Saturday, October 29, 2011

Images from Speed Geeking at STP Conference

Here are pictures of the flip chart presentation I used during Speed Geeking - Breakfast Bytes at 2011 STP Conference.   I must say that it turned out to be extremely fun.  A huge thanks to those who stopped by to listen.

As Testers in the World of Kanban remember these 8 disciplines.

Happy Testing!



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why Go to a Testing Conference?

Today I will be packing and driving to Dallas to attend the Fall session of the Software Testing Professionals Conference, STPCon.  I am extremely energized, but I got to thinking last night as to why should testers go to conferences.

Before becoming a Software Tester I was an Analytical Chemist.  Although at times I could think outside the box, for the most part my life was run by SOPs, standard operating procedures.  When I started software testing I guess I expected the same.  There is one and only one way to test software.  In October 2010, I attended my second testing conference.  Why did I go?

Sure I was blessed by the fact that my company was paying for the conference.  I am definitely indebted to my company.  But the primary reason I went to that conference was to learn!  How do other companies test software?  So in essence the second reason for going to the conference was to meet people.

Honestly some of the sessions I attended did not provide me with anything new.  Perhaps some of them educated me on the things I did not want to continue to do from a testing perspective.  But when you meet people like Jerry Weinberg, Michael Bolton, Kent Beck, Matt Heusser, Lynette Creamer, Adam Goucher, Dan Downing, Goranka Bjedov, and Scott Barber,  a crazy thing happens.  You become inspired!

There are more names to add this list, but conferences exist to educate, which was my original premise for going.  I had no clue that conferences could be so magical at inspiring.  STPCon March 2011 I met more amazing people,  James Bach, Jon Bach, Karen Johnson, and Janet Gregory.  I do not think I can even put into words how much more I was inspired.

So my conclusion as to why testers should go to conferences is two fold.  One is to learn!  Two is to become inspired.

There are many conferences and all may contain an inspiration.

If a conference is not affordable, then meet with your local testing community and hone the craft of testing.

I am anxious to see what inspirations I get from STPCon in Dallas this week.

Keep on Testing!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Adventures in Medical Device Testing

On Wednesday March 23 I attended the session presented by James Bach called "Adventures in Medical Device Testing".

I do not remember all of the details, but I can recall a few key points.

James talked about how he was hired to test a medical device.  He subsequently was fired for not wanting to take the requirements and write test cases.  Soon he was rehired.  One of the main lessons for me was that James took it upon himself to become an expert with respect to this medical device.  As testers we must do our homework. 

I was also fascinated that he could get away without having to write zillions of test cases.  Having worked in a highly regulated industry in my past, I assumed he would have had to follow stringent and regulated standard operating procedures.  I have always wanted to skip writing test cases, because historically I spent a large chunk of my life wasting time developing many the test cases. James showed us how to do excellent testing in new ways.

I walked out of this session completely charged up.  I was energized to learn more about Session Based Test Management, SBTM.  I was also inspired to learn more about the systems that I test.

Over six months have passed and I still find myself talking about this STP Conference session.

As testers we must always look for new ways to do things.  We must always sharpen our skills and evolve or craft.

On October 23 I drive to Dallas to attend my Third Software Testing conference.  I am excited because I always seem to take away something new.  I am looking forward to being inspired by the likes of Jason Huggins, Matt Heusser, Karen Johnson, Scott Barber, Pete Walen, Lanette Creamer, Dan Downing, and many others.

@James and Jon Bach - I truly want to thank you for your kindness and inspiration in Nashville.

Brief Book review of "The Goal"

Someone at Agile Austin QA SIG recommended reading "The Goal" by Eliyahu Goldratt.  I ordered a used copy from Amazon and finished reading it yesterday.

By the way someone else told me it was not worth reading.

There were times last weekend while we got some rain here in Austin that I could not put the book down.  I found it to be easy to read and throughout the story there were some reasonable context around the Theory of Constraints.  There were points in the story where I got bored and lost interest.  The specifics on Alex's home life seemed ancillary but that slight personal touch made me relate to the stresses work can put on your personal life.  The part of the book helped remind me of the importance of having a great work-life balance.

In general I did get value out of reading the book.  I had wished in the testimonial section at the end there were some applications within the Software industry.  I admit I read them fairly fast, but I do not recall a life story about applying TOC to software development.

I have been trying to learn and study how testing fits into Kanban, so I think this book helped me get a broader view.

Now I am starting to read two books concurrently.  That is a mistake for my two brain cells, but giving it a go.  I am now reading "The Agile Samurai" by Jonathan Rasmusson  and "The Inmates are Running the Asylum" by Alan Cooper.  The Alan Cooper book was loaned to me by an energetic colleague Juliette Kimes.  Thanks Juliette!

Hopefully I will have some good things to say about those books.

Read on Testers!

Preparing for STP Conference Dallas 2011

As usual I have not made posting to this humble blog a priority.  As I sit here this Sunday morning I have three things I would like to cover.
  • Preparation for STP Conference 2011 in Dallas
  • Quick book review, "The Goal" by Eliyahu Goldratt
  • Attending James Bach talk on Testing Medical Devices
Maybe I am trying to tackle to much in this post, so I may just do three mini posts.

In the spring I spoke at the STP Conference in Nashville.  For those two presentations I was way more prepared by this point in the schedule.  I have one week left to prepare.  Yes I am a bit stressed, but it is a good kind of stress.  It is the high energy stress where I desire for excellence.  Will I achieve excellence? I have not a clue.  Will I learn something through this process?  Absolutely!

So thanks to an Austin develop, Mike Duvall at I was able to add a couple of key points regarding Kanban to my slide deck.  Mike did a fantastic job presenting Kanban at Agile Austin and he was kind enough to permit me to borrow a few of his slides.

Now this week I need to execute a dry run in front of some critical peers.  This is intended to be an introduction talk, so hopefully I can succeed in engaging discussion during my session on Wednesday.

I am a bit more freaked out in that I also volunteered to do a Speed Geeking session.  They have always been fun.  At past STP Conferences I really got charged by folks like Adam Goucher, Lynette Creamer, and Scott Barber.

Today I need to go to an office supply store and get the materials.  I am excited, but it will take some time to prepare.  The preparation should be fun.  I hope I can bring the same high level energy as some of my colleagues and more importantly value in 8 minutes.

I think I am scheduled to do the Speed Geeking and my presentation on the same day.  I guess that gives me even more stress on preparation.

Hopefully you will come listen to me speak and given me feedback.

Two more quick blog posts, then I had better prepare! 

Somehow this morning I must squeeze in a movie on Netflix with my lovely wife.  I do not have time, but somethings are just extremely important!