First off I want to thank everyone who attended Let’s Test and made it an awesome experience. This was my first test conference and all of you helped to make it a fantastic one.
There were so many great talks to attend that choosing between them was an impossible task, or at least a very hard one.
One thing all presenters had in common was that the information they were sharing was mixed with a great sense of humor. This made time fly and all the sessions felt way too short, even the full day with James Bach. As a colleague said when we attended a presentation James had in Malmö. “It is like a test related stand up”.
Below are my sum-up of the sessions I attended. Have a look at http://lets-test.com for the full program and the slides (coming soon). And I apologize if any quotes are wrong.
James Bach opened the conference with his keynote “How do I know I’m Context driven?”. He talked about the problem of shallow agreement where we might think we are talking about the same thing but really we are not. He also pointed out that context driven can mean different things such as.
- A paradigm – The model by which I understand, experience value, explain and categorize good testing.
- A community – People I influence and am influenced by who expose the principles of context driven testing.
- An approach – A heuristic I apply to my projects.
In depth look at the art of Test Reporting – James Bach
I was one of the early registers so I got a seat at James full day tutorial. The day was composed of presentation and exercises where one exercise was to answer the unicorn question “‘Between 1-100, how completely did you test?”. Amazing how many answers you can get to that question. Here are some:
- 100, I tested all 4 minutes
- 0, I know 0 about how much I have covered.
He also talked about the 3 levels of test reporting:
- 1. What is the status of the product? – Is the product any good?
- 2. What did you do to get to that fact? – How do you know?
- 3. Was that testing good? – Should I be pleased with your work?
- 3+. What is the quality of the test report? – Is the report good enough?
These levels are good to keep in mind since it will help you create a thorough report fast.
There were a lot of topics covered such as tacit vs. explicit, the beer game, the low tech dashboard and safety language among other things. One topic was ways to increase your credibility as a tester by:
- How you dress
- Using correct language / words
- Using the right tone
- Growing a beard
Second day started off with Johanna Rothmans keynote “Kick-Ass Manager”.
I’ll give you some of my favorite quotes.
- “Hire people who are smarter than you”
- “Multitasking has never worked. It is the fastest way to get nothing done”
- “Adapt / evolve or die”
- “Bugs are not the interesting point to business, the effect of the bugs are.”
The leading edge of testing mobile apps – Julian Harty
I was one of the lucky few who got the “Mobile developers guide to the galaxy” book (which you can get for free here http://www.enough.de/products/mobile-developers-guide/).
One of the topics where that feedback is public and very important for the app. If you get bad feedback (and it can be enough with a couple of one star ratings among a bunch of five star) it is often easier to scrap and re-do. Another thing is that it takes roughly 2 weeks to get your app approved by Apple and around 6 weeks to get an update (fix) in.
Linguistics – On how to keep the dialogue Constructive – Leo Hepis
For this workshop we got two brave volunteers (Erik Brickarp and Martin Nilsson) to act out a phone screening for a job interview. Observers where to watch out for uncooperative answers e.g. “Will I get a build on Friday? – Our integrator is on vacation”. The workshop focused on the Meaning part of Satir interaction model (Intake, Meaning, Significance and Response). The workshop got me thinking on how I usually respond and will make me more careful in my responses from now on.
The evil testers Guide to Technical Web Testing – Allan Richardson
“Technical testing is a reminder to keep going deeper”. You can use MORIM (Model through Observation, Reflection, Interrogation and Manipulation) as a reminder to keep going deeper.
Allan uses a version of Chomsky’s Transformational Grammar to model his thinking in multiple surface structures to form one deep structure. Every new surface structure will either strengthen or re-form the deep structure.
And then a quote about how he work:
“Developers work in the backend so I work from the frontend and work myself back”.
Observation Ninjas & Description Superheroes – Ilari Henrik Aegerter
It’s amazing how easy it is to fool our brain. For this Ilari used pictures, mind-reader exercises and card tricks to show us. I especially liked the mind-reader one which I have amazed all my friends with (you can see it in the presentation http://vimeo.com/66929939 @29:34). Hopefully this will make me more aware of the things that might fool me and hence avoid being fooled.
The Art of Understanding – Carsten Feilberg
This was a workshop where we were divided in 3 teams and all the teams got a number of words that could have a lot of different meaning such as Project, Developer, Tester, Manager, Data, Transport, Delivery, Shop, Shop owner and so on. Our task was to arrange these words in relation to each other. The thing I found interesting here was that even though we didn’t have enough information to make any real meaning of this we still struggled to find meaning. Another interesting thing was that even though we didn’t know our solution was the right one and we only had worked with it for 10 minutes, most of us still defended our own solution when comparing to the other groups and wouldn’t change anything.
Bad Metrics and What You Can Do About It – Paul Holland
This is a really interesting topic and Paul attacked it with humor and passion. A lot of the bad metrics he mentioned I have unfortunately seen myself. Among others the salary based “you need to find 3 bugs a week”.
Goodhart’s Law which says “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure” is something we all should be aware of.
Paul also listed some elements of Bad Metrics:
- Measure and / or compare elements that are inconsistent in size or composition
- Create competition between individuals and / or teams.
- Easy to “game” or circumvent the desired intention
- Containing misleading information or gives a false sense of completeness.
A number of bugs found really don’t say anything. There is no way of knowing the status of a product by just a bug number. What kind of bugs is it, how easy can we fix them, are they critical and so on.
We know more than we can tell – Michael Bolton
There are a lot of things we know but we don’t know why and how. We learn all the time by imitations and trial and error.
Michael talked among other things about the 3 flavors of tacit knowledge:
- Relational – (Head) “All possible chess games”.
- Somatic – (Body) “Can we explain how to keep your balance when riding bike explicit?”
- Collective – (Society) “Biking in Amsterdam, follow the “flow” of the traffic”
A good quote from Michael when talking about if a tester needs to be able to program:
“Either be a programmer or be charming”.
There were a lot of good sessions which have triggered a lot of thoughts.
But Let’s Test is not only about the sessions. The interaction during lunch, between the sessions and during the evenings are equally important if not more so. Meeting and talking to all of the participants is what really made an impression. Add good food and free beer to the equation and you have a recipe for success. So all in all this was a really good conference and I’m definitely coming back next year.
See you all next year at Let’s Test 2014, if not sooner.