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Join our Panel Discussion: Engineering Quality in Your Stakeholders’ Point of View

I’m having a virtual panel discussion on April 9th with Venkat Ramakrishnan of Ministry of Testing Bangalore. We’re going to talk about quality engineering, specifically about quality as perceived by the stakeholders of the product or service. Follow the link to register – or read on if you want to know a little more!

Here’s an exercise for you in two simple steps:

1) Think about the project or system you’re working on. 2) Then try to put yourself in your users’ shoes and say this out loud:

The test of the system is the satisfaction it gives me. There isn’t any other test!”

Do you feel worried, happy, hopeful, or confident? All three?

I recently worked on a project where we drew a definition of quality as a three layer pyramid. In the middle we put what we knew important about the system: The calculations, decisions, and processes it was implementing had to be correct and follow the rules defined for the domain in which the system was to be implemented.

Below that level we elaborated the many requirements for the system from its specifications.

That’s quality, you might say, and that was in fact our first intuitive reaction: If the system is correct, adhere to requirements and rules, then that would mean that the system is of good quality.

Of course there would be other important things too: Usability for example. But usability would be consequential of correctness since users are important for correctness as they are inputting data into the system, and otherwise using the system.

However, we thought a little more about that, and then we decided to put something else on top of all the correctness and requirements: We put “Happy Users” on top of the pyramid. Everyone in the project wanted happy users, and it was clearly more than a mission. “Happy users” is a quality of the system.

This took some courage as making users happy is really difficult. Robert Pirsig defined quality as the event in which the subject realizes the object. Put in daily langauge terms what he meant was that quality is cognitive, relative, even emotional, and that quality is something you experience and probably even feel, it in a moment working with a product.

Quality is thus not in the product in itself, but something that happens.

Will correctness make a user happy? I sure hope so! But I know from myself that sometimes I’m not happy with correctness. I can become frustrated when people follow rules. Yes, you read me right.

For example I remember the times when I have received a parking fine because I did not notice the parking rules in the area where I was parking. My first reaction has always been anger against the meter man, then anger against the person who hid the sign, and finally anger directed against those who made the rules, put the signs up where I did not notice them, and hired the meter man to issue the fines.

Pirsig also said:

The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn’t any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it’s right. If it disturbs you it’s wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.

He was talking about a motorcycle, but it applies more or less universally, I think. The final test is in the satisfaction.

Satisfaction and happiness depends on a lot more than corretness. It depends on things like implementation, clarity, communication, reflection, and education. Just to name a few things that comes to my mind when I think about what helps me when I’m trying to make myself happy about something. For example being accepting that I got myself a parking fine. What are my feelings? Why might I feel them? What can I do? (Probably nothing except paying and moving on with other, more important things in life.)

So think of the motorcycle as a metaphor for the system you’re working on and then try to relate to the following two statements: The test of the system is the satisfaction it gives the users and stakeholders. There isn’t any other test.

Please join Venkat and I to discuss if there are ways to engineer happy stakeholders in software systems, and what the role of testing might be in this.

Registration for the event is necessary. Please go here:

Quality Engineering In Action: A Panel Discussion

Friday, Apr 9, 2021, 5:00 PM

Online event

15 Members Attending

Please note: RSVPing here is not sufficient. You need to register at the following link to attend this free event: About the talk: “Achieving superior Quality has been focus of organizations for decades. A lot of methodologies and processes have been designed in the past, and have been followed to a…

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News in English

I'll be playing and (talking about) failing at ConTEST New York

I’m really looking forward to ConTEST in New York on November 29th – December 1st.
I will be presenting in two sessions at the conference: One on play, which I’ll do with Jess Ingrassellino, and one sharing my experiences performing great testing by embracing failure.
I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t play at work; I work, and I certainly don’t fail at my job.”
I appreciate that. Really!
But we also know that people who play well perform better, and that the best way of learning is through failure. In these turbulent times, playing and maintaining a readiness for learning seems more important than ever.
I think that soon HR people will want to read about failures, not successes, in resumes. People will reflect, talk and care about failures more than successes. We need to create a positive brand out of the failures of course, i.e. share narratives about what we have learned – and might still be learning.
Apart from that, I can’t tell you much about my talk on failure yet, as I’m still thinking about how to structure it and which of my own failures I will be sharing. They keep popping up and deciding which ones I’ll start with, go through, and end with is difficult.
Jess and I did our session on play first time at the CounterPlay conference in Aarhus, Denmark in March, then a few days later in Copenhagen, so I can share some more on that.
One of the good things about Denmark is that we have a culture that generally value playing.
We finally now even have wide support for more play in the parliament as they are currently working on legislation to stop kindergartens from having agendas fully focused on learning. They are putting free play back at the top for our children. The decision is backed by strong research showing that children that play freely perform better when they grow up.
I spent my time in kindergarten in a forest, where we played and explored all day long. I like going back to the particular forest from time to time and feel like “little Anders” again.
I take this as a reminder that we benefit from to re-connecting to our inner playful child from time to time. Tt makes us happy, but also makes us better performers. Even when problems queue and we need to be ok with being at risk failing.
The session at ConTEST will be a safe place to play. We will introduce participants to musical exercises that everybody can perform.
Jess has a doctorate in music education and is a virtuos violionist, and we will experience her play her beautiful instrument and teach us to perform in ways we probably thought we could not.
ConTEST has allocated us one hour, and we will make sure we have time to engage conversation about the good things we find in playing – conversations which you can take with you and continue at work.
A tester who participated in our workshop when we did it in Copenhagen recently came back to me about his experience:
“I didn’t get exactly what happened…”
“But you seemed to enjoy it?”
And that’s really all Jess and I ask you to: Engage and enjoy.
You may not feel you “get it”, but that’s part of playing: Performing without having to necessarily “get it”.
I hope you’ll join me at ConTEST!

Lacking a photo of me playing, here are my sons Jens and Troels playing with our poodle Terry in a forest.

News in English

Chaos to Kairos – NYC May 1st session on playful testing skills with music and philosophy

Jessica Ingrassellino and I will perform a workshop at the NYC Testers Meetup on Monday May 1st during the Test Leadership Congress. Join the meetup to participate.
The session will be based on the workshop we did at CounterPlay, an international play festival which took place in March in Aarhus, Denmark. Titled “Playful Software Exploration” the topic was value driven improvisation skills in testing. Together with the participants we tested, performed music and formed a philosophical, protreptic circle
The somewhat disturbing background of the workshop is that in a performance oriented and individualized tech industry, we are expected to drive ourselves to be the best in a complex or even chaotic reality. Remaining true to our professional and personal values while staying sane and ready to act and perform every day can be very challenging.
Our CounterPlay workshop was a success. Collaboratively we gained sense of and got to the core of important values in testing. We were even interviewed for the popular show “The Harddisk” on Danish national radio.
This time we would like to playfully explore the significance of Kairos in testing.
Kairos is Greek and means the supreme moment in which the future is transformed to the past with a particularly fruitful outcome. Kairos is important in rhetorics because while there are rules of good communication, there are moments in which speaking and acting is particularly fruitful: There is a time and space for the good talk. And even the best performance will fail if kairos is not considered.
This is an aspect of all improvisation and play, and good testing is in many ways always an improvised, playful act.
We know it when we perform exploratory testing.
But even when testing is turned into a controlled and scripted process, it makes sense to perceive testing in the microscope as a playful exploration and experimentation with potential and actual outcomes – even outcomes beyond the directly observable testing results: E.g. learning points for developers and management.
At the core is that testing makes a difference for people around us, even those who are not directly involved in testing and developing.
So let’s think beyond the processes, and functional and technical perspectives on testing, and explore software testing as a playful and human event with potential to create order in due time.
No prior knowledge or talents are required to join the workshop. But bring curiosity about values in testing, and be ready to play and improvise, introspect and think and reflect abstractly.
Jess and Anders

News in English Nyheder

Protreptic Salon 7: Play and Passion

We hereby invite to the 7th protreptic salon in Copenhagen, this time with Jess Ingrassellino from New York – and for the first time in English.
Join Jess, Karen, and I in a salon with the theme “Play and Passion”:
Growing up, we become serious and think that play is childish behavior to be abandoned. Later we discover that the truth about play is more nuanced.
Play represents a very human aspect of life and it seems to have power to connect us to passions and personal values even in difficult situations.
The subject we would like to explore is how we stay true to ourselves, thrive, and face challenges of our professional roles in playful ways.
We wish to uncover wisdom about how we can playfully be productive, nurture our relations, and perhaps even serve higher causes.
Be quick to apply for this unique and intimate salon with music and philosophical dialogue.
Date: April 3rd 2017
Time: 16.00 – 18.30
Where: Gjesing Coaching, Prinsesse Charlottesgade 31, kld, 2200 København N
Apply to:
Should you have registered, but be unable to participate, please let us know as the number of chairs we can fit in is limited and we’d love to share with someone else if you can’t make it.

Jessica Ingrassellino is a musician, teacher, philosopher, researcher, programmer, business owner, and software tester from New York. Prior to her life as a software tester, she was a full-time music teacher in New York City public schools. In 2015, she completed a dissertation about assessment and school music; in 2016, she wrote “Python Projects for Kids“. Currently, she test software at She also runs, working within the New York metropolitan area to bring improvisatory, imaginative coding education to underserved communities.

News in English

January 24th: Meetup on Risk Based Testing Strategy

On Tuesday Janaury 24th, we will be hosting a meetup on Risk Based Testing Strategy under Ministry of Testing Copenhagen Meetup group in Herlev.
Make sure you register as a member of the Ministry of Testing Copenhagen meetup group to stay tuned when new meetups are announced.
Also, don’t miss the Ministry of Testing home page to learn about other meetups, TestBash, news, and lots of useful testing resources.

News in English Nyheder

I'll be at Let's Test Oz in Sydney in September

DSC_0540AI’ll take a 22 hour flight Copenhagen to Sydney in September, where the fourth Let’s Test conference and the first Let’s Test Oz will be held at a resort in Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Austrailia.

The conference programme was announced a while ago, and it’s pretty awesome. I’ve attended and spoken twice at Let’s Test in Stockholm. I’m sure the Oz-edition will be as fantastic as its Stockholm counterpart.

I haven’t yet decided on my program, but I’m looking forward to Fiona Charles’ keynote by Fiona Charles and her workshop on leadership
But there’s a lot of promising stuff in the programme

I insist that testing is and should be a value adding activity. As testers, we’re not just finding other people’s mistakes; we make a positive contribution to the project with the knowledge we are collecting in our testing.

To do great testing takes clever thinking, and clever thoughts never live in isolation. They’re shared, bounced and developed into great ideas. Let’s Test is an inspirering conference, a place where great ideas develop, and that’s why I like the conference so much.

My own contribution to the programme this year is a session about politics called “All is fair in love and war”. I commit to context driven testing, but testing can be a driver for change as well. I find that a key to do it is to do clever politics on top of the knowledge we have and collect in testing. Some testers have grown to hate politics, but politics can help us, if we use it wisely: With an ethical standpoint, and with a sound vision of what we want to achieve.

Twice has Let’s Test refuelled my capabilities as a tester, a test leader, a test manager, and a test analyst. Twice has Let’s Test inspired me and given me new friends and acquaintances. I’m looking forward to my third Let’s Test, this time down under, where I expect to meet some great testers from the southern hemisphere, take time for a good talk, do some testing, have a beer or two, take a walk in nature…

You can register for Let’s Test Oz here.

News in English Nyheder

I'll be at Let's Test

Let’s Test Conference is the first conference in Europe on context driven testing – it looks like it will be a really great event. I’ll be there, speaking on day 2 about one of my favorite subjects: Black swans – things that happen, even though everyone thinks they can’t:

Nassim Taleb introduced the concept of Black Swans in his influental 2007 book: Rare events, in principle extremely unlikely, but very dangerous – and they occur much more often than we expect.IT incidents are true Black Swans. Incidents are tricky to test for, and this is probably why they are rarely treated exploratorily in testing.
I would like to see that change, since with increasing complexity and the ubiqtous nature of IT systems, failures in todays’ IT systems are much more consequential than they used to be, and incidents are frequently the cause of great losses; in some systems they even put human lives at risk.
I will present my view on the ”art” of testing for system incidents. My view diverts fundamentally from the non-functional tests, robustness tests, and performance tests which are often carried out. Instead, and based on a systems perspective, I will introduce heuristics and models which will allow explorative testing and learning – even in the Black Swan Domain. There are no bullet proof ways to do it, but by understanding the nature of incidents and by being able to identify vulnerabilities in the context in which testing is taking place, I beleive that you as a tester will be better able to focus your exploration and observation on what’s important: The system vulnerabilities.

Let’s meet there!