Table of Contents
- Newsletters & Mailing Lists
- Cheat Sheets & Test Ideas
- Meetups & Regular Tables
- Slack Teams
- Learning Tools & Apps
- 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 Angie Jones (@techgirl1908)
- Blog of Toyer Mamoojee (@tottilfc)
Key blog posts & articles:
- 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.
- Building a relationship with developers. Awesome post about constructive communication and collaboration and how not creating bug reports but directly fixing things can help make a real impact.
- 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.
- Testing vs. Checking – separate entities or part of a whole? Wonderful post by Lena Pejgan Wiberg about her view on testing. Really worth reading, and then start thinking about your own view!
- A new model for test strategies… (An update to the Heuristic Test Strategy Model). Great model to base your discussions about the test strategy on, including different approaches to testing as well as what else you can test besides a running product.
- Creating a Test Strategy. Check out this example of how to come up with an initial test strategy in just one hour!
- Explore Galore! 30 Tips to Supercharge your Exploratory Testing Efforts. 30 really valuable tips how to improve your exploratory testing skills.
- Mapping Biases to Testing: An Inconvenient Truth. Awesome post by Maaike Brinkhof, explaining why you should be aware of not testing too much only to find or prevent irrelevant issues.
- 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.
- Dammit Jim, I’m a Tester, Not an Automator. "just because someone isn’t a developer or doesn’t have a degree in computer scientist, it doesn’t mean that they can’t participate in an automation endeavor" - absolutely agree. Great post.
- On choosing both/and, not either/or. Excellent post helping you decide what to learn, which role to take over, where to focus on.
- 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.
- Hybrid Tests: Blurring The Lines Of The Automation Pyramid. Awesome post how to improve your automated tests through UI to test for one thing only, avoid duplication and make them run faster. My team uses this approach and I really like its benefits.
- 6 reasons to co-locate your app and automation code. If you still have a separate automation project, this post is a must-read. My team keeps all test automation code in the same repository as the application code and we can confirm all of the described benefits.
- 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.
- Manual Testing and Automation: Better Together Highly recommended read why focusing either only on exploratory testing or only on test automation might not be the best option. The best test strategies combine both approaches; and the same advice is given for your personal development.
- Test Automation and Test Process Modelling - an evolutionary and pictorial explanation. How people developed the "mistaken view of 'Test Automation' instead of 'Automatization as part of a software development and testing process'." Simply great explanation.
- The missing link between testing and automation
- It is time to get realistic about test automation
- Your automation testing strategy: pyramids, triangles and beyond. Learn how to look at test automation from different angles and get an example of collaboration towards successful automation.
- Behavior-Driven Development and Automation: Establishing Order. Great post about what BDD actually means and what's the hardest part on your way towards BDD.
- Testing in Production, the safe way. Really long post, but really worth it. Take the time and read it.
- 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.
- Mob Testing: An Introduction & Experience Report. Wonderful introduction to mobbing, i.e. mob programming, mob testing, mob everything and how you can get started. Maaret's personal experience with mobbing is added to the mix, which makes this post even more valuable.
- 100% of the team in a mob for 12 months — taking mob programming a couple of steps further. A great report from a UX designer about her mob experience! Really inspiring.
- 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.
- Represent! Flying the Flag for Diversity Awesome post inspiring people to show and support diversity, and become a role model themselves. You don't have to be "the expert" to share your experience; and yes, there are people out there who will find a lot of value in what you have to share. And even more in the fact that you share! "You’re more than likely already doing all kinds of great things. Just do them in a way that allows other people to see them too, and be inspired by them."
- Crowdsourcing Your Learning. Great article by Melissa Eadon on how to crowdsource your learning. This is a huge part in how I learn every day, so I just recommend you to check it out and see if it works for you as well :)
- Learning on the Job. What a relevant post! How much time do you spend for learning or other really important and valuable but not that urgent topics? This is where the magic happens.
- Four Simple Steps to Becoming the Best Tester You can be – by @TestSheepNZ. Simple, but very effective. Doing my best.
- 30 Things Every New Software Tester Should Learn. Wonderful collection of topics, tasks and resources for new software testers as well as those of us in testing for a while already.
- I don't report bugs. Yes, yes, and yes.
- Balancing with our time. Wonderful reminder to use our time deliberately with intent. "Make sure you are growing."
- Skipping Ahead a Few Steps. Are you going the popular way of learning to be awesome at agile testing, or up for trying the actual faster ways? There's sound advice in here.
- Cynefin for Everyone! Have you heard of Cynefin, the sensemaking framework? In case you have not yet, and also in case you have, here’s an awesome post to explain it. An interesting read for everybody.
- What is Exploratory Testing? & What is Exploratory Testing — the Programmer Edition. Two most awesome and insightful posts about exploratory testing by Maaret Pyhäjärvi. Read them. Carefully. Then read them again and share them.
- The Driver-Navigator in Strong-Style Pairing. Maaret Pyhäjärvi compiled an article from her notes on strong-style pairing; my new favorite post to share regarding this topic.
- Let’s stop talking about testing, let’s start thinking about value. Great post about the role of testers and how to talk about testing.
- Testing in CI. Great post by Angie Jones about what to consider for automation in continuous integration and delivery environments.
- Community Thoughts: 99 Things You Can Do To Become A Better Software Tester v2.0. Wanna know what to do to grow as a tester? Check out this collection of great advice!
- A possible next step. Great post about tearing down walls between developers and testers and instead focus on collaboration.
- What psychology taught me about QA. Great post showing the value of diverse educational backgrounds and why it's important to focus on people.
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
- Test Talks
- Testers' Island Discs Podcast
- Careers in Software Testing
- Modern Day Test Automation - Cucumber Podcast. Angie Jones talks about about many aspects regarding automation nowadays: roles, skills, career development, BDD, how to get other people on board, etc. I found it really interesting, maybe you do, too - just listen for yourself.
- Test Talks 115: Agile, Lean Startup Mindsets with Maaret Pyhäjärvi. Wonderful episode sharing many invaluable insights around skills, collaboration, and contribution. A definite recommendation for all testers.
- Ep 73: There is no spoon! Great and very informative episode on cognitive biases, heuristics, pairing, and mobbing. Our brain is simply fascinating and being aware of how it works helps our testing.
- Testing in DevOps - Cucumber Podcast Lots of many different topics are addressed by Lisa and Janet in this episode when it comes to testing and testers in agile and DevOps environments. Really recommended.
- How to Drive Quality in Your Organization Regardless of the Organization You’re In? Great food for thought!
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.
- Styles of Pair Testing. Concise explanation of pairing styles, showing the benefits of strong-style for learning, in a pair as well as in a mob. Awesome.
- Leveling up as a Pair. Great advice how to level up your personal pairing skills while helping your pair grow as well.
- 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.
- Pluralsight Ethical Hacking path. Brilliant series to learn about security, hacking, what to look out for and how to test for vulnerabilities. Unfortunately I could not watch the whole series but I saw enough to absolutely recommend these videos.
- Intersection of Automation and Exploratory Testing by Maaret Pyhäjärvi #SeConfIndia. Wonderful talk about so many important concepts and ideas. Including a live demo as well! A must watch recommendation for everyone involved in testing. Watched it together with my company's testing community and we could not stop nodding. Inspired quite some thoughts and ideas as well!
- Teaching and Coaching Exploratory Testing - Maaret Pyhäjärvi. Here Maaret goes deeper on exploring a legacy app on unit test level. Absolutely must watch of an extended demo along with great thoughts how to improve your own testing as well as teach and coach testing.
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.
- Heuristic Test Strategy Model. A "set of patterns for designing a test strategy. The immediate purpose of this model is to remind testers of what to think about when they are creating tests".
- XSS Filter Evasion Cheat Sheet
- Authentication Cheat Sheet
- Testing for SQL Injection
- Web Application Security Testing Cheat Sheet
- Test Automation Patterns Wiki. Awesome resource to learn more about known patterns and what you can do to improve your test automation.
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 obviously 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. 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.
- Heath, Chip; Heath, Dan (2008). Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck. Ever wondered how to craft a presentation people actually remember? How to create a great product campaign? How to guide people in their decisions? This book tells a lot of enlightening stories and offers a pragmatic framework to improve your skills in conveying the core of your idea and make it stick.
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!
- 2017: See Agile Testing Days #9 - Once Upon a Time in Unicorn Land
- TestBash. TestBash is the conference brand of the Ministry of Testing. TestBash conferences are hosted at different locations around the world, and they continue to spin up more. I've only attended one TestBash so far but saw several tweets, blog posts, videos of other instances. They all share great content, great speakers, and especially a great testing community. Definitely worth checking out.
- European Testing Conference. One of the organizers of this conference is Maaret Pyhäjärvi. As I really like Maaret's work, I had to check it out. And it was wonderful! Bringing together testers and developers and basically anyone interested in testing.
- SwanseaCon. The conference calls itself an "Agile Development & Software Craftsmanship" conference. A small, but a great one! I especially loved the diversity of the presented topics, all really valuable for any software team member, no matter the role. See my post SwanseaCon and My First Conference Talk Ever.
- Mob Programming Conference. THE conference about mob programming, testing and everything! Wonderful people there, all learning with each other, from each other.
- CAST. I joined in 2018 and it was a great conference with great people and a great program.
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. On the following you will find fellow testers ready to listen and support.
- Ministry of Testing
- TestersDE (German speaking slack team)
- Women in Testing (get to know me first, then I'm happy to invite you in)
Learning Tools & Apps
- OWASP Juice Shop. This "intentionally insecure webapp" is a great way to learn about security & penetration testing. Solving challenge by challenge is really fun, especially together with a group of people. Gamification for the win!
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!