- Focusing Your Practice
- Avoiding Automated Performance
- Contributing to Open Source Projects
- Beta Testing
- Pair Testing/Programming
- Adopt "Parallel Thinking"
- Search for Bugs in the Wild
- Learn "Systems Thinking"
- Teaching and Writing
- Participating in Conferences and Workshops
- Develop Your Cognition Skills
- Finding the Time for Practice
Finding the Time for Practice
On most projects, it's a heads-down race to the end of the project: too little time, too few people, too much work. After one iteration, or at the end of a project, it's a dash to the next one. It's difficult to find the time to practice when we have so much work to do. After work, life takes over, and other promises and obligations keep you from devoting the time that you know your craft needs.
The trick is to find ways to practice while still getting your work done and while living everyday life. You need to make sure that you aren't just practicing for automated performance, but for specific improvements. Identify where your testing may be weak and think of a series of practice sessions that might help improve that aspect. Do you need to become more technical? Do you need to brush up on your black box testing techniques? Or do you simply need to step back from test management and actually get your hands dirty again? Identify what you want to improve and focus on doing that better.
If you already have a regular practice routine or if you start to develop one as a result of this article, take some time to post a comment at the end of this article and share your experience. If you find some bugs in the wild, post them (or links to them). By learning how others practice, we can better build a practice toolbox, allowing us to tune our practice sessions to better fit our needs.