August 13, 2014

CAST 2014 - DAY 2

There were a lot of great talks today. I was really impressed with all of the Per Scholas graduates that I met today. If you work in testing in the New York Tri-State area and need testers, these men and ladies are top notch.  I could talk about the talks that I saw today, and I will. I've decided to do a blog post about each one and have an actionable from each talk that I'll blog about later, but today I just want to talk about the final Keynote.

The Final keynote was by Matt Heusser, and it was about the state of testing.  While I don't agree with every thing he said, his desire to inspire us to go out and address the challenges of spreading the work of good testing was evident. There was an important conversation that happened during open season.  The audience started to talk about where people in testing were going, and why they were leaving the profession. I understand that this is their experience, but it's not mine.

My experience is that passion is infects. If you haven't met me in person yet, I tend to be very passionate about testing and it comes out when I talk about it. Software Testing is my passion, and my carer. I will talk to anyone about it, and every one. I introduce my self as a Professional Software Tester, and I extol the virtues of software being developed with Professional Software Testers involved from design through to delivery.

I've been a Software Tester and a Test Lead for just over 8 years now. This started after I did two degrees, in Software Engineering and Computer Science, and I found that while I could design and develop, I was much better at Testing. Since that time, I have trained many people to be testers and inspired a few to become testers from other roles. All most all of the people that I have worked with in eight years as testers are still in testing. So I ask myself, why? Why when other are seeing attrition have I seen soo little.

I think it boils down to passion. I work hard, I learn hard and I encourage others to do so. I do it with people at work, I do it with members of my testing community. It's why I lead the Saskatoon Testing Discussion Group. I ensure that testers that work with me have mentors and access to opportunities to learn. If all employees had this let alone testers, there would be happier workplaces.

CAST 2014 - Day 1

What an amazing first day. 

It started with a great talk by James Bach about how testing is not Test Cases. Test cases are just an artifact of testing, and much of our work doesn't invlove test cases.  This got me to thinking about how what we do is all testing, but very little is test cases, and those test cases are more of a group of ideas for the next tester to think about when they go to test.  Even if a tester was to use a test case with detailed steps, the a good professional tester  would still go "off script" to better understand what the test case was trying to illumunate. 

It was a very full day of learning and talking with other testers. It's been a full day, I'll write more about what I learned later. 

August 11, 2014

CAST 2014 - Day 0 (Tutorial Day)

CAST (Conference for the Association for Software Testing) this year is in New York at NYU. I've just spent my first day at the pre-conference tutorials.  I spent a really fun day hanging out with other professional testers and learning about how we as people discover things. IE, how do we as people examine things, make guesses as to what they do and refine or refute those guesses until we understand something.  It was a really good tutorial session lead by Anne-Marie Charrett. We were looking at  research from the social sciences by David Klahr and learning  from it so that we could use it to inform how we as testers could improve how we discover.

As testers we discover things all the time. We discover the quality of the item we are testing, we might discover good or bad quality, but the path to discovery is the same. Learning to examine the steps that we are unconsciously taking to make those discoveries allows to to take conscious control over those steps so that they can be refined and improved. 

It's been a few full days here in New York, I hope I'll write more later. 

August 10, 2014

It's CAST time again

It's that time of year again, and I'm off gallivanting and visiting my favorite testing community at CAST. This year it is in New York at NYU and while the actual conference hasn't started yet, hanging around with this many other professional testers and people that like to think about test is inspiring, motivating and generally a great experience.

I came out early to attend TestRetreatNYC, a open space for test interested people to gather and talk out their testing questions and ideas in wonderful environment. Thanks to LiquidNet and Anna Royzman for letting us use their space, the amazing space certainly helped the discussions. Also thanks to Matt Heusser for organizing it, and Matt Barcomb to helping us run an open space.

 I was involved in great discussions on how to grow small testing teams, and testers communities. There were also discussions about the trends  in Automated Checking (some call it testing...) but I was at a session about the trials and tribulations of being a lone tester on an agile team.  My favorites sessions were about test leadership and the parallels between  attending an experiential drama performance and testing.

Like many of these event some of the best discussions happen not in the formal sessions but in the hallways, bars and hotel lobbys where we just throw around ideas and riff off each other. I have some new things to try out, and as before, good or bad, I'll share them here once I've tried.