I teach, coach, and consult on the subject of software testing and analysis.
My day-to-day work is training and coaching. My passion is craftsmanship; how people become expert technical workers. I apply this mainly to the domain of software testing and risk analysis, but the methods I use would apply to any technical specialty.
What are some of my biases and attitudes?
- With the perspective of more than 35 years in the business (my first job as a programmer started January 1st, 1983), I can tell you that technical excellence comes not from any technique or software tool. It comes from talent, practice, and a high personal standard. But you won’t get those things without a supportive environment, which must be put in place and maintained by good leadership. The first thing I look at in a consulting situation is the quality of the professional culture. Are people accountable for the quality of their work? Are they happy to be accountable? If the answer to these questions is yes, then we can talk about techniques and tools, otherwise, it’s like standing in the middle of a house on fire, trying to repaint the walls as they burn.
- Self-organizing teams is a popular practice now, but that doesn’t lessen the need for good leadership. Rather it turns to chaos and dysfunction unless you have especially good leadership. I don’t mean autocratic bosses, of course. I mean supportive coaching, direction setting, and conflict resolution. This matters more than ever for testing, because excellent testing rests on a fragile culture. The flame of the testing mindset is all too easy to blow out, and without it all testing becomes shallow and important bugs don’t get found.
- All good testing is exploratory to some degree.
- There is no such thing as a “manual tester” for the same reason there are no “manual programmers.” We all use tools. Instead of “automated tester” try saying “coding tester” or “technical tester.”
- I believe in trouble. Things go wrong. I like to help companies be vigilant and responsible about trouble. I don’t care if you ship with bugs in your software, as long as you know they are there and you are up front about it with your customers.
- I started my business in 1999 after quitting a consulting firm that asked me to do bad work for ignorant clients. Satisfice is dedicated to integrity and excellence. I don’t tell lies. My opinions do not depend on how much I want your business. I do try to be charming. I do want to get along. But my highest priority is to do great work at a reasonable price. This sometimes makes me stubborn. So, come to me if you want straight talk.
- I am Context-Driven, which means I focus on skills and problems to be solved. I don’t peddle best practices.
- The ISO/IEC 29119 Software Testing Standard is a travesty. It was created by cynical hacks who ignored the software testing community.
- The ISTQB is a scam designed to exploit the ignorance and fear of managers and testers. I understand that many people consider ISTQB certification some sort of foundation. Well, I’ve been teaching testers for much longer than ISTQB has existed, and I have ISTQB certified people come to my training and they have no idea how to think about testing or how to think like a professional tester.
- I like doing analyses and writing reports. I know that’s a little weird.
Some of the areas I consult in:
- Helping people who don’t specialize in testing to test better.
- Helping testing specialists work with people who are not testers.
- Testing role definition.
- Creating a culture of technical excellence.
- Developing in-house training and coaching programs.
- Using tools to aid testing.
- The exploratory approach to testing.
- Risk-based testing.
- Combinatorial testing.
- Testability advocacy.
- Concise test documentation.
- Session-based and thread-based test management.
- Tester/Developer relations
- Process assessment.
- Test reporting.
- Test estimation.
- Test planning and strategy.
- Test outsourcing.
- Testing well in a regulated project (e.g. medical devices).
I have been an expert witness on a number of court cases that involve questions about what a product does or does not do (trade secrets and patent infringement are examples of that).
What does it cost?
That depends entirely on the details of the specific job. I’m not being coy— there is a huge variation in what I charge depending on the circumstances. I have done a day long consult for free, and I have charged $12,000 for a one-hour presentation. That’s what I mean by a huge variation!
I will charge an hourly rate for low-intensity work done offsite. If it’s onsite work I usually charge a flat daily rate, plus expenses. Contact me.
How to Book Me
Contact me directly via email: email@example.com or skype (id: satisfice) is the best way to inquire about my availability for onsite training or consulting. You could call me on my phone, too, at +1 360 440 1435.
In certain regions of the world, I work through local agents whom you can contact for services.
Denmark and Sweden (south of Stockholm)
Contact Morten Hougaard at Pretty Good Testing.
In and near Stockholm, Contact Kennet Osbjer at AddQ Training.
Contact Pascal Maus at Improve Quality Services.
Contact Catherine Karena, at Test-Ed.
Contact Ilari Henrik Aegerter at House of Test GmbH.