Marketing Software Testing

70 days into #100DaysOfLinkedIn

Wow, I’m two thirds of the way through my #100DaysOfLinkedIn marketing campaign. Here is an update of how I’ve adapted and grown over that time. You can read up on the launch of the campaign and a halfway through update too.

2200 connections

Before starting this campaign, I had 1400 connections. I’ve now see this grow to over 2200 at the time of writing this blog. I’ve written to every single one of those 800 new connections. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I’m now up to my third version of a template message. Here it is:

Hi ,

How are you? Thanks for connecting. What are some of the challenges facing you these days?

You might enjoy reading my blog on Soap Opera Testing:

Is there anything I can help you with?



It’s short and sweet. Most people don’t respond but I’ve been able to organise a few key meetings with this approach, organise a few testers Meetup events and score a job with a startup.

Reconnecting with Sydney testers

I have around 200-500 QA/Testing professionals based in Sydney in my network. I’ve been reconnecting with them to see what events they are interested in. Here is my template message reaching out to these people:

Hi ,

Have you been to a Sydney Testers event recently? We’ve got a few events lined up that might interest you:

API Testing at ING on the 4th of April

Performance Testing at the Rockend in St Leonards on the 9th of May

I’d greatly appreciate it if you could share those events with any colleagues who would be interested.

If you can’t make it on the day, I will be streaming these meetups through

What other events would you like to see?



Avoiding Automation

I don’t generally automate these messages because that is against LinkedIn’s terms and conditions. I actually have a Google doc full of these template messages that I copy and paste into LinkedIn and add the person’s name at the start.

5000 connections?

Can I get to 5000 connections? Maybe not by the time I finish this campaign but I will continue to use the techniques learned from this campaign after I finish. If I get to over 5000 connections I will become the most connected software tester that I know.

Job hunting

Job applications are BROKEN

I’ve been job hunting more than I’d like to count (4 times in the last 2 years if you really must know). With my recent round of efforts I have NOT heard back from a single application through the online Job Advertisment process (Seek and LinkedIn job ads). However I’ve had 9 leads come up from my network. I do not have a lack of options for work but the Job Ad route is completely broken.

Here are my 9 leads for work and how they’ve come about. The TLDR: networking is really important and the job application process is broken.


IRESS is a financial markets, wealth management, and mortgage advice platform company. One of their leads internarnally had seen my profile on linkedIn as “open for oppurtunities” and put my name foward for a testing role there. The interview went well and there office was cool but I was exploring a few other leads and this didn’t feel like the right direction for me.

2. Fat Zebra

Saw this tweet and reached out. I had recently applied for an IT support role in Antarctica and so the idea of moving into support was on my mind. Fat Zebra is an online payments company in Surrey Hills. It looks like a pretty cool company. I’ve met the team and they seem to be doing some cool things. I don’t know if there is great alignment with my skills and what that company needs right now. They also have an open security role and an open tester role.

3. YOW! Conference

I’m now a part time developer evangalist for YOW! Conference which I’m super excited about. Basically I get paid to attend tech meetup events around Sydney when I promote the YOW! Conferences. I was at a meetup event, thinking, “I’d really like one of those developer advocate roles“, so I reached out to someone who use to work for YOW! and she said, “Reach out to Michele“. I sent Michele an email asking about the role and bam, next thing I know I’d been accepted under the YOW! banner as a developer evangalist.

Working my network for the win.

4. Dolby – QA Mobile Engineer

Stephen sent me an email about this role. It sounds like Dolby are doing some super exciting stuff with realtime video/audio preocessing for mobile apps. If I wasn’t actively purseuing a few other leads I’d apply but right now I don’t have the capacity to do it.

5. CBA – Test Engineer

This is one of my more exciting leads. Mobile testing is my speciality and I’m leaning towards a Software Engineer in Test type of role in either financial services or mobile apps (or both huzzah). I found out about this role because I presented at the Cocoaheads meetup and had a beer with the organiser afterwards. Turns out his team is looking for a QA Engineer. I’ve got an interview scheduled this Friday.

6. Startup – Tech Lead

A mobile app start up. I was approached by the co-founder of a startup last week about a potential tech lead role. It seems super exciting. The only reason why this lead has come about is because I went up to Newcastle last week to present at the Newcastle Coders meetup group.

7. Equal Experts – test consultant

I saw someone post an ad on an slack community I’m part of (Girl Geek Dinner Sydney). Equal Experts is a network of Contractors who do consulting work on different projects. It’s very similar to my current position but more organised. You can join the slack if you a woman in tech based in Sydney:

8. Readinow – Quality Coach

This might be a short term engagement. I’m having a meeting with the Director this week. My main concern is the job is pretty far out of the CBD.

9. DX – Test Environment Manager

Someone reac hed out to me over email over this one. If I didn’t have other leads or my heart set on Mobile Testing I would take up this role. I’ve enjoyed doing test environment support before.

Current role

I got my current role because I offered a free lunchtime learning session for Challenger from a tweet from one of their employees. My previous job made me redundant and Challenger said to me, “we enjoyed your lunchtime learning session, come in for a contract”. Again working my network to be in my favour.


Networking is super important and the job application process is completely broken. I’m super excited for a few job leads I’ve got going but I didn’t apply to any of them. Not even my beautifully crafted 1 page CV gets through the job ad application process.

Software Testing

Test Automation Uni – Day 1

Today I hosted a lovely bunch of keen learners who wanted to put aside some time and do an online course with me. You can check out the event on meetup here. Today’s topic was setting a foundation for successful test automation by Angie Jones. I also streamed the activity and conversations via Here is what my loungeroom looked like:

Chapter 1 – Designing a Test Automation Strategy

  • What is your goal for starting a test automation initiative and what is it that you want to accomplish?
  • Who do you envision participating in your test automation initiative and in what capacity?
  • How do you plan for the execution of this strategy

Chapter 2 – Creating a Culture for Test Automation Success

  • how to get people on board
  • how to help them understand their place in the automation strategy
  • how to enable them to do what’s needed

Chapter 3 – Developing for Test Automatability

The test automation pyramid is a mental model for thinking about what level you should build your automation tests. It’s a little contended because it doesn’t acknowledge exploratory testing but it’s a model that is widely used. James Bach has a blog on the round earth model that could also be used.

Chapter 4 – Tooling for Test Automation

We discuss how to choose the right tools for your initiative. Before choosing your tools, it’s important to consider who will be using them.

Chapter 5 – Future-proofing Your Test Automation Efforts

Without a clear strategy in mind, many teams make the mistake of automating their tests for their current situation. Perhaps you’re just starting out and you have a dozen or so tests that run locally. You don’t see the issues that your poorly written test code can surface.

Design patterns

Become familiar with design patterns that are especially beneficial for test automation projects such as:

  • Page Object Model
  • Screenplay
  • Fluent
  • Builder
  • Singleton
  • Factory
  • Facade

Here is a getting started guide with Page Object Model (POM) architecture with C# and selenium:

Chapter 6 – Scaling Your Test Automation

Writing automated tests that run perfectly against one environment is challenging in and of itself. But what about when you’re ready to scale your one suite of tests to run in multiple environments, browsers, or devices?


On the menu today was Turkish. We had a lentil tabbouleh salad, Turkish bread, felafel, hummus, tatziki and marinated chicken. You should come along to the next event just for the food. I always put on a good spread.

Chapter 7 – Measuring the Value of Your Test Automation

Many automation projects fail due to unrealistic expectations. To avoid this, it’s best to identify expectations early and communicate these expectations to the entire team. What’s your expected Return on Investment?

Bonus Material: Writing readable code

Having readable code is a prerequisite to scaling your product and the organisation behind it. Hard-to-read code not only intimidates your co-workers (and your future self) but also conceals bugs and hurts your team’s velocity, since every modification takes twice as long as it should. This talk shares the principles of writing clear, idiomatic JavaScript code, illustrated with real-world examples.

Hands on exercise

We finished the day with a live code example of getting started with Page Object Model architecture using c# and selenium. I would share the video with you but I was experiencing issues with OBS and was unable to get you a video :(.


Ticca 2019 – overview

TiCCA 2019 (Testing in Context Conference Australia) has been and gone and it was an amazing opportunity to reconnect with some old faces and meet some new ones. It felt like one of the more intimate testing conferences that I’ve been to and that’s a good thing. Now that’s over I feel a bit of Ticca depresso (depressed the conference is over).

Here are Sketchnotes

Is There a Problem Here?

This was a fun talk on how frustrating bugs in production can be. When we don’t focus on the relationships people have with a product we forget the frustrations they may experience. Here is a similar talk by Ben Simo as a keynote for TestingCup:

Old Dog New Tricks

Graeme gave a good talk on teaching an old tester new tricks. Most of the points were similar in my becoming a technical tester blog;

  • Get involved with code reviews
  • Setup a dev environment
  • Get comfortable with the command line
  • Find a scripting project that will help you
  • Pair with developers

Fun fact, Graeme lots to do stuff with cars. Watch his #burnoutNomination here:

Agile Testing Mindset

Getting to meet Sam Laing today was a #fangirl moment of mine. I had stalked this person on twitter for a while. It was awesome to have the opportunity to meet her in person. You should definitely go check out her book on A Coach’s guide to agile Testing. Or this talk:

Try to see it my way

Closing keynote by Lynne Cazaly. How to win people over to your ideas. Building that trust and respect within your teams before you advance your agenda/idea. Win them over first. Reminds me of a book I read recently, how to win friends and influence people. You need to try and make things easier. Understand their differences and find their similarities. People are trying to move away from problems or towards new goals.

Wrapping up

I enjoyed my time at TiCCA. I met some new people in my community which is always a good thing. What now, What next? How will you put this conference into practice?

Agile Conferences Software Testing Technology

Tails of Fail

Today I gave a talk at TiCCA (Testing in Context Conference). The talk topic was tails of fail – how I failed a quality coach role. It’s a story of how I tried out this quality coaching thing but I didn’t pass probation. You can access the slides here. I used slido to manage the questions at the end of the sesion.

At the end of the day, quality coaching can be hard to demonstrate value add.

Will you answer all these questions offline ?

Yes, this blog post is an attempt to answer all of the unanswered questions that were raised. Thanks Richard. First of all, a bit of context that was missed in my intro. I’m currently a Test Analyst at a superannuation company, I don’t technically have coach in my title but I’m also growing my side business where I provide training and workshops for teams in testing skills. This might have caused some confusion with the questions.

What does a quality coach’s typical day look like?

When I was at Campaign Monitor, my day would start with a stand-up and seeing what items needed focus on for the day. The team might have a work item that needed a bit of testing and I’d be available to pair test with that developer if needed. Some days we would run workshops (training for quality champions; developers who wanted to improve their testing skills) or bug bashes (these were generally once a fortnight).

What are the differences between a quality coach and an agile coach and a test coach?

An agile coach is a facilitator, often scrum certified (but not always). They are usually more focused on helping the team collaborate more effectively over improving the teams quality/testing practices. I don’t see much difference between a test coach vs a quality coach. You can use the words that make sense in your context.

Are there any drawbacks to using a quality coach practice?

Yes, when you are encouraging people who prefer to build things workout their testers mindset you aren’t going to get as focused attention as someone who has spent their career practicing their testing craft.

Also, you might have some really technical testers who aren’t interested in coaching/leadership skills. You shouldn’t expect everyone to want to become a coach and that’s fine too.

What are the benefits to the organisation of the assistance/coach/advocate model?

If your company believes that quality is a team responsibility a coach can help lift the testing capabilities of a team. If you need a bit of focus on quality (maybe you have lots of customers complaining about bugs and it’s costing you big $) but you don’t know how to get your engineering teams to prioritise bug finding as well as build new features a coach could help here. There isn’t a great deal of training out there in how to be a good tester, it’s not as easy as sending your devs off to a 3 day course and bam they are master bug hunters.

If everyone is responsible for quality, is anyone really responsible for quality?

You could always say the CEO or CTO are fundamentally responsible for quality. Maybe have a Chief Quality Officer (CQO)? Maybe they’d just become a scapegoat for all of the problems you face in production? The testing teams themselves aren’t responsible for quality if they can’t easily build quality in either.

What is a good team to quality coach ratio?

Depends on the team/company. When I was at Campaign Monitor we had 2 testers to roughly 50-ish engineers. Hence why we were using the quality champion model to help get more quality reporting from teams. We physically couldn’t sit with all 6 teams at the same time to understand their pain points. I’d prefer a 1 coach to 1-2 cross functional teams. Being embedded and focused on one team of roughly 8 people would work for me.

What are the challenges you faced while quality coaching?

Clearly articulating how I add business value that aligns with my own intrinsic motivations and interests. I don’t think I’ve struggled with convincing developers they need to do more of their own testing.