Agile Testing Days 2016 — Part 6: Conference Day 3

For the 3rd conference day, I’d like to mention two highlights: Ida Karine Bohlin‘s “The Tinder Project—How To Test The Right Swipes” and Gojko Adzic‘s keynote “Snow White and the 777.777.777 Dwarfs“.

Ida introduced Tinder, an online service to meet people. It can be used to find someone to have a chat at an airport or meet a lifetime partner. She described how she applied her testing knowledge to search for a partner on Tinder. The compilation of acceptance criteria  was hilarious already, including a good dozen aspects from handsome (but not weak) to strong enough so he could help with heavy luggage at airports. She presented the testing quadrant for identifying test approaches she applied and a testing pyramid to be used. To me, the topic of agile testing was very well presented, the talk was very funny and entertaining. Well done, Ida! I believe it would make a great keynote to introduce the topic of agile testing at a conference!

Gojko presented some aspects, that he believes will change the world of testing in dramatic ways. Two of the reasons for these changes are the ever decreasing cost of computation in general (e.g. by  services such as AWS Lambda), and the decreasing time needed to fix issues after production defects are found.

When applying a micro service architecture, the single service can be tiny — Gojko talks about a few dozen lines of code. With so little code, finding the cause of a bug is typically easy. (At least a lot easier than in a code base containing hundreds or thousands of lines.)

Let me finish with just one tweet about this talk (there are many more on Twitter):

Due to Gojko’s presentation there was a whole new session dedicated to “Gojko’s Future” during the unconference day that followed this 3rd day of Agile Testing Days 2016. But since that’s another day, I will cover it in the next blog post.

Agile Testing Days 2016 — Part 4: Conference Day 1

Similar to the past few years, I participated in the opening session of the Agile Testing Days playing the role of Super Agile Person—only this year Super Agile Person represented the ghosts of testing past, present and future. Playing and singing along with the audience to the tunes of Jingle Bells was great fun. Thanks to Elad who posted a short video sequence of this on Twitter

I enjoyed the opening keynote by Abby Fichtner a lot. It made me think about the close relationship between vulnerability and braveness. Here’s Samantha Laing‘s sketch note summary:

The next two sessions rushed by in no time — I was thinking about my own session in the afternoon too much, I believe.

Since I had to prepare some Raspberry Pies,  set up my own network for my workshop, I missed the 2nd keynote of the day. A huge “Thank You!” to Dragan Sekuloski for helping me setting up the workshop!

Sadly one thing went wrong: When presenting a topic as “Testing and the Internet of Things” two aspects are essential: The things and the internet. Alas, the internet wouldn’t work! So the story of Goblin King Jareth XLII and his labyrinthian world of connected rooms had to proceed without the prepared game. Sad but true.

Given how bad it started, the workshop then went pretty well: Thanks to understanding and wonderfully active participants we were able to collect a good number of topics the King was interested in. In particular the King wanted to learn about 3 topics:

  1. What risks are we facing?
  2. What interfaces are we dealing with in the Internet of Things (IoT)?
  3. What should be tested (and what shouldn’t)?

Here is a list of what we listed during the session:

Risks

  1. Power outages
  2. Cables can be pulled
  3. Malicious input
  4. No proper instructions
  5. Unreliable hardware
  6. Memory leaks
  7. Loss of device
  8. Dependencies
  9. Display resolution

Some of these are not limited to the IoT, and in fact many can happen in other contexts as well. However some of the risks, when dealing with the IoT, are more, well, risky.

Interfaces

Here we did not precisely differentiate between interfaces and transport mechanism.

  1. Skin (think of heart rate monitoring fitness trackers)
  2. Sound, microphones, pressure changes (think about services like Siri)
  3. Light, eyes, radiation (iris scanners, light barriers)
  4. RFID, NFC (card readers, new payment methods, theft prevention)
  5. Brain waves

Not all of these are easy to measure or available everywhere. The point is that in the IoT we are dealing with a lot more interfaces and mechanisms to transport information than in ‘ordinary’ web apps or most other software systems. And each additional interface also provides a new way for attackers to get into the system.

What to Test

  1. Battery life
  2. Replies of other systems
  3. Bad conditions (e.g. when using light to communicate through air, what about fog?)
  4. Connections
  5. Distance (How far away from a card reader can a card be read?)

It gets really interesting when these topics are combined. Since the initial reading of RFID cards worked on the computers during the workshop, we discussed these questions as well:

  1. Is it necessary to test the uniqueness of the IDs stored on the cards? When? Why?
  2. What about testing the card readers?

An interesting observation: The card readers used in the workshop actually register as a USB keyboard when connected to a computer. This means that we could unplug the reader and still enter data using a real keyboard. Since the real IDs of the cards were also printed on the cards themselves, we even had IDs the system would recognise!

After my workshop I took a break from the conference and went for the next great offer right in front of the hotel: A conference private Christmas market! After enjoying some “Grünkohl mit Würstchen” it was already time for the next big thing: The “Ho-Ho-Ho-ly STWC & MIATPP Award Night”.

As in the previous years the 1st conference day ended with a great costume party and ceremonies for the award winners of the year. Congratulations to the Dutch team “Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters” for winning the “Software Testing World Championship” and to Maaret Pyhäjärvi for winning the well deserved “Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person Award”!

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Update (12. Dec. 2016): As promised, here is a PDF version of the slides used in the workshop: https://seasidetesting.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/stephans-labyrinth.pdf

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.

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Agile Testing Days 2016 — Part 2

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Here’s a short reminder that I’ll be speaking at the Agile Testing Days 2016 this December. As the banner says: If you’re planning to attend the conference, ask me for a discount (it’s a coupon code) and I’ll be happy to send it out.

There’s a promotion video in the previous post “Agile Testing Days 2016 — Part I: Promotion Video“. Hope you enjoy it!

 

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?

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