Before it all leaves my head, here’s a dump of my thoughts after spending two days in a peer conference with the following amazing people:
- Katrina Edgar
- Oliver Erlewein
- Rich Robinson
- Brian Osman
- Anne Marie Charrett
- Jennifer Hurrell
- Erin Donnell
- Katrina McNicholl
- Andrew Robins
- Mike Talks
- Tessa Benzie
- Alesasandra Moreira
- James Hailstone
- Lee Hawkins
- Damian Glenny
- Shirley Tricker
- Joshua Raine
- Colin Cherry
The theme was ““Lighting the way; Educating others and ourselves about software testing – (raising a new generation of thinking creative testers)”
For me, the three major themes and takeaways were:
- How I think about community. Do we create the appearance of a clique when we try to build a community? Is one person’s group of like minded people who share ideas another person’s exclusive club of connected people? I wonder if exclusiveness is an unfortunate but inevitable side-effect of inclusiveness. That is, you can’t feel excluded from something if there is nothing to be excluded from. But once you create something, eg a community, a culture, a meetup group, then there now exists something to be excluded from. Shirley Tricker’s ER, and discussions at the KWST/WeTest meetup after day 1 got me thinking about this.
- How I think about perceptions. I learnt that people can feel belittled, sneered at, put down by others in the community. I learnt that I am probably one of those that makes people feel this way. This chilled me to the bone. I wonder if the foot soldiers are being punished for the crimes of their generals. By attacking what people do, and what they are doing without knowing an alternative, it seems like I’m attacking the person. This ties into theme 1 as well. By labelling myself a “CDTester” or something similar, am I creating a circle around myself that excludes others?
- The grounds for change are fertilised by the blood of beaten testers. Nearly everyone’s ER about learning and growth involved stories of feeling out of their depth and feelings of inadequacy. At one point, the group was asked “hands up if you’ve ever felt like a fraud?” Nearly everyone’s hands went up. It seems like conflict (internal or external) is the catalyst for curiosity (Thanks Tessa, Ale, and Erin in particular for their stories around this).
Some quotes and other things I had written down:
Anne-Marie Charrett spoke about developing a post-graduate testing course at the University of Technology Sydney
“Teaching testing is about teaching students how to ask questions”
- Test Strategy
- Critical thinking
- State Models
- Tools and Testability
- Exploratory testing
- Reporting and Communication
Ratio was 1 hour online; 2 hours practical in class
Number 1 issue was students didn’t know how to communicate
First class was on critical thinking. This lays the groundwork for the rest of the content.
“You’re hiring a testing expert; I need complete autonomy over my testing” – Anne-Marie
Tessa spoke about her self-awareness that she felt like a fraud.
She had a model: Dispel the Myth, or Harness the Myth.
Harnessing the myth can be the catalyst for change. eg: the myth that I’m a fraud can be harnessed and I can use that energy to self-educate etc.
“Self awareness brings clarity” – Unknown
Shirley spoke about coaching testers at her place of work. She relayed that graduate testers often felt belittled, put down and sneered at by more experienced testers who are trying to challenge the status quo of testing. She described how testers desired the ISTQB certification because it gave them the perception of credibility in others’ eyes. She observed that those that didn’t have degrees or qualifications desired ISTQB the most.
During open season, Oliver said that when he recruited testers he got better testers when he recruited for junior positions than for senior positions. Dunning-Kruger effect perhaps?
I interpreted Colin’s ER about Platinum vs bronze projects, as putting testers onto projects that were within their zone of proximal development.
Ale’s ER involved a model she had come up for self-development. She’s going to blog about it. (This is your second public ‘outing’, you really have to do it now, Ale 🙂 )
“Networking is a great support system” – Ale
“Look for people who are dissatisfied” – unknown
Erin’s ER blew everyone away. Again, the themes of feelings of inadequacy and having the self-awareness to harness that into a catalyst for seeking knowledge. It fit Ale’s model wonderfully. She sought community, education, etc.
Katrina’s was on her reactions to a presentation at the government test professionals forum, and the apathy of the audience to what they were hearing. The discussion that ensued focussed on how you ‘get people angry’ or dissatisfied enough to create change both within themselves and the environment around them.
Then we played with Robots!
A testing conference where there was TESTING!
Lee spoke about challenging the status quo at an outsourced testing centre in China. Interesting to hear about SBTM used in an off-shored environment.
And then finally we heard from Andrew Robins from Tait radio who told the story of how they became a fully 100% Context-Driven testing shop in a mission-critical and life-or-death industry. I loved that testers at Tait get 4 hours a week for self development.
An incredible two days, and everyone was left exhausted. Here ends brain dump.
Author: Aaron Hodder
ps: How many testing conferences have people actually testing?