On trolls and men. Summary of a lightning talk.

I had my first talk at a conference hooray!

It was exciting, it was interesting and it was challenging for me. So, having in mind my inability to write short stuff and the way I always add more and more, my lightning talk preparation really helped me master a new skill and not try to squeeze 30 min lecture in 5 mins.

The conference is called QA challenge accepted and is a local conference about software testing in Bulgaria, where I am from. There’s a lot to say how exactly the idea of the testing troll came to me and what were the previous versions of the talk that I rejected, but that will be sometimes in future.

The purpose of this post is to make  a summary of the talk and a bit of an analysis of the parts where I’ve messed up. So here are the slides.

There was a short introduction that I made which was something like:

I am here to present for you a couple of advises from my good friend, mentor and spiritual guide – The testing troll.

Wisdom #1: The testing troll doesn’t follow “best practices”

The testing troll is a strange animal, once I asked him: “Why don’t you follow the best practices in testing? Everyone uses them, they are approved by the community?”. And he answered something like that:

“See, every time I hear the words “Best practices” I recall when I was a little troll, there was this guy on the TV, wearing golden trinkets and rings. He was selling this magic frying pan, where you could fry fish, after that a meatball, after that eggs and tastes wont mix. Finally you can bake some milk in it and just wipe with a piece of paper and take the pan back to the drawer like nothing ever happened.”

Note: The above might not be comprehensible for anyone who didn’t grew up in Bulgaria, but in my childhood there was a commercial show, selling crappy goods and that’s one part of it. 
So, much like the frying pan, “best practices” are probably a useful tool, but not for all cases. After all, in life in general, there’s no such thing that works in all cases, there are methods and strategies that work, but only being applied in the right context. Each one of us should decide on his/hers own, what methods and practices to use.

Plus, as the testing troll says, “we have to use it because everyone does” is a really dumb argument.

Wisdom #2: The testing troll is not a manual tester, nor automation.

The testing troll doesn’t like the labels “manual” and “automation” tester. He isn’t manual, because isn’t only using his hands and when asked why he isn’t automated, he responded: “None of my body parts is automated, I am pure organic.”

Note: Organic, by that I actually wanted to make a joke with all the organic buzz that is out there right now, but as I think of it more and more, “testing is organic” and I can add some serious proves about it, in a future blog post. 

The main problem, he thought, is that both labels lay on the false assumption that testing is a process that could be performed by anyone, and that testing is process that could be defined in a finite sequence of steps.

And this is not true – testing is a mental activity and being a mental activity it is constructed by mental sub-activities – exploration, analysis, evaluation, selection of strategies and methods for action, application of strategies and actions, evaluation and analysis of the results.

The testing troll believes that any type of testing is performed in the mind and depending on the context, any good tester could decide if he or she would perform it using tools or not.

Wisdom #3: The testing troll treats tools like tools.

The testing troll likes going to testing conferences, to meet the community and learn new stuff. Unfortunately, people don’t talk about testing in testing conferences any more, they talk about tools – how to configure them, how to use them.

The testing troll doesn’t understand people’s passion to replace human testing with a machine one. Machine testing could only replace certain actions, but not interaction, as with the testing of a skilled human tester.

Note: I totally messed here and I forgot what I was about to say. I skipped the rest of this part and moved to next slide, so I don’t waste time and screw up totally. 🙂

As a result, many shallow and inaccurate checks are thrown out there, trying to make us believe that quantity could replace quality, totally missing the fact it doesn’t in any way improve quality of testing, or the information that we obtain, by doing it.

After all, instead of extending their abilities with tools, people are actually shortening them, waiting for tools to do the work, instead of them.

Wisdom #4: The testing troll knows about certification.

One day, while sitting in his cave and testing, someone knocked on the cave door. It was some travelling salesman from some federation.”Come to a certification course”, he said “you will be able to become super giga mega testing troll within three days, plus we are going to give you a certificate about that. And it’s going to cost you just 99.99”.

And the testing troll thought a little bit. All the other testing trolls in his homeland, Troland, have the certificate for being super giga mega certified testing trolls, how does that make him different, then. Plus, every time he went to an interview, people were interested in what he could really do, not if he had a certificate. Also, the cave was small, there was no additional place for another piece of rock to place the certificate on, plus everyone who got inside get eaten, so any way. He sent him away.

Note: Troland is a name I made up to make it funnier, by just combining “troll” and “land”. It’s not meant to mock any real country’s name or insult anyone. 

Wisdom #5: The testing troll believes testing is exploratory by nature.

The testing troll believes that any type of testing is exploratory. Its purpose is to help us expand our understanding about the product. Each test we are performing is a valid scientific experiment, which we perform against hypothesis we have. In software testing we call such hypothesis – testing oracles. Each test is interesting only when it gives us new information. Repetition of an experiment could be of interest to us only when we want to test the system for its internal consistency – if same input conditions lead to the same output results.

A test or experiment wouldn’t be helpful if it doesn’t provides us with information which we could apply in our further testing.

That was my lightning talk. It was meant to be provoking, amusing and share some opinion, hope it worked and based on the feedback it was interesting for the audience. Of course, there’s so much more to improve in doing lightning talks for me, but it was a challenge definitely.

Thanks for reading. 🙂


Test conf calendar page is live!

I’ve done some changes to my blog, as you might noticed. Besides the fact that I changed the theme, so it doesn’t look like my grandma made the design of it 🙂

I had the idea to make sort of page with all testing conferences I know and have their information and links to their websites, but it turned out it isn’t that easy. So, the idea was dormant for some period of time and now I finally figured it out. Turns out there’s a nice plugin for calendar events that does magnificent job about it. So, it’s done and you can find it in my blog here: http://mrslavchev.com/events/

Some important things to say.

I wish to state explicitly, I am in no way involved in the organisation of any of the mentioned conferences or have any material benefit of listing them. The only reason why I do this is the community of testers that I belong to and the fact that I was looking for such place, where all software testing conferences are listed and I couldn’t find it. That’s why I decided to build it on my own. So, this is a community thing and aims to help community members find conferences easier, get to their site, find local events etc. It all depends on the community and their interest in it.

Some credits, that I need to give.

I didn’t do this all by myself. In fact, long after the idea came to my mind I came up to a list of conferences located here: http://testingconferences.org/ and maintained by Chris Kenst. I never knew the guy, nor I spoke with him, but I’d like to say “Big Thank you!” and acknowledge his great work on listing and maintaining the site, where I got many of the conferences I listed in the calendar, here. First I thought I might contribute there, but the list there doesn’t quite fit what I was looking for, from usability perspective. That’s why I decided to give it a try with the calendar and see how it goes.

Next steps.

I know I missed many conferences and due to my lack of time and the fact I am far from being a polyglot, I will be happy to get any help on adding new conferences. So, in couple of days or a week max, I will try to provide a form for submitting new conferences. I would really like to add new interesting conferences in locations that are not familiar to me or other testers from US/EU like Australia, Afrika and South Amerika, as well as small local events, so they could reach more people and gain more popularity.

I hope you like it and if you are interested in adding conferences to the list, just follow my blog in the next few days.

Good luck!

State of testing 2016 survey is LIVE

For one more year, the cool guys from qablog.practitest.com and the Tea time with testers magazine took this wonderful initiative to make the state of testing survey.

State of testing 2016
Image source: http://qablog.practitest.com/

Why is the State of testing survey valuable?

In order to measure the level of development of our craft we need to make a stop sometimes and gather some data and analyze it, just like in everything else. The survey helps us benchmark our progress as a community and as specialists as well.

What data is gathered in the state of testing survey ?

To answer this question you could simply review the last years results and see for your self here:

State of testing 2015 results

You will see there’s literally tons of valuable information there that will be interesting to learn like:

  • How are testing professionals split around the world?
  • Average salaries
  • Commonly used processes, software development methodologies
  • What skills do testers find valuable?
  • How to testers learn new skills?
  • What percent of the tests is automated, or exploratory etc.

Where can I take the survey for 2016?

The survey is now live and available for you to take on the official site of its creators. To star it just navigate here:

State of testing survey 2016

or click on the banner above.

You can subscribe for a news letter once the survey is done and the results are available or become a collaborator and have early access and exclusive news.

Thanks and good luck!

MobCon Bulgaria 2014 – Where mobile minds connect

mobcon-logo-300x155I am really happy and proud to announce that this year on April 5-th, our capital Sofia will become a host of a first of its kind event for Bulgaria – MobCon.

What is MobCon?

MobCon is a one day conference focused on mobile technologies. The main topics to be covered during the event are:

  • iOS Development
  • Android Development
  • Windows Phone Development
  • Other Mobile OS Development
  • Hybrid Development
  • Mobile Web
  • Wearables
  • Monetization & App discovery
  • Mobile Testing
  • UI/UX Design
  • Mobile Data Security
  • Architecture & Infrastructure

The event will bring together speakers from many successful Bulgarian and international companies to share their knowledge and vision on the development of mobile applications.


MobDemo is a an opportunity for enterpreneurs and mobile app developers not only to share their ideas for mobile applications but as well turn them into reality. Present your mobile app idea or prototype in the MobDemo competition for a chance to win cash and development credits.
The Prizes are as follows:

  • First Place: A cash prize of 2,000 BGN plus 10,000 BGN credit towards additional mobile development from MentorMate.
  • Second Place: 5,000 BGN credit towards additional mobile development from MentorMate.
  • Third Place: 3,000 BGN credit towards additional mobile development from MentorMate.

When and where ?

The event will be held on April 5-th, 2014 in Inter Expo Center.

More information and details about the event, speakers, schedule and ticket prices you could find here:

Today we fight back against mass surveilance


Today (February 11,2014) is an international day to show your protest against surveillance on internet by intelligence agencies like NSA and their acts to monitor and control our internet privacy.  As an open source enthusiast and as a professional involved in the IT area, I strongly believe, that technology should be used as an extension of human mind and free will, to help it reach further, not to restrict it. Surveillance in internet is an act of violence against the human rights, free will, the freedom of speech and against you and your own private data.

The site to show your support to the cause and your protest against mass surveillance is here: https://thedaywefightback.org/international/

How could you help?

Just spread the word, show that you care. Write a blog post, share the information to your friends on the social networks, tweet about it, or anyway you feel comfortable with, just make the world know that you have an opinion, be creative.

To support the cause I would like to share this short video from Ted, by Mikko Hypponen, concerning intelligence agencies, and the mass surveillance that they perform on every one of us and how far did they went. Hope this is helpful.

Thanks for your time.

The state of testing 2013 – survey

This is a great initiative of the guys from  Tea Time with Testers and  QA Intelligence to start a survey and gather all the software testers form around the world and who would like to participate to give their opinion on the topic of software testing and some important questions that all of us have ot deal with everyday. Some of them are:

  • the challenges of software testing 
  • the right methodology
  • the right attitude
  • how do salaries of software testers vary around the world

I think this is a great idea, for everyone of us to support the community and show how much does he really care. If you are enthusiastic about this too, you could read the full post here http://qablog.practitest.com/state-of-testing/ and subscribe if you want to participate. 

Good luck