Interview with our Test Manager of the Year

Isabelle Magnusson leads the Quality Assurance team in Ticketmaster’s Gothenburg office in Sweden, and recently won Test Manager of the Year at the 2016 European Software Testing Awards. We caught up with her to find out a bit more about her success:isabelle

  1.       How does winning this award make you feel?

I feel very proud and a bit surprised to be honest.

  1.       What is it that you love about being a test manager at Ticketmaster?

I’ve been given a lot of freedom to do what I believe in from the start. My team is always striving for improvement, but will still keep challenging new processes. I have a team of testers with very different backgrounds that makes my role as manager very attractive.

  1.       How long have you been part of the Ticketmaster family?

5 years

  1.       How has Quality Assurance and software testing in general changed from when you first started?

I started my career as a trainee at a consultant company where I practiced all kind of test techniques and processes in a variety of organisations. Back then the most important part of my CV would be the ISTQB certificate. Today certificates like that are not very attractive.

  1.       What does the future of QA and software testing look like from your point of view?

I don’t believe in QA “departments”. The tester is a part of the development team and the quality assurance is not not just an activity for the tester, but rather a whole team approach. The tester in the team is still the test expert and can coach and drive the test strategy though. The opinions regarding manual and automated testing differs a bit. I believe we will not be able to automate everything but the role of the manual tester will not just be about following step by step test cases. Instead it will focus on validation from the start of a project.  

  1.       What does a day in the life of Isabelle Magnusson look like?

I scroll through Slack and mails from bed. The benefits of working with several time-zones, someone is always working, right?  After leaving my daughter, Juni at preschool, I take the bus to the office where I have my breakfast while catching up with the team. I spend quite some time coordinating bugs reported from the markets and aligning with product managers and project managers. I’m coaching the testers in their job in the development process, representing QA in different contexts. I still like to be a part of the development and step in where we are low in resources when it’s needed. We are currently recruiting a whole new team so I also spend a lot of time in interviews and reviewing CVs. After office hours I try to spend as much  time as possible with my family.

  1.       Please describe what you feel is your biggest career achievement to date:

Being a part of moving the agile process at Ticketmaster forward have been a great journey. I’m really proud of how far we as a team have come.

  1.       Please describe the vibe in the Ticketmaster Gothenburg office:

It’s a very friendly atmosphere; I consider my colleagues my extended family. We have a lot of fun and we work hard to achieve what we have committed to.

  1.       What’s it like to work at Ticketmaster?

It’s a great place to work. Being a global company the opportunities are endless.

  1.   What do you love about working at Ticketmaster?

It is a large organisation but I still feel that each individual counts. Ticketmaster invests a lot in people. I love having the freedom to do what I think is best and the responsibility that comes with it.

  1.   You recently participated in the Ticketmaster International Hackathon. How was the experience?

It was a lot of fun. I was collaborated with colleagues from Sweden and Canada. It was a great opportunity to innovate with new features and methods.

  1.   What was the first live event you went to?

Tracy Chapman

  1.   If you could go to any live event, which one would it be?

I love Christmas. I’ve been listening to Christmas songs since early November and my favourite artist is currently “She and him”. I would love to see a small, intimate live event where they perform songs from their Christmas albums.

  1.   What’s your passion?

Except testing? I’m a foodie. I love to find new restaurants and have their tasting menu. I plan my vacations based on what restaurant I want to try out. Unfortunately I’m not a very frequent customer since I had kids, so currently I have to settle with experimenting in my own kitchen. I’m planning for my next stop to be Fävikin Magasinet in Åre though.

  1.   What’s one thing that no one at work knows about you?

Hmm, I think they know most of me, I’m like an open book.

Tests and Comic Strips: How Dilbert Explains a Philosophy of Testing

At Ticketmaster, we’re committed to testing. Automated tests improve our stability, helping us sell tickets to more fans and add new features. As a developer, I have an additional motivation to write tests well: tests illustrate the intended behavior of my code. Besides achieving good code coverage, an articulate test quickly teaches another person what my code does. Here are a few cues that I’ve settled on, inspired by comic strips.

Testing speeds things up.

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DILBERT © 2015 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.

Keep it short

Three frames, four lines of dialogue: that’s limited space for pictures and words. Readers will skip over a fifty-line test block with glazed, lizard eyes. Do you want your readers to pay attention? Keep it tight, then.

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DILBERT © 2015 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.

Stay focused

Test one feature at a time.

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DILBERT © 2014 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.

Do you love Game of Thrones? Complex subplots, amirite? Intertwining narratives are fun, but testing many things at once is just confusing. Instead of writing one script that covers all possible cases, I separate each behavior into its own test. One strip, one joke; one test, one case. Isn’t that a Marley song?

Be self-contained

The Boss wants data-driven product releases.

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DILBERT © 1994 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.

Do you recognize Dilbert and the Boss? Of course! Did you forget what happened before this strip from 1994? Maybe a fanboy remembers, but everything you need to know to get the joke is in these frames. I describe this as episodic style. The tests form a series of short narratives with familiar actors, but the events of one test do not impact the outcome of another. When tests rely on the same data, I generate fresh objects before each test. Tweaking the data for a particular test won’t pollute the tests that come after it, and my readers won’t need to track state as they scroll down the page.

Clear narrative

Have you noticed the similarity between Given-When-Then stanzas and the Arrange-Act-Assert pattern? These templates both resemble story structure because people remember narratives. While writing a test, I map the logic into exposition, rising action, and resolution. If any phase is longer than a line or two, I use comments or wrapper functions to delineate the boundaries. But I can’t hide too much detail—the punch line loses its sting if you don’t know the Boss practices feng shui martial arts.

Don’t leave your app defenseless.

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DILBERT © 2015 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.

Tie it all together

There are many elements to a comic strip: the dialogue, the characters, the scenery. These layers all converge on a single message. Do you see Rodney’s wrinkled tie? This subtle detail emphasizes just how unsafe the Boss’ new product is. Without pictures, variable names must evoke imagery that reinforces the behavior being tested.

Poor Rodney—no wonder his tie is wrinkled.

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DILBERT © 2010 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.

That’s all. I write short tests that focus on a single behavior. I name variables and functions carefully, and isolate state within each test. I ensure that the sequence of actions conveys a narrative structure. These elements of style focus the reader’s attention on my code’s behavior and foster clear understanding in a memorable way. I hope you find these cues helpful.

Love it? Hate it? Know any good jokes? Tell me what you think by dropping a note to matt@ticketmaster.com.

 

Fear and Paranoia in a DevOps World

DevOps as a philosophy has been gaining momentum among startups and enterprises alike for its potential of delivering high quality features to the customer at a fast pace.  It’s no surprise that at Ticketmaster, we are championing the DevOps model so that we can deliver on our promise of enhancing the fan experience. The DevOps model implies rapid iteration on features and specifically, the focus of this post, frequent production deployments. Continue reading

Access Control Testing with Calabash

The JAC Scanner team is developing Android-based access control software to scan tickets for entry or exit at venues. The JAC Scanner application is designed to run on any Android cell phone using the camera to scan tickets, and it will eventually support dedicated scanning devices such as those available from Janam and Motorola. The application is being developed in C# using Xamarin. It has a hybrid user interface, with all controls contained in a web view object. We chose Xamarin and the hybrid interface with an eye towards more easily porting the application to iOS in the future. Continue reading