A Social Intranet

A few years back I spent some time helping a company move to a social intranet. Here is the old mind map I put together to help explain why a social intranet is so valuable to a company who mainly work in the knowledge industry.

Identifying why something could work and what benefits it can bring is the foundation of making changes in your organisation.

We’ve recently moved forward with Confluence here at NewVoiceMedia as a social intranet and I used this basic mind map as a starting point for helping to bring about this change.

It’s great to see how people are now collaborating on work items and sharing ideas. It’s not just the Development team that are using Confluence, the wider business have picked it up with Gusto also.


For those who find mind maps tricky to read in this blog clicking on this link will take you to the mind map on the Xmind website.

There is also a text only version of this mind map here. (the text only versions loses the concept of nested ideas and essentially reads as one a large flat file)

Book Review : Team Geek

I’ve been reading Team Geek for a long time now. Not because it isn’t easy to read, or interesting, or useful, but because each chapter seems to hold a valuable lesson I can bring to the work place. And in doing this process of reading followed by action I’ve ended up taking a little longer to read this book than usual.

It really is a great book. I’ve recommended it to my peers and we’ve also ordered a couple of copies for the office. It’s maybe a step too far to say it’s essential reading for anyone working in a development culture but it should certainly be high on your reading list if you work in a tech department.

It’s packed with great hints, tips and stories on how to work better with others, how to respect other people and how to look at the big picture of the workplace. It’s written by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman, both well respected and established members of the development community who bring to this book a really good set of insights around people and how they work together.

There really are too many topics covered to summarise them here but the authors cover such topics as “How tools affect your culture”, being a “servant leader”, “growing cultures” and dealing with “poisonous” people.

The book is well written also and is super accessible. It’s clearly laid out and interspersed with some fun images which make reading this book enjoyable. It’s a really enjoyable book and one I think anyone working in tech would benefit from reading.

Note: The book I reviewed is a promotional copy obtained through the O’Reilly blogger review program.

The Tester Types – Friday Fun

Seeing the feed coming through on Twitter about Test Bash has got me all nostalgic for those good times I had working with Rosie and team behind the scenes at The Software Testing Club, over the last couple of years. It was a blast while it lasted and we created some amazing content for the community.

I’m proud of a lot of the content we created but it was the Tester Types that I enjoyed the most. In actual fact the Tester Types that kick started mine and Rosie’s working relationship. Such fun.

During that time a friend of mine, Richard Ellis, created a short but wickedly sweet video of The Tester Types which I’ve included below.

This years Test Bash appears to be a resounding success (if the Twitter feed is anything to go by). Great stuff – a testing conference the UK has desperately needed and can be proud of.


Discover who’s tracking you

When we are online we are often being tracked across a series of websites. It’s a growing concern for those interested in their own personal data security online. It’s also interesting to see how companies are sharing information about you and how your usage online is being tracked.

So it’s with great interest that I delved in to using Collusion from Mozilla supported by the Ford Foundation. The Firefox extension visualising and stores who is tracking you and how these companies are linked. It also has the option to be able to turn off this tracking.

From the Collusion website: 

Not all tracking is bad. Many services rely on user data to provide relevant content and enhance your online experience. But most tracking happens without users’ consent and without their knowledge. That’s not okay. It should be you who decides when, how and if you want to be tracked. Collusion will be a powerful tool to help you do that.     


The visualisation tool is also pretty neat looking. The screen shot is from a quick test I did by visiting Amazon, the BBC and ITV websites, eBay and Google. As you can see the connections start to build up. 

I’m going to leave it running for a few days and see what kind of picture I get….might be quite scary just how much I’m being tracked.

Of course there are already mechanisms for turning off the tracking like Firefox’s own inbuilt option:



I’ve resorted to using my blog to recruit again

I’ve resorted to using my blog to recruit again.

Right now I’m recruiting for two roles.

Role 1 – Contract Manual Tester.

I’m looking for a talented contractor to join our team for initially 3 months. The role will have a mix of new feature testing as well as plenty of exploration around our product.
Role 2 – Permanent Technical Tester.

I’m looking for a talented technical tester to join our team. The role will involve refactoring and re-energising our test automation framework. Must have solid experience of Selenium with Java/C#. Knowledge of BDD and SpecFlow would be beneficial.

Both positions are based in Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK.

Here’s a brief introduction of what it’s like to work here:

I often get asked what exactly we build here. To give you some idea:

To get in touch (No Agencies please) DM me on Twitter @rob_lambert or drop me an email rob (at) thesocialtester (dot) co (dot) uk

Thanks for the information, I’ll make up my own mind though

As a tester it’s important to thank people for any information and advice on how to test, where to test and what to test but then make up your own mind as to what to do.

This is true whether it’s a specification, an email, a conversation, a user story or any other form of information. Testing is often one of those activities that everyone believes they can do, and do well. It’s not hard to test…right?

We are professional skeptics. It doesn’t mean we are skeptical of just the software, but everything else that is provided along the development and usage of the system. That means user guides, marketing briefs, claims, advertising and anything else. The only really accurate information about what the product should do is gained from working out what the system actually does. (i.e. testing)

As professional skeptics we need to make up our own minds and come to our own conclusions. That should be done using any supporting material we can, but ultimately from our own information, decisions and activities.


Keeping me busy this week

What’s been keeping me busy this week?

Sherlock Holmes can help you multitask – Via John Stevenson.

An old one but a good read – The 10 Golden Rules of Leadership for recruiters.

19 Qualities any teacher should posses – for anyone wanting to move beyond their role of tester to start teaching it

Interesting to read about The drayfuss model of learning. (wikipedia link)

Public speaking tips for introverts from Duarte

Loads of great articles and links on creativity at creativitypost.com  – Via John Stevenson.

For those running a MAC Keka is a good zip/archiving tool.

The Dark Side of employee awards by Prof Michael Roberto

Really interesting article on the disappearing interface. Via Experientia

Are household appliances becoming too complicated. Could we say the same for the products we work on? Via The Guardian.

How often as a hiring manager do you get really good questions asked by the candidates? Some interesting questions here via Prof Michael Roberto.


Keeping me busy this week

There are lots of great sites out there aggregating testing posts and giving you a curated view of the world of testing. I’m not going to reproduce that.

Instead I’m going to share with you some links that have kept me busy this week. Some are test related but others are related to topics I, as a tester and manager, find interesting. You might too.

This will be a weekly series. Enjoy.

What’s been keeping me busy this week?

I’m getting a little hooked on FEO (Front End Optimisation).

Old post but interesting to see what metrics other companies are gathering on their stack, product and user experience. Here’s one from Astrid.

For those freaks like me who are obsessed with notebooks and scraps, Brain Pickings have some good insights in to those notes the famous.

Career advice by Chris Stevens of Keurig via Prof. Michael Roberto.

Putting People First (Experientia) brought my attention to an interesting report on how teachers are using tech in the classroom.

Hacker 10 is a great site for security information, advice and tools insights.

More from Putting People First, this time around computers being able to detect all lies and how this will impact a society who’s cultural norms embrace those little lies.

Alan Richardson (Evil Tester) is running his Selenium courses on Udemy