7 Practical Software Testing Tips from TestBash Presenters
7th February 2016
We gathered some practical software testing tips for you from presenters of TestBash Brighton, the most awesome software testing conference out there!

Dancing a New JIG! – Mark Tomlinson

At the last TestBash 2015, Simon Knight guided the class through the essentials of using JMeter to get started with performance testing. Most of the class jumped and started dancing to the beat with one of the most complex open source performance testing tool you can find. Recently I’ve been taking time to learn a few new dances with JMeter, namely a new JIG (Jmeter + InfluxDB + Grafana). Jmeter gives you a tremendously powerful load testing engine, but it gives oodles of output that’s hard to manage and especially hard to visualize to the non-performance tester world. InfluxDB is a time-series database written in GO that is really easy to install and performs quite well to receive all the data from JMeter. It forms the data repository for all your testing and monitoring results, giving you a “SQL-ish” query language for a non-sql data store. Grafana is a great server for taking the JMeter data from InfluxDB and visualizing it over-time. It also installs in just a few seconds and gives you really nice tools and plugins for visualizing all that crazy sampler data. If you’re looking to take your JMeter talent to the next level, get up and dance a new JIG today!

Mind mapping FTW – even if you’re distributed! – Lisa Crispin

Got a problem to solve? Get your teammates involved and get your creative juices flowing with mind mapping. If you’re co-located, pick up some markers and paper or a whiteboard. If you’re distributed, fire up one of the many online mind mapping tools that support real-time collaboration. My current favorite free tool is MindMup 2.0.

Here’s an example. Me and the other tester on our team are in different states. She was in our office last week. We wanted to brainstorm about our team’s current testing approach and what we want to do for 2016. We mind mapped on our whiteboard and came up with so many ideas! Then we put the mind map into MindMup 2.0 and are continuing to work on it together now that we’re in different locations. It’s helping me write a blog post explaining how we do testing, in hopes of attracting a new tester candidate. Meanwhile, our original mind map is up on the board for the rest of the team to peruse.

Creative spaces for creative thinking! – Christina Ohanian

Build creative spaces to support your team’s creative thinking’. Sometimes it’s hard to ‘think outside the box’ when we feel like we’re in a confined space, which doesn’t allow the mind to flow with ideas, thoughts or even emotions. One of the most important elements to building great teams (whether you’re part of an agile team or a member of a discipline department) is allowing the mind to wonder, and sometimes a change of scenery can be the key to cracking a particular problem.

To get you started, here are 4 quick tips:

  1. Working Walls – Include a space or area for displaying your work, actions or decisions. This keeps teams working towards the collective goals and encourages collective thinking.
  2. Creative Corners – No spare room? Carve out a creative corner. Don’t let the lack of space stop you from building breakout areas and a change of scenery for the team.
  3. Desk Diversity – We all know that conversation is key, so don’t talk about co-locating and pairing – just pair! Grab your laptop and sit next to the person you need to collaborate with and move that pending ticket into ‘Done’!
  4. Free Furniture – Whether you have a spacious office or are working in a startup studio, modular furniture is always a great option to get people building spaces for quick huddles or meeting spaces. So get everyone standing around a table or just remove the table itself and use seats. Don’t get too caught up on aesthetics – break the rules!

Security Testing Secret Sauce – Dan Billing

So, if you want to do security testing, or learn security testing, the best thing you can possibly do is practice, practice, PRACTICE!!! You can’t just pick up any app you find or have access to and hack about with it without permission. That can get you free accommodation at Her Majesty’s pleasure, for a long time, probably an ankle tag, and all your fancy toys being taken away.

Start small, learn fast. I used the material at OWASP to get me started, using their open source tools against their free, buggy training applications. I spoke to my peers and identified mentors in the testing community. They helped me develop my skills, confidence and knowledge; but at the same time challenging me to do better. I used as many online learning resources as possible, such as Troy Hunt’s Hack Yourself First and Ethical Hacking courses. They are brilliant. Also, I spoke to my colleagues in Ops and Development, and learned from them.

After that, it’s a case of practice. Lots of it. Security testing can be hard, and like anything hard it’s really worthwhile. Being able to help protect your businesses and clients from attack is a great way to add value to your teams and improve your personal skill set.

You can’t force design – Abby Bangser

Source: http://guycookson.com/2015/06/26/design-vs-user-experience/

Tiny tips – Anna Baik & Andrew Morton

TinyTip1: if you only have one expert in your team, make sure that they really do not want to remain the sole expert, and you’ll be okay.

TinyTip1: When you’re picking a tool/library/framework/whatever, it’s not the first 90% of what you can do with it that makes it usable. It’s the last 10% of stuff it won’t do without major coaxing, or won’t do at all ever, that kills you.

Quality shouldn’t have any bounds – Abby Bangser

For every silo we break down, we seem to raise another. When we realized we needed more collaboration between developers and operations, we created a silo-ed DevOps role. Check out to see how we as testers can get engaged in that space.