Monday 20 December 2010

If I were a test case I would...

Anne-Marie Charrett (the Maverick Tester) has put together a lovely e-book to raise money for  Chandrashekar B.N (Chandru), a tester recently diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The e-book contains over 300 memorable and funny responses to a Twitter challenge started by the Daily Testing Tip prompting testers to complete the phrase “If I were a test case I would…". The book is available for download for free here.
The e-book also contains some never seen before Cartoon Tester cartoons specially made for the e-book. Enjoy :o)

The Testing Planet is out

Go and get your copy of the Testing Planet here

Here's a cartoon from the last issue:

Thursday 16 December 2010

Mr Fails

Hi all,

I would like to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Mr Fails.

He is an excellent tester but he's gone through a rough time of late. With his permission, I have written a short biography, please read his story here.
 Mr fails would like to know if you have any feedback on the eBook. You can leave comments in the STC blog site, on this post or you can email me. All feedback is appreciated :o)

Kind regards,
Andy Glover

Tuesday 14 December 2010

A little exercise

As I mentioned in my last post, I lead a short exercise at the Danish Alliance during the EuroSTAR conference. I must add my thanks to Zeger Van Hese (@TestSideStory) and EuroSTAR for arranging the conference room for the evening session.

The exercise was straight forward but not easy. People had to go into groups and create a number of drawings of what testing is,  BUT they had to use one of James Bach's descriptions: ”Testing is the infinite process of comparing the invisible to the ambiguous so as to avoid the unthinkable happening to the anonymous". The words infinite, invisible, ambiguous, unthinkable and anonymous had to be 'drawn'.
At the end of the exercise, I collected all the drawings and here is the result:

NOTE: I collected another drawing for 'unthinkable' but I can't remember what its meant to be now (really bad drawing skills by me!). If you were present at the exercise and remember the drawing, please let me know. Something to do with a cave/exit??

Monday 13 December 2010

EuroSTAR highlights

Hi all,
Sorry for not updating the blog for ages. The last few weeks have whizzed by and now it's less than 2 weeks to Christmas! Where has the time gone?!
One thing that has kept me busy recently is EuroSTAR, a software testing conference held in Copenhagen. The conference organisers invited me to display some of my cartoons. To begin with, I was apprehensive, I wasn't sure how the cartoons will be received (I don't get to see people's reaction to the cartoons when I post them on the blog). Thankfully it was all positive, lots of people visited the cartoon stand, I even heard a few of them laugh out loud! Below is a photo of the stand:

I also managed to produce business cards to give out (not that I own a business!), so people could take them home and check out the blog. Each business card had an individually hand drawn mini-cartoon:

It was certainly a highlight to share my cartoons with other testers and chatting with them - a lot of them gave me really positive feedback on the cartoons. Another highlight was attending the many track sessions and workshops. It was unbelievable the wealth of experience and knowledge at the conference. The most interesting topic for me was SBTM (google it if you don't know what that means) but it is now better known as MTBS (coined by Carsten Feilberg). After one of the sessions, I met up with a few other testers who work in a similar environment to mine and we agreed to set up an email group so we can share our experiences on using exploratory testing and MTBS (that's another thing that's kept me busy over the last week - in a very good way!)
The social side of EuroSTAR was great too. I was kindly invited by Shmuel Gerson to attend the Danish Alliance. It was a real pleasure to chat about testing over a couple of beers (or maybe a few more). One of the nights I got the group to do an exercise (more on this in a different post). Suffice to say, I was glad I did the exercise even though I was nervous and not at all prepared! Many thanks to Shmuel and Jesper Ottosen for organising the Danish Alliance events. I won't forget the experience :o)

Last but not least, the biggest highlight by far during EuroSTAR was completely unexpected. I met Rob Sabourin. I knew of Rob through a children's book he created 'I am a bug'. I remember reading the e-book version a couple of years back and loving it. So, during the Danish Alliance, I approached him and introduced my self, to my surprise he said he was hoping to meet me! Wow! He wanted to give me a hard copy of the 'I am a bug' book, I was so honoured. The book has a great history - all the pictures/cartoons were drawn by his daughter - how cool is that?! I've since read the book to my kids and they love it :o) I got my wife to take a photo, you can tell they like the book as usually they can't help but look at the camera.

To finish off, here are two cartoons. The first one was designed and drawn by Nathalie Rooseboom DeVries (@FunTestic). The second was designed by Bart Knaack (@btknaack). He was one of the guys behind the Test Lab at the conference.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

My first day at Expo:QA

Last week I attended Expo:QA, a software testing conference in Madrid. The people behind Expo:QA did a great job organising the event and looking after everyone. They even provided beer and wine during the lunch break! The Spanish food (tapas) was fantastic too.
It was great to meet and chat with testers from around Europe and I found the sessions and key notes interesting.
The first key note presented by Arnold Aumasson was about the testing industry as a whole, its history and future growth. I’ve drawn a little cartoon to describe some of the points (but don’t quote me on it!).

The next keynote was from Dot Graham where she talked about test automation. My favourite bit was if someone is showing off about their test automation, ask them to run the automation right here, right now. If they come up with excuses (e.g. The tester who has to run it isn’t around, or we don’t have enough licenses, or the scripts are not available, etc) then their test automation isn’t up to much.
Next I listened to a session by Derk-Jan de Grood. To kick off his presentation, he said he sells testing. I think that’s great. More testers should be selling testing. He talked about selecting test design techniques depending on the risks.
Geoff Thompson was next. He talked about why in development we are still making mistakes. His overall message ‘testers are the silver bullet’ was well presented and explained.
After a fabulous Spanish lunch (with sea food paella) I attended a keynote by Alan Brown. He talked about improving the visibility of the development process. He was able to give a real example and I was amazed how transparent their development and testing was.
Virginia Chalegre was up next. She talked about accessibility testing on web sites for the visually handicapped. I found her presentation very interesting. Unfortunately, most web sites have a long way to go. One thing that stood out for me was if a web site is accessible then it naturally becomes testable too (this is certainly the case when it comes to test automation). At the end she showed us how to say ‘question’ in sign language. As I think a major role for testers is to ask questions, I made a note to remember the sign.

The last session was presented by Graham Moran around tool evaluation and implementation. I took lots of notes on this one so I think I’m going to have to vote this session as the best of the day!
During the evening, ExpoQA organised a social in a famous Madrid park, El Retiro. Drinks were flowing and I managed to speak to a number of people from Spain, France and Italy! I was impressed with how well they all spoke English.
Later on, I had a sit down meal with other testers. Here’s a cartoon of the people I sat with. A gold star if you can work out how many languages were spoken at the table!

After the meal we watched an excellent Flamenco show – a fantastic way to finish the day :o)

For more details of the presentations, you can check the expoQA site.

Monday 15 November 2010

Beautiful testing

[NOTE] This cartoon was printed in the Testing Planet

Wednesday 10 November 2010


I’ve been a fan of Banksy for a while now. He’s a street artist who draws brilliantly funny graffiti. You can check out some of his work here.
Banksy recently did a film about making money in the art world. Guess what? Anyone can make loads of money out of not very good art work. So, with that in mind, I thought I could make (and sell) some testing ark work too.
And here it is (see screen shot below). What do you reckon? I call the piece “Oxymoron”. It is estimated to be worth around 3,000 US dollars. Of course, this is just an image. The original art work has been printed using a black and white printer.
This great piece of testing art can be yours. Just send me an email with your bid and the highest bid wins. Simple. (Bidding closes tomorrow evening).

On second thoughts, you’re better off giving your money to charity.

…And you’re in luck! This Christmas, STC are raising money for the charity Oxfam through a great eBook entitled “A tester is for life, not just for Christmas”. Testers can contribute to the e-book as well as giving money to charity. Read all about it here.

Friday 5 November 2010

The Cartoon tester talks about testing

I'm off to expo:QA'10 very soon! The s/w testing conference is in Madrid which is very special to me as I lived there for around 8 years during the 80s/90s. I can't wait to visit the place and listen to people talk about testing in my native language (as well as the chance to eat real food, you can't beat churros con chocolate).

Here's a cartoon I made for the conference...

Thursday 4 November 2010

Is that a bug in a s/w testing site?

First things first. If you like my cartoons and want to find out more about me and what makes me tick, The Software Testing Club have just posted An interview with Andy Glover. Let me know what you think :o)

If you don’t get the “irony” of this cartoon you should definitely read this book: “Perfect Software and other illusions about testing”. It comes highly recommended (I’ve read it twice and I will read it again soon).

BTW… this cartoon was originally inspired by Rosie, the creator of Software Testing Club… don’t know why she would come up with a cartoon like this!! :o)

Tuesday 2 November 2010


I'm going to be at EuroSTAR this year, YEAH! EuroSTAR's monthly newsletter has today's cartoon on it. Hope you like it :o)

More details here of what I'll be up to while at the conference.

Let me know if you'll be there and we can meet up.

Monday 1 November 2010


When testing, always know why you're testing.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Monotonous, context and certification

Hi all,

I just want to thank everyone who follows this blog! I would have given up months ago if it wasn’t for all your support :o)
It’s been a bit hectic of late so I’ve not been updating the blog as much as I wish.

Today’s cartoon was first printed in The Testing Planet (check out the newspaper if you haven’t done so yet).

I specially like today’s cartoon because it reminds me that if we follow scripted tests without using our brains, then we’re not testing, we’re just following a script! That can get very boring, I don’t like being bored!

I got the idea about the matchsticks from a fellow tester who heard the same joke a few years a go (thanks Karen!). The title for the cartoon “the monotonous tester” I got from an article by Pradeep Soundararajan (thanks Pradeep!).

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I hope some of my cartoons reflect the following statements I believe about testing:
  • Good testing is a challenging intellectual process (hence today’s cartoon)
  • There are no best practices for testing. It’s all about context!
  • Every software development is unique (e.g. be very careful with testing metrics and estimations)
  • Testers provide a service to the software development project (by testing and finding out relevant info on the application)
I *think* all of the above rings true with the context-driven school of testing. Some of the text was taken directly from the “Lessons Learned in S/W testing” book.

This has led me to believe that the current test certifications are harmful to the testing industry. Being a certified s/w tester (which regretfully I am) does not mean I know how to test. Test certifications are very good at identifying people who are good at memorizing words (I can be good at memorizing words). By claiming we're good testers because we have just passed a multiple choice exam sends the message to the wider s/w development industry that testing is fairly simple, so much so, that in future we could train monkeys to do our job (or automate every single thing that we do in testing).

I’m not a monkey (or a robot). Nor do I think my job could be done by a monkey (or a robot).

Thanks for reading. Thanks again for following this blog.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

WARNING: You might find this cartoon depressing

If you are anything like Phil (see his comment on yesterday's cartoon ), I suggest you close this web window/tab immediately.

Monday 18 October 2010

Clash of the Bugs

I recently watched Clash of the Titans. A very average film, but it sure would be nice to be a super hero, even if it was just for a day.
Anyhow, come back for tomorrow’s cartoon to find out what your partner really thinks.

Thursday 7 October 2010

How severe is your bug? What's your definition of Catastrophic?

I read recent posts by Alan Page and the Testing Rat Pack regarding testing definitions, specifically around a test strategy. I thought both posts were great. Really good to see further discussions growing from them.

A Test Strategy – or whatever you want to call it - by Alan Page

Isn't there a word for that? - By someone from the Testing Rat Pack (whoever they are)

Part of me thinks that as long you and the people you are working with know what you mean then that’s all that’s needed (that includes other testers in your team, Dev, Users, Clients, PMs etc). The other part of me wants more! Surely the testing industry as a whole can do better!

Do check out both posts and see what you think.

If you like it, Alan has just posted another entry where he will be talking about the what and why of his typical test strategies:
Free Test Stuff

Thursday 30 September 2010

The Beard of Experience

Today's cartoon was designed by Adam Brown (thanks Adam!)

Adam's contact details:
Twitter: brownie490


Tuesday 28 September 2010

Who are you calling a tool?

Today's cartoon was designed by Nancy Kelln (thanks Nancy!)

Nancy's contact details:
Twitter: nkelln

About Nancy:
Nancy Kelln is an independent consultant with 12 years of diverse experience within the IT industry. Nancy is motivated by working with teams who are implementing or enhancing their testing practices; providing adaptive testing approaches in both agile and traditional testing teams. She has coached test teams in various environments and facilitated numerous workshops and presentations.

Friday 24 September 2010

DO NOT DISTURB, I'm testing

At my work, I’ve recently introduced Session Based Test Management (created by James Bach). It has been piloted in an Agile project. I could be biased, but I think the pilot is working extremely well. There are lots of positives from it, which I hope one day to share, but there’s one thing we’re struggling with so I thought I would come up with some ideas and then open it to the rest of you for your suggestions and comments.
The problem is that when a tester is in the middle a testing session, it’s best if they are not interrupted. But with all the talk on being collaborative, the testers are getting interrupted all time. I need a solution where testers remain part of the team but are left to do testing when required without appearing rude. Please let me know your ideas :o)

test SBTM qa session testing

Friday 17 September 2010


Due to contract changes in our facilities department, our lovely cleaner has decided to start a new job elsewhere. Today is her last day and some of us will be taking her out for a well earned drink down at the pub!

Just a reminder to send your cartoons by the end of next week. I have a couple of cartoons already but would be great to have more cartoons submitted. For more info, check out an earlier post:

Tuesday 14 September 2010

If Metrics Ruled the World (part II)

metric test

My second favourite testing article that I have ever read must be the Metrics article by Cem Kamer and Walter P. Bond:
Software Engineering Metrics: What Do They Measure and How Do We know?

Friday 3 September 2010

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Create your own cartoons

Over the last few months I’ve received a few emails/comments were people have said they are inspired to create their own cartoons. I really think this is great and I would love to use this blog over the next month or so for people to post their own testing related cartoons. Are you up for the challenge? It would be really good if we get lots of people to create and submit cartoons!

Hints and Tips:
Concentrate on the content of the cartoon. Unless you’re a really good artist, the text and dialogue are more important than the drawings, so try an avoid drawing complicated images (e.g. drawing some facial expressions is really hard)
Give yourself an hour or two to complete the cartoon.
Don’t re-invent the wheel. Have a look at other cartoons on the web and see what you can learn from the way they draw them. Some examples to check out:
Hyperbole and a Half
The Oatmeal
Not invented here
Geek and poke

Email me your cartoons at by Monday, 20th September.

I will review the cartoons before posting them, as I don’t want anything that is inappropriate/rude/offensive on the blog.

Let the fun begin!

... On a similar note, here's a cartoon that Markus Gärtner designed and I created. Check out his post on why blaming doesn't help

waterfall testing QA

Friday 27 August 2010

S/W Has Got Talent, and the x-Factor!

I forgot about this cartoon but was reminded by a news item on the BBC web site: "Success for 'China's Got Talent' amputee pianist"

I goot a good feeling the testing industry are going to love today's cartoon x x x

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Become an Exploratory Tester for only $100

Actually, it may not be that hard to become an Exploratory Tester. Check out James Bach’s short but to the point blog post about exploratory practitioners

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Long Test Strategies and Test Plans

A few years ago I had the pleasure of writing a Test Strategy for my test group. By the time I finished it, the document was around 30 pages long, with lots of detail and in depth explanations of our approach to testing. I was very proud of it! There was only one problem, nobody read it. It was way too long, the table of contents was enough to put people off. Looking back, it was generally a waist of time for me and for the two people who had the misery of reviewing it. Since then, I've heard about other testers who have written large/huge test documents which were then ignored.

But the other day I was inspired. An artist has created cool posters/paintings using famous literary classics, postertext. He has copied all the text from a book, pasted it into the painting and removed some of the text to create an image. I thought I could do the same with my Test Strategy (only it isn't a classic).

Once again, I can be proud of my very own Test Strategy document. What do you reckon? I can now print it out and pin it on desk... although I probably won't do that...


TWITTERS: A special mention to people who follow me on twitter: I apologise if I sent you loads of DMs. What can I say? I feel ashamed. My only consolation is that I wasn't the only one to fall into the spammer's devilish trap. Until the next time, be assured it won't happen again.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Thursday 5 August 2010

Light Bulb

When I approach a new testing project, I can be all the people from this cartoon. Sometimes I worry that I haven't got the right skills/training for the project. Sometimes I think the project isn’t exciting enough so I don't put my all into it. I might worry that I'll make a huge mistake (like not find obvious bugs) and get the blame, or even the sack! On occasions, I ask all the right questions but then don't follow-up on the responses. Metrics can sometimes drive my work rather than highlight how the project is progressing. While in a project, I can be very good at covering my own backside!

Where am I going with this? I guess it's important to know how you approach testing projects. If you know you have areas you can develop on, you can tackle them as you start your next project. A good way to help you with this is to share your experiences in testing forums/communities.
Plus, in Matt Heusser's latest blog post, you can definitely fine tune your skills in approaching testing projects. This is a great opportunity to compare your skills with an expert!

Friday 30 July 2010

Breaking software, or not

There is a lot of talk about testers breaking software: articles, blog posts and even books on this topic. It seems that a lot of testers get their job satisfaction in breaking stuff and a sign of a good tester is that they can break anything. But when they’re testing, are they really breaking s/w?

If this was the case, different techniques for breaking s/w would have been created and refined over the years…


And possibly in a galaxy far, far away...
Another opinion which is very different is that testers don’t break s/w, but rather the s/w is already broken before testers get their hands on it. In this case, a major role of the tester is to identify where the software is broken.

Initially, testers may question the s/w engineers’ abilities since they are delivering broken code. But on reflection, the errors may have been introduced before the coding had started and if it wasn’t for the engineer’s mistakes, the tester wouldn’t have a job to do anyway.

Therefore, the testing techniques and methods deployed by the tester when testing the s/w should revolve around identifying the areas that are broken.

When something is broken, it’s an error that has manifested itself as a software fault, or bug. The tester’s role is to spot or discover these bugs as they reveal themselves. An expert tester is able to spot them quickly, in an effective manner.
How do they spot them quickly? It’s because the expert testers believe in the ancient Chinese warrior Sun Tzu, who taught his men to “Know your enemy”. Expert testers know their bugs. They know where they often hide, know how they operate, what kind of diversion techniques they use and they know how they reproduce.

Would you like to be an expert tester? To be an expert tester you need to start thinking like a bug, get in the bugs’ shoes. Get to know everything about bugs.

Every time you approach s/w to test, think before you start: How would a bug reveal it self in this s/w? Or in short: What Would Bugs Do? This can be shortened so it’s easier to remember: “WWBD?” And if that is still hard to remember, there is lots of stuff out there you could order to help you recall “WWBD?”: T-shirts, wrists bands, mugs, etc.

Happy bug hunting :o)


Of course, the ultimate testing expert doesn’t have an enemy. The ultimate testing expert works closely with the developers to reduce the number of bugs created in the first place… but that’s another story.


The first testers who came up with the idea that testers don't break software were most likely Cem Kaner or John Bach during the mid nineties. A gold star for anyone how can confirm the correct date and place for this.

The main theme of the post is around discovering bugs. This links well to exploratory testing, do check out Michael Bolton’s list of resources for exploratory testing articles/blog posts.
The next testing book I wan to read is "How to break software" by James Whittaker. He seems to have a different opinion to this blog post. I'll let you know if James changes my mind.

Here’s another cartoon from Torsten J. Zelger about breaking software.


Tuesday 27 July 2010

The Testing Planet

Guess what?! The STC have just released a new testing newspaper, THE TESTING PLANET!!! They've included 4 never seens cartoons. I managed to get a hard copy and the whole newspaper looks great, with good and relevant articles and it has a crossword too – they’ve thought of everything!

While on a similar topic, I must thank Rob Lambert from STC. He was the first tester to see my cartoons and he gave me lots of positive feedback. If it wasn’t for him, this blog might never have happened. One of Rob’s recent blog posts was about loosing one’s testing mojo… after my time out (and all the sport on TV) I’ve lost mine, I must find it back.

Just a quick note on one the cartoons in the testing planet as I feel I need to explain my self!
The naked tester cartoon - (which is on the same page as articles from Lisa Crispin and Anne-Marie Charrett. I’m not worthy!) the idea originated from some one in my team who came up with the name “the naked smoke test”; where we trimmed down an older automated smoke test so it would run quicker. Unfortunately the name didn’t stick. Some testers didn’t like it and the developers were really scared, I think they thought we were going to run the automated smoke test while naked – What’s scary about that?

... Anyway, do download The Testing Planet, it's a great read.

Thursday 24 June 2010

10 Reasons to stop testing

testing stop QA
I created this cartoon many months ago but I’ve been saving for now… If I remember correctly, I drew a draft of the cartoon and then read a post from Michael Bolton which helped me finish it off.

The reason I’m posting it today is because I’m going to take a short break from the cartoon blog… not just because the World cup is in full flow and the Tour de France is just round the corner, but also (drum roll) I am a now a proud father to a wonderful daughter, born on the 23rd June!! Mother and the two older brothers are doing well :o)

I will stay in contact (email/twitter) so feel free to drop me a line. I will continue to post cartoons over the next month, but not as many as usual… Now lets all hope Spain win at the world cup. Venga España!

Thursday 17 June 2010


Actually, there is a better way to find out which one is better.
Michael Bolton wrote an article on this very topic (check out his blog post). Now, Eurostar have setup a webinar for Michael to present his opinions about QA and testing. I've already sign up to attend. His article is so good, that a couple of weeks back I organised a group discussion on it during a team meeting. It was a worthwhile activity :o)

Sunday 13 June 2010

3 types of bugs

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Thursday 3 June 2010

Thursday 27 May 2010

Don't do it


Tuesday 25 May 2010

How did you end up being a tester?

NOTE: this cartoon was first published in the Software Testing Club magazine