Sunday, December 23, 2012

Project Christmas: The Elf Who Learned How To Test

I have had a busy year, no doubt about it, with a lot published in magazines like Testing Planet, Testing Circus and Tea Time With Testers.  There has also been my book, The Software Minefield.

I've recently put together another much shorter book, which is free to download called The Elf Who Learned How To Test, of which I'm particularly proud (great I now sound like Q from James Bond).

The idea started a long time ago with a conversation with Rosie Sherry about the idea of "Imagine there's no testing" back in August.  And that's just what I did with the leap of imagination required.  I imagined Santa's Workshop where no-one tested, and children received substandard presents, and an elf who discovered how testing could add value.

I've been told by others in the testing community I'm a great storyteller.  Indeed in The Software Minefield, I mentioned I'm always telling war stories or parables.  What pleases me about The Elf Who Learned How To Test is that it's a tale not just for testers, but for their children as well.

I think as testers we sometimes are great at joining together as a community and sharing our stories.  But perhaps where we fail is sharing what we do, not just with others who aren't testing, but especially our children.  And my book works as essentially as a Testing Fairytale which can be shared with children, with some thinking activities at the back which I feel the children are likely to score as well in as the adults!

This year has seen me peeling back the mystique around testing for my 14 year old son, who has come in to see what we do.  I keep trying to talk to him about what I do and why I do it.  I try and develop him a sense of analytical thinking, especially in our common area-of-interest which is history.  Unsurprisingly he did well with the activities in the back (which do not have any "right answers", but as more about seeing how you can expand on the story, and how you interpret some things which are not said).

You can download the book here,

In addition, I did a video of me reading it for YouTube, but it turned out too big, so I've decided to put it up as a podcast, which can be accessed below,

This is all aimed at encouraging donations to a very worthwhile charity, Starship, which supports sick New Zealand children and their families.  I have been helping to support this charity through work, and if you'd like to support them as well, please give a one-off-donation below,