Lessons Learned from Agile Testing Days (Day 2)!

Day 2 started in a bit of a blur, as I was trying to still digest the waft of information that I had gained from day 1…
Nonetheless, the second day offered just as much fun, information, knowledge, ideas and socializing as the first day!

Here’s a summary of day 2:

Keynote: “Live it – or leave it: returning your investment into AgileBy Christian Hassa

Christian’s keynote talk described a lot of how my company currently does things when it comes to Agile processes, so it was good to know that I’m on a good track to a certain degree… Christian talked about “Testing not being there to validate software”, which I found a bold statement. He went on to explain that he believed that testing was there to prove that the world is changing. I’m not entirely sure what he meant with this statement though.

Christian mentioned a few great books that I’d secondly advise people to read; “Spec By Example”, “Impact Mapping” and “How to Measure Anything”. He went on to speak about Impact Maps in some detail which was very useful too! Here are my notes:

My notes from "Live It Or Leave It - Returning Your Investment Into Agile"
My notes from “Live It Or Leave It – Returning Your Investment Into Agile”

Big Data Small Sprint
by Adam Knight

It was great meeting Adam at ATD. And our conversations throughout the evening were invaluable!

Unsurprisingly, his talk was fantastic! Big Data is a huge topic that is only getting bigger. It is eventually going to become relevant in every company. Adam’s company has been at the forefront in dealing with Big Data right now, so it was great that he is able to share his experiences with the challenges of Big Data.

Adam started by discussing how his company rapidly expanded on the data front, where they were thrust into having to cope with so much data. And he went on to talk about how he handled that situation. There was a big emphasis on the fact that “Testability is critical”. This is something that I have been having some discussions around with some of the developers in my work.

Adam also mentioned 4 key factors when it comes to testing big data; “having a deep understanding of the product”, “being able to collaborate with developers”, “having a multi-skilled test team” and “having that focus on testability”. These are 4 key factors that I feel are key not only for testing big data, but for testing in any environment!

Another thing that Adam mentioned was “T-Shaped Testers” and “Square Shaped Teams”. This is something that I believe in also! My notes are below:

My notes from "Big Data Small Sprint"
My notes from “Big Data Small Sprint”

Myths of exploratory testing
by Luis Fraile & Jose Aracil

I was very excited to hear this talk, as I have a few challenges currently with trying to dispel some of the misconceptions that people have around Exploratory Testing. And I was looking for new ways to approach getting around the misconceptions, but Luis and Jose unfortunately didn’t offer an insight into different ways to challenge the people with the misconceptions but instead they focused on explaining the myths to us instead.

There was an air of controversy around this talk too, with statements like: “ET is additional to other testing”, and that “ET must be planned and documented”. Another thing that I disagreed with was when they said that you can measure ET by the amount of defects that has been logged…

Aside from that, I think that Luis and Jose did well with their presentation. And they were able to answer a whole host of questions that came their way at the end of the talk. My notes are below:

My notes from "Myths of Exploratory Testing"
My notes from “Myths of Exploratory Testing”

Keynote: “Accelerating Agile Testing – Beyond Automation
by Dan North

Dan’s talk is the kind of talk that I could listen to over and over again, as I’m sure every time you hear it you’ll pick up on some new valuable information.

He started his keynote by discussing how he see’s other Agile teams doing testing, where it’s the usual “in dev” > “in testing” > “done” flow while using BDD, ATDD or SbE scenarios… Dan then went on to say that “what we do reveals what we value” and that it’s values and beliefs along with our behavior that stems our capabilities and this feeds back into our values and beliefs and behavior.

Dan had created a chart to detail the capabilities of testing, where he created 4 quadrants to cover the scales of Determinate to Random, across the scale of Manual to Automated. He detailed a handful of items on the chart, but then went on to say that there are actually 130 different testing methods that would fit into the chart! I think I’d be lucky to name about 40 to be honest, but it’s set a challenge for me that’s for sure! 🙂

Some of the best quotes of the conference came from Dan’s talk. One of my favorites: “Good choices comes from experience which comes from bad choices”. I think this is an important quote that teaches us that not only is it OK to fail, but that when we fail we must realize that we have failed and learn from it.

My notes from Dan’s keynote:

My notes from "Accelerating Agile Testing"
My notes from “Accelerating Agile Testing – Beyond Automation”

Inside the
Test Lab with Bart Knaack & James Lyndsay

I spent the rest of the afternoon in James’ and Bart’s test lab, which was great fun! I opted to test the latest version of free-mind (the mind mapping software) and within half an hour had earned 5 badges – one for each bug I found and logged.

The test lab was a very relaxed atmosphere, and offered me a great chance to be able to pick the minds of James and Bart – two very influential testers, so that was phenomenal!

I had previously met James at the LTG Workshops session, so we were able to continue our previous conversations in this session. He also informed me about the LEWT sessions that he runs, which I’m keen on getting along to.

The Agile Game Night

I thoroughly enjoyed the Agile Games Night that was also hosted by James and Bart. They had drafted in Lisa Crispin, Matt Heusser, Janet Gregory, Mary Gorman and Pete Walen to host some of the agile games and puzzles.

I opted for James’ game – he had pitched it to me earlier in the test lab and it sounded fun. It turned out that it was great fun too! There was a good turn out for it – 3 teams of about 6 people in each team. The challenge was that we had to design and build paper airplanes, but there were time pressures and expectations to meet each requirement set by the P.O. (which was James)…

I wont give too much away in case you ever get the opportunity to play this game in the future, but I did take it back to the office and use it in one of my Testing Workshop sessions that I run internally within my organization, and it had very good feedback from my colleagues also!

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