Swiss Testing Days - Experience report

By on March 17, 2013 Comments

Last week I went to Zurich to present at Swiss Testing Days. I started my day by attending keynote - The nine forgettings - from Lee Copeland. I had attended his keynote in the past as well and he is an excellent presenter and story teller. Have a look at the slides he used and video recording . It was the same topic but it's definitely worth the time.

I agree with pretty much all the points mentioned by Lee, except certifications and boundaries.

Lee mentioned that certification is a way to grow professionally and it shows that you are serious about the profession. Well, I am not a big fan of certifications - certifications do not show that person holding certification is serious about the job. It shows that person holding certifications has passed an exam - nothing more than that. However, Lee mentioned certification as part of “Forgetting to grow” and he mentioned other ways to grow as well - so if you want to grow professionally, my advice would be to focus on other ways he mentioned and many other ways (weekday / weeknight testing, blogging, training, teaching, open-source and so on..) he did not mention.

On the same lines, after working with good agile teams for last couple of years - I am not sure if we need to worry about boundaries. Boundaries, can very easily become playground for the blame game. It’s best if teams are considered as delivery teams and notion of boundaries based on the role is removed or diluted from the teams.

Apart from these two points, I pretty much liked everything else he said in the presentation.

After the keynote, I spent most of my time in exhibition centre and spoke with fellow testers. Its always interesting to discuss what problem other folks are facing and how they are solving those problems.

In the next session, it was my turn to take the stage. I spoke about the caution we need to exercise while delivering software developed with Acceptance Test Driven Development ( ATDD), Behaviour Driven Development ( BDD ), Test Driven Development (TDD) with continuous integration and delivery. You can find slidedeck I used here .

I attended one more session from Lee - “The Mismeasure of Software: The Last Talk on Measurement You‘ll Ever Need to Hear”

It was a great talk and I loved it - Lee started with the discussion on Phrenology and explained why measurement fails. I liked the concept of Reification error - it resonated with my talk on the caution with ATDD. In reification, abstractions are treated as reality and on the same lines with ATDD, often reality (Green build - collection of passed tests / checks) is treated as abstraction (quality is good). However, most important part of the talk for me were the three rules Lee came up with. In my opinion, these three rules pretty much sums up measurement and when it should be used

  • Don’t measure it if you don’t know what it means
  • Don’t measure it if you are not going to do something with the measurments
  • Don’t turn your measurement into a goal

Lee suggested that instead of numbers, surprise should be examined to find out what caused it. He ended his presentation with his famous words - "If you measure the wrong thing and reward the wrong thing, then don’t be surprised if you get the wrong thing."

For the next session, I went to “Applied Testing Heuristics in the Context of eBay” - Though this session was in german, I could easily grasp most of things Illari and Dominik were talking about. Their slide deck is available on slideshare.

Overall, it was a good conference. Conference was big (around 800 people) and well managed. Were you there as well? What's your opinion? Did you miss it? Want to ask something? Please leave your comments and I will get back to you.. thanks.

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