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Developing Testers What Can We Learn from Athletes? Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 1 Paul Gerrard Gerrard Consulting 1 Old Forge Close Maidenhead Berkshire.

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Presentation on theme: "Developing Testers What Can We Learn from Athletes? Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 1 Paul Gerrard Gerrard Consulting 1 Old Forge Close Maidenhead Berkshire."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing Testers What Can We Learn from Athletes? Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 1 Paul Gerrard Gerrard Consulting 1 Old Forge Close Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 2RD UK e: w: t:

2 Paul is the founder and Principal of Gerrard Consulting, a services company focused on increasing the success rate of IT-based projects for clients. He has conducted assignments in all aspects of Software Testing and Quality Assurance. Previously, he has worked as a developer, designer, project manager and consultant for small and large developments using all major technologies and is the webmaster of gerrardconsulting.com and several other websites. Paul has degrees from the Universities of Oxford and London, is Web Secretary for the BCS SIG in Software Testing (SIGIST), Founding Chair of the ISEB Tester Qualification Board and the host/organiser of the UK Test Management Forum conferences. He is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences in the UK, continental Europe and the USA and was recently awarded the Best Presentation of the Year prize by the BCS SIGIST. Paul has written many papers and articles, most of which are on the Evolutif website. With Neil Thompson, Paul wrote Risk-Based E-Business Testing – the standard text for risk-based testing. In his spare time, Paul is a coach for Maidenhead Rowing club. Paul Gerrard Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 2

3 Why did I put this talk together? Athlete Development - 2 Minute Introduction to Rowing - A (Development) Squad Training Plan Tester Development - A Tester Development Plan - Coaching/Mentoring Close Agenda Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 3

4 Good question! Well… I coach and train testers and rowers Similarities? - Me, being a know-all, telling other people stuff so they can meet an objective (or two) - Mainly about human interaction, trial and error, trial and success, behaviour changes driven by feedback Differences - One mainly physical, the other completely mental. Why did I put this talk together? Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 4

5 I believe that there enough similarities in overall objective, that some of the methods used in one, could be used in the other By looking at another discipline, we might obtain insights to how we might improve the way we develop as testers It seemed like a good idea at the time. Why did I put this talk together? 2 Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 5

6 Introduction to Rowing Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 6

7 Sculling - Each sculler has two sculls (oars) - Single, double, quads (coxed/coxless), octuples (coxed) Rowing - Each rower/oarsman/woman has one oar or blade - Pair, Four (coxed/coxless) or Eights (coxed) Cox – the little guy who steers and gives orders Basic movement in rowing and sculling is the same. Rowing 101 Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 7

8 Slide 8 From the power of eights… Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 8

9 Slide 9 …to the grace of a single sculler ;-) Slide 9

10 Something more graceful than me Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 10 Womens Head of the River 2006

11 A (Development) Squad Training Plan Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 11

12 Squad goals - To represent MRC in three head races and three summer regattas at Novice level - To improve crew endurance to achieve target time for 2000m on Dorney Lake in IV and/or VIII – March - To improve crew technique to match Womens squad Personal goals - To improve specific points of rowing technique for each individual - To achieve an agreed level of skill in a single sculling boat - To improve PBs on Ergometer for 500m, 2000m, 5000m by agreed targets - To be capable of rowing in Womens squad next season. 1 Year Goals Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 12

13 Achieve one novice head event win in IV or VIII for all squad members Achieve one novice summer regatta win in any boat for all squad members Win a pot at Maidenhead Regatta? Ambition Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 13

14 Overload - athletes subjected to progressively higher stresses to develop strength and endurance Recovery - adaptation takes place during recovery, not the training session itself Specificity – training sessions will aim to develop a specific area of technique or physiology Reversibility – the body can reverse any of the adaptations (i.e. stop training – lose speed, strength etc.) Evaluation – constant monitoring to plan training, recovery and improve the plan itself. Training Principles Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 14

15 Five key areas - Rowing technique - Flexibility/mobility - Strength - Power - Endurance Overall Training Strategy Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 15

16 Ergometer – instrument of torture Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 16

17 Four core sessions per week Typical winter session in gym/Ergos will last maximum 90 minutes On-water sessions will typically last minutes Sessions to start and finish promptly On occasion, two sessions may occur on Saturdays/Sundays Training will taper off towards competition days. Training Plan Structure Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 17

18 Basic rowing movement and land fitness training on ergometers and in gym Rowing technique in boat, technical drills/exercises Technical paddling will be done at low intensity Basic sculling and rowing technique will be taught Video will be used as a training tool, on water and on Ergos Squad members will get CDs containing all footage of crews and individuals. Training Approach Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 18

19 Critical part of training and development is the ability to monitor progress towards goals One of the following tests will be performed monthly - 20 minute test on Ergo m, 2000m test on Dorney Lake (still water) m (approx) test on Thames at Maidenhead - Occasional, informal sculling heads. Testing Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 19

20 Terminology - Standard ARA terminology will be used, except for exercise names which are often non-standard – a glossary will be provided - Squad are expected to be fluent Crew Selection - Selection for boat places for competitions may be necessary - Main Criteria will be commitment. Other stuff Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 20

21 Plans covering the three main training periods will exist: - September-December (created/agreed August) - January-April (created/agreed December) - May-July (created/agreed April) - The period mid August to Mid September will be a rest period. Training Periods Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 21

22 Paul will present the overall Training Strategy to the squad (end July/early August) Commitment is sought from each squad member to the plan to establish the need for equipment and whether IV or VIII (or quad) will be the primary training and competition boat. Start-Up Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 22

23 Training bands BandType of work% maxRate SPMWhat it is good forHow you feel UT2Utilisation 2. Light aerobic, low intensity work. Sustainable and fat- burning split: General cardiovascular (CV) fitnessRelaxed. Able to carry on conversation. UT1Utilisation 1. Aerobic work using more oxygen split: Higher level of CV fitness.Working. Feeling warmer. Heart rate and respiration up. May sweat. ATAnaerobic threshold. Harder work. On the aerobic limit split: High level of CV fitness. Building mental and physical endurance. Hard work. Heart rate and respiration up. Carbon dioxide build up. Sweating. Breathing hard. TROxygen Transportation. Working hard. Unsustainable for long periods. (2000m race pace) split: Developing oxygen transport to the muscles under stress. Increasing cardiac output. Stressed. Panting. Sweating freely. ANAnaerobic (without oxygen). Short burst of maximum effort. Unsustainable. Burning carbohydrate. (500m race pace) split: Anaerobic work. Increasing speed. Accustoming body to work without oxygen. Very stressful. Gasping. Sweating heavily. Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 23

24 A Tester Development Plan Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 24

25 Overload – testers need to be subjected to progressively more demanding training to develop a broader skill-set Recovery/Adaptation - adaptation takes place during debrief, reflection, implementation – post-training Specificity – training sessions should aim to develop a specific area of technique or skill Reversibility – the tester can reverse any of the adaptations (i.e. stop training/using skills – lose those skills/capability) Evaluation – constant monitoring to plan training, adaptation and to improve the plan itself. Tester development plan - Principles Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 25

26 Team goals - To apply new methods/approaches consistently across the team, to the next project - To make the team more flexible by acquiring new skills and making team members interchangeable Personal goals - To improve technical, planning, managerial skills in specific areas - To improve interpersonal skills in specific areas - To improve self-evaluation or independent evaluation scores - To be capable of taking responsibility for e.g. test planning, team supervision, test reporting (1 Year) Goals Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 26 Goals need to be related to capability, SMART* and RELEVANT * specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and tangible

27 Examples: - Prepare tests for a new application, unsupervised - Manage product risks from requirements through to implementation - Be recognised as a Centre of Excellence for test automation Ambition (planned achievements) Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 27 Ambitions should reflect desirable achievements, scheduled to occur in less than a year SMART* and RELEVANT

28 Testing theory: terminology, ideal process, underlying principles, standards… Testing skills: verbal reasoning, numerical/abstract reasoning, fault diagnosis, accuracy… - list.shtml Testing practice: practical hands-on – planning, designing, running, exploring, incident logging… Interpersonal skills: awareness of self and others, listening, questioning, presenting, helping, influencing, negotiating, teamworking, managing relationships… Overall Training Strategy Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 28

29 Personal development plan 360 degree feedback – colleagues, managers, direct reports, customers, others… Agreed budget for off-the-job training Agreed time allowance for on-the-job training Development Plan Structure Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 29 Regular review of the development plan as its a living document.

30 Testing theory: standard classroom or self-study courses (ISEB for basics; focused, specialist courses on testing) Testing skills: critical thinking skills, 35 of them – brief 1-2 hour focus every two weeks Testing practice: organisational process, standards, templates coached by peers; regular practical hands-on refreshers: test programs, exploring, incident logging Interpersonal skills: micro-skills can be taught and practiced in work and classroom situations; scenario- based case-studies, role-playing etc. cover higher-level skills. Training Approach example Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 30

31 Test design quiz to measure/hone techniques skills Testing/critical thinking practicals (Testing Case Studies) : - Reviews of documents with known issues - Hands-on tests of software with known bugs - Incident reporting and independent assessment 360 feedback to review IP skills Post-project reviews. Testing and feedback Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 31 Testing needs to be competitive, non-threatening, informative and relevant.

32 Terminology: team need to be fluent Team selection linked to development attainment Promotion linked to development progress. Other stuff Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 32 Testers need to regard being selected for a team as a key objective. Promotion comes from being a first team regular.

33 There is no season for testers, but development activities can be synchronised to projects - Between projects: post-project reviews, 360 feedback, classroom training, testing, development plan review, goal setting - Early in projects: review participation, test design refresher courses - Mid-project: Testing Case-Studies - Late-project: let the testers do their job; managers should monitor performance at peak times - Project end-game: personal self-assessments, prepare for 360 feedback Training Periods Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 33

34 Team and individual development plans agreed and communicated early in the season Commitment is sought from each individual to the team and individual development plans to establish the need for additional resources, budget, time, equipment etc. Development plans can by synchronised with overall resource plans with effort allocated to development activities. Start-Up Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 34

35 Training types TypeType of trainingWhat it is good for Private Review Practical (TCS) Standard technical review of documents with known problems Critical thinking, perseverance, attention to detail, systematic approach Review ParticipationReview, with others, of project documents Independent, critical review; team working; review process; giving criticism; verbal/written communications; decision making In-house inter personal skills courses Classroom-based, workshop format with role playing and team discussion Focused on specific interpersonal skills, as required. Practice Testing and Bug Reporting Practical testing of prepared programs, logging incidents Hands on fluency with self-confidence to run tests, explore software programs, log incidents and compare with model incident reports. ETC Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 35

36 Coaching/Mentoring Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 36

37 In sport – coaches are fundamental to success – why dont test teams have a coach? Testers must trust the coach to observe, guide, advise, motivate Coach competences – to be effective, some very specific competences are required. Coach-Tester Relationship Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 37

38 Dont need to be a current or ex-Olympic medallist to coach Olympians Dont need to be a champion tester to coach testers Fluency in the skills to be taught is required Enthusiastic and ability to enthuse others. Coach competencies Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 38

39 Communication skills are paramount - How to communicate a vision - How to listen, observe, interpret - How to advise, cajole, convince, influence Observation, observation, observation! - Once the plan is set, all technical coaching input starts with observation - Ability to identify, observe and communicate the indicators of success. Competencies 2 Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 39

40 Wins of course, but competitions are infrequent! Need to coach the tester to recognise the signs of success, to self-motivate and wish to improve Signs of mastery (personal) - Independent work, ability to consult/advise, scores in tests, confidence, comfort in their role, enjoyment Signs of achievement (in the eyes of peers) - Work rate, capacity, regarded as a master, peer role model (the one to copy/beat). Indicators of success Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 40

41 Communication in terms of analogies, metaphors, comparisons, examples, stories Often, people dont understand straightforward technical descriptions Need to make the message accessible by using real-life stories or metaphors Interpersonal classes often use related, not directly comparable examples to illustrate points Dont underestimate the value of humour. communication communication communication! Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 41

42 Feedback to the tester is critical: - Technical faults (with care and consideration) - Test results and interpretation Feedback from the coach - Does the tester understand, appreciate the point being made by the coach? - Does the tester believe/commit to the implicit, explicit changes in behaviour being sought? Feedback Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 42

43 Motivation is more important in training than in competition - Training lasts much longer, is costly in effort and much more draining than competition - No instant reward – thats months away In competition, athletes shouldnt need motivating – competition is WHY we train - Competition is PAYBACK time for all those long hours, effort, boredom, pain, injury. Motivation - Sport Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 43

44 Motivation is more important on projects - The job is continuous, lasts longer, costly in effort, more demanding, unrewarding perhaps - Coach should be prominent in the team, asking questions, giving guidance, open to suggestion - Coach should treat the project as an opportunity to learn, to witness the training being applied, to refine the training itself In training, testers shouldnt need motivating - Training is often regarded as a REWARD in itself - But to train hard requires discipline and commitment. Motivation - Testing Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 44

45 There are obvious parallels between the athlete and testers training, coaching and development Personal and team development goals and plans agreed and committed to More attention on critical thinking, interpersonal and practical (+ some theory) skills is required Opportunities exist for training and evaluation on the job itself Coaches/coaching are underused (if used at all). Close Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 45

46 gerrardconsulting.com uktmf.com Thank-You! Developing Testers What Can We Learn from Athletes? Assurance with IntelligenceSlide 46


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