Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas toys for testers

It's nearly Christmas! Yay!

As a bit of fun, I thought I would alter a couple of traditional toys or games to make them ideal for testers! When you find yourself in a long and difficult bug triage meeting, get this tester twister game out and everyone will laughing by the end.
Or what about this for your desk?

Do you have any ideas on changing a game or toy so it's perfect for a tester?

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Bugs anyone?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Press the Bug key!

For when you're having a bad day at work and you can't find any bugs:

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Creativity Rocks

The latest issue of The Testing Planet is now available. It includes a centre spread with my ideas on being creative as a software tester. Here's a glimpse:
On that note, I am proud of the work I've done - on this blog and especially that centre spread in the Planet. This is hard for me to say, I'm usually reserved and at times embarrassed about the cartoons I draw! But if I hadn't overcome my shyness this blog would never be.

I often think as testers we are reluctant to 'shine'. We keep hearing messages like testing has no value, testing is a cost, testing is dead, testing is a bottleneck, testing doesn't add quality, testing can be automated - no wonder we hide. Some of these messages are true, yet we can still perform well as testers, be proud of our work and add value as members in a development team. Recently I’ve been thinking that we need to ‘show off’ our work better, or to use more business like words, we need to visualize our work so other team members and stakeholders can have a deeper and thorough understanding of testing and it’s status, or as Michael Bolton says, we need to tell the testing story. One other way is to be transparent in your approach to work, or… be more like the naked tester! This cartoon was published in one of the first editions of the Planet but I somehow forgot to post it to the blog.

Do check the latest Testing Planet, it’s Awesome! Rumour has it that the centre spread will also be available as a poster - AwesomeX2

Monday, 19 November 2012

The cloud

Friday, 16 November 2012

Lessons Learned On A Running Tour Of Amsterdam

Last week I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at EuroSTAR in Amsterdam. This is my third year attending the event and one I won't easily forget. It was great to catch up with testers and meet new ones. I found the keynotes specially good, the seminars were very informative and gave me plenty to think about. The evening social events were, as expected, great!
All this fantastic testing stuff left me with just 1.5 hours spare for sight-seeing, by the time I got into Amsterdam centre I would need to get back again... this called for the Running Tour! I got my shorts on, my free EuroSTAR t-shirt, trainers/snickers, a map of Amsterdam. I checked the map, decided a rough route to run and off I went!
Since testing was in my head (due to conference about testing) I was thinking how testing related to things I observed in my run... See lessons learned below the drawing.

Here are possible software testing lessons learned for each finding above.

1. You can only found certain bugs using different tests types/techniques. Vary your testing and the tools you use.

2. Experience and skills count in testing. 

3. As testers we often raise bugs which can come across negatively. How about saying something positive about the software on a regular basis?

4. There are certain things that you shouldn’t do as a tester. A possible example: don’t use live private data for testing.

5. Isn’t software about the look and feel? So don’t just look… feel!

6. Going off in tangents is a MUST in software testing. What tangents is the question!

7. There are no best practices in software testing. The running tour did me no favours for this area of Amsterdam.

8. Documenting while you test can be very useful especially when you get ‘lost’. Use video recording tools.

9. Often more info is required to make assessments on the software you are testing. It turns out the man was a teacher and had nothing to do with the war.

10. Many features can be accessed via different means, some bugs will only show themselves one or two of those means.

11. Explore, explore, explore! You never know what you’ll find. 

Running Tour: If you haven't much time, then do a running tour. Set a rough route of what you will look for and start running. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Bug Magic

The main idea for this cartoon came from a developer I work with. We were both working on a difficult project where there was lots of scope creep, unreliable technology, and a few other project smells. Bugs seem to appear and disappear at their own will. The bugs seem to be working as a team, one bug would sacrifice itself and gather all of our attention so the other bugs could enjoy a life of freedom.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


I'm not a fan of Halloween (it's too scary!) but it seems to be an ever growing trend in the UK, so here's my quick attempt to be 'trendy':

... I do wonder... if bugs did have Halloween parties, which costume (i.e. tester) would be the most popular? Or would it be a Test Driven Develop'er? My bet is on the evil tester.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Inevitable Breakup

My wife thinks I love bugs... I don't know where she gets these ideas from...

Thanks for all who have already completed the Cartoon Tester merchandise questionnaire. If you haven't completed it yet, I would really appreciate if you could spend a minute or two answering just 3 questions. Thanks!


Thursday, 11 October 2012

3 steps

Steve Irwin was one of my heroes when I was a kid… OK, I was 22. Looking back at his adventures, I’m convinced he would’ve made an awesome tester. I remember watching one of his programs, he was driving a 4x4 in the outback at say 60 miles per hour and suddenly he spotted a tiny snake 40 yards off the road (by crikey)! I wonder if I could spot a bug under comparable conditions?!!!

Here’s a simple diagram on how you can spot and raise bugs in three simple steps (don’t be fooled, it really isn’t that easy!!).
I think this image would make for a good t-shirt (IMHO), with that in mind I’m considering in producing a book with the cartoons and some t-shirts & mugs. But before I invest, I feel I should listen to some advice from Dragon’s Den and do a bit of market research. I would really appreciate if you could complete 3 multiple choice questions in my questionnaire… (it’s only 3 questions – it will take you a minute or less).
Thank you :)

Friday, 17 August 2012


two reasons: you are measuring something that is hard to measure and it takes time to record the metrics, time you could have spent testing.

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Yeah! It's the Olympics! Let the games begin...

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Testers growing up

Here's another cartoon printed in the The Testing Planet issue 7.
There's a caption competition in the latest issue. Please have a look at the cartoon and see if you can come up with the best caption. The winner receives a book!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A bug is a bug

I created the following cartoon for ExpoQA, a software testing conference in Madrid, Spain. I had a great experience attending the conference during 2010, one of the highlights was meeting testers from different countries as well as from different continents! I hope this fact comes across well with the cartoon, even if it's about bugs ;)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Pair Testing

The Test Bash has come and gone and what a great 1st conference it was from the STC team. One of the highlights for me was the group testing session led by Markus Gärtner & Huib Schoots. I had the good fortune to pair up with with David Evans (who gave an interesting talk on visualising testing). Although I was still "bricking-it" as my talk was coming up later, I thought we made a good team. David took the wheel (it was his laptop!), we decided to learn what the application was about before drilling down on any specific area. As we toured through the app, I made notes on our observations. By the end of the exercise, we had a good idea of the app's functionality and we managed to identify a few major defects! Good job well done I say!
I've not tried pair testing before (at least not the way we did it at Test Bash). I thought it was a good approach and one that I wanted to try out on a 'real' project rather than just as an exercise. I'm about to start a new project at work and with Adam Brown, we plan to take the testing challenge with pair testing. Wish us luck!

Thursday, 15 March 2012


The latest issue of the Testing Plannet is available now, it includes a centre spread (which looks just great!):  "Ten reasons why you fix bugs as soon as you find them" by Matt Archer & me. The issue also includes a couple of my cartoons.

Here's a cartoon from the previous issue about DDP:

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

the caption winner is... [and a cartoon about freedom!]

Thank you all for your suggestions. I found it really hard to decide which one was my faviourite as there were so many great captions! I ended up asking a fellow tester (Adam Brown) to help out with the judging. I then narrowed it down to Christian's caption. It's not only funny but a reminder that bug graphs/metrics don't tell the full Quality picture. Thanks Christian! And thank you all who took part. I may do a similar exercise again in the future...

Slightly random, but I came up with the following cartoon from the above cartoon and a discussion on STC about movie quotes relating to testing.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Guess the caption

In a recent post I asked if you could guess what my original idea for the cartoon was. I received loads of feedback about the cartoon which made me think I should do more posts like it.
Today's cartoon is missing the caption/s. Can you suggest any ideas? You could come up with a the title, a subtitle or a (or a couple) of speech bubbles from the bugs. Give it a go and leave a comment. I'll update the cartoon in a few days with my favourite response.

Friday, 24 February 2012

The art of bug reporting

This cartoon was first printed in the STC's The Testing Planet.

... Like a good artist, you'll know when to follow the rules (of thumb) and when not to.

Monday, 20 February 2012

How a developer feels

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Before Computers

There's a hidden message in the cartoon that I wanted to highlight. But thinking about it, there are a few messages the cartoon could be highlighting. So, please leave a comment if you have an idea of what the cartoon could teach us about testing. Thanks!! I wonder if anyone will guess my original idea for the cartoon...

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Curiosity. If cats were testers

I did a few of the cat and mouse cartoons last Summer but somehow failed to post them in 2011. Here's one now:

What you believe life is, affects the way you live. What you believe testing is, affects the way you test.

That’s why it’s important, in my opinion, for testers to understand what testing is about and how test approaches differ between testers. That’s the reason I think the concept of Schools of Testing can be helpful.

The Schools of Testing is a way of grouping testing approaches so that it’s easier to differentiate between each one. Although the schools can seem divisive, it does help in identifying, or at least pointing to, the big Why of testing. Why did you test it that way? Why didn’t you test it in this other way? Why are you following this approach or this process?

Here’s how I would answer the big Why of testing: I believe that each software development project is unique. Each will have its own problems and to be efficient, will require new solutions. For Testers, they will have new bugs to find, some will be very similar to previous projects and some will come as a surprise. That is why I count myself in the Context Driven School. Testers need to be inquisitive, alert, sceptical and thinking of brand new ways to make testing faster or better or both. Software development projects will need curious testers who want to learn quickly about the software under test.

Michael Bolton spoke at last year’s CAST conference, the main topic was Context Driven Testing. The write up of the talk is here. He discusses the helpfulness and unhelpfulness of the school of testing and describes Context Driven characteristics:

For additional background reading, you might want to read this where Brett Pretticord gave a presentation on four schools of testing.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Testability Explained

James Bach has written up a list of heuristics around Testability. Definitely worth a read.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Sh*t Testers Say

There are quite a few videos going round on YouTube about rubbish certain people say about certain stuff (YouTube it, some are very funny!).

I thought: "I should do a video about testers!" And here it is, I used me and the rubbish I say to get the content (so don't be [too] offended). Hope you like it:

I will endeavour to post cartoons in the very near future :)

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Happy New Year everyone!

Sorry I've gone missing all these weeks, hope you didn't miss me too much ;)

Here's an info-graphic I created and was printed in the latest The Testing Planet, it took me forever to create this!
They are now asking for articles for the next issue if you're interested. Also, STC are launching Ministry of Testing, with the James Bach leading a Rapid S/W Testing course. I was lucky enough to attend this same course early last year. By far the best training course I've attended, and I've attended a few now!

Due to other commitments, I've had to put this blog on hold. Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things in February (of this year!!).