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Tony Simms

Tony is highly experienced IT and Business Test Consultant with more than 25 years experience of in successfully planning, executing and delivering high-quality software testing projects in the public and private sectors.
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Recent Posts

The Challenges of Using Live Data for Testing

Posted by Tony Simms on 22/08/2023

The Vitality of UK GDPR Compliance

We have recently revised and updated our privacy policy to ensure that we remain complaint with UK GDPR and other legislations. It's essential that we do so if we wish to maintain the trust of our staff and clients but that got us thinking…

As the demand for efficient testing grows, so does the demand for relevant data to test against. We are aware that many of our clients use a copy of live data in their testing. It makes sense. Live data is relevant as there is plenty of it and it's quick and easy to get hold of.

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Topics: Software Testing, GDPR, Test Data

Reduce Test Documentation: Strategies for Success

Posted by Tony Simms on 27/07/2023

Expert Tips on Reducing Documentation 

As a test manager, for many years, my life has revolved around paper... requirements, documents and reports. I even had the poster!

I must admit I found comfort in my templates and checklists but then came agile! In an agile world, the focus is on delivering working software quickly and efficiently.  Agile methodologies encourage collaboration and communication between team members, including End Users, Testers, Developers and Product Owners. One of the key principles of agile is to value working software over comprehensive documentation. 

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Topics: Software Testing, Testing Techniques, Test Requirements

Importance of Software Quality - What Does ‘Quality’ Mean?

Posted by Tony Simms on 17/04/2023

Introduction: Exploring the Significance of Software Quality

We talk about 'quality' quite a bit in our line of work, we talk about:

  • Quality assurance
  • QA & Test
  • Improving quality
  • Ensuring quality
  • The quality of the software
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Topics: Software Testing, Quality Assurance, Test Teams

Managing Stakeholder Expectations

Posted by Tony Simms on 2/02/2023

Strategies for Meeting Stakeholder Expectations

“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.” -  Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings.

Sometimes, as a Tester I feel as if I am the only one with a grip on reality!

  • Delivery into test is late but still the Project Manager expects us to do the same level of testing in less time.
  • The system is not meeting the customer expectations but still the Product Owner wants to ship.
  • The Developers are rejecting every defect we raise and somehow it’s our fault that the code is buggy. 
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Topics: Software Testing, Test Management, Stakeholders

Managing Conflict: Tips & Tricks

Posted by Tony Simms on 13/11/2022

What Are the Best Practices for Managing Conflict?

Yes, this really happened! I was working on a huge government project, and along with the Chief Acceptance Officer for the program, I was visiting a supplier to sign off the acceptance of their data centre.

The plan was that:

  • The supplier would present the evidence of testing.
  • I would confirm that I had checked it all and that it was good to go.
  • The Acceptance Officer would sign off on the report.
  • The supplier would get a cheque for £20 million in the post!
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Topics: Software Testing, Test Management, Tech Roles

Static Analysis Tools: Common Myths & Misconceptions

Posted by Tony Simms on 26/07/2022

Static Analysis Tools: True or False

Not everything that you believe is true. You'll be surprised about the things that you think you know and that you think are true but are, in fact...false.

1: Tins of baked beans

I bet you think that tins of baked beans contain baked beans. To be honest, I wouldn't blame you if you did.  I mean, it's there on the label. There are rules about what you can and can't put on the food labels. However, the truth is that tins of baked beans don't contain baked beans. The beans in cans of baked beans have been stewed, not baked. (Source.)

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Topics: Software Testing, Testing Techniques, Static Analysis

SDET - The Challenge of Finding Technical Testers

Posted by Tony Simms on 21/06/2022

DevOps Organisations Are Growing

One area where we are seeing large growth at the moment is that of DevOps and Software Development Engineer In Test (SDET), particularly with larger organisations and government departments.

Driving this demand is the desire to breakdown the barrier between software development & IT operations and blend them together so as to build cheaper, quicker and more valuable solutions.

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Topics: Software Testing, DevOps, SDET

Document Review – 10 Tips & 10 Checks

Posted by Tony Simms on 24/05/2022

Introduction: The Importance of Document Review

In testing, as in development in general, we rely on good documentation to help us ensure that we deliver the right product to our end users. These documents may be user stories, requirements, technical designs or any other document that you can rely on to “build It right” and “test it right”. All should all be subject to a critical review.

However, document review is not something most testers are taught and for many, the review will consist of little more than reading the document, pointing out typos and obvious mistakes. They are not aware of the two key elements they should be looking out for which are...

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Topics: Software Testing, Quality Assurance, Document Review Checklist

Automation Testing Interview Questions

Posted by Tony Simms on 19/04/2022

How to Prepare for an Automation Testing Interview

I was recently asked to help a non-technical Test Manager to draw up a job specification for an Automation Test Engineer with at least one year’s test automation experience. Not too difficult a task as I knew the client fairly well and understood the sort of person they would need but...

The conversation turned to how would this non-technical Test Manager know if the answers given in an interview were: 

  • A: right and...
  • B: a reflection of the candidate’s true test automation ability

I came up with an approach that I think will work well. More about that in a moment… but first, I will explain about the problem of interview questions.

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Topics: Software Testing, test automation, Interview Questions

Kipling, not cakes but 5 Ws and H

Posted by Tony Simms on 6/04/2022

Tips for Making the Most of 5 Ws & H

Do you know the poem that starts?

“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”

These six fundamental questions can serve you very well when creating user stories. They can be particularly useful if used in a group setting. Even more so if the group has wide representation across the various stakeholder groups. In fact, having input from a mixed group is particularly important if you are looking to get comprehensive user stories that everyone can agree to.

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Topics: Software Testing, Test Tools, Test Requirements

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