🥧 Pie Mail - the importance of drawing pictures 🥧

published4 months ago
4 min read

Hello people! Here's your slightly late but otherwise intact pie-mail!

Some cool stuff has happened this week!

Firstly, a new software testing conference has been announced - it's in Wellington in November - CFP is open, so check it out!

Secondly, in positive personal news, one of my mentees had a (really good) new job offer this week. They've worked super hard, and I'm really proud of their efforts to get there!

It's a reminder to me as to why I love doing mentoring and coaching - it feels fantastic just to be a part of that journey. I've got a couple of slots open at the moment, if anyone is interested!

Anyway, I hope you're all having a great week too. If not, I hope this email brightens it up a little bit!


🎓 This week I learned... 🎓

Someone asked me this week about the architecture of the product I was working on. I realised, while answering the question, that there were some serious gaps in my knowledge!

One thing that I believe is an important question for testers is: can you draw a picture (like, an architecture diagram) of the product you're working on?

In my last two roles - this exercise has been incredibly valuable. It has helped me figure out what pieces of the puzzle I'm missing, and, it's helped me gain an understanding of what other team members are talking about.

It also helps with testing - when you know the touch points between one service and another, for example, you have a better idea of the impact of changes, and the scope of testing.

I've been in my new role for three months now, and only last week did I attempt to sit down and draw what I understood our product architecture to be.

Unfortunately, I can't share the drawing, commercial sensitivity and that. But, there's lots of boxes and lines. A monolith, a few services, a database - and probably more that I haven't put together yet.

The simple act of trying to do it has already been enlightening though!

So - can you draw up a diagram of the architecture of the product you're working on? What parts are missing? Have a go this week and let me know how you get on! (If you don't know where to start, try pairing up with some of your senior engineers!)

🎾 Racket 🎾

I published my first Racket last week - have a listen! (It'll only cost you seven minutes of your life)

Some interesting links

BS Stories:
Following on from her talk at TestBash, Maaike Brinkhof shares some of the 'BS' stories that people have shared with her. It makes for both funny and sad reading.

The Quality Maturity Model:

Kristin Jackvony breaks down the model they use for spreading quality across the team at Paylocity. Really good and simple advice, something I'd like to implement myself!

How to run SQL Server in a Docker container:

Ankur Sheel describes exactly what he says - how to run SQL Server in a Docker container. What I love about his posts, is that they are to the point, and explain every step of the way. This is a good post if you want to learn a bit about docker.

Gently down the stream:

A very cute introduction to Apache Kafka

Parallelizing your automation:

In one of the talks I give, I tell a story about a terrible idea me and my team had: write all the tests first, and parallelize them later (it didn't work). I wish I'd read this article by Paul Grizzaffi first.

Complete the main quest first:

This is a real 'back to basics' article by Elizabeth Zagroba on prioritising your testing. I think it's a really important read - I coach quite a few junior testers, who are excited to catch funky edge cases. Which is great and all, but sometimes it's not what you should be doing!

🧩 Puzzle time 🧩

My wife's football team has a website: https://www.franklinunited.nz/teams/womens-team/

While viewing it the other day, I noticed a problem with the menu overlapping the text:

Of course, curiosity got the better of me and I tried to figure out what was wrong.

One thing I noticed was that this problem only happens when the window is between 1626px and 1635px wide.

Go ahead and try it yourself :)

Then, using Chrome dev tools, see if you can make some changes to the underlying HTML to make the problem go away. I did it by making changes to the attributes of the logo image, but there are probably other ways too.

For bonus points, see if you can explain why this is happening!

Good luck, see what you can find!

🎪 Events coming up 🎪

Events for those of you in New Zealand:

Agile coaching ethics in action (Wellington, 13 July):

Agile Wellington are hosting Shane Hastie from ICAgile to host a workshop on ethics for Agile coaches. Sounds pretty interesting so head along if you're in the area!

Visual Test Automation using Applitools (Auckland, 20 July):
I'm a big fan of Applitools. MoT Auckland meetup are hosting a live demo and Q&A session on how Applitools works for visual regression testing. Don't miss it!

Legacy to IaC (Auckland, 28 July)

Scott Murray from Zip will be speaking at DevOps Auckland. He's going to share his journey taking their legacy cloud infrastructure and terraforming all the things! Want to know more about terraform? This is the event for you!

Events for anyone anywhere!

Test Leadership AMA (13 July):

Don't forget about Butch Mayhew's online AMA on all things test leadership! It's probably on less than 24 hours from when you open this email!

ResearchOps (21 July):

UX Auckland will be hosting TradeMe's Sarah Goforth and Laura Allen, to present how they do ResearchOps at TradeMe. What is ResearchOps, you may ask? Come along and find out!

👋 Thanks for reading! 👋

As always, thanks for reading - I appreciate you taking the time, and I hope the content is useful and relatable. Always open to feedback, so please let me know.

Take care, and reach out to me any time on LinkedIn or Twitter.


James a.k.a. JPie 🥧


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