MoT 2.0 …

Another step in the progress and development of Ministry of Testing.  Have a little look at our history and how we’ve upgraded our website.  The first step of many to the growth of Ministry of Testing.

I’m so happy and content with team MoT behind it all that made it happen.  Find out more at …

Not Seeking Approval / Feedback

This has mostly been me in approaching growing my business.

From Seth Godin’s blog:

The trap of listening to feedback

“If I listened to feedback, I would have quit on the first day.”

You’re devoting your life to making something important. Something helpful. Something that matters. Mostly, something that hasn’t been done before, that’s going to bend the curve and make an impact.

If you begin and end with surveys and focus groups, all you’re going to do is what’s been done before.

We’re counting on you to trust yourself enough to speak your own version of our future. Yes, you’ll need the empathy to put yourself in our shoes, and the generosity to care enough to make it worth our time and trust. But no, don’t outsource the hard work of insight and creation to the rest of us.

That’s on you.

I think part of the beauty of running a business that is so intertwined with the community is that the needs of your ‘users’ can be easier to see.  I mean, how can you not understand your audience better if you are in there everyday, speaking to them, helping them grow, writing for and with them, meeting them, etc.

So, when I have an idea, I don’t feel like I need to do ‘market research’.  It doesn’t mean I’m right or things will go according to plan. But there are things I can see that intertwine with my vision that look for feedback from people will never give me.


On Founders Not Being CEO

I often think about my decision to make someone else the ‘CEO’ as Ministry of Testing.  And as anyone would, they would look for stories about others doing the same.

I love the Indie Hackers community and was listening to this podcast with Max Lytvyn from Grammarly.  In it he discusses his reason for him and the other co-founder to bring in a CEO instead of taking the role on themselves.

Below is the section I’ve copied from the podcast transcript:

Max Lytvyn

Another interesting decision was to bring a CEO on board. Neither of us, nor Alex, so my cofounder nor I, are CEOs. We partnered with Brad Hoover, who’s now CEO of Grammarly. And our decision to bring on board an external CEO was driven by a realization that, well, the company is going to grow to a certain scale that none of us grew a company before, and it will require certain skills and certain talents that we may not necessarily have right now and may not be as passionate about growing necessarily.

My passion is around growth and around customers. Alex’s passion is around designing magical experiences for users and beautiful products. But building a world-class company requires many more things beyond that. So that’s why we decided to bring on board a CEO with a kind of more rounded experience and talent profile.

Courtland Allen:

That makes a lot of sense, but at the same time it seems like an extremely difficult decision to make because you guys have grown this company by yourselves the entire time. An outsider kind of risks ruining everything, so how do you even how about that process of finding the right person?

Max Lytvyn:

It was hard. We actually worked with Brad for, I think, six months or maybe even more in a consulting capacity before we started talking about him being the CEO. So there was a long process. But I think what helped us make this decision was that both Alex and I are generally very humble people. We didn’t have an ambition to, “Oh, yeah, I’m going to be the master of this company or I’m going to have the highest title in the company.” It wasn’t for us ever about that. It was just about doing something cool, something interesting, and seeing how far we can push it.

Because we were not focused on titles or power, it made the decision so much easier for us. It wasn’t seen as a sacrifice or as a step back. I often see discussions where founders vilify investors because investors suggest hiring an external CEO or hiring an executive of some kind, and that just doesn’t make much sense to me. Well, in some cases, there is something wrong there, but in general, that concept is very valid. Just because you started something doesn’t mean that you’re optimal person to be the CEO of it in every stage of that company’s growth.

For me, not being CEO is so I can focus on the things that bring me joy.  Max refers to passions.  For me, it’s not so much about passions, it’s about all the things involved in me needing to lead the life that I want to live – that’s a mixture of doing work that I enjoy whilst also being a person that lives a life of fruitful balance.

Being CEO involves many things that I don’t necessarily want to be doing on a daily basis.  Things that I wasn’t enjoying doing and was driving me to hate the company I had created. Things that, after working with Richard for almost 2 years, I knew he would do a better job than I.

The Ministry of Testing community is amazing in so many ways.  I’m so proud, beyond proud, of what it has become.  And I’ve always had it stuck in my head that this MoT thing is not about me. It’s about the community. It’s about every individual that makes it a whole.

Every decision I make, may not always be right, but I try my best and always ask: is this the best thing for the MoT Community?

Increasingly I feel it is this focus on community that I believe I need to keep working on, evolving and have the freedom to explore.  So I will do that, for now.  It is important work that gets me excited and fired up.


Ethical Events Software

This Tweet has been making the rounds over the weekend.  At MoT we use Tito, which we’ve always been happy with.  The team behind it have always been super proactive and supportive.

I’ve also been aware that Eventbrite (I refuse to link to them!) bought Lanyrd a few years back and since then Lanyrd has just died a slow death.  I find it hard to forgive companies when this happens.  Lanyrd had such potential.

I also think this is another factor in the current trends of people becoming more aware of how companies operate and how our heart is telling us all to say no to unethical companies.

The question in my head, is what actually makes an ethical company? So many factors to consider.

Dark Patterns Are Just Very Bad Designs

Well, this made me laugh, and it is kind of true.  I also think that whilst designers would love to ‘delight the users’ all the time there are obviously forces from other sides of the business that have influence to have these daft designs implemented.

Of course, this could be created and built as ‘per spec design’, but that doesn’t mean it is a good thing to do. As testers we should be aware of this and try to combat these bad design practices.

Stop calling these Dark Design Patterns or Dark UX — these are simply a**hole designs

Have you noticed that lately some people are trying to coin the terms “Dark UX” or “Dark Design Patterns”? Not only that, but also trying to put in the UX account some nasty psychological or cheap tricks.

We are User Experience Designers and our core objective is to create delightful and seamless experiences for the user. Let’s be clear here, if you do any of the following below I suggest a new term: “A**hole Design”. – Flavio Lamenza


I’ve been paying more attention to the term ‘meritocracy’ after I read the book Technically Wrong.  The guy (Michael Young) who coined the term meant it as satire. As with many things these days, we need to be careful, rethink and recreate what we know.

The man who coined the word four decades ago wishes Tony Blair would stop using it

I have been sadly disappointed by my 1958 book, The Rise of the Meritocracy. I coined a word which has gone into general circulation, especially in the United States, and most recently found a prominent place in the speeches of Mr Blair.

The book was a satire meant to be a warning (which needless to say has not been heeded) against what might happen to Britain between 1958 and the imagined final revolt against the meritocracy in 2033. – Comment on The Guardian

7 Ways You Can Change The Software Testing Industry

Too many people think they can’t make a dent in the software testing industry.  Here are 7 ways you can!

1 – Help Change The Software Testing Wikipedia References

The software testing pages on wikipedia do not represent software testing well. Turns out it is pretty darn hard to get them updated. There is the main software testing page, but then there are many other related ones too, for example, functional testing. It’s probably worth trying to do smaller changes in not so busy pages and work your way up to bigger changes.

Don’t be disheartened if your changes get reverted. Alan Page has started an initiative on this. There’s even a slack group for it.

2 – Quora, oh Quora

It is quite depressing looking at the questions then answers on Quora. As a collective we can make a dent on it. There are some useful answers hidden in there, but they seem to be hidden amongst all the sales spam.

On the positive side, Quora is easier to make a dent in that Wikipedia.

From what I see there are two things we can do:

  • help get rid of the obvious sales posts by marking them as spam
  • help answer questions in a good way

3 – Write and Make Good Stuff

We’ve been dedicated to this at MoT for a while and I still believe we have the best collection of relevant software testing information out there, but it needs more action. The problem, as I see it, is that people who want to find information about software testing on the internet stumble upon all sorts of poor quality, boring and outdated stuff. This makes us all, as a community look bad. No wonder people keep thinking testing is dead – if they go searching for software testing information and don’t find good stuff, then why would they get excited about testing?

You can write and make stuff in all sorts of ways. Videos, articles, comics, images, graphs, mindmaps, lists, GitHub Repos, conference talks…

You can do this on your own ‘online space’ or you can contribute to others places. There are plenty of testing and non-testing websites, publications and conferences that would love to see more contributions.

4 – Don’t Believe That You Can’t Make A Difference

It’s easy to think that you can’t make a difference. That all that is important has been done. And how could you possibly make a contribution amongst all these apparent ‘thought leaders’. I call nonsense on that.

I look at the software testing world and I see the opportunity for a ‘land grab’, so to speak. As in, you can go and make your space in the world of testing. There is plenty of room at the moment to get good ideas out. Don’t expect change over night, expect to fail, expect not to be recognised, expect some things to work better than others. With ongoing and consistent effort you too can make a difference.

Be nervous and then do it anyways!

5 – Show Face

How can others know that we exist if we don’t show up? Go to conferences. Meetups. Have conversations. Make friends. Reach out. Connect. Not just with testers, but with all types of professionals who work in the ‘tech industry’.

You may be surprised at how people will then start talking and recommending you as a person to talk to about testing.

6 – Be Ethical

This is a topic close to my heart. I’ve been developing my own ethics in personal and work life. Think about what yours should be.

For me, not a complete list, but for example:

  • I won’t produce work that I don’t believe in.
  • I don’t believe in taking advantage of ‘free labour’.
  • I believe in investing in people in a human way.
  • I will increasingly scrutinise people and organisations that want to work with me.
  • Doing the right thing comes first, other things like recognition and money are secondary.

Support people and organisations that are doing good things. That will help evolve our industry in a better direction.

7 – Look Elsewhere For Inspiration and Log It Somewhere

Think others just magically come up with ideas and turn it into something that you love?  Think again. Most of my ideas for Ministry of Testing have come from other sources.  I don’t claim to be unique, I look at how other people do things, or what others make and I ask myself: is this relevant to the software testing world?

Find your sources of inspiration, from your own and any walk of life.  Take notes, in whatever way works for you.  Then find some quiet time to make something.

Whether your publish it or not, living through the practice is an important part of the process of making something.

Being Open About Motherhood

I’m finding it interesting that women (not necessarily mothers) are starting to reach out and thank me as I start to be more open about motherhood and how I balance things with my family.  Mostly the comments are thanking me for being open about things and showing how things can be done in a different way.

Recently this has been more associated related to Pass the Piper and how I wrote about it being easier to do things ourselves (on a more personal blog).

Is LinkedIn Lying?

My job title is pretty unique, made up to be honest.  Often I get emails from LinkedIn saying things like: “27 FounderBoss jobs were filled on LinkedIn recently.”

I just find it hard to believe that anyone actually ever recruits for a ‘FounderBoss’.  Even more hard when I click on the link within the email to see current jobs listed and it says there are none.

So is LinkedIn lying and how ethical, or not, is it to do this kind of thing?

Commonplace Books

I’ve been looking more into taking notes with cards and have come across the concept of Commonplace books, which I like very much!  I’ve been working on taking notes on cards anyways, but this gives my efforts another sense of focus.

I plan to use a mixture of cards, Evernote and my varying websites to log all the things.  We shall see how it goes.

Here’s some useful bits that I’ve come across.

“A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits. The purpose of the book is to record and organization these gems for later use in your life, in your business, in your writing, speaking or whatever it is that you do.” – Maria Popova