vrijdag 18 december 2009

Epilogue; EuroSTAR 2009, two weeks after

Currently I'm working from home, the snow and iciness made me think twice before commuting to Amsterdam again. Yesterday it took me two hours to get home, a journey that normally takes an hour. So I have (not so environmental friendly - I know) set the heater a degree higher, made myself I nice cup of coffee and started working on the planning and preparation of the chaintest which is to be executed next year March and will do some testing on a system.

It's been two weeks since EuroSTAR 2009 ended, and my mind has been racing with ideas since then. Not only that, I've been busy implementing a lot of stuff and tips I got in the conference too in my current projects.

Since I'm testing and managing a whole program, I really had use of the information provided in the 'Program Test Management- a survival kit' by Graham Thomas. I checked the 'best practices' lists in the sheets and checked the 'anti-practices' lists and set them beside the stuff I already did in my project.
One of the needed skills was negotiating and influencing, I noticed I hadn't been very strong in that department: I used the stuff learned in the workshop 'Chatterboxes and Cavedwellers' of Naomi Karten to pinpoint the problem; since I'm an introvert at doing things and my 'audience' is mostly extrovert, I suddenly understood why my message may not have been landing as I thought it did.
One of the other things in 'Survival kit' was that there should be a 'clear test organisation structure with matrixedrelationships' and another 'Clear and agreed interface with stakeholders and sponsors' and a third 'To ensure that your stakeholders and sponsors clearly understand what testing is doing for them', I realized that a part was missing: namely the program itself. I decided to combine all four (three from the track and my addition). In one large overview of the program: picturing the systems, what the connections are, who is responsible (owner, tester and users) and dates that are important. I'll also use these as 'talk-images' to align all stakeholders (first try-out was very positive!). In addendum with these images, I made a scenario with activities, time, input needed, output needed and who is responsible. Thirdly I made a gannt-diagram for time-overview. All three parts are aligned to eachother by use of colors, so the process of one piece may be 'blue' in all three documents. On the way I also made use of the things learned in 'Rik Teubens track; Many can quarrel, fewer can argue.
My 'testcase' pointed out that he really liked the overview; since he was able to place himself in the bigger picture in relation to other parts in the program (which was normally out of scope for him), he also like that he was able to easily identify the timelines and activities in the other documents because he only had to find 'his' colour.
(and I've been also thinking about another lay-over for the images like Neil Pandits' visualized Risk-based testing, heatmaps)

The second positive improvement I made in my workingarea, and this is the system I'm testing (not the program), Is the stuff on exploratory testing, the workshop of Michael Bolton really had loads of stuff in it I could use to stretch the abilities of the system under test. Resulting in some stress in the organisation though, but when I argued (;-) ) this was all beneficial to really get a good look on the quality of the system and preventing more 'pain' in the future, they were (mostly) convinced. And the secundary part of this, is that it made testing this (a bit dull but complex) system fun again.

So, I guess there's still a lot to implement from the EuroSTAR 2009 conference. I haven't been able to work out all the stuff yet, since I also had to catch up on the work I left behind when going to Stockholm, but I'm confident it will all has a place somewhere.

donderdag 3 december 2009

FunTESTic goes EuroSTAR, part five: the final chapter

What a day, what a day!
Sorry I didn't tweet the first keynote, but I was a little busy with my own track at that moment (timetable etc), so you didn't miss it: it just wasn't there.

The first track I went to, was the track by Stuart Reid, about the ISO/IEC 29119 software testing standard. I'm quite sure I saw some of the stuff we as dutch workinggroup of TestNet issued after the last review were taken in consideration and put in there.

And then; it finally was the time for my own (double) session. Susan Windsor was my chair and she is really a great support and chair. The room was re-arranged so there were two opposite sides (in stead of rows). It wasn't very crowded, but the people who attended made it (far) worth the while! What a great debate it grew out to be! And our Mystery guest: Michael Bolton, did a very good piece on Ethics and Testing which was really good! I had fun, which is the most important and it was an excellent experience!

After the lunchbreak and some 'chilling' (literally because it's very cold outside!) I went to Graham Thomas' track on Test Program Managememt; a survival kit. I find Graham a very interesting speaker, easy to listen to and with lots of (a bit cynical) humor. This track provided me information on some key aspects that are to be considered at Test Program management, so in my current working situation very handy!

After that I went to a track that was called 'The supertesters - a slightly true story' and this was an absolutely brilliant track! I'm glad I chose this one to attend. If you EVER have the chance to see this track somewhere; GO SEE IT!!! it's a must-see by Anna and Linda Hoff and Jarl Kristoffer. It's to odd to describe but I definitely can recommend this track.

And then al the tracks were over and it was time to go to the close-up sessions of the day. This started with a summary of the testlab (which I didn't visit :-( ). James Lindsay and Bart Knaack did the hosting of that and as I heard it, I regretted a bit that I didn't go.

The next slot was for a panel discussion. And I was one of the panel members! I was asked by Julian Harty (host to the session) to participate because of my twittering. The only 'catch' was that I had to answer in 140 characters because a tweet is 140 too. I was on the panel together with Geoff Thompson (last year's winner of the Testing Excellence award), John Fodeh (next year's chair for EuroSTAR 2010), Tobias Fors (my fellow-tweeter and DEVELOPER!!!) and me. We got questions from the hot-topics-board (whiteboard were people could write down topics) which we got to answer. It seemed a good idea when Julian asked me, but at that table... suddenly it didn't seem a good idea at all... suddenly there were 300+ people in the auditorium before me and sitting beside two major test'names', not to mention I'm not native AND I had to answer questions directly (which I'm not really good at cause I like to think a while on stuff). I guess there will be pictures of that on the ES site... and I guess it went well for the circumstances :-)

(btw I'm eating a muesli bar now which I bought in Stockholm C.; it's not recommendable...)

The next bit was the award-ceremony. I kind of forgot the most of the names, but I still now Anne-Mette Hass won the Excellence Award this year!
And with that Dorothy started the end-speech in which she announced that EuroSTAR 2010 will be held at Kopenhagen and that the chair will be John Fodeh.

My whole week has been an invigorating experience, which were for a large part also dominated by my nerves for today. Monday it seemed so far away, but now ES is over, it seems like it's over in the blink of an eye.

So maybe I'll be twittering next year too, maybe not, who knows... we'll see in time I guess.

(that muesli bar is REALLY terrible, but I'm really into a snack...hmmm)
(I also got promoted to Managing Consultant today!)
(I haven't uploaded any pictures of today yet, so please be patient to look on Flickr for impressions)

See you next year!

FunTESTic goes EuroSTAR part four: in the middle of it

So, this was already the second conference day. Time really flies! So much to see, to learn, to do and so many people to meet, so little time!

Today I planned a full program, but as the day went along I changed my mind a couple of times. One reason is I'm getting nervous and can't always focus on the subject of the track, the second one is that I wanted some 'easy time' in between :-)

I started early today. The opening keynote of today was of Naomi Karten. I went to Naomi's tutorial on Tuesday and - just like that day- I really liked the contents of this track. This keynote was about the process of change and how to communicate and manage this. Naomi used a model which made this very visual. You have status quo, then the 'POW', then chaos, some adjustment etc. and only after time there's a new status quo.

Naomi Karten, opening keynote on Wednesday

The first track I visited was that of Matthias Ratert. His subject was Incremental Scenario Testing; beyond exploratory testing. At first - I have to admit- I didn't really see the use, but later on as I discussed the track again with a testing colleague, it suddenly occurred to me that what was said was really 'nifty'! Maybe I can't use it in my current project, but it certainly has potential in other situations.

After this session I took a looooong break to get back at my track-record ;-) at Erik Boelen's track on 'the power of risk'. It was interesting to hear about the practical appliance en the proven advantages of a risk based teststrategy and plan.
The lunch was a bit short today, or at least it seemed shorter because in no-time I had taken seat in the T5 room where Rik Teuben held a track about ‘Many can quarrel, fewer can argue’. I like the sheets of Rik, they are nice and clean, just like the steps explained that a stakeholder has to be ‘classified’, then the arguestyle has to be chosen and last part the connected communication.

I sort of then stayed in the room, because after the afternoonbreak I had the honour to chair the track of Susan Windsor; ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’. This was a double track with exercises and it was really fun! The audience was very active in – for example- an exercise where one had to draw a circle put in communication means which you normally use (comfort zone) and then a second circle with communication means written down in that one that you would like to use (getting out of your comfort zone). And what about a topic on ‘story telling’! You got to love that! So this double track was over before I knew it.

The closing keynote of the day was the winning track of last year; Gitte Ottosen with ‘Agile and Process Maturity – of course they mix!’. I went to this track in The Hague, so I knew the contents. It was nice to hear that some of the ‘under construction’ parts of last year had developed further. Like the development and test team becoming a fully integrated group now.

Tomorrow I’ll probably will not tweet at much I guess. Since I have my own track after Stuart Reids’ ISO 29119 track. I’m really excited at this moment! I’ll probably will have a short sleep.

ps: since my internetconnection suddenly failed last night, I'm currently posting on a public computer so I don't have the time to add all the photo's I took, so take a look at my Flickr fotostream to get a visual impression!

dinsdag 1 december 2009

FunTESTic goes to EuroSTAR - part three; the startingday of the conference

Hello everybody, here I am again with news from Stockholm. I just arrived at my hotel after a very nice dinner with 4 Dutch testing colleagues in the old center of Stockholm and read all my e-mail and answered it where necessary, so now I have time to write my blog again.

It was a very dynamic day today. I got to the Mässan at about 8.15 and had plenty of time to get to my tutorial. A great start of the day with Naomi Karten's tutorial on 'cavedwellers and chatterboxes' also known as 'introverts and extraverts'(not a type-o!) I learned a lot from that session, for one reason why my messages by mail (introverts tend so set important things in writing) aren't perceived as important by an extravert, who wants to be informed on important things verbally. But also on how my behaviour is perceived by an introvert.

Naomi Karten at EuroSTAR 2009

After the lunch it was time for Doroty Graham to open the EuroSTAR 2009 conference. It was fun to see some history of IT 17 years ago when Dorothy was first chair of EuroSTAR.
Auditorium Opening EuroSTAR 2009

Lee Copeland had the honour of opening with the first keynote, which was on software testing innovations. If you look very closely to the picture below, you can see that there are nine points, where among others are 'good books', crowdtesting, testing in the cloud and virtualisation.

Lee Copeland's opening keynote at EuroSTAR 2009

I then had the oppurtunity to visit different short tracks (track of 20 minutes). Personnally I found them a bit short wich resulted in a bit of chaotic day, but nonetheless I saw some great stuff. Of Paula O'Grady, Geoff Thompson (what a great speaker he is!), Michael Bolton (burning issues) and Neil Pandit. The last track of the day track I didn't go to, firstly I couldn't choose and secondly I wanted to walk around a bit too and organise my thoughts. Below are the pictures I took during the different sessions. I've taken quite a bit more, but they were directly posted on my twitterstream (@funTESTic with hashtag 'esconfs')

Neil Pandit's track 'a visual approach to Risk-based Integration testing
If only we could make them to listen, Geoff Thompson
I'm not thát Michael Bolton...Burning issues at EuroSTAR 2009
Michael Bolton...Burning issues at EuroSTAR 2009

More to be written and shown tomorrow!
God natt!

maandag 30 november 2009

FunTESTic goes to EuroSTAR - part two; the Tutorial Day

It's now 20.30h and my first day in Stockholm is coming to an end. It's been an inspiring day to say at least.
I woke up at about 6.30 this morning, after a terrible almost sleepless night (what fluffy beds they have here!) and went to breakfast (or 'Frukost' as they call it here). I've never seen so much types of food for breakfast! There was an whole Japanese buffet (with tofu, misosoup and seaweed) and a Skandanavian buffet (with pickled herring, cottagecheese and other strange stuff) and an English type breakfast.. I saw six very thin stewardesses in purple tenues with such large piles of food on their plate that I guess they won't be flying for much longer or have a type of boulimia.

After breakfast I took the train to the Stockholmsmässan, which is about ten minutes from here and was on time for registration. How cool to register at the 'speakersdesk'! I got a cool toy for thanx, it's an USB stick with a laserpointer in it and I got a poloshirt (not a sweater this time ;-) ) which has - for me - the extra word 'trackchair' embroidered on the back.

Coffee is not that bad here, so I got a big mug of coffee and went to hall T1 where Michael Bolton was about to give the tutorial: 'Masterclass Exploratory Testing'.
I was very much inspired by the tutorial and learned a lot this day. One of the things I also 'twittered' today was that apparently 'boundary' in 'boundary value analysis' is foremost applicable to the testers mind or the scope of his/her testing and less to the technique itself. Michael showed that there are dynamics in boundaries which makes the -1, boundary, +1 rather silly. I also learned a lot of tips and tricks that I could apply in my own testing and also that exploratory testing can be much more lucrative (and has larger ROI) then scripted testing.
He also showed that a lot of the so called automated testing we do, is no more then checking. There was a fun anekdote of 'the point of view' (reference) and that this can be limiting.
The Turkey finds the farmer a cool guy. He gets food every day, gets shelter and gets to run around outside a bit with the other turkeys. Every day the turkey has the same reference and he finds the farmer more and more a great guy. Untill, one day, right before Thanksgiving the turkey is in for a big and unpleasant surprise...
Expect the unexpected, don't repeat the same test every day for it narrows your scope of view. That is wat automated scripts are all about.
Another part of the tutorial was an exercise where we had to write down all kinds of characteristics/ values of a wineglass which could be important the some user at some time. The exercise was rounded up by a sheet which contained the ISO standard for wine tasting glasses and a picture of a wineglass found in Pompeï, which showed the controversary of both.
And so I had more then eight hours of revealing insights and thoughts (he stopped at 17.30 in stead of 17.00), which are too many to write down in this blog. Please also look at Michael Bolton's website where you can find lots of information and presentations on this subject! (www.developsense.com).

Michael Bolton at EuroSTAR 2009

After the Tutorial I took the train back to Stockholm Central and I decided to eat at the 'Stockholm FISK' in my hotel, which is apparently a popular fish restaurant. I had 'stockfish' (stokvis) which is typical Skandinavian and found it very good! (I had to admit I was a bit reluctant because of my 'knowledge' of the process to get to stockfish). I didn't stay for dessert but went to a coffeebar instead to have a large coffee (with chai syrup) and a 'Morotkaka' (carrotcake) which I found a pleasant surprise too! It's nice and sweet.
So now I've just finished my coffee and am ready to take a shower and then go to bed. Tomorrow I'll be attending a tutorial and a lot of tracks and I want to be fresh at the start of the day.

God natt!

zondag 29 november 2009

A flight to Stockholm

So, I finally made it to downtown Stockholm and am sitting in the hotel right across the central station. And that's also pretty much what I've seen of Stockholm so far (dark! cold!)
I had a terrible flight though! My ears were especially sensitive this time, popping all the time. Then - after an hour or so (still an hour to go) I got restless legs. The sandwich I bought was an insult; it was roastbeef, but over-done and with pickles on it. After a couple of minutes I had to go to the toilet, but the couple next to me were sleeping and I didn't have the heart to wake them with just a half hour to go. And on top of that there was a lot of turbulence wich prevented me from opening my can of cola. Normally I find flying an exiting experience, but now I think the ES nerves have a grip on me.
A nice thing was that the flight was early, with more then a quarter of an hour shorter flight-time we landed on Arlanda ánd I got lucky to get my suitcase very quick, which enabled me to catch the Arlanda Express right in time and had a quick journey to the hotel.
Seemingly there's also a fast way to get to the Messe, so I'm very curious what tomorrow will bring.
The room is excellent! There are even bathrobes and slippers on the bed for usage, coffee, tea for free, bathstuff for free (and nice smelling) and a waaaaay to expensive minibar. There's also a SKY bar in the hotel which I plan to visit tomorrow, it's on the ninth (I'm on the seventh) and has a great view over the city according to the receptionist.

But now I'm off to bed, tomorrow I've a tutorial to attend! Nightynight!

vrijdag 27 november 2009

FunTESTic goes to EuroSTAR - part one

As I sit "relatively relaxed" on the couch this evening, 'Slanket' wrapped around me, can of 'RockStar punched' beside me and a piece of 'la Tur' cheese in front of me on the table, I thought that it would be a nice idea to blog about my upcoming EuroSTAR adventure, and so here I am, typing my first entry of my adventure.

I've finished some last preparations today for my TH8, thursday track: The Ethics Debate. In one of the earlier sessions it seemed a good idea to make some marketing means for the track in the form of so called 'Loesjes', so Julien (red; my co-speaker) and I tracked down some of these statements and I resized the posters to flyer-format and printed them. Tomorrow I need to cut them, but the prints are ready.
I went to the prizes shop today too, to get the engraved prize for 'the Best Debater' and it has become a pretty little cup!
Last but not least I went to the hairsalon and had my hair cut and remodelled, so I'm a bit more stylish for my 'big performance';-)

I't a bit weird though. Since 2004 I tried so hard to get to EuroSTAR as a speaker with various submissions and this year I finally got the chance! It's an odd feeling, especially when suddenly Dot Graham is on the phone telling that she is considering your submission to add to the program, but I'm so exited! And now it's only two days away and then I'll be on the plain to Stockholm, time has gone so fast since I started the preparations.
Making the slides, making an intro for the booklet, setting up a forum where the Ethics Debate can go further even after the session itself (http://www.atfreeforum.com/funtestic/), writing the scripts, approaching the mystery guest, etc. etc.

And then the 'preparations' as a visitor too. Luckily the flight and hotel are booked by my company, but it seemed a good idea to visit the city itself too, so I added some nights at the hotel and booked a flight for my husband to fly in on Friday. I figured out which program I wanted to see at EuroSTAR, and the travels from airport to hotel and from hotel to the conference centre and I still have to plan some things I really want to see, like the Vasa museum and the harbor.

I'm planning to update on my visit to EuroSTAR regularly; by Twitter (www.twitter.com/funTESTic)(and will try to tag 'esconfs') and on this blog, so if you don't have the opportunity to go yourself and it seems a fun idea to read some from my point of view, please check back in regularly!

My program at this moment:
Monday tutorial: Exploratory Masterclass

Tuesday tutorial: Chatterboxes and Cave-Dwellers: Understanding Extraversion and Introversion in the Workplace

Tuesday conference:Prioritising Tests? Use Your Gut Instinct; A Visual Approach to Risk-Based Integration Testing; If Only We Could Make Them Listen!; Burning Issues of the Day; and maybe Is "Agile" Distracting You?, but I'm not sure about the last track yet.

Wednesday conference: Incremental Scenario Testing: Beyond Exploratory Testing; Risk-based Testing - Details of our Success; The Power of Risk; Effective Bug Management - Challenges and Best Practices (not sure yet); Don’t Shoot the Messenger! (I'm track chair here so this is a certain visit)

Thursday conference: ISO 29919, my own track; The Ethics Debate, Program Test Management: A Survival Kit (if I don't need a big break then ;-) ) ; The Supertesters - a Slightly True Story

and off course I'll be visiting the expo and the keynotes!
so stay tuned for part two!

woensdag 25 november 2009

Testing Tapas LiveMeeting next summer?

This column was published in Capgemini's COP IT Testing Newsletter

Since the clock went to wintertime, I seem to have done the same. My days are shorter and my nights longer. Ok, I guess this needs some explanation. My days seem shorter because they are filled with lots of work, before I know it, it’s time to go home and lately I feel like I have done tons of work, but nothing seems to be done from my to-do list which I set out to complete that day. My nights seem longer though, not only do I try to sleep an hour more (lately I have had shorter and shorter nights, not resulting in a very energetic me) but I also seem to be getting more done. I find the evenings very pleasant to work on articles, innovations and concepts, reading and following up on mail. Twitter seems more alive (due to the fact the overseas testing colleagues are mostly posting then) and if I have to use the test environment, I don’t have troubles with the performance because I’m the only one (or at least one of little instead of many) working on it. Two weeks ago I did the course on webcast (LiveMeeting and communicator usage) and I got really enthusiastic about the possibilities, I really hope everybody gets this course soon and gets as enthusiastic as I am. I’m thinking about organizing one-hour SIG like meetings which everybody can join from home, making it also possible for the people who normally can’t attend a meeting at Papendorp to join in. And since it’s wintertime nobody will be out in the garden or on terraces drinking nice rosé and enjoying tapas, but now I come to think of it; a Testing Tapas session on LiveMeeting in the garden is not a bad idea at all… any up-front joiners?

zondag 15 november 2009

Testing Enterprise Architectures

Blogpost as published on Capping IT off: http://www.capgemini.com/technology-blog/

As testers we know that being involved in an early stage of the development cycle will save money on defect solving in the last stages of the development cycle. This is also confirmed and visualized by Boehm. As a frequent test(manager) in chain testing assignments I see much more then only the software that is to be used, but also get involved in the processes that are set up around the usage of the software (and even non-software-usage-processes) and more than once have I found that it would have been very nice to have been involved in the ‘design’ of those too, the earlier the better. So that got me thinking, what is before processes and software? Well, for instance; Enterprise Architecture.
And then I really got going. Are Enterprise Architectures testable? And will the impact be the same if a tester is involved in setting up one as the Boehm curve says, if so, what money will that save? What ís the financial impact of an error in an Enterprise Architecture, or for that manner, what is the image damage when an enterprise architecture isn’t set up right or is the impact of a defect in the set up architecture that big, that it will affect the whole existence of an organization? Then I got more practical; how does one test an Enterprise Architecture? I think to answer that question is to firstly get clarity on the requirements of an Enterprise Architecture and that’s where the crux is, because most requirements that I found, mind: I only did some brief investigation here, on Enterprise Architectures aren’t very measurable or SMART (or checked for that matter). So in able to test an Enterprise Architecture in the future, I plea for starting to involve testers right at the setup, so we can learn and develop this area of expertise, I’m convinced that it will have huge benefits to have a validated architecture in the future, which –if Boehm ís applicable- will save a lot of money. I’m very interested to hear more opinions on this, so please don’t hesitate to contact me on this one, I’d love to hear it! To be continued (I’m sure!)…

woensdag 4 november 2009

Standardization Agile, Agile Standardization

(previous Dutch blog in English version - on request :-) )
Discussion can be joined at: FunTESTic's Forum

The last couple of weeks two subjects have been in the spotlight for me: 'Agile', because of TestingExperience had a special (sept. 2008, issue nr. 7) and 'Standardization', because I'm a member of the NEN NC 381007 and have a lot to do with that in that role.

Off course a connection is quickly made and then I started thinking about standardization within Agile of even 'Agile standardization' (can that be done?). It occured to me that a lot of colleagues that I talked to, the subjects rule eachother out. Apparently the perception is that 'standardization' hinders an agile project per definition. Standardization is associated with slow, sluggish and bureaucratic while 'agile' is associated with fast, flexible and non-bureaucratic. Further more is seems that almost everybody seems to think that 'standardization' (and with that 'certification' and normalization) stands in the way of innovation (whether this is innovation of programming or processes)

I wouldn't write about this if I didn't have another opinion. I experience a hgreat amount of freedom to nnovate when there's standardization, I'm not occupied with worries of connecting and making sure everything fits toghther. I can use time to work on new ideas instead and it stimulates my creativity to find solutions that fall within the boundaries of a standard. Also, even though standards are in place to create a solid ground, it doesn't forbid to suggest improvements. Standards are just as good prone to development as any other product, progressing insights and innovation can have an impact on an approved standard so that it can evolve to a newer version of this standard.

And than the Agile stuff; I don't see this as a hindrance either.
I think diversity within the Agile area causes delay, first one must define wich boundaries there are at development, while a standard has that allready in place so that everybode can start right away and there will be no discussions on the way to work. I wont'discuss al the aspects here, because I think the bottomline is clear. I'm curious how others think about this, so please join this discussion!

maandag 26 oktober 2009

Standaardisering Agile, Agile Standaardisering

De afgelopen weken hebben bij mij voornamelijk de onderwerpen ‘Agile’ en ‘Standaardisering’ in de schijnwerpers gestaan. ‘Agile’, omdat de TestingExperience er een hele uitgave (sept. 2008, nr. 7) aan gewijd heeft en ik collegae heb die het onderwerp veel aanstippen. Standaardisering omdat ik nu eenmaal in een standaardiseringorgaan zit als actief lid en als zodanig er veel mee te maken heb.
Nu is natuurlijk een link snel gelegd en dan ga je denken over standaardisering binnen ‘Agile’ of zelfs ‘Agile standaardisering’ (kun je dat hebben?). Het viel mij op dat het bij veel collegae die ik spreek het ene onderwerp het andere eigenlijk al uitsluit, want blijkbaar is de perceptie dat standaardisering per definitie een ‘Agile’ project in de weg staat. Standaardisering wordt geassocieerd met traag, log en bureaucratisch terwijl ‘Agile’ juist voor snel, flexibel en non bureaucratisch te boek staat.
Verder lijkt men, uitzonderingen daargelaten, ook te denken dat ‘standaardisering’ (en mede daarmee ook ‘certificering’ en normering) een (hoge mate van) innovatie (of dit nu innovatie in programmeerwijzen of processen zijn) in de weg staat.
Ik zou hier niet wat over schrijven als ik niet een andere mening aangedaan was. Ik ervaar een hoge mate van vrijheid om te innoveren wanneer er gestandaardiseerd is; ik ben immers niet bezig met zorgen dat alles gelijk is en aansluit, maar kan tijd besteden aan nieuwe ideeën en het stimuleert mijn creativiteit om oplossingen te vinden die binnen de grenzen van een standaard vallen. Bovendien zijn standaarden er dan wel om standvastigheid te creëren, maar het verbiedt niet om verbeteringen aan te dragen. Standaarden en normen zijn net zo goed onderhevig aan ontwikkelingen als ieder ander product, voortschrijdend inzicht en innovatie kunnen net zo goed invloed hebben op een geaccepteerde standaard zodat deze evolueert tot een nieuwe versie of standaard. En dan de ‘Agile’ stuff; ook hier zie ik standaardisering niet als struikelblok. Ik denk dat de diversiteit binnen het ‘Agile’ gebied juist voor een vertraging zorgt, er moet immers eerst worden bepaald binnen welke grenzen alles wordt ontwikkeld, terwijl een standaard dat juist al duidelijk aangeeft zodat een ieder gelijk van start kan gaan en er over werkwijzen geen discussie kan ontstaan. Het gaat te ver om alle aspecten hier te behandelen, maar ik denk dat de bottomline wel duidelijk ik. Ik ben benieuwd hoe anderen hier over denken dus ik zie graag reacties tegemoet.

zaterdag 10 oktober 2009

FYRA-ious, a new train, press and money

***my latest column in the Capgemini CoP IT Testing Newsletter***

It has taken a couple of years, but finally it happened: We are riding! The last couple of months have been a sequence of events, last minutes checks, experimental farms, checking again and making small adjustments (and checking again), marketing events and an excited buzz in the office hallways. Finally I didn’t have to set a whole new test planning to a new (predicted) launch date. No, this time it was for real!

It all started with the introduction of our ‘mascotte’, an odd figure with a very funny hairdo that walked through the office to introduce himself as ‘hispeed’. I think most of the colleagues were afraid of him because there seemed to be a spontaneous migration from people from one office to another; mostly to the location where the funny lad didn’t reside.
Then there was the introduction of the new train, with a visit to the Watergraafsmeer where the ‘Albatros V250’ was to be seen (it was pushed to this location by another locomotive, but that didn’t spoil the fun) and a large press event. We also received a nice gadget; a USB stick in the shape of a V250 with the promo film on it, complete with pink champagne and biscuit with pink aniseed comfits.

Next was the launch of THE NAME: FYRA. Again a party and again cake. For me – as tester – a huge blessing, because finally I could perform my last tests with the final name (instead of using ‘Albatros’ or ‘XXXX’), again one to scratch of the list!

The press is publishing like crazy about almost everything to do with the train, but also over things that have nothing to do with Fyra. For example an article in the Telegraaf: HSL almost causes accident in Rotterdam. Well actually it was the common intercity of NS (domestic) that had to break. Fyra had nothing to do with it. The so called almost-accident happened at 23.30 in the evening according to the article with a Fyra coming from Rotterdam. Odd, when you know that the last Fyra to leave Rotterdam (also during the test period) is at 22.00. The last train to ‘wear’ the Hispeed colours is the normal intercity from Brussels (23.10) which has been riding that trajectory for years. And how about the view from the window at that time? Ever tried looking outside the window of an intercity at night (the ones with the bended windows)? You don’t see a thing except some lights, let alone the colours of a train ‘raging by’. When I confronted the Telegraaf with the facts, their first reaction was that my findings had nothing to do with the article. When I even quoted pieces of the article and referenced them with the correct information, I was ignored completely. They refused to rectify the article or place the rectifying comments I wrote. Awake? Not really. Censure? You bet!

And then the lasts steps; the train itself (not yet the fast edition but the slow-Fyra) has to go in production. Everything is set onto pre-production, again checking the systems one last time. And then on the 7th of September it is finally happening: all systems are live and at 05.00 I’m buying a ticket via the yellow vendor machine on the station of Alkmaar, the whole backup team is stand-by and ‘the first’ departs Rotterdam at 06.00. Fingers crossed and…. YES, it works! Finally after two years of delay we have a running Fyra, which –by the way- is riding on schedule perfectly!

Oh, and are you reading about ‘that expensive’ train, then I would like to invite you to do your own independent investigation (some media are a bit ‘coloured’ in their publishing). For example; a return ticket from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, second class will cost you (in the introduction period) 4 euro’s for a supplement (that is extra on the regular NS ticket). Your gain is 20 minutes per travel, thus 40 minutes for 4 euro’s or 6 euro’s per hour. Is that expensive? I hope, for their sake, that those journalists earn a bit more, but apparently they find themselves expensive at 6 euro’s per hour and therefore they are payed way too much!

vrijdag 11 september 2009

Me @ Capgemini's TestEvent 2009

It went well I think, it felt good and reactions were positive. That must count for something ;-)
Now I'm awaiting the results from the survey held afterwards...exiting!

Here are some pics of me during my presentation on Capgemini's TestEvent 2009 and during the 'thankyou's' at the end.

vrijdag 4 september 2009

Telegraaf's Harry van Gelder blunders bigtime, should have tested his material first

Today a newsitem about Fyra was printed on the frontpage of the dutch newspaper 'de Telegraaf'


According to the article there was a near-collision at Rotterdam with the new high speed train (Fyra) and an intercity from the Hague.
The journalist [Harry van Gelder] writes that the incident happened about 23.30h.

That rang a bell...because that makes the whole article one great farce! And I checked the one fact that made my bell ring:

The last high speed train leaves Rotterdam at 22.00h. (and yes, I know that traines do have a tendency to get delayed but not an hour and a half on a distance of a mile)
So how on earth can it be that de high speed train and an intercity nearly-collisioned at Rotterdam? The only possibility here is that the train mistaken for the high speed train was the normal Intercity between Brussel and Amsterdam, which leaves the Rotterdam station at 22.08h.

I tried to leave a reaction at the newssite of the Telegraaf but for some reason they keep refusing the message....I wonder why they are censuring me?
I think Harry should have tested his info first, before writing this article and making himself guilty of pure rabble-rousing.

***addendum ***

I did some further investigation on the near-collision article.

There was a TESTtrain (new material V250) driving from the HSL track TOWARDS the Rotterdam station (thus not as in the article is stated 'FROM Rotterdam'), it COULD have been around the time of 23.30, but this is still under investigation.
Certain is that this train is not a train in the regular train time table but an extra train due to testing.
This testtrain however was not driving fast or 'raging' as the journalist states, it was especially and carefully regulated over track-network just because of the fact it wasn't a regular train in the timetable.

When the train is driving FROM Rotterdam it couldn't have been the HST, but only the NS Hispeed intercity from Brussel and Antwerp, and then too it couldn't have been raging because then the train just left the station (and it doesn't start with a catapult as far as I know of ;-) )

It still makes the article HIGHLY UNLIKELY and a Monkey's sandwich.

vrijdag 14 augustus 2009

Time flies

Again more than a month has passed since my last Blog, seems like only yesterday I wrote about the introduction of the name Fyra, but the datestamp doesn't lie (in this case) it is really more than a month. Time flies when you're having fun they say, so did I have fun?
Well.... in some cases I really did and in some cases it was just hard work.
I celebrated my vacation in the passed few weeks, so that was the really fun part. I was in Sumar (FR, NL) and some days at home, working on my Miniature House (which is one of my hobbies, you can see pictures of it on my Hyves). I visited the Planetarium of Eijse Eijsingha in Franeker, which I found very interesting! I also visited the seal shelter of Leny 't Hart in Pieterburen (they can use donations :-) ) and we visited SneekWeek for a day.
Before I could enjoy these fun days I had to work my **s off to get everything in order. My project was planned to go live on the 11th of August so everyting had to be allright, because I was to return on the 10th of August. Luckily it did, I finished the work that had to be done AND the project went live succesfully on the 11th (you can now buy tickets for Fyra :-) )
The last news I like to share is that I'm speaker at the Capgemini TestEvent 2009. It's about standardisation, normalization and certification as stable factor within a very rural (test)market. (and I still have to write the whole article :-$ AND make the presentation)
So I guess my time will still be flying the next couple of weeks!

dinsdag 7 juli 2009

And the name is.... FYRA

I haven't been blogging last month, sorry 'bout that. It's been absurdly crazy at my job client-side, testing on different projects, real-life testing with paying customers, etc.
But also starting on the presentationmaterial for EuroSTAR later this year, allthough the deadline is at the 4th of August, due to vacations it had to be done last week.
And off course the beautifull weather didn't work in the favour for blogging either; I have been spending a lot of evenings in the garden, enjoying glasses of (different kinds) Rosé (testing which one appealed to me most ;-) )

But today I had some news I just hád to share. After two years of secrecy and mystery about the name of the train (and believe me; in the different ticketingprojects I have a lot of occasions where the name is an issue). No more 'Albatros' (workname), no more 'XXXX' (sensored name).
From today on I can just say, I work on the ticketing program for FYRA!

And because of the introduction of the name, we all got a fun USB stick in the shape of the train (with a promo film on it)

vrijdag 5 juni 2009

Finally available: MAcceptance

Recently I got into a discussion with a good friend of mine on functionality and usability on the Apple platform, this was emphasized by the fact that the site we were looking on (he on Mac, I on Windows) was working fine on my side of the line, but was not on his.

As he has his business in Graphical Services, a branch common to use the Apple platform extensively, he has lot's of experience and knowledge on usability, graphics AND the Apple. I, on the other hand, have the test expertise. We decided to team up and TADA: MAcceptance testing was born.

Below is the (first) text I wrote on the subject {for now in Dutch}:
And on the website of Studio Tim Keller there is also information {Dutch} and one is able to get in contact with the MAcceptance team.

In de hedendaagse wereld is E-Business niet meer weg te denken. Bedrijven hebben over het algemeen, op zijn minst een website voor informatieve doeleinden, maar nog veel vaker maakt het internet deel uit van de verkoopkanalen of corebusiness. Het maakt hierbij niet uit of het om Business-2-Business of om Business-2-Consumer gaat; feit blijft dat u wilt dat uw internetsite, dan wel applicaties voor een maximale groep gebruikers bereikbaar is.

U heeft, om de kwaliteit te borgen en de risico’s te minimaliseren , uw internettoepassing uitgebreid laten testen. Toch is er naar alle waarschijnlijkheid een grote groep gebruikers waarbij u het risico loopt deze te VERLIEZEN of zelfs in het geheel NIET te bereiken.

Uw tests zullen ongetwijfeld goed voorbereid en uitgevoerd zijn, wellicht zelfs volgens de gebruikelijke methoden als TMap® (Next), TestFrame of ISTQB gebaseerd. Dit is echter gebeurd op het platform dat uw organisatie of uw ontwikkelaar heeft en naar alle waarschijnlijkheid is dit MicroSoft’s Windows©.

Het marktaandeel van Apple stijgt jaarlijks. Hiervan wordt melding gemaakt in diverse artikelen die op het internet gevonden kunnen worden.

Inherent hieraan zal ook het aandeel van uw potentiële en bestaande clientèle die een Apple hebben toenemen.

Uit steekproeven bij diverse sites die een duidelijk commercieel belang van een bedrijf behartigen blijkt dat de groep Apple gebruikers ernstig benadeeld worden bij het gebruik van deze toepassing. Buttons werken bijvoorbeeld anders dan bij een MicroSoft Windows platform of zelfs niet, de vormgeving is geheel anders of zelfs de melding “Deze website ondersteund geen Apple MacIntosh” wordt gegeven.

Wij bieden een mogelijkheid om uw webtoepassing te onderwerpen aan een uitgebreide (Gebruikers)Acceptatietest op de meest gangbare Apple MacIntosh configuraties in ons MacUsabilityLab zoals dit ook is gedaan op het Windows® platform. We zijn thuis in de diverse gestandaardiseerde testmethoden & technieken en zijn specialisten op het gebied van vormgeving en gebruikersvriendelijkheid, zodat we hierbij ook nog gericht kunnen adviseren.

Wil u zelf een Apple MacIntosh configuratie opnemen binnen uw testomgeving dan bieden we de mogelijkheid u hierover te adviseren en/of dit bij u te implementeren en te beheren in aanvulling op uw reguliere systeembeheer.

woensdag 3 juni 2009

TÜV-softwarecertificaat voor vier organisaties [DUTCH]

Vorige week was ik bij de uitrijking van de eerste vier TüV-certificaten voor maintainability (ISO 9126), door mevr. Oudeman, Executive Director Corus Strip Products Division en lid van het Nederlandse Innovatie Platform in het KLM Hoofdkantoor te Amstelveen. Hiervoor was ik uitgenodigd door SIG's (Software Improvement Group) dr. Joost Visser, die met mij in de NEN Normcommissie (NC381007) zit. Op dit moment geeft alleen SIG dit certificaat uit, waarbij ze gecontroleerd wordt (4 eyes principe) door de TüV. Meerdere bedrijven kunnen hiervoor op termijn geaccrediteerd worden, dus ik zie voor mijzelf wel wat missiewerk ontstaan op korte termijn. Zie hieronder het artikel dat gepubliceerd is op de site van Computable

KLM, ProRail, KAS BANK en Rabobank zijn de eerste vier Nederlandse organisaties die een TÜV-certificaat voor door hun gebruikte software in ontvangst hebben mogen nemen. Het TÜV it-certificaat is als kwaliteitsnorm voor de softwareproducerende industrie specifiek gericht op verbetering van de technische kwaliteit van softwaresystemen. Het nieuwe certificaat moet volgens innovatieplatform Software Improvement Group (SIG) uitgroeien tot een nieuwe wereldstandaard.

Het certificaat, dat in samenwerking met het Duitse test- en meetinstituut TÜV is ontwikkeld, is volgens een woordvoerder van SIG -een afsplitsing van het centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI)- bedoeld als aanvulling op de algemene industrienormen. Het certificaat is in het bijzonder gericht op duurzame kwaliteit en transparantie van het product. Het TÜV-certificaat verklaart dat de onderzochte en goedgekeurde softwaresystemen aanpasbaar zijn aan toekomstige veranderingsbehoeften. Wanneer bijvoorbeeld wettelijke eisen om wijziging in de software vragen, moet de software aan te passen zijn. Hetzelfde geldt voor eventuele vereiste aanpassingen bij nieuwe zakelijke scenario´s.

Behalve op flexibiliteit wordt volgens SIG ook gekeken of de onderzochte software bijdraagt aan het terugdringen van kosten en bijdraagt aan het beheer van risico´s. Ook wordt gekeken of de software voldoende ondersteuning biedt bij het vaststellen van duidelijke afspraken tussen klanten en leveranciers in de ict-industrie. Het onderzoek van SIG wordt uitgevoerd op basis van een geautomatiseerde analyse van de broncode.

De Software Improvement Group hoopt dat het nieuwe certificaat transparantie zal bieden in de de kwaliteit van de software. Het innovatieplatform hoopt dat bedrijven door een dergelijke toename in transparantie meer bereid zullen zijn om te blijven investeren in ict en in de innovatie daarvan. Verder verwacht het SIG dat leveranciers het certificaat zullen gebruiken om aan te tonen dat de kwaliteit van hun systeem optimaal is.

For and English version :

donderdag 28 mei 2009

My mobile phone is one hypocrite piece of work!

Since a couple of days I have a new mobile phone, since my old one was very outdated and the new Apple IPhone hasn't arrived yet.

Today I recharged the battery completely for the first time (since I got the thing I already charged it partly a couple of times).

When I looked on the display after a couple of hours a message was shown: Conserve Energy! Please remove the charger from the socket.

And this struck me as hypocrite as can be... because I've never had a mobile device which battery is empty as quickly as this one!

woensdag 20 mei 2009

EuroSTAR 2009 Programme Announcement

Finally, the EuroSTAR programme has been published!

And I'm finally able to tell that I'm in the programme! On a Thursday, my 'Ethics Debate' [doublesession!] has been selected. Julien Bensaid will be my co-speaker.
isn't it great? I'm so thrilled!

zondag 17 mei 2009

LIVEX 2009 - addendum


I allready spotted me in some pictures online, but very small...
In front of the KNRMguy
with my back turned, yellow sweater

and finally :


in this movie at 1.31/ 1.32

I'm the 'victim' (in the yellow blanket), with light yellow sweater, beige pants and bloody leg... my two seconds of fame! ;-)

also seen in this one:

LIVEX 2009

On saturday may 16th I participated as LOTUS in the largest evac-drill in Europe ever; the LIVEX 2009.

The scenario from my point of view:
A ferry of DFDS seaways went out at sea and on deck 7 a fire started. As passengers we are 'requested' to go to deck 8 and 9. I'm on deck 10 with a group of friends when the alarm goes off. A panic. We start to run down, but in the tumult I'm run over by other passengers, fall down the stairs and trampled upon. I'm badly injured; I have a large wound on the right upper thigh, it bleeds very much and I'm going into shock. Friends stay with me; some in psychosomatic shock, some in panic.
My friends, exept one (also my observer because of the shock-play) are directed to the evac point, a perser stays with me (who is VERY uncomftable to stay with me because of the large wound and the shock ;-) ).
After a while I'm evacuated by stretcher to the ship's hospital. There a marine doctor who has been flewn in by heli 'tags' me as T1. I get an IV and oxygen and am carried to the heli-deck to be evacced to the hospital.
-- I have to stop my play, because I'm not really evacced by heli; I don't have educuate training- instead all T1's are evacced by speedboat of KNRM to the shore (this is really awesome! 'high sea',very fast ship!) --
On shore whe have a no-play situation; there are some really sick people (sea sickness and hypothermia) and we cannot play our injuries for SIGMA/ GHOR and Ambu; because they are busy with the real sick. We are brought by bus to the shelter location and this is end-of-practice (alas!)

This day was really, and I mean really awesome!
And there was a lot of media attention (lot's of fotocamera's on board and on shore; on shore there were also filmcamera's), so there's lot's of stuff to be found on the net.

Some links below...

and some more (thanx to my LOTUS colleague Ben!):

zondag 10 mei 2009

Large drill 'Terrorist Attack' in Amsterdam - VUmc

Saturday I participated as "victim" in a very large drill at VUmc in Amsterdam (Testing disasters :-)).
I had an internal injury (Pneumothorax right) and was classified 'T1' - later T2 and in the hospital T1 again. So I got the whole 'traumatreatment' (which also resulted in me going back in bathingsuit and hospital-peejays to the casualties union room, because the cut off my clothes)

There were several newsitems on AT5 and some other articles on the web. And I'm expecting some pictures of my fictive 'brother'. I'm on several pictures actually, but alas I only know It's me because I recognise my sneakers or know I'm at that spot at that time (not recognisable in other words)
Nevertheless the pics are great! ;-)

http://www.blikopnieuws.nl/popup/video/96577 [filmpje!]

Next saturday I will participate in again a large drill (largest sea-safety-drill in Europe till now!), I will write about that next week.

zondag 3 mei 2009

Tester's screenshot...

Normally I make screenshots of software under test, this time the tester herself got screenshot :-)

I went to a fotoshoot to let a pro make some pictures of me, so also the different publications etc. can be illustrated with a better picture then with the one I had on my own disc...

I gave the photographer the instruction to capture - a bit of - my spirit in a business picture (***grin*** kind of impossible I think...). Below is one of the pics. Some others I published on Flickr.

dinsdag 28 april 2009


Finally the winter is over. I had some trouble with the winter this year so I really am glad Spring has sprung. And it has sprung I can tell you that!

I’m full of inspiration and energy. And talking about energy; I saw an article in the computable feature ‘hebben’ (‘wannahaves’) on a laptop bag with solarpanel and with our new way of working I see a lot of new workplaces with an opportunity to enjoy the sun; and because of the solarpanel it’s obligatory to be in the sun the whole time! The good thing about this is also the environmental friendly way of working, solar power doesn’t have a negative effect on our environmental footprint. So not only you’ll feel good because of sitting in the sun (think of the warmth and extra vitamine D!) but also because of the contribution to the environment.

I will mention also the manufacturer is claiming the bag won’t fit all laptops, but will highly probable fit the Apple, Dell, HP and – this is the beautifull part- the IBM Lenovo. Sony and Toshiba will be condemned to their desk with airconditioning for the time being.

For more information (http://www.voltaicsystems.com/bag_generator.shtml). It will come with a price though; it’s about 500 dollar, but it will buy you some freedom and a lot of sunshine!

Happy spring (and summer)!

zondag 12 april 2009

Multiple keys and crashes

Sometimes I run into a couple of picture on 'cheezburgers' I really, really like and can't resist share them with more people! See the three below of kittehs who like to test multiple keys and the system crash...ENJOY!

What if...

A friend of mine once told me that sharing dreams would help them come true. I'm not so supersticious, but I can't help but thinking; what if...
So here are some dreams and wishes that I have...

- travel to: Australia, Indonesia, China and Peru (backpack and adventurous), rest in the Sheychels...
- build a log-house and live totally selfsupportive (wind energy, solar power, heliophytephilters and my own beehyve for the honey!)
- see the Niagara falls and get wet from the spray...
- see the sunset from the Kylimanjaro...
- for once get breakfast in bed, I can't remember the last time I got one...
- Paraglide
- Dive at the Great barrier reef
- Pick my own Hibiscus on Hawaii of Mauii, wriggle my toes in the black sand...

I think I'm gonna dream on a little further!

donderdag 9 april 2009

Article on drill firedepartment Castricum (Dutch)

Below an article on a drill of the firedepartment of Castricum, held in March.
I'm on the picture (casualties union) playing a hysterical woman in a burning vehicle. I have to be rescued by cutting the door en with bodyboard, because I'm stuck in the car. Cool huh!

woensdag 8 april 2009

Spring Stresstest

Feels like I'm putting myself to the test at this moment, the stresstest to be exact. How many things, tasks and thoughts can one handle at one time; well I can tell you that it is 'many' when it's positive and 'none' if they're not.
Fortunately at this moment it's all very positive what's happening and I'm handling with ease. I think some of it has to do with the sunshine in the air, some of it with the fact that some of my projects I'm testing on are finally showing 'OK's', some of it because of news I got, the brilliant LOTUS (Casualties Union) work I scored and some of it because of history that's catching up and catching fire.

vrijdag 27 maart 2009

Just another bad day...

How (a bad day) day fills itself with impressions:

No parkingspace at station; GRMBL
A long walk through pouring rain to station; GRMBL ánd bad hairday...
Train 17 minutes late; GRMBL
Clerk at shop finds it necessary to 'be smart' ; JUST LISTEN AND GIVE WHAT I ASKED
Test, software not OK; HMMMM
Test2, first bug gone, second one found; HMMMM
Test3, blocking, stop testing; GRMBL
Make report using lots of bright and happy colours to make NOGO message a happy one?
Most men in 1st class coach have stupid shawls; STUPID!!!
Men with Fisherman's Friends find it necessary to smack their lips; IRRITATING!!!
Men in first class stare at you (I'm wearing jeans and sweater) because they think you are in first 'illegal', just to look outside or in the paper after the conducteur came by and 'OK-ed' my ticket; IDIOTS (and SNOBS!)
Man in first class found it necessary to wriggle himself through people on the balcony of train just to find at the station that everybody has to get out there (that was the reason everybody was on the balcony perhaps?): STUPID!!!
Long walk back to car; GRMBL
Husband has really awfull 'music' on at home; GRMBL
I'm starting to really get a cold; GRMBL

vrijdag 13 maart 2009

NS BusinessCard especially business for NS (Dutch Railways)

One of my intentions for this year is making use of my NS Businesscard optimally now this card is also available for employees of our company without a leasecar. But apparently the advantage is mostly for the Dutch Railways themselves!

I commute between Alkmaar and Amsterdam on daily bases by thirst class coach. I don’t buy a return-ticket, because it is cheaper to buy a single trip in the morning (rush hour tariff) and a single trip in the afternoon (reduced tariff) in combination with a ‘Reduction hours cars’ (dutch: voordeelurenkaart). (EUR 21,20 v.s. EUR 18,40).
With the businesscard I get a discount of 13% in the rush hour period and a reduction of 20% in the reduced tariff period. A return ticket with the business card costs EUR 18,44.
I seems cheaper to use the businesscard because the reductioncard also costs money (EUR 55,00/ year), but this isn’t entirely true.

With the businesscard, I can’t take somebody with me on reduced tariff and with the reductioncard I can. If I use the reductioncard next to the businesscard the advantage is more visible. With my contruction of buying a single trip in the morning and in the afternoon, I pay EUR 16,90. After 37 days the break-even point for my reductioncard is reached. The businesscard hasn’t given me a ‘hughe’ advantage except the 13% in rush-hour.

Now this seems a nice benefit, but not everything is like it seems. This benefit is only applicable when booked via internet. On the internet no costs are calculated, when using the phone the costs are ’10 eurocents par minute (plus the costs of your mobile provider)’. And then the misery really starts: a voice response system. I don’t know if anybody has ever used a similar system, then you probably know what menace this can be!

The computer doesn’t tolerate any backgroundnoises. It starts with the originating station. I can now tell from experience that ‘Alkmaar Noord’ apparently sounds like ‘Emmeloord’ and all other places ending on ‘Noord’ or ‘Oord’. Sometimes even stations like ‘Horst Sevenum’, ‘Schiedam’and ‘Amersfoort Schothorst’ are confirmed and I can’t imagine my speech is that miserable. I can imagine that by getting more and more frustrated you try to articulate more and more and the computer understands less and less of this (not to mention the surprised faces on the platforms). The average time a call lasts is 6 minutes, the longest call was 12 where I finally had to record my journey on a tape so a typist could insert my journey later on. ‘The computer was very sorry, but couldn’t understand my journey’, I couldn’t either: Rotterdam Blaak to Leeuwarden via AlkmaarNoord before nine o’clock in the morning. The costs for a call are from EUR 0,60 to EUR 1,20 average. My profits with the businesscard are thus reduced to ‘nihil’ when using the card for which it is intended: traveling by train.

But apparently there are also all kinds of other extra’s. Like the Hispeed Businesslounge. In Utrecht open till 22.00 (other locations 20.00), always handy when waiting on the train after a practicemeeting which lasted till ten.

Or what about the SMART that awaits on a station. Easy access; businesscard against the window (reservations to be made first), businesscard in the computer and the glove compartment opens with the fuel card, parking card and keys are inside.
How convenient… well it should for EUR 10 per hour!
Mind; at SIXX a smart costs EUR 5 per day and at the Smart dealer EUR 5 lease, per day. When reservations are made you can rent a smart at Herz (directly situated behind the station of Utrecht) for EUR 20,00 a day.

When traveling to Papendorp by bus (before 6 o’clock this is easily done) and back to the station by taxi I travel much cheaper. The bus costs EUR 2,40 and the taxi (UTC) EUR 12,50, which adds up to EUR 14,90. Last time I rented the NS Smart from 16.30 – 22.30 I paid EUR 60,- . When renting a taxi via the businesscard the taxi is more expensive mind you, because you have to book from a preferred supplier.

The OV Bike I haven’t tried yet. But because of my experiences I wonder if there is any advantage or that it is also an empty gesture.

The next huge advantage is parking at the station. Normally I park for free, but sometimes I have to park at a paid lot. A day ticket costs EUR 3.90. With the business card I pay EUR 3.40. I find this a huge profit! - NOT

The last benefit of the businesscard I tried is the HOTSPOT pre-paid account for EUR 9,95.
Ever tried to connect to the internet, make a VPN connection AND download your mail in the time a train stops at a station? You better pray that an old lady with rollator wants to get the train and the conductor is nice enough to wait.

There are even some disadvantages of using the businesscard (which is also a OV card) where I won’t get into in this blog, which is long enough already.
It’s nice to have a card which is supposed to give a lot of profit, but in this case the profit isn’t that obvious. Despite my good intentions.

donderdag 19 februari 2009

Municipality Menace

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday (a big thanks for everybody who send me a message!) and it was fun until the evening, then the municipality of Alkmaar thouroughly ruined my day within ten minutes of time!

In the evening we decided to go out for dinner. Our choice was 'the Eetpaleis' in the center of Alkmaar. It was a quarter passed seven as we drove away from home and arrived in the city center round half past seven. We parked in a street called 'Laat', and walked to the parking machine. Mind you: it is February, no shops are open because it's wednesday, no events and Alkmaar wants you to pay for parking till eight in the evening (idiocy!). But okay; I call my husband, because I left my wallet at home. My husband only has his paycard with him, because he also didn't expect a fee for parking at this time. We decide to walk over to the bank to load money on the 'chipknip' (sort of e-purse) to pay for the parking. As we come walking back there is it; a parking ticket!

For 50 EURO's (plus the hourly fee of 2,30 EUR) and the parking survaillance is no-where to be seen anymore! So, my dinner was ruined, no money for desert now.... It is now 46 past 7 (about ten minutes have passed since we went to the bank and returned to the car, the car is still hot of driving) and I'm angry and frustrated like hell! Happy birthday by the Alkmaar Municipality Menace.
A funny happy birthday card

zondag 15 februari 2009

Sustainability Testing

In the last couple of months I've been seeing more and more articles, messages and initiatives (http://www.blackle.nl/ (claiming black is more environmental friendly than white, because the pixels use less energy)) about the environment and IT. The latest was a large frontpage issue on the 'Automatisering Gids' (a weekly, dutch, newspaperlike magazine about IT), about 'Green (web)Sites'.
Then it occured to me that a new quality characteristic is 'born', not yet foreseen in both TMap(R)'s or ISO 9126 list of characteristics: Sustainability.

Sustainability is affiliated to efficiency I think, but doens't cover the overtones.
Sustainability is a set of attributes that bear on what degree the software will be sparingly on the (ecological) environment
  • use of energy/ energy-saving
  • supportive of environmental initiatives (i.e. webbased that reduces travel)
  • climate neutrality

A colleague of mine also talked about testing in the light of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR. So I think this is one aspect of the three area's mentioned in there (People, planet en profit). I see a whole market for testingspecialists in the area of sustainability (perhaps wearing goat-haired socks and using solar-powered laptops). There's still a lot to be developed on this area, but the world is changing into a more envrionmental focussed one, so I thing sustainability will be a serious topic to research for testing goals. And to be far ahead of things, I even think the 'people' part will be a characteristic to be tested one day.

'Humanability', a set of attributes that all bear on what degree the software supports the well-being of people, is affiated to usability, but doesn't quite cover the overtones.... I will meditate on this a bit further....

zaterdag 14 februari 2009


With money you can...

Buy a house, but not a home
Buy a clock, but not time
Buy a bed, but not sleep
Buy sex, but not love
Buy a book, but not knowledge
Buy status, but not respect

free translation of a chinese saying

donderdag 12 februari 2009

Well begun is half done…

2009 has just started but already the publications on software and the bugs they contain are starting to come in my mailbox regularly. The ‘automatiseringsgids’ as well as the blog of Michael Bolton (the tester, not the singer) publish about the top 25 blunders made in software that lead to cybercrime. (http://www.automatiseringgids.nl/Technologie/Software/2009/3/Expertgroep%20publiceert%20top%2025%20softwaremissers.aspx (Dutch) and http://www.developsense.com/2009/01/most-serious-programming-error.html)
If I’m to believe the saying ‘well begun is half done’ then I have half a job to do this year! Uhmmm… can I put some questionmarks here?

2009 has just started and the ‘calls for papers’ and invitations are pouring into my mailbox. A super start thus! I saw a call for paper from EuroSTAR some time ago and to my horror I realized the deadline is on the 27th of February! I saw a very good initiative from our own Knowledge SIG to boost the (testing)information on [internal]wiki; every third Monday in a month they organize a writers evening. I saw an invitation to a SEPA training and the invitation from TestNet for their first meeting. This is where I really start to doubt the saying… this good start doubles my work instead of halving it!

So I hereby can say: I tested the ‘well begun is half done’ statement and concluded that it failed. My advice on this is to change the saying to a more accurate approach. Well begun, means lots of work still has to be done!
Please comment for all other suggestions!

Have a good 2009 with loads of activities within the testing profession!

***this Blogpost is from my column in our Internal Newsletter on Testing ***

zondag 1 februari 2009

Testing and Ethics II

I held a common house discussion last week on this subject at my office, with help of a colleague. Alas there where a lot of no-shows, so the group was small. Fortunately the people who showed up where fanatic and did some good work on the discussion.

I had prepared, again with help of a colleague, 10 statements on which half of the group were obligated to defend this statement (pro) and the other half were obligated to take the opposition (against). This made it really fun and answers where suprising at least! I'm writing a piece (synopsis) to submit for EuroSTAR 2009 in Stockholm toghether with another colleague for a workshop because I would really like to follow up seriously on this subject.

Don't underestimate the power of the Dark side... is a famous quote among fans an is surely applicable on this subject.

Below are the statements I prepared, I you would like to contribute to this discussion please leave a comment or look for the discussion on LinkedIn - groups.
Have fun!

  • You can break the law to get meet your test goals

  • To protect yourself and/ or your company you may not mention (certain) results

  • Manipulation of test is allowed:

    • Execute only the right-paths

    • Execute only cases you know will have a positive result

    • Execute those cases where you want to have the answers on

  • You must always tell the truth

  • You must always be able to use Privacy sensitive data to test

  • You can drop test cases to your own insight if necessary to be ready on time

  • You must always pass on your work when your own standards and values get into a corner

  • As tester you should set aside your own standards and values to test thoroughly

  • As tester you shouldn’t have professional ethical code because it hinders the good execution of tests

  • Testing and ethics don’t mix

vrijdag 23 januari 2009

A testers life for me!

I had a fantastic week this week, full of creativity, energy, ideas and good conversations. Surprises and - allthough work got tough this week on my projects and I mad tooooooo much hours- a very satisfying week worth of work. Not only this week but also the week before that was very much full of positive energy.
The world around me maybe in crisis financially, I'm determined to keep up the good faith!

I did a couple of 'speeddatesessions' on schools with girls who have to choose their profile this year. As a woman who has done the Bèta profile and studied something technical (resp; Chemical Technology, Food Technology and IT) I'm proud to be a 'mirrorimage' or rolemodel for VHTO (www.vhto.nl) and I hope to excite these girls (3 HAVO/VWO) to choose a 'NT' profile.

I did loads of development, research and writing on testing (some things for internal use, so sorry I can't publish them here) and I've still loads of info in my head. I did 1 entry for EuroSTAR individually and have 2 still to be entered (so it will get late this evening for I plan to finish the draft versions this evening)

I had two very good conversations these week. One was on code-reviewing and certificationlevels hereoff and the second was on ExpertGroup Development and controversial / innovative developement within the Testing profession AND - very important - the human side of the profession. With IfSq and TestValue respectively. Gentlemen: again my thanks to both of you for the very inspirational talks and compliments! I have allready ordered special extra wide shoes so I won't be able to walk besides them (of course they are 'IS SHOES' (see entry earlier).
Also I would like to mention in this light: I'm going to do research the upcoming period and rethink some topics discussed! To be continued!

I did my first NEN session today. It was an introductary session where everybody introduced himself / herself and where goals where clarified. I expect great things from this group and look forward to the upcoming timeperiod in which the sessions to develop the standard on softwaretesting are going to be held.

I got my official certificate by snailmail on 'Senior Test Engineer' (SE2) also OpenGroup certification level 1. And a beautyfull bouquet of my employer!

Last Highlight was the surprise of a colleague who suddenly appeared at work for a visit (an short meeting) since long time of sickness. I thought this the most bright moment of the week since not only I but also my colleague was involved!

and cheezeburgers was particularily funny this week... but this was not really an important highlight, but made some happy moments anyway.

Yep, a testers life for me!