June 15, 2016

Saskatoon Testing Discussion Group: End of Season 4

It's been 4 amazing years since I started the Saskatoon Testing Discussion Group. I'd tried to start a local interest group a few times before, but didn't have the reach or support needed to be successful. I'd like to thank Vendasta for being a amazing sponsor for the group. They have provided food, drink and space for the meeting for the past four years.

The group has changed a bit over the four years, and some of the sessions were better than others. I think that this latest season has been the best so far. To that end I need to thank the members of the management team that stepped up this year to help me plan and arrange the events. It has made the topics more widely applicable to more of the people in Saskatoon doing test (even on testers doing the role).

We've tried to record and live stream most of our events so that people that can't attend have a way of catching up or attending remotely. We've struggled with the technology for this over the four seasons but it seems to be coming together better lately.

With the end of our latest season drawing near, I wanted to take the time to say thank you to those that come out, those that help and those that have bitten the bullet and spoken at the gatherings.  The other thing that I want to do is promote our last session of the season. We have James Bach of Satisfice Inc giving a remote presentation to the group about the layers of testing and how they are all involved in every test. I'm very excited have have James speak to the group. I've heard him talk at more than a few conferences, and he is an excellent presenter that always challenges me to be better at my job.  If you want to check him out before the talk, many of talks are on youtube, and is blog can be found here.

Come on out to hear him speak on June 29th at 12:15 (lunch)  in the Vendasta Atrium. Pizza and pop provided, Please RSVP at Meetup.com

October 12, 2014

New Season of Discussions at the Saskatoon Software Testing Discussion Group

The new season of discussions is starting this  week. The gatherings have moved to Wednesdays from Tuesdays this year. Hopefully this won't be a problem for anyone and actually makes it easier for a few of you to attend.  I plan to record the sessions and post them the same as in earlier seasons.  They will be available on the you tube channel.  In other news, there is now a Facebook group as well as the Google+ and Meetup pages. 

The first discussion will be on "Estimating testing effort". I  hope all of you locals can make it out.  

September 17, 2014

Passion in testing

I've thought a lot about passion and passion in testing lately. I was asked to speak to the september meeting of KWSQA about creating passionate testers. I've found this model for thinking about the training, mentoring and long term careers of testers as a refreshing thought pattern. Passion has some excellent imagery that can relate to careers and to testing.

And so a question for you all.... Think about the things that you are passionate about. Have they changed over the years? Was is sudden? Or a slow change?  Were you able to reignite the passion at a later time?

I'm looking forward to talking to many of you about this topic over the next few weeks and months, and I'll let you know how the presentation goes once I'm done.

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.