Testing bol.com style

Everybody wants to stay ahead of the game. It is no different for the bol.com testing community. Ever wondered how we manage to do that? In this post I gladly share how bol.com test engineers keep challenging and inspiring each other.

Team huddle

Each year the entire testing community gets together an entire day to set their goals. Testing has always been a fun and challenging role, but bol.com likes to spice it up for us test engineers. Just as well, because so do we.

This year Leon Verhagen, one of our IT directors, kicked off the day with “Double our impact” as our motto of the day. As the number of sticky notes on the walls grew by the hour, everyone’s energy and enthusiasm quickly started flowing. Our testing community grew together as we openly discussed our problems, possible solutions and shared our views. Thanks to several Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes games, we all improved our communication skills and teamwork.

An impression of the different sessions during the day

Settings goals for the community during the Test Guild Day 2017

In case you’re looking for some statistics, here they are:

  • 1.000.000 sticky notes
  • 100’s of ideas & ambitions
  • 35 testers
  • 3 goals for 2017
  • 1 community

Community goals

From the giant list of topics that were mentioned during the day we short-listed the most important initiatives and took some time to determine next actions for those.

Make our test community thrive

Our #1 conclusion of the day: meet up more often. Sure, it’s a dead giveaway, as everyone knows sharing and learning from your peers is invaluable to constant improvement. Unfortunately it's very easy to get caught up in the rhythm of the sprint, focused on whatever is going on within your team. That is why we’ve identified several next steps to strengthen the testing community: focus groups with a shared context and the bol.com Test Cafe, where we’ll meet informally to talk about all things testing.

Help each other level up on skills

The way we develop software has become more technical and as a testing group we have to keep up with the pace of development. Learning Java, getting more knowledge about our software architecture, exploratory testing workshops, taking a Rapid Software Testing course from James Bach himself, experimenting with new testing tools such as Postman and Cucumber… All these things will help our test engineers to contribute to their teams. Those who have already mastered these skills will be given coaching hours so that they can more easily share their skills with others.

Shape a scalable vision for testing that will double the impact

A short time to market is central to our delivery strategy, but too often changes are delayed by unreliable tests on integrated environments. Investigating false negatives eats up valuable time we would rather spent on building new features. Our first steps will focus on creating isolated environments and increasing our use of stubs. To deliver feedback to our developers even faster, we’ll double down on our usage of Docker. Docker workshops will familiarize everybody with the basic commands and the tooling we have built around the Docker ecosystem.

All geared up

By now the bol.com Test Cafe is up and running and we’re well on our way to making our goals and maintaining a thriving testing community. I’ll be sure to keep you posted of our progress. Want to be an active part of it? Please check out our vacancies.

Joost van Wollingen

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