The opening session of the Agile Testing Days 2015 was Western-themed and Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin asked the audience to watch for gold nuggets at the conference — particularly valuable information or other things we would take home. I (actually my alter ego Super Agile Person) was invited to present my suggests at the ending session. So these are the nuggets I found at the conference:
- I got a Calgary Stampede hat from Lisa and Janet. Thank you so much!It’s great, it fits and it even has inner values printed on the inside:
- Commitment to Community
- Pride of Place
- Western Hospitality
The first two of them are particularly applicable in all communities.
- In their opening keynote Alex Schladebeck (violin) and Huib Schoots (trombone) connected music to testing and played music too. They even handed out a large number of kazoos to the audience to play along with them!
I find the connection they drew fascinating, since other presentations I attended this year presented connections between testing and other activities. Two examples from FullStackFest are Ernie Miller‘s talk “How to Build a Skyscraper” and Lauren Scott‘s presentation “Shall I Compare Thee to a Line of Code?“.
I’m thinking about other connections, but that’s another blog post.
- Many people use templates to write user stories or charters for exploratory testing sessions. A widely used user story template is this:
As a <role>;
I want <feature>,
so that <benefit>
While these templates can be very helpful to start, they are also somewhat limiting — and can lead to outcomes like ‘As the product owner I want feature X, so that feature X can be used’. This is not — repeat not — how the template is used well.
While templates can be worthwhile to get started with using user stories (for example), they can become too constraining as a team becomes more proficient in using them.
In that case, I suggest to use the term Free Style User Stories and Karen Greaves already helped me spreading the word:
This too, will be covered in a future blog post.
- Finding followers and starting a movement is possible for everyone. This was a popular topic in a number of sessions, Dr. Sue Black‘s keynote “If I Can Do It, So Can You” in particular.
Note, ‘nugget finding’ is not limited to conferences! What are the nuggets you found in the past week?
Posted by Stephan on Sun, November 15, 2015
Towards the end of my workshop “Fast Feedback Loops & Fun with Ruby” at the London Tester Gathering 2015 (in June 2015), I asked the attendees about suggestions for new material to go into the book. The topic that was mentioned first was “Testing Rake tasks”, so that’s going to be the next chapter I will work on. Meanwhile, an older blog post Testing Rake Tasks may be worth reading (mind you, that post is about two years old now).
When the chapter is ready to be released (in July or August ’15), the price of the book will go up a little bit, but of course everyone who bought the book before, will get the “update” for free.
If you have already read “Fast Feedback Using Ruby”, I’d love to hear from you! Tell me what you think. What do you think is missing? What should be improved? Just send an e-mail to email@example.com or contact me as @S_2K on Twitter.
Addendum (18. July 2015)
The chapter will be published in two parts. The first one “Testing Legacy Rake Tasks” should be available before August. The second part “Test Driven Development of Rake Tasks” is planned for August.
Again: The book price will go up in a few days, so if you like to get the next chapters at the current price, now is a good time to buy it at https://leanpub.com/fastfeedbackusingruby/.
Posted by Stephan on Mon, June 29, 2015
At the “London Tester Gathering Workshops 2015” (also see #LTGWorkshops on Twitter) I offer a workshop “Fast Feedback Loops & Fun with Ruby”. For this, I wanted to give attendees a handout, to make applying the stuff covered easier and it was planned to be a list of brief recipes.
Suffice to say that the handout grew (and it’s entirely possible that this is ‘feature creep’ in action). In fact, it grew to the point that I decided to turn it into an ebook. The book is not done yet, there’s some copy editing to do.
In any case: There will be an ebook, and it will be available on LeanPub at https://leanpub.com/fastfeedbackusingruby/. If you’re interested, please leave a note on the book’s pages.
Posted by Stephan on Thu, May 7, 2015
Still in time for this year’s submissions for the Agile Testing Days 2015 here’s a list of takeaways from an Open Space session at the Agile Testing Days 2014.
This blog post is the result of George Dinwiddie and me asking what makes a good conference session at one of the Open Spaces. In this session we were about 8 people, so the information gathered may not be a representative for all attendees of the whole conference—and it may or may not represent other conferences.
That said without further ado, here’s the list:
- Context for the content
Providing context helps listeners to relate to the content and understand the circumstances in which the information was gathered. Both can be important to transfer the presented information to ones own work place.
This has also been noted down as ‘makes you laugh’, which may be subtly different from ‘funny’. Most people like to laugh or at least smile. It also helps to remember a presentation if it’s entertaining as well as informative.
- Little text
Don’t bother people with too much text on slides. Many people will start reading—and at the same time stop listening to what’s being said. In addition to that some of the people who do not start reading, will be annoyed because the text is too small to be read.
- Share pain points and problems, not just successes
There’s hardly any project at all that doesn’t run into some kind of trouble. That’s OK.
Tell people about the issues your project experienced—and also how you managed them.
- Tell a story—a personal story
Most people love listening to stories, even more so for a personal story.
Well, keep it short and stay in your assigned time box.
Extra credit if you manage to give your audience some extra time to switch conference room after your session.
- Experience things
Let the audience have an experience versus just listening.
At best this is an interactive workshop. At least this is a vicarious experience.
People like to provide input, even when attending a conference talk. Providing some interactive tasks also helps people to engage with the presented topic.
- Speaking from experience
At least at the Agile Testing Days, people like to learn about, dare I say it, real life experiences.
- Can ask questions along the way
If you can (or even like) answering questions and responding to comments along the way, by all means do so.
However, I respect it when presenters prefer to answer questions after the talk.
- Things that connect different topics
Learning about new ways in which things are connected is interesting for many people. (However, I recommend against forcing this into a presentation.)
- An outlandish topic
Some like bizarre, unconventional stories. This certainly helps to get the audiences attention.
Notwithstanding, don’t forget to link the presentation to the overall theme of the conference.
Some things that came to mind after the session:
Provide meaningful and consistent pictures, graphs and diagrams.
- Big, easy to read text
This matches well with ‘Little text’ from above.
Please do not hesitate to add a comment, if you would like to add to (or disagree with) the list.
In any case, consider submitting a proposal for the Agile Testing Days! It’s a great conference, it’s fun and there was a costume party in the past few years.
Posted by Stephan on Mon, February 23, 2015
My workshop at the London Tester Gathering Workshops 2015 is announced now! They’re offering an early bird rate until the 18th February, by the way. Find the abstract on the conference page or just read ahead. :-)
Fast Feedback Loops & Fun with Ruby
Ruby is “a Programmer’s best friend”. Let’s use Ruby to get feedback
– including getting feedback automatically – when working on projects. Whether it’s about transforming source code into test results (a.k.a. running automated tests) or generating image files from raw data, Ruby can be used to automate these tasks. Furthermore, it can also be used to automate actually running these tasks, e.g. upon saving a file to disk. Does that sound like a good idea? This session is for you.
I regularly bump into tasks that are…
- tedious, if done manually
- not done often enough, unless automated
- still not done often enough, unless running them is automated, too.
In the workshop we’ll combine some Ruby tools to remedy this situation. In particular the workshop will cover:
- Writing a simple Ruby program that does something useful, e.g. turn a markdown file into HTML
- Wrapping that in a
- Automate running the task
Knowing how to do this is useful, not only for projects using Ruby as their primary language, but can be handy in all projects.
What is expected:
- Some Ruby knowledge; you don’t have to be an expert or anything like that.
- A notebook (or tablet) with an internet connection &
Cool if you’re using
chruby or similar
- Mac OS X, BSD; Linux & friends are fine, Windows may be a bit problematic.
Posted by Stephan on Mon, January 12, 2015