Month: July 2017

Developing your testing using jokes

Why did the developer cross the road?  To get to the others’ ide.

Another in a somewhat sporadic series of “things you can do in your spare time that are fun and hone some of your testing skills.  This one comes from a session a year or two back at the Assurance Leadership Forum (formerly Test Management Forum) by James Thomas.

Joke creation flexes just those same skills you need for testing.  Logic, reasoning and deduction, lateral thinking, breaking assumptions, and that intuitive flare for spotting the edge of something that niggles and pulling at it until it unravels.

And it turns out, that James has now released an eBook which you can read here (don’t panic – it’s a 20 page PDF) that talks through and unpicks some of this far better than I could explain.  I recommend the read, and then giving creating some Jokes a go!

“Get Stuff Done” time



So I’ve found over time that while I’m pretty good at mopping up the easy tasks, and I’m pretty good at doing the fun tasks, I’m fine with doing the urgent tasks (even the un-fun ones), and the quick tasks are no problem either.  I’m even “OK” at doing the larger hard tasks.  But man oh man does my task list slowly fill up with the not-super-urgent-and-not-super-quick-low-grade-crappy tasks that only take 30 mins or so but I don’t want to do.

The only technique I’ve really found to get these done is a “Get it done” session.  I line up my backlog of tasks, get out my phone and a tally-pad – and see how many I can knock off in a pre-defined time.  Typically when I do one of these, two things happen.

  • I manage to get a load more items knocked off than I thought I could.  Turns out when I’m putting the effort into pushing myself rather than hating the work, I can get loads done.
  • The 2 hours rolls around so fast and I feel really productive and good afterwards. (Sorry colleagues who sit behind me and occasionally have to put up with me getting all excited and triumphal.)

I always kind of assumed that this was because I was a bit weird and childish, and then I read this blog post, which pretty much covers the same idea (on a larger scale).  So it’s not just me being weird and childish.   Work tasks, chores at home, whatever, I’d really recommend giving this a go.