Table of Contents
- Key Blog Posts & Articles
- Newsletters & Mailing Lists
- Cheat Sheets & Test Ideas
- Meetups & Regular Tables
- Slack Teams
- Other Formats
BlogsMany testers have their personal blog which is worth following as well. Here are some rather famous examples, but I'd also recommend to check out the many more blogs of less known testers.
- Blog of Lisa Crispin (@lisacrispin)
- Blog of Janet Gregory (@janetgregoryca)
- Blog of Elisabeth Hendrickson (@testobsessed)
- Blog of Maaret Pyhäjärvi (@maaretp)
- Blog of Katrina Clokie (@katrina_tester)
- Blog of Mike Talks (@TestSheepNZ)
- Blog of Richard Bradshaw (@FriendlyTester)
- Blog of Alan Richardson (@EvilTester)
- Blog of Michael Bolton (@michaelbolton)
- Blog of James Bach (@jamesmarcusbach)
Key Blog Posts & Articles
The following posts share some key concepts I'd really like to highlight.
- Our ever-evolving, never set-in-stone definition of ‘agile testing’. Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory's evolving definition of agile testing.
- Independent Testers? Or Independent Thinkers? Awesome post by Lisa Crispin on collaboration and communication, hiring and training so people can do a good job and build quality products.
- How Collaboration Changes the Way Testers Think. Lessons learned by Lisa Crispin during her transition to agile development - really worth reading.
- Encouraging testers to share testing Testing is a team responsibility. So encourage and enable your teams to share testing! Wonderful blog post.
- Software Testing Conferences – An Interview with Lisa Crispin. Check out this insightful interview with Lisa Crispin about software testing conferences to get some general tips and hints and get inspired!
- On Conferences, Again. Enable "other people to approach us. Make sure there is always room for one more to join the conversation." THIS.
- I Prefer This Over That. Awesome post about agile development values by Elisabeth Hendrickson, preferring "True Responsiveness over the Illusion of Control".
- A Context-Driven Approach to Automation in Testing by James Bach and Michael Bolton (2016). Really worth reading. Explains the terminology difference between testing and checking well. Also provides insights in the context-driven school of testing.
- Agile Testing Automation. Aligning the automation pyramid with the agile testing quadrants - brilliant post!
- Unit Tests Are FIRST. Nice mnemonic for effective unit tests.
- Just because you can automate everything ... doesn't mean you should. Great post about why automation does not replace but supports manual testing by freeing up time for exploratory testing. Make sure to read the valuable comments on the post as well!
- A Look at Test Automation and 'Test Automators' - Inspired from Alan Page's Tweets. About test automation, check automation, automation design, conversations, automation in testing, toolsmiths, testing in general, and much more. If you're interested in test automation, read this post. If you're not, read it as well. Love it.
- Exploring the top of the testing pyramid: End-to-end and user interface testing. Great and long needed post about what end-to-end testing can mean.
- Identifying and influencing how people in your team contribute to test automation. "Take a moment to consider your current team. Where would you put your colleagues in a test automation farmyard?" Absolutely awesome model which lets you reflect on your current situation regarding test automation. It encourages to look for problems and opportunities to improve the situation.
- Failure - the secret of my success ... Nice post by Mike Talks about accepting repeated failing and learning from it.
- On Quality Engineering and Testing and Defect Prevention. Awesome post about what testing can be in an organization.
- What Do Software Testers Do? (Version 0.1) Awesome post about what we do - great to share with people who always wondered what we do all day! Note: You have to log in to the Ministry of Testing Dojo to be able to read this post.
- Pairing With Developers: A Guide For Testers Great article why you should think about pairing with your developer teammates, including hands-on tips how you can get started.
- Gamifying Your Software Testing Career & Workplace - Part 1 & Part 2. I love testing. I love games. I love learning. And I really love these articles combining all!!
- How To Use Mind Maps To Develop Clarity With Your Software Testing Strategy. I really love to use mind maps to create my story test cases, document questions and answers, and general my notes during testing. This post shows some reasons why and how mind maps can also be used to plan your testing strategy or as guideline to regression testing.
- Seniority. The post addresses programmers but you can apply the message to any team member, no matter which role you are identifying with. Great read of what seniority is actually about!
- Modern Agile. Awesome post by Joshua Kerievsky about his perspective on a modern approach of agile. Full of links to further resources worth checking out! There is also a newer post introducing modern agile and a whole page dedicated to the topic.
Newsletters & Mailing Lists
Subscribe to these newsletters and let them point you to a wealth of valuable resources every week.
There are several awesome podcasts talking about testing, agile, development and more. The following are worth checking out.
- Let's Talk About Tests Baby
- The Ministry of Testing Podcast
- Quality Remarks Podcast
- The Agile Uprising Podcast
- Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast
- Agile For Humans
- Developer On Fire
- Software Engineering Radio
- Reflection as a Service
In case you'd like to watch and learn, there are many and more video resources out there. The following are just some starting points.
- Agile Testing Days keynotes and webinars
- Ministry of Testing Dojo. Though many videos require a pro membership, some videos are available for free, you just have to sign up for a free account.
- Exploratory Testing with James Bach. Fun video which nicely explains exploratory testing approaches in a nutshell.
- I'm QA. It's in QA. It's being QA'ed. You sure about that? Great 10min talk about shared responsibility regarding quality and the QA term by Richard Bradshaw.
- Agile Testing Essentials. A Whole Team Approach to Building Quality In. In this video course, beginner testers find condensed essential knowledge, providing great guidance on their way to grow. Check out my review on this video course.
- Abby Fichtner: Pushing the Edge on What's Possible. Very inspirational keynote, encouraging us to face our fears and be brave.
Cheat Sheets & Test Ideas
Having something in hand to trigger new ideas on what else to test is just awesome. Even for experienced testers. They are also perfect to share with your product team to share testing knowledge and help them come up with ideas.
- Quick Tools for Agile Testing. Most important concepts from the Agile Testing books by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory.
- Test Heuristics Cheat Sheet. Really valuable checklist for exploratory testing.
- 60 Powerful Heuristics to Bust a Testing Groove With. Valuable heuristics for exploratory testing to think of new questions and tackle the product from a different point of view.
- TestSphere card deck. "TestSphere is a card deck that gets testers thinking and talking about their testing." Exactly! Besides using the cards for the game, they also provide a great resource to generate new ideas.
- XSS Filter Evasion Cheat Sheet
- Authentication Cheat Sheet
- Testing for SQL Injection
- Web Application Security Testing Cheat Sheet
If you want to dive deeper into a topic, books are still just wonderful. Here are some I really recommend.
Books closely related to testing:
Books closely related to testing:
- Crispin, Lisa; Gregory, Janet (2009). Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams. This book is one of my favorites. It is the most often named book when talking about agile in combination with testing. And with very good reason! Both authors are experts in their areas and share a lot of personal stories and experiences in the book (by the way: it's also worth following them on Twitter!). In my point of view the book is not only for testers but also valuable for all members of an agile team. It's easy to read and you can really apply the content in everyday work. I highly recommend this book as starting point to the world of agile testing.
- Crispin, Lisa; Gregory, Janet (2014). More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team. This book is the successor of 'Agile Testing'. People say you can read it without having read the former book, but I would recommend to read it as the sequel it is. It's independent, but like an update and extension to the first book, referring a lot to the former book. More Agile Testing looks at how agile testing has evolved since the first book. It addresses and focuses on these new topics (e.g. continuous learning, agile testing in the enterprise, distributed teams, embedded systems, testing in regulated environments, big data, DevOps). The book contains a lot of stories and experiences from testers all around the world providing fresh new perspectives and interesting insights how others attacked common problems. I highly recommend this book as follow-up read to the first one as it broadens the view and opens new perspectives.
- Clokie, Katrina (2017). A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps. Ever wondered about DevOps and how testing might be like in such an environment? This book offers a well-researched and comprehensive but still easy to read guide as starting point, as well as refers to many great resources for diving deeper into the single topics. Go for it!
- Hendrickson, Elisabeth (2013). Explore It! Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing. This book is addressing testers, but any agile team members will heavily appreciate the described skills and heuristics for exploratory testing. Easy to read and easy to understand - and worth every line. The author also shares her already famous "test heuristic cheat sheet" online; for more explanation and further knowledge, please read the book. ;-)
- Talks, Mike (2015). How to Test. First of all: The book is free! The author is a known testing expert and shares basic testing knowledge, several testing techniques, and personal experiences in the book. The book is intended for testing beginners as well as for the people hiring new testers (see also the author's announcement showing the intention behind this book). The book contains a great introduction to testing in general, several useful testing approaches, common pitfalls, as well as some exercises. Good starting point! Ah, and by the way: At the end of the book, the author lists a whole bunch of awesome testing experts you can follow on Twitter! :)
- Adzic, Gojko; Evans, David; Roden, Tom (2015). Fifty Quick Ideas To Improve Your Tests. Nice read with a lot of good tips, especially regarding test automation.
Books not directly related to testing but really valuable to think outside the box and broaden your horizon:
- Kahneman, Daniel (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. A psychology book really worth reading for a tester. The author provides a lot of insights how our brain works, where it tricks us, and when to stop us from thinking too fast but to actually strain our gray matter again.
- Carey, Benedict (2014). How We Learn: Throw out the rule book and unlock your brain’s potential. This book helps uncover misconceptions about learning and shows what actually helps us learning. Valuable for everyone!
- Gelb, Michael J. (2000). How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. Learn about the great genius and what he did to now be considered a genius. You'll find plenty of exercises and ideas to broaden your horizon as well.
- Patton, Jeff (2014). User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product. Great technique for designing minimum viable products providing actual value for the users.
- Adzic, Gojko (2012). Impact Mapping: Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects. Great technique for planning to invest in implementing actual value for the users.
- Derby, Esther; Larsen, Diana (2006). Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great. When I worked as a Scrum Master, I heavily used the book in preparing sprint retrospectives for my team. You don't even have to read it from A to Z, you can simply scan it for ideas. It contains a whole bunch of tips for retrospective sessions with teams. Very helpful!
- Martin, Robert C. (2008). Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship. A classic, often read by developers. I recommend testers to read it as well.
- Falco, Llewellyn; Pyhäjärvi, Maaret (2016). Mob Programming Guidebook. You heard about mob programming and want to learn more? Then this is an awesome starting point. You will find instructions how to facilitate a mob and get started along with great tips.
I discovered conferences quite late for myself and have not yet been to a lot yet. I will change that! Because by attending conferences I met the larger community and got inspired in so many ways that I honestly think this to be one of the best ways of personal development.
- Agile Testing Days. The Agile Testing Days are taking place in Potsdam near Berlin every end of the year.
- 2015: I've attended one tutorial day and one conference day in 2015. The tutorial and the talks provided really valuable input, insights, and ideas for my everyday testing job. The lean coffee session was really worth visiting as well. But the very best thing was to meet the actual testing experts in person as well as a lot of fellow testers. The whole community is really open and you can share and discuss any problem you are facing. I left the conference with a larger network and am already looking forward to visit the next conference.
- 2016: This year I had the chance to attend the full week for two tutorial days and three conference days. It was simply AWESOME.
- Lots of great food for thought! Great keynotes, talks, workshops, tutorials, lean coffee sessions, open space sessions, test labs, social events... and I could not even try all other kinds of offers the conference has. But that's life: With about 10 tracks all taking place at the same time you will always feel like you are missing out on things. It's really worth checking the #AgileTD Twitter stream to see what else is going on and gain even more insights. The weeks after the conference, many attendees and speakers write blog posts about their personal impressions which are also worth checking out. And by the way: The program is really diverse. Don't expect only technical stuff or only testing topics; to learn more about those look out for hands-on tutorials and workshops (Don't be afraid of joining "expert" sessions! And make sure to check in advance if you should bring a laptop and maybe prepare some things in advance). The conference is really valuable to broaden your horizon, try something new, get inspired.
- Awesome people! That's one of the biggest advantages of this conference. It enables people to get in contact, share experience, learn from each other, enlarge their professional network, get new friends. It's all about community and networking. Oh, and this applies to ALL the attendees, including the speakers themselves! In contrast to some other conferences I heard about, Agile Testing Days let's you get in direct contact with the experts; and they are really open and supportive when it comes to questions you might have, challenges you face, or simply stories to share. The conference gives plenty of space for socializing, on snacks and coffee in between, during lunch times, evening social activities, etc. And by the way, the attendees do not all identify as testers, there are programmers, product owners, agile coaches, UX experts, and so on, so that you get diverse feedback.
- Go for it? If you decide to book the conference, go for (super) early bird prices. If you can only book later on after the program is out, speakers can provide discount codes. Regarding accommodation: As the conference offers activities from early in the morning until late at night, it's really worth to book the conference hotel itself. The short ways are gold, plus this enables you to have a personal space to retreat - all the input can be overwhelming and sometimes you just need some time for yourself. And last but not least: Bring your laptop; your personal questions, challenges and stories; and some sleep in advance!
- TestBash. TestBash is the conference brand of the Ministry of Testing. TestBash conferences are hosted at different locations and continue to add more. I've not attended one the conferences yet but saw several tweets, blog posts, videos of it. It looks really interesting, having great speakers and a great testing community.
- Update: I will attend TestBash Germany soon and can provide further insights afterwards.
- European Testing Conference. The European Testing Conference is organized by Maaret Pyhäjärvi. I've not attended the conference yet but I really like Maaret's work. It looks really promising, having great speakers and a great testing community.
- Update: I will attend European Testing Conference next year and provide further insights afterwards.
Meetups & Regular Tables
There are many local community events like meetups and regular tables taking place close to you. Just go the meetup page and find the next group around you. And if none exists yet, it might be time to think about starting one! :-)
Slack is a wonderful tool for quick and easy communication and collaboration. I am member of the following teams and can recommend them.
- Ministry of Testing
- Women in Testing. If you want to join, I can invite you. Just write me a direct message via Twitter including your email address.
There are probably many more formats to learn agile testing. So far I came across the following really interesting ones.
- Weekend Testing. Have not been able to join a session myself yet, but sounds like an awesome opportunity to learn.
- Speak Easy. Want to improve at speaking? This program had been recommended by many people. You'll have mentors from the community to help you start sharing your stories at conferences.
- Several experts offer coaching sessions, for example via Skype. Just ask them politely. If they agree, yay! If not, well, then at least you tried! ;-)
- Ask any other tester to become your accountability buddy! Meet regularly to exchange challenges, solutions, knowledge and questions and hold each other accountable on your objectives. I paired up with Toyer Mamoojee and it's invaluable for both of us!
Last but not least - testing is also lots of fun, so let's not neglect that! ;-)
- On Testing. Check out this classic - I just love it! :D And don't miss to read through the awesome comments!