I attended both sessions of Rapid Testing Intensive with James Bach as a remote tester and learner. For the first session I attended remotely with two of our testers to start understanding how we can use the RTI framework. What we learned could be applied immediately – in fact while we were going through the training we were brainstorming ideas. Over the summer I summarized my experience that can be found here. The second RTI (January 28– 30, 2013) was an opportunity to attend with different testers who will help in writing session charters, product & test coverage outlines, and another opportunity to practice. As testers it is important we are always practicing and challenging our skills – testing our own product does not count.
We spent three-days focused on lectures, testing the fashion section of e-Bay, and James provided feedback on select assignments and bug reports. James also presented examples on how he would approach the testing problem. Learning from other testers is always valuable to understand why they approach a problem the way they did in order to challenge your own approaches. No matter how many years of testing experience you have, you can always learn something. Plus we often fall into mental blocks or traps when we become too comfortable with how we test and solve problems.
An important take-away for me was how to create a product coverage outline with the mindset of allocating work if more testers are added. Often we need multiple testers on a large enhancement, or during testing we need to add more testers. I have a new insight that helps me strategically think through the initial steps of laying out a testing approach. One of our assignments was to perform combination testing. We were allowed to approach it in any manner. My group used Hexawise to set up our parameters and tried out different strengths. Prior to this I used it a few times but did not have the time to properly work through the output. It is not difficult to use but as with any tool it automates the creation but not the understanding. It is advisable to have hands on experience creating a combination matrix before using a tool. Once our time was up, we handed in our assignment – though we knew it needed more work. James provided feedback on a few of the student’s homework. Anne-Marie Charrett provided follow-up questions on our assignment. With both of their input it became apparent how we can use Hexawise in conjunction with our customer usage patterns and coding risks to identify how to prioritize the combinations for testing. Sometimes you need people outside of your company to help point you in the right direction. Plus using e-Bay removed a lot of the mental roadblocks that we might encounter with our own product. A tester can become too close to his product reducing his ability to identify solutions. This is another good reason to practice using other products and exercises to then apply what was learned to your product under test.
I recommend that you attend an upcoming RTI Session because there are many learning opportunities to challenge and develop your testing skills. You can find the schedule here. The sessions are recorded allowing you to work through the material at a time that works best. For those who already attended a session, try to return for another one. If you can, attend with someone new to session-based testing and the techniques practiced in this workshop. See the material through their eyes because I am sure you will learn something from them.
Now on to the cooking….
Since Greg and I got married he has been asking me to make a meatloaf. I do not care for ground beef, which is why I did not make it. A few years ago, I started making chili with ground turkey and found I enjoyed it. Recently, Greg asked again and quite honestly I was hesitant since this is not my style of cooking. But as testers we often face problems that are out of our comfort zone and I believe that is when we learn and develop our skills. As a cook, I need to expand my culinary abilities by making recipes outside my comfort level. So it seemed appropriate to give meatloaf a chance but with using ground turkey.
I did not want a traditional recipe. Greg and I did some research and we took the best from a few recipes to come up with this one. My only hesitation was the sun-dried tomatoes that I am not a fan. I had a contingency plan in case I did not like it. But I must admit – I did enjoy it, as there were a lot of flavors! My only recommendation is to make extra sauce to have on the side. We are sauce people!
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
Ground Turkey Mixture
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (You could use ground beef or a mixture of ground beef and pork)
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
2/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tsp dried rubbed sage
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground pepper
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix ground turkey with breadcrumbs and seasonings. Add milk and eggs and mix until incorporated. Then add onions and celery mixing through. Lastly, mix in the sun-dried tomatoes. Spray a meatloaf pan and add the turkey mixture.
In a small bowl, mix ketchup, Dijon mustard, and brown sugar. Apply in a thick layer to the top of the loaf.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, on a lower rack in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake until thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, about another hour.
Cool 5 minutes. Slice and serve. Below is a picture of serving it with more sauce. Over the next few months, I want to make different types of meatloafs and post them. Greg just loved this version so the bar has been set rather high. Given that he likes anything with red sauce I am working on an Italian meatloaf. A few variations I was contemplating may not happen since the flavor profile may not be right! I do not deal well with failure – just ask my husband!