London Tester Gathering Workshops 2015: “Fast Feedback Loops & Fun with Ruby”

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…

  1. tedious, if done manually
  2. not done often enough, unless automated
  3. 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:

  1. Writing a simple Ruby program that does something useful, e.g. turn a markdown file into HTML
  2. Wrapping that in a Rake task
  3. 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 & Ruby installed.
    Cool if you’re using RVM, rbenv, chruby or similar
  • Mac OS X, BSD; Linux & friends are fine, Windows may be a bit problematic.

 

Word of the Year 2015

I will continue selecting a word of the year, just like 2014 and 2013. For 2015 my word of the year is ‘trust‘.

Sometimes I find myself in situations where I just trust other people (and myself). Here’s one example: Some years ago I walked through the ‘Olympia Park’ in Munich every morning on my way to work. I regularly noticed the ad to take a roof top tour of the Olympia Stadium and finally took the tour onto the transparent construction up to 40 meters above the ground level.

Roof top tour of the Olympia Stadium, Munich

Roof top tour of the Olympia Stadium, Munich

Going up there, I trusted that the people who’ve build the thing in the nineteen-seventies knew what they were doing — and I trusted that I wouldn’t suffer from acrophobia.
Walking on a transparent floor in that height isn’t something I do regularly. It totally was worth it. 8-)

Since I found that trusting often leads to a good experience, I’ll trust in 2015 becoming a good year.

Looking For A New Project Starting In 2015

I’m looking for a new project. Under “Work with me” you can get some information about me, like work examples and even an ‘old-fashioned’ profile. But that’s only a part of the story: I think the project purpose should match the team members’ personal values. Therefore, it makes sense to describe my ideal next project team; my “dream team” so to say.

So what does that dream team look like?

It’s a diverse team: People come from various fields, there are programmers, administrators, designers, maybe a tester… whatever the projects needs. People also come from all over the place (read: Earth), have different levels of experience and skill. As PicardTips has put it on Twitter:

The team has started to follow agile practices, but wants to get better at agile and/or lean development. It experiments with new ways of achieving the goal of the project. It also found ways to work together well as a distributed team, even though it may be spread across time zones. It also values working remotely.

If this resonates with you, feel free to contact me at the.tester@seasidetesting.com.

London Tester Gathering Workshops 2015: Early News

There’s news about the London Tester Gathering Workshops 2015: I’ll offer one of the workshops!

I’m sure we’ll have a couple of exiting days talking about software testing. And not only talking but also some hands-on stuff using Ruby for fun and (fast) feedback.

Before I publish more information about my workshop, I’d like it to…

look right

Stay tuned!

The Agile Testing Days 2014: Conference Day 3

The last conference day started with a very personal & inspiring (and slideless!) keynote from Antony Marcano, entitled “Don’t Put Me in a Box”. He made a good point about how people have many ‘labels’ outside their job such as mother or father, friend, cook, helpful neighbour etc., while in a job there’s often only one label: The job title. In fact, he asked as few listeners in the audience about what they do and everyone answered with a role or a job title.

He explained how this may be an impediment for agile teams. If (or when) we stay in the box of our job title, we might not get a chance to help in an area that’s outside the main focus of our job description.

The following talk “Pull Requests and Testing Can Be Friends” by Alan Parkinson presented some very interesting points. One of them was this: While it may not be necessary for testers to be able to write code, it may be very useful to be able to read code.

His presentation was mainly how his company uses pull requests in Git. I found it interesting that they use pull requests for a lot of things, including reporting and tracking bugs found when testing the change that implemented the pull request. The reason they do so is simple: The context in which that bug was found is that pull request, therefore these two should be kept close together. They implemented this by having a discussion for each of their pull requests. To me this makes a lot of sense for a development team.

After that I attended Chris George’s talk “Easing the Pain of Legacy Tests” (Be sure to watch the slides, they’re great!). He explained how his team started with a long running (as in: 16 hours) test suite that reported about 20% of the tests as failed; and not always the same 20%. After some iterations of working on the problems they had significantly faster as well as much more stable tests. So, for his team it was well worth the effort.

In the afternoon, I attended Selena Delesie‘s workshop “The Best Agile Managers Thrive When Teams Do”. An introductory exercise showed how stressful it can be for both the manager and the team, if the manager tries to control the progress, instead of allowing the team to solve the problem at hand.

Often it’s better to make the goal visible to (and understood by) everyone, and then let the team work out the solution. One thing I found particularly interesting was this: In a more controlled environment people sometimes have to wait (or at least feel they have to wait) for the next task given to them by the manager. This waiting is not always necessary, but happens anyway. In a more team oriented environment the waiting is more often caused by the work itself, for example when one can only continue testing after some serious bug is fixed. To me this ‘work constrain’ related waiting is a lot easier, because one understands the reason for waiting. The ‘management constrain’ related waiting often seems to be unnecessary and therefore can be more annoying.

At the end of the workshop we, the participants, were asked to answer the question: “What does senior management value?”. For the answers, see the photo below.

The Answers to "What does senior managemet value?"

 

I believe that our (the workshop participants) overall model of senior management is far too simple (or simplistic).

The last keynote was Alan “The Evil Tester” Richardson’s “Helping Testers Add Value to Agile Projects“. His story was full of insights and entertaining and I like how he explained that he doesn’t want to be called a ‘QA':

Don't call me a QA

 

 

As a final note: I had a lot of fun talking to some of the other contributors to Lisa & Janet’s new book “More Agile Testing“. I wholeheartedly recommend this book — but may be I’m biased, since I’m a contributor. ;-) As I had the book with me, I got some signatures, not only from Janet & Lisa, but also from other contributors I met at the conference.

Thank you everyone at the conference! I’m already looking forward to seeing you again next year.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 679 other followers

%d bloggers like this: