Categories
Sustainability Weight Loss

My 3/4 Vegan March challenge

I’ve let my weight creep up a bit lately. I got down to 75kg but I’m now hovering around 79kg. This is a far cry from the 127kg I was a few years ago but it’s still on the borderline of overweight/obese according to the BMI indicator. I’m going to try a 3/4 vegan diet for March. I’ve done a vegetarian diet for a few weeks before as a challenge and I’m been meaning to try this one out for a while.

The challenge: for the month of March, I will pick vegan for 3/4 of my meals.

Dietary requirements

Because of the stomach restrictions (I have 1/3 of a stomach) my main dietary requirements are to get to 60 grams of protein a day and have a daily multi vitamin. I should probably try to avoid going over 6000kj too but I’m not going to focus on counting calories. I’m not going to beat myself up if I have a few days over this.

Rough Food Plan

Breakfast

  • True protein shake – 30 gm of protein
  • 1/2 English muffin with avocado and cherry tomatoes

Technically the protein shake isn’t vegan, it is from whey but this is one of the few compromises I’ll make to help me reach my nutritional goals. True protein sources their milk from happy grass fed cows in New Zealand. You should try out their sample flavour packs. I’ve got 2 flavours floating around; vanilla and coconut. I’ll probably alternate these so I’m not getting bored.

Lunch

Some sort of bean or lentil curry (20 grams of protein). I’ve been rocking my lentil curries recently. I could totally do these as meal prep on the Sunday and take them into work during the week.

Afternoon

Home made hummus and carrot sticks (10 grams of protein). I’ve been munchin on this awesome combo lately. Again I need to do meal prep on the Sunday or day before for this but it’s super tasty.

Dinner

Some sort of salad or soup. Edamame could be fun. Mushy peas is also a nice easy staple when I’m cooking for just myself and my tiny stomach. up to 10 grams of protein (it’s not really needed for this meal because I should have already have reached my target protein amount).

No Alcohol

I’ve had the best success with my weight loss when I’ve had a dry month or two. March will be no exception for me. I will allow myself tasters because there are too many craft beers in Sydney to not try but I won’t have a whole one myself. I might be able to stretch a whiskey on the rocks if a special occasion comes up.

Meetup events

There’s always beer and pizza at meetup events, and I now get paid to attend them – le sigh. This creates a huge temptation to each too much, drink too much and stay out too late at the pub afterwards. This challenge will help my avoid those unhealthy situations.

Friday evening steak

I go over to my partner’s place every friday and we usually enjoy a nice home cooked meal. I don’t feel inclined to force veganism on them so I’ll make sure we have some really nice grass fed sustainable beef to eat instead. This will make sure my iron levels don’t drop too. This is where the 3/4 vegan challenge comes in, there will be some compromises.

If someone else cooks for me

I will be grateful for the food no matter what it is. If they ask for my preferences I may say vegetarian or that I’m trying a vegan challenge at the moment but I won’t be asking anyone to accommodate this.

Any tips?

Have you tried a vegan challenge before? What worked/didn’t work for you? Do you have any ideas for quick solo meals that work for a tiny stomach? I’d love to hear them.

Categories
Marketing

Going from I to You in marketing

I started a #100DaysOfLinkedIn Marketing Campaign 45 days ago. The original goal was to see if I could message every single one of my connections that I’ve never spoken to and to see if I could add value. It’s actually morphed a bit since then. One of the biggest things I’ve changed is changing my wording from I to you.

What do I mean?

When I started this campaign my template message for new connections was very I focused. I used “I” a lot. I spoke about what I was doing and what my passions are. Look, I’m even doing it now. Where as now, I try to avoid using that word and focus on YOU. How can I help YOU? What are YOUR challenges?

Here is my new template message for new connections:

Hi {NAME},

How are you? Thanks for sending the connection request recently. What are some of the challenges facing you these days?

You might enjoy reading some of my blogs:
https://bughuntersam.com/soap-opera-testing/
https://bughuntersam.com/visual-risk-ui-automation-framework/
https://bughuntersam.com/becoming-more-technical/

Have you done any formal training lately? If so, can you help me with some market research by filling in this survey?
https://goo.gl/forms/mzRBmMIuqBxo3kEv1

You might also like to check out my twitch channel, www.twitch.tv/BugHunterSam . I stream live exploratory testing and invite guests from all over the world to join me.

Is there anything I can help you with?
Regards,
Sam

There’s three new goals with this new template, drive traffic to my blog, collect market research on training and to find people who are interested in coming on my twitch channel. It is 100% pure marketing, there’s nothing salesy about this message.

Looking for a job

If they then turn around and ask, “I’m looking for work, can you help me?” I have a canned response of my general career advice:

Do you mind if I give you my general career advice?


Where are you getting stuck in the job application process? Do you have a good CV? You can check out my CV’s for inspiration:
https://bughuntersam.com/evolution-of-my-cv/

Unfortunately I don’t have time to review CV’s myself, I recommend fiverr if you are on a budget.
https://www.fiverr.com/search/gigs?query=cv%20review

Do you go to networking events? We’ve had huge successes with the Sydney Testers meetup connecting companies and job seekers.
https://www.meetup.com/Sydney-Testers

Do you know what you want out of your next job? It can be useful to reflect on this. I last reflected on my career here:
https://bughuntersam.com/next-career-move/

If you need more advice I’d recommend approaching a career coach who has more expertise in this area than me. I’ve partnered with Amy Smith from Aligned Tribe and she has a FREE career program webinar here:
http://bit.ly/fasttrackmycareer

This is starting to get a little salesy, but I’m not pushing my own services. I’d prefer they reach out to a career coach who I’ve partnered with.

Most People don’t read/respond

For example, when I sign my first reach out with:

Regards,

Sam

They always start their response with something like Thanks Samantha/Hi Samantha. It’s safe to assume most people don’t read to comprehend. Or take time to respond. The three to four message response with one sentence per response is really annoying.

Most people don’t respond at all even when you send them a message, that’s fine too. People are busy. I want them to know that they can reach out to me if they think I can help them with something. That first message helps build this even if it’s a canned message.

Continuing the growth

I’ve seen my number of connections go from 1400 to 1676 in 45 days. Every new connection has received a message. That’s on average 6 connections a day. I usually save up the connections for a few days, approve everyone and message all of the new connections in one fell swoop.

Categories
Marketing

Awesome Marketing with Edward Zia

Today I had the opportunity to participate in Edward’s Awesome marketing course.

It was a full day workshop with 15 people. The energy was high and the conversations were awesome. A small workshop like this is great for networking and learning from a bunch of key influencers who are struggling with similar problems in growing their businesses.

Sketch notes

I enjoy doing sketch notes for conferences. It’s a great way to network with speakers, helps me to remain in the moment and solidifies my own learning. You can read more about sketch noting here. Here are mine for today’s training course:

DISC

When thinking about what type of pitch you need to help with your sales it might be worth thinking about people in terms of DISC. You would have a different approach of selling for different people.

  • Director – they are often the boss of the company, their time is precious. If you don’t solve their problem in 5 minutes you better get out of their office
  • Influencer – these are your key people of influence, maybe they are the marketing manager and care about perception and value.
  • Steadiness – this is the quiet thinker. They might be the head of engineering. They rarely make mistakes with how they talk.
  • Compliance – this person works within the rules. They might be the auditor who wants to ensure all of the checks and processes are being followed correctly.

At the end of the day this is a mental model that helps make sense of the world. It isn’t perfect but how you sell to a director should be different to how you sell to a thinker.

Daily outcomes

You should set up daily goals that help your business grow. They might be

  • 10 phone calls before 10am
  • 15 messages on LinkedIn
  • 2 shares of good content
  • 1 blog or video post

These can then build up to weekly or monthly goals like

  • Get to 1 networking event a week
  • Speak at a conference
  • Get 1 piece of content shared by an industry leader
  • Do a podcast

How do you grow?

What do you do to grow your online community? Since I started my #100daysOfLinkedIn marketing campaign, I’ve seen my connections on LinkedIn grow from 1400 people to 1649 and I’m only 30 days in. Today’s course was a similar vibe to this marketing course that I did last year which was run by Zambesi.

Categories
Agile Critical Thinking Mobile Testing Software Testing Technology

Visual Risk & UI Automation framework

Have you wanted to start with automation testing and not known where to begin? Or maybe you have 100’s or thousands of test cases in your current automation pipeline and you want to reduce the build times. Here I will walk you through one way you could consider slicing up this problem. Using examples from Tyro’s banking app (I use to work on their mobile iOS team).

Break into flows

Analyse your app/site/tool and brainstorm the main flows that people will take through it. I picked 6 flows using tyro as an example app. Next I numbered them.

1. Registration

Registration is a pretty common feature, you might also set a 2 factor authentication, a pin and a password for the account (especially if it’s a bank account)

2. Transfer Funds

If you have a bank account, it’s highly likely you want to access the money in it at some point

3. View Transaction

You might want to check if that bill was paid correctly or if the last transfer was processed

4. Contact Us

Something not quite right? send us a request and we will give you a phone call at a convenient time

5. Change Pin

When was the last time you changed the pin for your mobile banking app?

6. Log in

I’d say this is a pretty common feature

Mapping those flows to a risk board

Draw a graph, put frequency of use on the x axis down the bottom; things that are more used will be on the right hand side. On the vertical y axis put impact if broken. This is from a person point of view, how much would they care if that feature was a broken? From a business point of view you may have a different understanding of risk and that’s fine two. We will go into how to reflect that later.

Add your flows

We have our 6 flows to the right hand side of our graph, we’ve also broken our graph into 3 areas

Move the flows to your graph

It helps to pair on this exercise to help build up a shared understand. Do your designers and engineers have the same understanding of risk as you do? It’s ok if your answer is different to mine, we all have a different context and understanding.

Reflect other elements of risk

You might want to reflect other elements of risk such as security, financial, regulatory and anything else you can think of. At the end of the day this is only a 2 representation of risk and risk is a little more complex than these dimensions we put here.

Neat, what’s next?

If you are thinking, well that’s cool and all but what does that have to do with automation testing? Then please continue reading. You could use this board to decide which tests you should focus on building/refactoring next (hint, the stuff with 3 stars is pretty important). You could also use this to priortise your performance testing efforts. I took this board to our planning sessions to talk about new features and it helped with deciding how much automation/testing effort we may need. At the end of the day, your software will be more complex than this example.

Here is the actual board I used at Tyro with a bit more detail:

I then broke down each flow into a test case, and grouped similar test cases into a barebones automation test suite. You can also use this approach to generate exploratory testing ideas for each screen in your flow.

You can watch this talk in full here:

I also run this as a lunchtime 30-45 minute workshop exercise. Book me in for a lunchtime brownbag if you are based in Sydney (I can do remote too).

Categories
Conferences Critical Thinking Presenting Software Testing

Soap Opera Testing

What is it?

Soap Opera Testing is a dramatised method used for testing your business processes. You might want to try it for a super-condensed and thorough way of highlighting bugs. And because it’s fun. Embrace the drama.

Origins

Cem Kaner has been writting about scenario testing for a long time. He published this article on ‘an intro to scenario testing’ and Hans Buwalda presented on ‘soap opera testing’ nearly 20 years ago 😱. They’re both serious tester dudes and this stuff is legit.

How Does it Work?

You might start with a brain storming session with your sales or customer support team. Ask them for stories about things your users have done. Not just the ordinary things, but also some off-the-wall and crazy things. What you’re looking for is drama.

It might help to sketch out the story briefly. Write down steps that are essential, or those that you might make a mistake on. Cem Kaner gives some practical tips here, although you definitely don’t need to read all 500 pages.

Kaner’s Introduction to Scenario Testing is a bit more bite sized and describes the five main points your scenario needs. Namely that it’s a story, it’s credible, it will test the program in a complex way, the results are easy to evaluate and stakeholders will see the point of fixing the bugs identified.

A scenario is a hypothetical story, used to help a person think through a complex problem or system.

Cem Kaner

You then run a test exercise using the characters and scenarios from a soap opera, and analyse the results. You can do this as many times as you want, with as many different scenarios.

Use whatever soap opera you like. We make no judgements. Although fair to say that if you use A Country Practice, you’re showing your age and nobody will know what you’re talking about.

Let’s Soap Up

Here’s an example of Soap Opera Testing using The Simpsons. The program being tested is a mortgage loan application.

Let’s say Homer Simpson wins the lottery, and decides to apply for a second mortgage, for an investment property. Just as the paperwork is about to go through, Grampa Simpson burns his apartment down.

Investment property

Homer decides to help him out with the cost of a rental, meaning he needs to change the deposit he’ll pay on his investment property. Homer signs the amended paperwork but he signs it incorrectly.

Then his application is declined because even winning the lottery doesn’t give you a good credit rating overnight. The Simpsons’ next ‘diddly-door’ neighbour Ned Flanders offers to help Homer out. He’ll put in the 10% deposit.

Ned lends a helping hand

His own house is 90% paid off so it’s no big deal to him, and it will help Homer get around his bad credit rating. The Simpsons’ house is 50% paid off, and they’re putting down a 90% deposit, using Homer’s lottery winnings, and leaving some bowling money left over.

Side investment

They’re about to go to the bank and lodge the paperwork, when Homer’s half-brother Herbert Powell hears about the lottery win. Boy has he got the mother of all investment options for Homer – nuclear powered cars!

Adjust down payment

Homer can get in on the action if he puts some cash into building a prototype. So Homer has to syphon off yet more funds from the deposit he’ll make on his investment property, and change the paperwork again.

Whew, put all that through the system and see where you get to. If you think of more variables as you go, you can add them to the scenario and run the test again.

What We’ve Tested

A whole heap of stuff.

We tested rejections, with Homer’s first application, and signature recognition when he goofed up his name.

We tested multiple applications made by the same person, with an adjustment in the deposit amount made after the application had gone through.

We tested how to register multiple assets with different mortgage amounts, and a different percentage of ownership. What’s more, the owners of the properties and mortgage were not residents at the same address.

The applicants had different credit ratings, which affected the different algorithms in their application process. And they weren’t related, and didn’t intend living together at the property, which was for investment only.

Here’s a snappy list:

  • Rejections
  • Editing documents
  • Multiple applications from the same person
  • Adjusting deposits
  • Multiple assets with different mortgages
  • Different percentage ownership
  • Different credit ratings
  • Unrelated co-owners
  • Investment property applications

It only takes a little imagination to try to find many more bugs using a soap opera scenario, versus the standard “works as expected” response we’d have gotten from the test-case walk through.

Here’s a three minute recap in a lightning presentation I gave at the Selenium Conference in India.

You can access the slide deck here

have fun with Soap Opera Testing and tell me about your scenarios – add a comment below.

This article came into existence with the help of Fiona Stocker, a freelance writer and editor from the beautiful Tamar Valley in Tasmania

Visit Fiona’s website here
Categories
mental health mindfulness

Self Care and Spoon theory

I was having a chat to colleague recently about mental health. I actively blog about my struggles with depression and we got talking about spoon theory and self care. I thought I would share some of my practices that help me keep on top of this part of my health.

Spoon Theory

spoons

Spoon theory is a metaphor for dealing with chronic illness/mental health issues or disability. When we are healthy and functioning we have plenty of spoons to deal with life and we hardly notice when they are used. Sometimes we might be in situations where our spoon supply is diminished and mundane tasks we took for granted now become very hard to do. I find not sleeping well is a quick way to reduce the number of spoons I have to work with the next day. Sometimes starting a new project or being in a new situation can deplete more spoons than expected.

Sometimes you might hear people say, “I’m out of spoons” as a safe way to signal to the people around them that they are overwhelmed and need help getting out of their current situation.

Self Care

I have a harsh internal self critique that is always trying to get me down. When I’m tired it’s harder to ignore that voice in my head. One way to combat this is to practice gratefulness. Some people like to keep a daily journal and at the end of the day write down 5 things they are grateful for. This why a nightly prayer (if you are Christian) is great practice for improving your mood. You spend some time in your day reflecting on the good things. I keep a blog post that is a, “letter to self, when you are feeling low this is all the awesome stuff you are doing”. Some people practice mindfulness or meditation.

Meditation can help you to recognise your triggers from an internal thought process and can help you to not get emotionally caught up with the thoughts. Your mileage with meditation can vary and I don’t recommend trying to introduce a new habit without some support in place first. I try to meditate for 20 minutes a day but don’t beat myself up if I miss a day.

What do you do for self care?

Categories
Technology Weight Loss

Let’s talk about bias

We are all biased in someway. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Biases can be considered the mental shortcuts we take to help us make sense of the world. Unfortunately these biases can make it harder for some people to progress in life or to experience the same opportunities offered to others.

Fatness and bias

There are so many elements of bias and discrimination out there. I will run the risk of coming across as insensitive if I talk about something I don’t full comprehend. So I will talk about bias from my own perspective, I once was really obese. Like BMI of 47 category 3 morbidly obese, I’m now at a borderline overweight/obese BMI of 30:

Levels of obesity, you can check out my fat transformation photos here:
https://bughuntersam.com/40-kg-down/

Our society has a large amount of bias against fat people. You only have to watch the latest news article about the obesity epidemic to see how the media shames headless fat people. As a society we are viscerally disgusted with fat people; we think they are lazy, un motivated, poorly educated and the scum of the earth.

Behold the headless fat person you are disgusted over:

Discrimination

Fat people get paid less, are offered less leadership opportunities and are publicly shamed. Often women experience more discrimination because of their weight compared to men.

“As long as we are all terrified of becoming fat, this will go on. Yes, we are terrified. Because we all know how fat people are treated in this society.”

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/30/demoted-dismissed-weight-size-ceiling-work-discrimination

Mindset change

When I was fatter and I saw another fat person I would think to myself, “well, at least I’m not that fat”. I would wrap myself up in my own irrational thinking and find comfort in not feeling, “that fat”. Now that I’m smaller my mindset has changed. I am completely disgusted with how much my mindset has changed. I now think the same nasty knee jerk reaction thoughts as everyone else, “eww, gross, how can they let themselves get that big?”. I try to balance that with empathy but I hate how easy these thoughts come now.

I changed one aspect of my appearance

The weight loss surgery (gastric sleeve) I had probably has nearly paid for itself in just the increased earning potential gained from losing weight. On top of the improvement of quality of life later on down the track too. I can’t say for certain but the more I read about bias the more it seems like it was worth it. Other parts of my appearance are a little more challenging to alter. Most people aren’t as lucky as me to be in a situation where they have the financial gains to go through what I did. Most fat people are poor.

What will change?

Probably nothing, your career is basically screwed if you are an overweight older black disabled women working in tech. How much more discrimination can I add there?

Not that I’m trying to be grim but the long term prospects don’t look good. Some aspects of our appearance are more within our control than others but many aren’t.

When was the last time you were disgusted by headless fat bodies in the news?

Categories
Agile Software Testing Technology

Becoming a Quality coach – course overview

I had the pleasure of doing Anne-Marie’s becoming a quality coach course today which was organised by Test-Ed. If you are looking to transition to a quality coach role it’s worth keeping this course on your radar. Anne-Marie is a well renowned expert in software testing and quality engineering. I had the pleasure of working for Anne-Marie at Tyro.

What is Quality Coaching?

First page of sketchnotes for the course – what is coaching?

How is a quality coaching different to a test lead? It depends on what your team wants out of a quality coach role but here is an example job description from Deputy’s principal quality coach role:

What You Will Do:

  • You will provide the guidance, inspiration and motivation for our amazing engineers to be better testers.
  • Help create a high-quality testing culture
  • Push the merits and benefits of TDD
  • Visualize testing and quality
  • Communicate with product and technical stakeholders
  • Be a customer advocate

How You Will Do It:

  • You have a combination of in-depth knowledge of Quality Assurance and Software Engineering principles and practices
  • You command the skill to communicate clearly and effectively.
  • You work directly with Engineers, Quality Coaches, Product Managers, and Discipline Heads to ensure the high quality of our software and practices.

What You Will Need:

  • 7+ years software engineering / testing experience
  • Strong understanding of QA processes and concepts.
  • Proven coaching experience in a development team with examples of how you’ve made a significant impact to their testing capabilities
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Some questions you might ask?

Some people thing that coaching is all about knowing when to ask the right questions. The coaching habit by Michael Bungay Stanier would have you beleive that all you need to coach someone is 7 questions.

  • What’s on your mind?
  • And what else? (repeated a few times)
  • What’s the real challenge here for you?
  • What do you want?
  • How can I help? or What do you want from me?
  • If you say yes to this, what must you say no to?
  • What was most useful or most valuable here for you?

I think is only applies to one on one coaching, it doesn’t scale well to coaching a small team of developers and it definitely doesn’t scale to giving a lecture to 100’s of people or online. I think a good teacher is a good coach and also knows when someone needs a bit of mentoring too instead.

Models for Coaching

We discussed 2 different models you can use for coaching. Goal and ADKAR. We also discussed what does quality mean to us and expanded on a few definitions.

What does ADKAR stand for?

  1. Awareness: Leading people to see the need for change.
  2. Desire: Instilling the desire for change.
  3. Knowledge: Providing employees with the information or skills they need to achieve change.
  4. Ability: Applying knowledge and skills to bring about change.
  5. Reinforcement: Making sure that people continue to use the new methods.

We also briefly discussed Kent Beck’s talk on 3X (Explore, Expand & Extract.

Sketchnotes from Kent Beck’s 3X talk

Coaching Software Testing

Test leads will need a bunch of skillsets to do well in coaching. We also used role play to practice our newly developed coaching skills.

Running Software Testing Workshops

When running a coaching session there could be a bunch of behaviours you come across in your testers or developers that are mental barriers to trying something new. Your developers might say:

  • Testing isn’t my responsibility
  • I don’t have time for testing
  • Testing is boring
  • What if I miss a bug?
  • All testing should be automated

You testers might respond with mindsets like:

  • If I help developers do their testing, how will I prove my value?
  • I’m not technical, I can’t help with code reviews
  • I might loose my job if I raise bugs earlier
  • 100% coverage is achievable

Summary

It was a good day of engaged learning. I’m not really working in a context where I can put a lot of these coaching methods into practice though. How would you come up with antidotes to these mindset problems in your team?