The testing marathon…

The world may or may not know that I’ll be running the London Marathon next week. During my long hours pounding the streets to be ready for the marathon itself I’ve reflected on a few ways my training has reflected my testing journey:

Push yourself a little bit further over time – you can only prepare your body for a marathon in one way, and that’s very gradually. I believe this can be applied to your mind too, specifically how you develop yourself as a tester. Acknowledge that you will not reinvent yourself overnight, pick a development path and review regularly to check progress and verify you are on the right path.

Find a sustainable pace – a marathon is made more difficult if executed at an ever changing pace. The same can be said for testing. If your testing does not flow, your execution of testing as a craft will not be as effective as it could be. Testing in small chunks, incrementally and continuously is the aim.

Do hard yards – there have been a few times I haven’t wanted to train at all. This winter has been awful, a couple of feet of snow drains your enthusiasm. We’ve all had projects which feel like ten foot high snowdrifts, remember the power of seeing how things should NOT be done is as useful as seeing perfect execution. Use that experience to improve yourself and your craft. Share your frustrations and solutions.

Take time to reflect – When I started training, the furthest I’d run was a half marathon. Now a half marathon is a relatively light jog! Two years ago, even beginning to write code was beyond me. Now I can put together effective technical tests and automation. Often we can think we are never quite good enough, or the team hasn’t come far enough down their path, or that new skill I’m learning is beyond me. A quick personal retrospective on a regular basis will work wonders.

Trust your training and step into the unknown – Finally, a marathon is quite a scary thing. It will be one of the hardest challenges of my life. I’m nervous. However, I’m trained and armed with skills and knowledge to help me. I treat my testing journey in a similar way. I have continuously evolving toolkit which helps me face testing challenges with confidence.

So, wish me luck for next week, any sponsorship gratefully accepted, for the fantastic WellChild who do such great work for children in the United Kingdom: