Some Things are Worth Doing Badly

Some Things are Worth Doing Badly

The British philosopher/theologian G.K. Chesterton once said that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.  Chesterton meant this as a defense of the amateur or generalist over the specialist, but I want to take this thought down a bit of different path.

If something is worth doing it is worth doing badly, because only in doing it badly will you ever do it well. Do you want to learn how to test APIs? You will have to do it badly at first.  You won’t be very good at it. But if it is worth doing, it is worth doing badly so that eventually you can get good at it.  Do you want to learn programming or scripting? You aren’t going to be very good at it when you start, but if it really is something worth doing then isn’t that ok?

We don’t like doing things badly, but the world needs more people who are willing to not be very good at something. When we stop worrying about how we look and start embracing failure as the path to learning we can get somewhere with the things we want to learn and do.

So step out and doing something worth doing. Do it badly. Get better. Do it again and again.  And don’t forget the point that Chesterton was originally making – sometimes it is in the mistakes and imperfections of the amateur ‘doing it badly’ that we get the most profoundly human insights and results.  Don’t be afraid of the mistakes you will make. You might just change the world.

Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

Deep Dive into TestProject: A Free Test Automation Platform for Web & Mobile!

Deep Dive into TestProject: A Free Test Automation Platform for Web & Mobile!

Note that this is a sponsored post. Posts like this will only ever be about things that I believe and that I think you would potentially find useful. You can read about my full philosophy on sponsored posts here

I’ve talked about TestProject and some of the great features that it has before. Since then, I have recorded a few more videos (you can watch the whole playlist here) and I wanted to talk about a few more features that TestProject has that make it a tool worth having in your testing tool box.

As the first of its kind free end-to-end test automation platform, I would certainly encourage you to check it out and see if it can help you with the testing challenges you might be facing.  I’ve already talked about how easy it is to get started with using the tool, but now I want to talk about some of the features that can help you take it to the next level. 

For example: Addons. TestProject has an addons library that can help you solve those tricky UI automation problems you might run into. Trying to find an element in a scroll-able container?  Yup, there’s an addon for that. Want to generate some random data for test inputs? Yup, there’s an addon for that. Trying to parse some strings to verify that some text is in it?  You guessed it, there’s an addon for that too. There are many publicly available addons, and if the addon you want is not there, TestProject provides you with the tools that you need to make your own. Since the platform is built around the idea of full team collaboration, you could tap into the developers on your team to help you out with building some addons that extend TestProject to have the capabilities you need. You can then choose to share those addons publicly for others to use or you can just keep them within your team if you prefer. 

Let’s also talk about the TestProject API.  I like APIs. I love how with a simple command definition you can have access to all kinds of power without needing to do any complex coding. Maybe I’m just a bit of an API nerd, but I think it is fun to play around with APIs and to see how I can enhance my testing superpowers with them. The TestProject API can help you take the tests that you have created and make them into something you can easily run in your build system and can really help you take the tool to the next level. 

One thing that every tester knows about testing is that it isn’t just about what you test, but it is also about how you communicate that testing to others. Testing is about much more than just providing information, but effective communication of what you have done is certainly an important part of any testing initiative. This is where reports in TestProject can be very helpful. There are a number of built in reports (that you can download into a pdf if you want) that can help you quickly and easily summarize what is going on with the tests over time and across different devices and browsers. 

There are also really helpful tools for debugging failing tests that are built into the reporting tools as well. I mean let’s just talk about screenshots for a minute. How would you like to have your tool automatically take a screenshot of what it was doing whenever a test steps fails?  Now all you have to do is click on the failing test, go to the step that is causing the issue and click on the screen shot to get some context as to why the test step failed. And yes, this is all automatically taken care of by TestProject right out of the box. 

As you can see, TestProject is a good tool for helping you get started with test automation but it also packs that power that is needed for advanced usage as well. With their  free forever plan there is nothing stopping you from checking it out today!

Photo by Julian Dufort on Unsplash

When DevOps makes life harder

When DevOps makes life harder

I know DevOps is the latest and greatest way to do software development and there is a lot that I like about it, but there is a one big problem with being a DevOps team.

Interruptions.

We’ve started to learn to plan for interruptions. There are going to production issues that need to be dealt with. We are going to get client escalations. Things are going to come across our plate without any warning and we need to be able to respond to them.

The problem is interruptions keep you from getting done what you were planning to get done. Features don’t get delivered and the team can start to get frustrated. Interruptions can really make the life of a devops team get harder.

Do you know what another word for interruptions is?  Bugs.

These interruptions are coming from clients that are having issues. Sometime they are just because we have changed a workflow and they don’t understand it, but to me anything that is impacting the ability of our clients to solve their problems is a bug.  These interruptions are bugs.

So let’s rephrase that statement at the top of this article. Bugs are a big problem with being on a devops team. You know I think they are a big problem with being on any team aren’t they? So what do we do about it? Do we need to spend more time finding the bugs up front so they aren’t coming in as interruptions during the next development cycle?  Sometimes yes – but sometimes these are things we probably never would have found no matter how much time we spent on it.  So what other solutions do we have?

Well we could just account for it in our plans and add a 25% interruption buffer. This doesn’t seem to be the greatest option, but there are times when it makes sense (like when we just changed a major workflow for hundreds of clients). In general though I don’t think this is going to allow us to most effectively deliver value. So what else?

Perhaps we need to make it so that the interruptions don’t hurt as much. If we can pinpoint exactly where the problem is coming from and find the solution more quickly, interruptions becomes less painful.  This mean being committed to good telemetry and good coding practices that let you quickly and easily find issues.

This issue of interruptions and bugs is not a simple one. It is one that has been with us from many years and will be with us for many more. There isn’t just one simple, quick fix answer. I’ve shared a few ideas we’ve been using or working towards on our team.  What ideas to do you have? Share in the comments below!

Photo by Jonathan Safa on Unsplash