account Settings page) but NOT via the FB App on my iPad. My data arrived within the hour – all 673 files of it. I then performed an initial browse of the files to see what was there. Initially it looked to be exactly what I expected – loads of photos, a myriad of comments regarding other folks FB posts etc. etc. Nothing surprising. Then I started to delve deeper……

The really interesting stuff (in my case) comes in the last few files, so if I had not spent time during the initial analysis making sure I scanned EVERY SINGLE FILE, I wouldn’t have uncovered the juicy stuff!! So, what is the juicy stuff? The majority of the files contain photos in my case as this is typically what I post. The next major category of posts fall into the “commenting on others” posts. This is open to all comers as far as I am concerned so I spent only a short amount of time on this. However, as I mention towards the end of this piece, the photo data does uncover a few nasty surprises 😦

The first file that really grabs my attention is file no. 551 (of 673). This contains my main FB profile data. This reveals my (FB allocated) email address – something I’ve never used, won’t ever use but could be a direct access point for spam and malware for those who do. Next up on my Profile Page is the date I first joined FB (2006) followed by my primary email address, the city where I currently live and my FULL date of birth. Within my account settings I restrict the access of these fields to “Me Only”, yet they are readily available here, unencrypted and completely free for anyone to read. What upsets me the most though is the information regarding my family. There is a list of ALL my family members who are (or have been) on FB. The list also specifies their exact relationship to me. Again this is not information that I have sanctioned for sharing, yet here it is in an unencrypted file. My reaction to this is that I must tell all my family of this breach so that they are also aware. The other disappointing breach on my profile is the disclosure of all the “interests” that I have tagged over the years, the majority of which I don’t remember but would be very useful in understanding my lifestyle, my ethics, my politics, my specific interests and pastimes. Wonderful information for anyone wanting to target me.

The second file I zero in on is no. 666 of 673, it provides a complete list of all my family and friends on FB (past and present) plus the date that they joined. Why FB would keep the joining date (of my family and friends) within MY data is baffling. The underlying file structure within FB would already have the joining dates for each person and the only reason that I can see for also storing them within my data is to make it easier for someone data mining relationships between the various FB users. As part of this file there is a breakdown as follows: current friends, my friend requests still outstanding, friend requests to me that I rejected (all, in my case, because I didn’t know them), friends that I have removed (in my case I regularly clean up all my social media contacts). This final category is the most concerning for me because it includes people who have passed away and therefore it could be very upsetting to the families of those affected if this information were misused.

This is not, unfortunately, the worst breach regarding my family and friends data. File 672 (the penultimate file) provides the worst breach with respect to my story. File 672 includes details of family and friends who are NOT on Facebook. Mysteriously, it also contains details of people I have never heard of!! This is really baffling. I am going to go into this breach more forensically and provide some examples.

1) All (231) of the people listed have their mobile (cell) phone number provided. Some have multiple numbers provided.

2) 15 of these people are completely unknown to me

3) The majority of the people on the list are NOT on Facebook – to the best of my knowledge

4) The list (of 231 people) does not correspond to my current mobile (cell) phone contacts list and (as I have previously stated) I have NEVER provided permission for FB to access my personal contacts list anyway

5) Two of the people on the list have never even used the Internet – one of them is deceased and the other is over 80 years old and wouldn’t know a computer from commuter!!

6) At least 10% of those I do know (on the list) I have never had in any of my contacts files and until I received this data (from FB) didn’t know their contact details

If this data that I have received is a true reflection of my utilisation of Facebook then how come I don’t recognise some of these people? How trustworthy is any of the data? It leaves me thinking that FB have NOT provided me with everything they have from the time I joined. What is even worse is that this could be a system failure/oversight, meaning that they think they have the right data, but they don’t!! There is a big difference between knowingly providing false evidence and unknowingly providing false evidence.

Before I conclude this first part of my story I want to just briefly touch on a few other rather worrying aspects of the data captured. While I expected my uploaded photos to be stored I didn’t expect the meta data relating to them to be captured. For example, they have captured the exact longitude and latitude coordinates for many of my photos (to 14 decimal points). They have stored the IP address from where the photos were uploaded. They have stored the equipment used to take the photos. What reason could they possibly have for capturing this information? I won’t ever look it up on FB and I’m sure none of my family and friends are interested. This is an obvious data grab for future sales/marketing opportunities for FB.

So, what am I going to do next? Firstly, I am NOT going to leave Facebook, at least not in the short term. This is mainly due to my wanting to finish this analysis and I can only do this by staying on FB.

Here are my next steps…

1) Write to FB and ask them why they have captured information (that I believe has been captured against my express wishes). My contacts data being accessed will be my first question

2) Write to FB and ask them who they have shared my data with (and why) since I joined in 2006

3) Write to FB and ask them NOT to share ANY of my data with ANYONE NOT specified within my FB Privacy settings

4) Continue to request files from FB on a monthly basis, so that I can monitor the data they are storing. I am going to compare successive data files and identify changes and report any strange/unexpected activity via this Blog and other social media forums

I use FB for one reason only, it is the most appropriate software for staying in touch with my family and friends. It doesn’t mean it’s the best software for staying in touch with my family and friends but it is the most effective from a reach perspective and at this moment in time that is a major factor in my decision to stay.

I have read widely over the past week and listened to many better qualified folks that I with respect to personal and technical risk. I am hoping that my story will help others with less time on there hands (and maybe less inclination) to make their own judgement with respect to using Facebook. I have also analysed my risk with respect to Google and have closed my Google account and deleted my GMail account – as of yesterday. Google’s invasiveness is a whole other level of risk that I am not prepared to endure. There are many excellent accounts of this risk already out there – I have provided references to these via Twitter and Facebook, so you can make your own judgements there too.

In closing, I would like to offer any support I can to help my family and friends make their own decisions (and perform their own analysis if they are interested) in order that we can all come to the best decisions regarding our use of social media.

Stay safe, stay vigilant.

Dateline: Melbourne, Friday March 30 2018

We Need a Model Office Jim, Didn’t You Know That

It’s been a while since I put together a new conference talk, so I thought I’d share “We Need a Model Office Jim, Didn’t You Know That?”. I presented this a couple of weeks ago at the LAST (Lean Agile Systems Thinking) Conference in Melbourne. The content is focused on how to design and build a Model Office.

Model Office (PDF)

Any comments or questions please feel free….

Software Testing Conferences: The Why

A couple of days ago I was having a discussion with @nzben and @maaretp on Twitter regarding whether speakers should be paid (as a minimum expenses) to speak at Software Testing Conferences. During that discussion @nzben asked me how much I had (personally) spent on speaking and attending conferences during my (25) years in software testing. I thought about this for a while and came up with a figure in excess of $250k. Before you all get your calculators out, I used a very simple formula – I budget for 10 days of formal learning each year and on average over the years I’ve earned $1,000 per day (as a freelance testing consultant). When you work freelance you only get paid for your days in the office. Now I didn’t quite make 10 days every year (mainly due to heavy workloads and holidays) and I didn’t always pay large amounts to attend conferences or training events but you can see that the financial investment was significant by most people’s standards. If I had my time over I would have spent more, but that’s another story.

The reason I am writing about this today is that we (in Australia) have long been poor cousins to the rest of the world with respect to local access to thought leaders in our field and therefore I needed to travel to Europe and the USA for the majority of my (career development) needs. This has been slowly changing over the past few years with the likes of Michael Bolton and a few others visiting several times. This year we are very fortunate to have TWO major international conferences within the next few months in Sydney and Melbourne respectively. From my perspective anyone who is serious about software testing should attend at least one of these events and, if possible, both. I will definitely be attending the Melbourne event (http://www.qualitysoftware.com.au) on May 10-12 and I’m currently deciding on the Sydney event (https://www.associationforsoftwaretesting.org/conference/castx17/) that occurs February 20-21.

If you can’t steal your self away for either of these excellent events we are beginning to get traction on Software Testing Meetups around the country and as far as I am aware these are all FREE. I belong to several Meetup groups in Melbourne and get along whenever I can. The TEAM Meetup in Melbourne is very active; you can find them at http://www.testengineeringalliance.com. Also in Melbourne is STAG (Software Test Automation Group), Melbourne Software Testing Meetup and Agile Testers Melbourne. In Sydney the have (the aptly named) Sydney Testers who are one of the top five (by registrations) software testing Meetups in the world, so they must be doing something right. You can just download the Meetup App as an easy way to find stuff.

Long before the Meetup buzz began there were (Australia and NZ focused) ANZTB Special Interest Groups established and I’ve attended and spoken at several of these over the years. However, it’s been a couple of years since I attended one of these, as I’ve been banned by the ANZTB from speaking at their events after a rather silly infraction several years ago in Canberra. I’ve written about this previously, so I’m not going to harp on about it again. Their loss…..

So, there you have it, I urge you to take control of you career development by attending one of the previously mentioned Conferences or (failing that) a local Meetup as often as you can. We are not as fortunate as our European and American cousins who can attend a Conference almost weekly!!

My next Blog post will provide a list of all the 2017 Conferences in Australia and New Zealand that I think you may be interested in.

Dateline: Friday January 13 2017, Bagshot

The Why and The How

For me, everything begins with the Why and is followed by the How… 

Why did I (a successful software developer with over 15 years experience) become a Software Tester?

No, it wasn’t because I wrote crap software and therefore had to test the shit out of it before anyone also saw it!! It was, primarily, because I got bored coding the solutions and wanted to spend more time looking at the problems. I later discovered that it was far harder seeking out (potential) problems than writing/amending code – and this kept me interested… for 25 years (and counting).

How did I become a Software Tester?

I began by using the techniques that I learned while debugging my own code and from there expanded into Integration Testing (between discreet programs), System Testing, Integration Testing (between systems) and beyond. Context: you have to remember that there was no (accessible) internet in the mid 1980’s and therefore the only effective way to learn was (for the first 4-5 years) by trial and error, then I sought out training courses and books (thank you Dot Graham) and then I began attending the EuroSTAR conferences. I know it’s easy to say “you’re lucky, because in my day…”, but it was incredibly difficult to forge ideas and push boundaries when you didn’t even know the questions you needed to ask, let alone find the answers!!

Why am I dismayed that so many Testers want to code?

I have never understood the current trend for Software Testers to want to code. Even with my 15+ years as a developer (in fact, probably as a result of it) I never thought to go back and write code once I became a hands-on Tester. WHY? Because, I trusted the specialists to write any software I needed (to support my manual tests). I believe, the basis upon which we originally created a distinction between DEV and TEST (the activities and the roles) is even more important today than it was in the 1980’s, when I first became a Software Tester. Technology is the most complex it has ever been and therefore we need to keep a clear distinction between DEV and TEST.

How do I remain an effective software tester if I don’t code?

I focus on what differentiates a human from a machine. I understand context and ask questions, while a machine can only follow commands. I can remember nuances regarding what was difficult to test last time I was in the vicinity of the system under test. I can explore, while a machine has a defined route. I can change priorities at a moments notice, while a machine awaits more information. I use instinct, while a machine…. I think you get my drift – I am a human using technology to assist me with my software testing goals, not a machine awaiting guidance etc.

Why do egos get in the way of outcomes?

I believe that developing software is hard enough without letting egos get in the way. There is always more than one way to achieve an outcome and generally the simplest way is best (Einstein certainly believed so). So, why do we waste countless hours, days, weeks, months (and sometimes years) debating WHY THIS WAY IS BETTER THAN THAT? The most important aspect of any product is that it meets the need of someone (not everyone) that matters* and therefore everything else comes second and therefore doesn’t matter… If we took this approach (more often) budget/schedule overruns would be far less prevalent.

How did I get rid of ego-driven actions?

About 20 years ago (in my late 30’s / early 40’s) I began to question how I did stuff and what prevented me being as successful as I expected to be. I came to the conclusion that the root cause was the impact of my ego. Since that time I have worked tirelessly to reduce the impact of (my) ego (and the ego of others) on both my professional and personal life. Don’t think this is an easy task, because it isn’t. Learning to let go and trust others isn’t easy – especially when you’re a perfectionist, as I am. However, as with all habits, focus and practice eventually lead to change and better outcomes. Being a sportsman all my life has taught me that nothing beats practice and I still practice selflessness, empathy and compassion every day.

Why do organisations look for cheap(er) software testing solutions?

I believe that generally in life we get what we pay for. And, it’s no different when it comes to testing software. If you value your organisations reputation WHY would you hand the validation and verification of software (upon which your organisation probably relies to function on a day to day basis) over to another organisation – whose reputation is almost certainly far less important than yours? In a similar vein, why would you also allow another organisation to choose how experienced (or not) the folks are who test your software?

How do I deal with the “You’re Testing is too expensive” accusation?

My first response to this accusation is always – “Expensive? Compared to what?“. As I have said before, context is (almost) everything. If you are Volkswagen and you manipulate your test results, testing can be VERY expensive!! My context has typically been in the commercial software field – banks, utilities, logistics, telecoms etc. and therefore my approach has always been to understand the underlying business risks and quality expectations in order to determine the level of rigour required for software testing. I frame my proposals along the lines of…. “If we spend this much time and money (on testing) this is the likely outcome”. This approach has (in 99% of cases) led to a successful outcomes. The other 1%? Well, there’s always one smart-arse in the room!!

Why do I still care so much (after over 40 years in IT) about the quality of software?

I believe that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing to the best of my ability. I also believe that, due to the proliferation of software in our lives today, that the quality of software will continue to grow in importance and, as a result of this, the craft of software testing needs to continue to grow as an independent and scientifically-based occupation.

How do I maintain my passion for the craft of Software Testing?

I have a passion for causes and I decided long ago that quality was something worth fighting for. I have always admired the beauty of the journey, as much as the eventual destination (sometimes the journey is far more fulfilling). As a sports lover, I have always believed that the lead up to a goal is far more interesting than the goal itself. There are a million routes to reach a destination and I’ll, more often than not, take the route that is most satisfying – sometimes this is the quickest and most efficient route, but sometimes not!! This sometimes leads to differences in philosophy and I am quite comfortable taking my passion elsewhere. How do I justify this approach? My integrity prevents me from bending too far when it comes to quality outcomes….

Dateline: Melbourne, Friday October 14 2106

You can’t Build Quality into Software BUT you can Keep Shit Out!!

For far too long now there have been a number of (marketing-driven) mantras along the lines of “building quality into software”. I even worked for a company that built a whole strategy around the concept, they called it “shift left”.

I’ve never been a big fan of hyperbole, especially around the promise of software, and so when the execs are looking for a “point of difference” and some bright spark (usually from marketing) comes up with “let’s say we build quality in from Day 1” my first reaction is “HOW DO YOU DO THAT?”.

As someone who wrote software for over 20 years, I can tell you that our main focus (as Developers) was meeting deadlines and this meant keeping things simple and not getting too clever. What this translated into was stuff like this:

  • Understand the main requirements and filter out frivolous requests for features that are not necessary
  • Understand how the software is going to be used in order that misuse can be prevented via the software, rather than the user or non-human interface
  • Understand the context within which the software will be used and then ensure its security within that domain
  • Understand the user base in order that the software be tailored for user level(s) of maturity
  • Understand the voracity of the data that is to be presented and ensure that it is good enough to enter our domain (by rejecting the rest)

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of the concept of “keeping shit out”, while it was certainly not “building quality in”. We could discuss concepts like “static analysis” here and there is certainly a major advantage to taking this approach, but I still see this as a “keeping shit out” tool as opposed to a “building quality in” tool.

In my book, quality is quite esoteric, in that it is in the eye of the beholder. Whereas, most people recognise shit quite easily. Most of us know what we DON’T want, but find it much harder to define what we DO want, so it is no wonder that the marketers focus on something that is far harder to define – it helps keep them in a job!!

If you want me to develop an App for your personal banking it will definitely cost you more and take me longer than if you want an App to keep you informed about the weather or an App that finds your missing Pokemon!! However, in each case they would still be delivered to exacting standards that met user expectations. And, in each case, I would still focus on “keeping shit out” not “how can I build quality in”.

Food for thought??

Dateline: Melbourne, Thursday September 8, 2016

Employees are People Too

What is this obsession that (far too many) businesses have with pushing their employees to the point of mental and physical exhaustion?

What sort of society have we created where people are encouraged to work 18 hours straight, without a break, just so the company we work for can turn a profit?

What sort of culture promotes profit over people?

I can tell you categorically, from very personal experience, that a business that puts profits before it’s people and encourages self-sacrifice is a business that will not last very long. Creating a business that truly supports it’s people, by mandating a balanced lifestyle of work, leisure and family, is a business that will thrive and remain successful. The true value of any business is it’s people, not it’s image or product. You can have a fantastic product, but if you treat your people like cannon fodder then you will have a short-lived business.

I’ve seen far too many people reduced to shrivelling wrecks because they have been put under unnecessary levels of pressure to produce an outcome (at all costs). How does the culture within a business get to a point where “toughness” is encouraged and “sensitivity” and “humility” are frowned upon? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard and/or seen the words “sensitive” and “emotional” used as negatives when describing someone’s personality. Since when did showing empathy become a negative?

As a Business and Technology Consultant for most of my life, I’ve been inside hundreds of organisations (from mega-businesses like IBM and CapGemini to small high street shops) and I can assure you that if you mistreat your people you will struggle to maintain a viable business. A simple gesture like an arm around a shoulder is very welcome in a good business, but is seen as harassment in a poor one. A word of encouragement is seen as supportive in a good business, but unnecessary in a poor one.

We need to encourage everyone to speak up (not put up) when they need support. We need to highlight and shame those businesses that encourage ugly and demeaning behaviour. We need to ensure that empathic businesses are recognised for what they are.

Humanity is supposed to set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Unfortunately, I see far too little humanity and far to much animal cunning in today’s business world. I, for one, am going to start highlighting and shaming businesses that lack humanity and discourage a balanced lifestyle. I may not change the world today, but maybe I can start a movement towards true caring and understanding throughout the business world.

If you work for a company that treats you inhumanely, LEAVE. If you are subjected to unnecessary pressure, seek support and guidance, THEN LEAVE. If you are harassed or bullied, write to the CEO, THEN LEAVE. Don’t rationalise. Don’t toughen up. Don’t support their ideology. There are millions of good businesses out there, you don’t have to work for a bad one.

“You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” (Lennon).

Dateline: Melbourne, Thursday January 8, 2015

25 Steps to Sustainable Freelancing

I didn’t sit down and plan my transition from permanent to freelance IT software developer, over 30 years ago, but I have successfully negotiated the freelance employment landscape in the UK, US, Europe and Australia since. Along the way I’ve developed some very useful techniques for anyone contemplating or currently enjoying a freelance career.

At first glance there appear to be significant financial advantages in moving from a permanent role to freelancing, but it’s not as simple as that. Freedom of choice (where, when and how to work) is not always possible and there are also challenges with staying current with technologies, techniques and the market. So how do you go about having a successful freelance career?

1) Make sure you have (and continue to have) marketable skills. This one may seem really obvious but there is no point in expecting to be continuously employed if you have skills that only a handful of organisations worldwide will want to utilise.
2) Invest in your skill set. I allocated a MINIMUM of 4 weeks EVERY year to my own professional training and development. This didn’t always take the form of expensive commercial training courses and with the technology available today it is even easier to achieve.
3) Develop an “Annual Goals” Plan (even better if you can make a 3 year plan). Only you know what goals you need to achieve, but you need to write them down and commit to them. I still set financial, academic, physical, social and philosophical goals every year – I don’t always achieve them all, but then some are more aspirational than practical.
4) Create an annual budget. I developed a spreadsheet (available upon request) that broke down each 12 month period into time allocated to working, training/development, holidaying/resting etc. to ensure that I achieved my annual goals.
5) Plan to work 200 days each year. For me, 200 is the magic number – it’s an easy multiplier and equates to 40 standard (5-day) weeks. This means my budget is built around 200 days of income and 365 days of expenditure! I allocate a percentage of each days’ income to a series of non-working day buckets (holidays, training/development, sickness and investment in the future). If I work more than 200 days I treat this as a financial bonus (by allocating the extra funds to wherever I need them most). I usually set aside around 40% of my daily rate for non day to day living expenses.
6) Be flexible when negotiating a contract. I never hold out for the ideal daily rate. If you create an annual budget you’ll know what your annual spend is so as long as you can service your basic requirements don’t play hardball for another $10 or $20 dollars a day. Remember, each day you’re not working is another you have to compensate by dipping into your non-working day bucket.
7) Plan your next contract as soon as practically possible. If there is a possibility to renew your current contract (assuming you want to) make sure it’s sorted at least 4 weeks before it’s due to expire. If there is no renewal in the pipeline I start checking the market about 8 weeks out from my contracted end date. This gives me the chance to have choices regarding my next contract.
8) Be prepared to travel. I regularly travel inter-state or sometimes overseas for work. If you aren’t prepared to be flexible regarding location then plan to be out of work more often. You don’t have to travel long distances but a 2-hour commute (each way) is sometimes necessary.
9) Be prepared to take on roles that aren’t necessarily your core business. I have traversed into many alternate roles. While initially being employed as a Test Manager I have morphed into Business Continuity Planning, Project & Program Management, Environment Management, Change & Release Management and many others. I have always enjoyed these excursions as they provide perspective and breadth to my main skill-set as a Test Manager / Consultant.
10) Don’t over-promise. There is a big difference between taking on a stretch role and being out of your depth. I have never taken on a role I wasn’t qualified to perform.
11) Don’t get involved in internal/company politics. It’s essential to know who the real decision makers are and those with real power, but don’t ever assume that you have a role to play in policy or strategic direction (unless that’s what you were hired to do!).
12) Build and maintain a professional network. The power of my professional network is more important today than at any time in my career. Every job that I have undertaken since 2001 has come from my professional network and not from me contacting recruitment companies.
13) Be comfortable with interviews. I have probably been interviewed more than 100 times in my career and I’ve have a success rate of around 90%. Not bad when that spans almost 40 years and includes interviews I attended “just for practice”.
14) Be resilient in the job market. Not every job opportunity will lead to a job so be prepared for rejection. I’m philosophical when it comes to job offers – if I am unsuccessful at interview I see that as a decision based upon cultural fit or technical misalignment. Given that I’ve also hired hundreds of people over my career, I know it’s not personal.
15) Don’t be desperate for work. Feeling and/or acting desperate comes across to those interviewing you. Be confident, open and honest about your capabilities. I’ve got jobs in the past even though I wasn’t necessarily the best qualified, but I did fit the culture or improve the team balance.
16) Arrive early or stay late (whichever suits your body clock). I have always been an early starter and therefore I like to be the first one in the office each day. I’m rarely the last to leave, but I always put in more time and effort than is necessary – it’s easy when you are passionate about the work you do!!
17) Learn to really listen and observe. Listening is an under-estimated skill. I have found that by listening to and observing what is really happening around me I can anticipate what is required. Be prepared to go above and beyond in terms of contributing to the goals of the project. I am far more of an observer and doer than a talker or shower.
18) Be yourself. Don’t ever try to be something you’re not, whether it be professionally or personally. You are good enough as you are and you don’t need to impress others.
19) Stay true to your ethics, morals and belief system. I never compromise my ethics, morals or beliefs either professionally or privately. I have refused to work for specific organisations or businesses because I disapprove of their ethics or business models.
20) Don’t worry, be happy. If you are unhappy, make changes or leave. Sometimes you can change a situation but be realistic when you can’t. There is no need to be a martyr, if a situation makes you unhappy, don’t tolerate it, just walk away. I have walked away from many situations that made me unhappy – it’s just not worth the aggro…
21) Only work with/for people you like. It took me many years, but I finally decided that I would only work for people I like. It’s usually pretty obvious during an interview whether you get on with those who are interviewing you. If you don’t gel with each other from the outset it’s unlikely that magic will happen!! I want to be happy at work and the people around me are the biggest obstacle to me achieving that.
22) Don’t be obsessed or a “slave” to the money. If your only reason for working freelance is the money, you’ll never be happy. Money is important, but it’s not everything. I would always take less money if it meant being happier in my surroundings.
23) Focus on your strengths but be very aware of your weaknesses. It is essential to work to your strengths, but always try and eliminate your weaknesses. Self-awareness is critical to being successful in the marketplace.
24) Take regular and relaxing holidays. It is essential to recharge your batteries regularly and not become jaded or stressed. I have always taken at least two holidays each year with at least one of them being overseas in order that I completely get away from my work.
25) Find a Mentor and/or Coach. I have been very fortunate over the years to have excellent Mentors and Coaches who have guided me throughout my career and have been there when I really needed them. I have also become a mentor and coach for others, it’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.

Dateline: Monday August 4, 2014

Bullying – An Unacceptable Truth

Not too long ago a former colleague (let’s call her Davina) rang me while driving home from work one night. Davina called me regularly on her way home during our 12-month working relationship. However, on this particular evening Davina sounded different. Her voice was weaker than usual, she was almost whispering. She was speaking as if she was telling me a secret or apologising for something she wasn’t proud off.

That night Davina confided in me that she had just been verbally threatened and stood-over by a very prominent Sales Exec in our company. Davina is in her late thirties and has worked her way up to middle management within the IT services sector. I was so angry that this could happen in a company that I had chosen to work for. A company that (still) heavily promotes itself as a company that truly cares about it’s people.

I’ve worked in IT nearly all my life and it has been a great career for me. I’ve also spent much of that time working for a number of Consulting businesses – small boutique ones, medium sized expanding ones and enormous worldwide ones. They all have one thing in common – they have a culture that they have consciously created. The culture of an organisation is very important to me and therefore I take it very seriously when someone exhibits traits at odds with the culture I wanted to be associated with. But I digress, back to Davina…

Davina and I spent much of the next 48 hours discussing the bullying incident. As I said before, it would be a massive understatement to say I was very angry, but (get this), Davina was almost apologising for the situation and even told me that it wasn’t the first time the Sales Exec had bullied her!! I spoke to Carla in our HR department (on Davina’s behalf) regarding the process for formally complaining about bullying. I spoke to Shahid, my own Manager and to the COO of our company – all as a precursor to Davina making a formal complaint. I needed to know how I could support Davina to the best of my ability. Guess what? Davina never made that formal complaint!! Instead, less than 8 weeks later she resigned!!

I couldn’t convince her to file a formal complaint. I didn’t want to convince her to stay. I felt powerless. I was a Senior Consultant with this internationally renowned organisation. I spoke to many senior people inside the company about the incident. They all supported me (and Davina) – at least to our faces. However, nothing formal happened to the Sales Exec and I neither heard nor read anything about the incident. In fact I learned later (after I’d left the company) that the Sales Exec got a promotion and a great big bonus that year. It was as if the other Execs all closed ranks and washed the incident away. Needless to say, I also left the company soon after this incident – how could I stay any longer in a company that tolerated such acts?

Unfortunately, bullying seems an acceptable action in many parts of our society today. We see it every day in the press, on television, online – in fact all forms of media seem very adept at providing a forum for bullies. We also see it in the playground and classroom, on the sports field and even in places of worship.

Why do people find in necessary to bully? Why is one persons wishes/beliefs more valid than another – to the point that they need to use tactics that reduce another to tears, or much worse, suicide? I wrote last year about why Test Analysts no longer want to become Test Managers and this is one of the reasons – Test Managers regularly get bullied into making decisions they don’t want to make. I know too many Test Managers who have gone on stress leave due to bullying and undermining. We have to change behaviours so that people feel safe to disagree with each other without fear of reprisals or vendettas (sub-forms of bullying in my book).

Unfortunately, I was bullied several times when I was a kid. If they were people I was going to have to spend more time with (at my school) I stood up to them and they never bothered me again. If they were people I had never met before (a random attack) I just turned the other cheek and walked away. Bullies get their power from our weaknesses and if we refuse to show weakness they have no power.

Personally, it’s been a long time since someone tried to bully or intimidate me, but that is probably because I developed a protective skin early in my life and refused to allow anyone through it. Not everyone is capable of this and these are the ones we need to support and protect the most. No one deserves to be bullied. No one deserves to be intimidated or stood over. No one has the right to impose their will forcefully on another.

I’m still incredibly angry more than two years after this incident. I despise inequality in all aspects of our lives and I despise those who use tactics like these to gain an advantage over others.

NOTE: This is a 100% true story, with only the identity of the people involved obscured to protect Davina and her family. There are many people that were witness to the weeks that followed the bullying, some of them can be proud of their part, others should be ashamed that they were so weak as to watch such an injustice play out.

Dateline: Melbourne; Tuesday January 28, 2014

25 Secrets That Have Made Me a Better Tester

1) Diligence – I never give up. If I set out to do something I am 100% committed to it. There is NO second best
2) Passion – I have never wavered in my belief that software testing is a noble, worthwhile and honourable career. After more than 20 years as a professional tester I am still as passionate as if it were my first day
3) Humour – If I can’t enjoy my time at work then I shouldn’t be there. I was once asked to tone down the laughter in my team because if we were having that much fun we couldn’t possibly be working
4) Humility – I strive to be the best I can, but I’m very clear about my limitations and never promote my ideas as the best or only way. I have learnt from bitter experience to NEVER over-promise – if I can’t do something, I’m very explicit about why I’m not the best person for the job
5) Flexibility – I have always been willing to do ANY task I have been asked to do (within reason – I wouldn’t try to perform brain surgery!!). Being precious about (apparently) menial tasks is totally unacceptable if you want to be successful. I would never ask one on my team to do anything I wouldn’t do myself
6) Tolerance & Understanding – I believe that everyone is trying their hardest to achieve the best that they can. Yes, there are poor Managers, Analysts, Developers etc., but there are also poor Testers… I’m not immune from making mistakes either
7) Working Efficiently & Effectively – I have developed tools and techniques that help me solve problems quicker, achieve outcomes more effectively and meet deadlines
8) I am not an Island – Every action I take creates a reaction; awareness of my decisions on others has always been at the forefront of my consciousness
9) Logic – I have been blessed with the ability to think logically and to be able to distill things down to their basic concepts
10) Prevention before Cure – I have always believed that preventing a poor outcome is better than trying to fix something once it’s broken; effective Static Testing will save on Design and Build, while effective Dynamic Testing can only report on the quality and risk associated with a finished product. Prototyping and modelling are great tools.
11) Context is Everything – Unless I fully understand the context within which something has occurred I am unlikely to be able to provide objective and insightful feedback. I never assume, I always ask or clarify.
12) Understanding Others – Human beings are a diverse and complicated species and doing my best to understand everyone around me is an essential part of my daily routine
13) Understanding Me – Being aware of my strengths and (more importantly) my weaknesses has allowed me to grow beyond what I ever imagined. Of course I still have weaknesses, but I know how to compensate for them
14) Problem Solving – Any problem (no matter how minor) is a great opportunity to improve my ability to find weaknesses
15) Sensitivity – I’m totally aware of others needs and beliefs; we are all equal
16) Listening – Learning to really listen is as important as learning how to breathe
17) Preparing and Predicting – Unless I prepare thoroughly for a meeting or discussion I have no chance of achieving a predictable outcome
18) Playing Games – I have always loved playing games. They sharpen my mind and senses and provide a challenge. I still hate losing (something I’m very aware can be a weakness!!)
19) Learning – My education is ongoing, I (still) try to learn something new every day. I have also endeavoured to learn as much as possible about the organisations I work for and the people I work with
20) Seek out Experts – In my experience the really gifted people are very approachable and more than pleased to help. We all like to be asked our opinions….
21) Take Responsibility – I have always taken responsibility for my actions; if it’s to be, it’s up to me
22) Be a Team Player – I have played team sports for as long as I can remember and this has helped me understand the importance of sharing and depending on others around me. I am NOT the centre of the universe!!
23) Don’t Be Afraid – Be very clear about the worst possible scenario – what’s the worst that can happen? If I make a mistake I tell someone quickly and then focus on rectifying it ASAP; I NEVER got fired for admitting I made a mistake
24) Visualisation – I learn and think in a visual sense. If I’m trying to solve a problem or achieve an outcome I visualise exactly how I want that to look. Then I create an image of the outcome to share and discuss with others.
25) Be – Live in the moment. The past has gone, the future isn’t here yet. What I am doing right now is all that matters. Focussing on the now brings clarity and a sense of calm

Dateline: Melbourne; Monday December 2, 2013

20 Reasons Why I Became (& Still am) a Software Tester

1) (It was 1986 and) the company I was working for needed an independent view for assessing whether solutions were fit for purpose (this was the first time that I became aware that software testing existed as a separate discipline within IT)
2) I like to help people
3) People like to “bend” software to do things it was never designed to do; I’m far more realistic about the capabilities of software
4) I like to solve problems and puzzles
5) (After almost 20 years) Coding/Programming had become boring
6) Software is innately complex and someone (other than the Developer) needs to understand how and why it does stuff
7) I’m good at discerning/discovering patterns
8) I don’t like it when people say “Don’t worry, it’ll work when we Demo it to the Customer”
9) Humans over-estimate their capabilities and are far too optimistic when it comes to solving complex problems
10) I started to see Developers writing code straight onto a computer screen and this scared the shit out of me (as an ex-Developer)
11) Too many folks in IT think that they could solve any Business problem with a technology solution
12) I can translate “geek speak” into “non-geek speak”
13) I wanted to have a bigger say in how (and when) projects were implemented
14) I love it when someone says “That’s much better”
15) I was fed up with hunching over a computer all day and not dealing with the recipients/users of the solution; I wanted to talk to REAL PEOPLE
16) (In the late 80’s and early 90’s) IT solutions were becoming integrated on a far greater scale (this was when the www was still using single line text commands)
17) As a Developer, I was spending more and more time fixing other people’s code, I wanted us to get it right the first time
18) As system complexity increased and interfaces proliferated (both inside and outside organisations) more and more bugs appeared in software – some of us enjoyed going on bug hunts
19) I saw software testing as a progression from writing software
20) I’ve met and been inspired by some of the greatest (software testing) brains in the world; a very personal “thank you” to Dot Graham, Mark Fewster, Bill Hetzel, Martin Pol, James Whittaker, James Bach, Paul Gerrard, James Lyndsay, Ross Collard, Lee Copeland, Julie Gardiner, Mieke Gevers, Donna O’Neill and Shane Parkinson

25 Things I Don’t Like About Software Projects

The majority of projects that I’ve worked on over the years have been harder to deliver than they should have been. Mostly this has been down to either lack of experience within the Project Management Team (generally because of poor stakeholder management) and the unrealistic expectations of the client. These two factors are closely linked, but are by no means the only reasons for failure (or near failure). In fact, I’ve only worked on what I would consider a “failed project” on one occasion and that was when I was the Project Manager and I pulled the plug because the software company delivering the (packaged) solution lied to the client (and the rest of the project team) about the capability of their product. Basically, they sold the client vapour-ware and expected the client to pay for the development – we called them out and they huffed and puffed until even they admitted their original delivery dates were many months later than they had been promising.

So, why am I writing about things “I don’t like” when I’ve loved the cut and thrust of project life my entire career? Because I see far too much waste on projects. Waste of money. Waste of talent. Waste of time. Waste of oxygen… etc. etc. Sadly, this list could be far longer….

I don’t like: People who spin the progress of the project (spin is code for lying)
I don’t like: Egos running projects
I don’t like: Writing reports that no one will read, but the PMO insist must be written
I don’t like: Attending meetings that could be replaced by a Progress Report
I don’t like: Being told that the code is 99% complete (again)
I don’t like: Requirements that can’t be linked to a Deliverable
I don’t like: Software Releases that are not accompanied by Release Notes
I don’t like: People who email me when they sit right next to me
I don’t like: Software fixes that fix the symptom, but not the root cause
I don’t like: Project politics – more time is wasted on politics than any other single item (and it doesn’t even have a project code for me to charge my time to!)
I don’t like: lunchtime meetings – I need a break and lunchtime meetings give me indigestion
I don’t like: 9am triage meetings – they distract people from the real priorities of the day
I don’t like: Being controlled or manipulated
I don’t like: Broken promises
I don’t like: Project Managers who tell me someone in my team is upsetting the Development Team Leader (especially if I didn’t get to witness the fun)
I don’t like: Smart-asses who deflect issues and risks to other teams just before the weekly project review board sits
I don’t like: Unclear ownership of requirements and/or solutions
I don’t like: Being told that my team is having too much fun (especially when I’m not with them)
I don’t like: People who come to triage meetings unprepared
I don’t like: Being on the critical path for the project
I don’t like: Asking my team to work the weekend because someone doesn’t know how to manage a project plan
I don’t like: Schmoozing the client
I don’t like: Being given an end date, but still having to provide an estimate to prove that we can make that end date
I don’t like: Counting test cases
I don’t like: Not having enough Test environments to do my job properly

As always, please feel free to add to this list….

Dateline: Wednesday July 3, 2013

How to Manage a Happier Test Team – 25 Tips from an experienced Test Manager

Last week I provided a list of 25 mantras to help us all deal with some of the day to day frustrations we experience in our software testing worlds. It seems that this struck a chord with many more of you than I anticipated, so this week I’m going to focus on doing something about some of these frustrations. This week I’m providing 25 tips for Test Managers who want a more harmonious testing environment. As with my list last week, this was built from my own personal experiences and you may want to add to it either privately or via my Comments Section at the bottom of this Blog.

This is my list of 25 tips to help a Test Manager manage a happier Test team.

Learn the art of listening, your Testers are usually closer to the heartbeat of the project

Build smaller teams (or groups within teams), big teams lose focus more easily

Spend more time thinking, it makes the doing more effective

Anticipate issues – feel the mood of your team

Approve as many training and development requests as possible, encourage learning and diversification

Don’t reduce the severity of a bug just because you can, negotiation is always best

Speak face to face with your team every day – I call it “Management by Walking around”

Ask your Testers what is their greatest challenge each day – and then do something about it!!

Ensure everyone in the team is working for the team – heroes are dangerous

Trust (and empower) your team members – you hired them to do a job, so let them do it

Categorise meetings so that everyone knows why they are being held – there are always too many meetings

Always approve Annual Leave requests – people need holidays and project schedules always slip

Always keep ownership of the schedule, don’t allow others to dictate it

Have an open door policy – make sure you are always available to talk to any member of your team

Celebrate team achievements and don’t single out individuals – the annual review process will recognise individuals

Take responsibility for failure and share recognition of success

Build a positive culture, but don’t be in denial – shit happens…

Delegate responsibility – everyone needs to learn how to deal with it

Get each team member to score each day out of 10, it’ll help them with perspective and context (share your own score with them too)

Develop a buddy system – sharing a problem is always helpful

Make sure you can do every task your team is expected to do – empathy is always under-estimated

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you don’t have to know how to do everything

Accept that not everyone wants to speak in front of the team, embrace introverts

Do something together as a team at least once a week (even if it’s only a coffee or tea break)

Laugh as much as possible – don’t worry, be happy 🙂

Finally, a message to all you Testers who have read my tips. Please don’t be too harsh on your Test Manager, if they don’t do all of these things (or any of them), believe that they are doing their best and remember that they are only human. We should all look to improve ourselves each and every day.

25 Mantras That Will Make You A Happier Tester

In my experience there are many challenges in the daily life of a Test team and this can lead to frustration and even stress. So, in order to make your day a little less traumatic, post this list of mantras above your desk (or create your own version) and I guarantee your day will pass more harmoniously.

I accept that some of the Requirements will not be perfect
I accept that the Developers have time constraints like everyone else
I accept that our Test Environments will not be ready on time
I accept that our deadlines will be changed
I accept that the Users will change their minds
I accept that there will be more bugs in the latest software release than I anticipated
I accept that the subject matter experts will not be available when I want to see them
I accept that the Triage meeting will take longer than I hoped
I accept that the Project Manager will not understand why my testing is taking so long
I accept that the fixes I was expecting today did not make the latest software release
I accept that none of the Users will know how to define Acceptance Criteria
I accept that the latest software build will arrive at 4pm instead of 8am
I accept that I will have to cull some of my test cases to meet the schedule
I accept that some of my bug reports will be rejected as “features” or “un-reproducible”
I accept that my Performance Testing will start late due to an unstable code base
I accept that someone outside the Test team will estimate my Testing window
I accept that the PMO will want to know how many Test Cases I will run today
I accept the concept of Groundhog Day – I have to enter my Day 1 tests for the fourth time this week!!
I accept that no matter how much planning and preparation I do, my first test will fail
I accept that my Test Data will be the previous version
I accept that there will not be enough time to check all the Batch Cycle results before the next online input day starts
I accept that I cannot re-create the Sev 1 bug in front of the Development Manager
I accept that I will be judged by how many bugs I find, not how many I prevent
I accept that the offshore team will misunderstand even the simplest instructions
I accept that I will also make mistakes – I must not be too harsh on myself…

Remember to breath and smile