Nordic Testing Days 2014 – Tutorial and Day One

In the beginning of June the Nordic Testing Days conference (http://nordictestingdays.eu/) was taking place in Tallinn. The program was so good that sometimes I had a really difficult time in deciding where to go to. For the second time a tutorial day was included, and for the first time I participated in it. There were five tutorials to choose from and there were four that I would have liked to participate in, but I could only choose one. I participated in the ‘A Day Of Lean Software Testing’ (by Matt Heusser and Pete Walen) tutorial. Before the tutorial there was a Lean Coffee (http://leancoffee.org/) session as well, but I didn’t participate. I had read very little about lean prior to the tutorial. I looked at it as ‘something new to get a glimpse of’. We did some group exercises and tried to be as effective as possible. After the first round we tried to describe the wastes, and in the second round tried to minimize the wastes as much as possible. What also became quite clear, was, that when someone ‘sees’ the product in their head, then it’s really hard to describe that to other people, so that they would see it in the same way.

Some thoughts that stood out for me:

  • Do small changes continually
  • Don’t load up to 100% efficiency
  • Think of effectiveness (get the most products out the door with as good quality as possible)
  • Maximize throughput
  • Think of touch time
  • One story as work in progress
  • If your predictions are based on average, you’re wrong half the time

The first conference day started for me with a lean coffee session (having missed the first one the previous day, I made sure not to miss the other two). We discussed lean, improvements and end-user testing. What stood most out for me – Reflect on how much improvements you use. Then came the official opening of the conference and the first keynote – Testing in the Automation Age (by Jevgeni Kabanov). We were told the story of testing in ZeroTurnaround. One thing that was mentioned, the CEO testing (testing by someone (not a tester) who doesn’t use the product regularly), I want to try at the company I work for. Then came the ‘Exploratory Testing Dojo’ by Huib Schoots. I could practice note taking among other things. I got reminded to – Take notes to improve yourself. We did group exercises and I was fortunate enough to be part of a really smart group. After lunch I went to listen to Ruud Cox, who did a track on ‘Drawing to learn’. I want to get better at note taking and I think visualization could help me with it. Some thoughts from the track (notes for myself):

  • Start sketching, try to ‘see’ the image in your mind
  • Focus-defocus, experiment
  • Come up with a good model of the system
  • Be aware that mental models are inconsistent
  • Why use sketching? To clarify, to create new ideas
  • Models expire
  • Start with different elements, then bind them into one

Then came Stephen Janaway’s track – Testing Your Emotions – and how you can apply some personal leadership to keep them under control. Some notes for myself:

  • Emotions are not feelings, moods, affects
  • Feelings – manifestation of emotions
  • Emotions can have a powerful impact on memory
  • Be aware of emotional bias
  • Emotional models – Robert Plutchik, Hugo Lövheim
  • Think about what the customer could feel.

The last track of the day was by Gitte Ottosen who talked about ‘The life of a pragmatic tester – the best of two worlds’. I realized I’m not a pragmatic tester. Should I become one? Would it be easier to be one or not to be one? Is pragmatism relevant for me? The first conference day ended with a keynote by Matt Heusser and Pete Walen – On Complete Testing. I guess I’ve been quite fortunate to never having been asked to test a product completely.

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