Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rapid Software Testing Experience-First Thoughts

I just got back home yesterday after an amazing week with James Bach and Rapid Software Testing (RST) at Orcas Island, Washington.  My head is so full of things I learned and the experiences I had, I'm not even sure where to start.  I will take my time to get my thoughts down to share, but for now just know that if you ever have the chance to take RST from James, Michael Bolton, or Paul Holland, just do it.  Don't hesitate, just do it.  You won't regret it.  You owe it to yourself as a Software Tester to challenge yourself with this intense and information-packed class. 

I was challenged several times by James, but through those challenges a wonderful thing came out of it.  I realized I'm now believing in myself more.  I made the decision before stepping foot on the island that I was going to be fully open and present.  That I was going to put myself out there and take chances.  It wasn't always easy or comfortable, but at the end of the last day I knew something had changed in me.  Something had shifted.  I honestly don't know what all of it is just yet, but that's part of the next chapter of RST for me.  Figuring out what those changes are, what all have I learned and what more do I want to learn, who I want to be, and where am I going.  Pretty heady stuff from a three day class, but I believe that every experience in life is an opportunity to change your world if you so choose.  And I'm very much looking forward to seeing where MY world is going to go and how it's going to change!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why I Am Going To RST

In about a week, I will be on my way to the Rapid Software Testing (RST) course. It is a three day hands-on intensive course.  And this particular course will be taught by none other than James Bach

The main reason I'm going is exactly because of what it says on the RST website, "The ideal student is anyone who feels driven to be an excellent software tester".  That's me. 

I've been a Software Tester for over 10 years, but here's a true confession. During a lot of those years I was a naive tester. A tester in the dark.  Like a lot of us, I didn't have a lot of formal Testing training. I had no idea for almost all of those years that there were ways and people to learn testing from. I never worked anywhere that taught or trained Testers. I knew nothing of people like James Bach, Michael Bolton, Pradeep Soundararajan, Elisabeth Hendrickson, and many others.  I didn't know there were books or websites or trainings.  I didn't know there were test groups like Association for Software Testers (AST), Ministry of Testing, Satisfice, and others. Knowing what I know now, this all sounds crazy to even admit all of this. But it's true.  Sometimes you don't know what you don't know.

I just did the best I could.  I picked up tips from other Testers along the way or I made it up as I went along.  Maybe because I'm anal by nature, I would find lots of bugs.  The things I loved about testing kept me doing it, like finding things that were wrong with the software before our customers did.  But I was miserable in a lot of ways.

So, about a year and a half ago I sat myself down and had good long talk with myself. I thought that if I'm going to stay being a Tester, I needed to really LEARN how to be a Tester, what it meant to be a Tester.  Not just do the 'job'. No one was going to do it for me. No one.  My big break was that I somehow found James Bach's book "Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar".  I have to say, this book is a gem and a life-changer.  It woke me up in a very big way about my own responsibility of self-learning.  I can't recommend it enough.  And my journey at that point started in a big way.

I started googling anything to do with Software Testing.  I found people like Anne-Marie Charett who were generous in coaching me about different things to do with testing. I started a blog. I discovered this great test community on Twitter. I started reading about testing from blogs, articles, and books.  I learned about Context Driven Testing.  I found out about and became active in Weekend Testing.  I took the BBST Foundations course. I even took some HTML and CSS courses to help me in web testing. I stumbled onto Ajay's Balamurugadas' first online training and never missed a day, as well as discovering a wonderful test community happening in India.  There was a whole world out there that I never knew existed!  And now I'm constantly doing something every week and most days to keep growing and learning.

And that brings me to the RST course. It's time to take this journey of mine to a whole new level. To accelerate my learning. I want to finally grasp heuristics, learn how to tackle any product instantly, and to grow in my confidence as a Tester. I want to continue on my journey of becoming an expert Tester, but more importantly, FEEL and KNOW I'm an expert Tester. And I have this strong feeling that I will someday look at this time as the before and after of my journey and skills as a Tester. The way I look at it, if you want to be a better Tester, you can't just wish for it.  You have to work on it everyday. RST is a major step in this process. 

Wish me well!

Teri Charles