Agile Testing Days 2016 — Part 3: Tutorial Day 1

This year at the Agile Testing Days, I attended Samantha Laing and Karen Greaves 1/2-day workshop “The Collaborative Team”. It turned out that there was just one other participant in this tutorial, so actually it was much more like a private coaching session. A big thank you for offering the session anyway and making this possible.

The information and exercises were all about building and keeping trust in the team. I found it very interesting that, in order to increase the trust level, it is also important to know what the team can (and can not) influence.

Knowing this, makes it easier for teams to cope with undesirable situations. For example one of my recent teams was moved out of the building where most other teams are located, to a place some minutes walking down the road. For me, it was much easier to understand and accept this, after we learned about the reasons management gave us. — I still didn’t actually like the situation, but at least it was clear why this decision had been made.

This is a theme we touched in the tutorial time and time again: Talking and listening to each other helps immensely.

Another important takeaway for me were the exercises about the power of questions. The ability and patience to listen to people until they have spoken is so important. I have been given solutions (or suggestions for immediate steps) so often, when instead it would have been important to first understand the problem in more detail, rather than providing the tips that came to mind first. — I admit that I have done this, too.

With the experience from this workshop and the material we were given, I feel much better prepared to help teams improve, not limited to software testing but also in the topics we covered in this coaching session.

I liked the half-day format of the session a lot for two main reasons. First of all, this coaching session with two coaches and two attendees was very intensive and a little bit exhausting (but in a good way). Second of all, I had a free afternoon that I was able to spend in the beautiful city of Potsdam. 🙂

Thank you very much Karen & Sam and of course co-attendee Elena! If you have the chance to get this kind of session at a conference (or elsewhere), I can only and full-heartedly recommend it.

My ‘Day 1’ of this conference ended with a delicious speakers dinner in a very festive atmosphere.

agiletd-2016_conference-dinner_s

The Agile Testing Days 2015: Nuggets

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:

  1. I got a Calgary Stampede hat from Lisa and Janet. Thank you so much!calgary-stampede-hat_2It’s great, it fits and it even has inner values printed on the inside:
    1. Commitment to Community
    2. Integrity
    3. Pride of Place
    4. Western Hospitality

    The first two of them are particularly applicable in all communities.

  2. 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.
  3. 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:

    Thank you!
    This too, will be covered in a future blog post.

  4. 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?

Announcement: Workshop & ebook: “Fast Feedback Using Ruby”

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.

Fast Feedback Using Ruby

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.

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.

 

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!

%d bloggers like this: