Tag: Agile Testing Days

Agile Testing Days 2021 – Part 3

If you haven’t you might be interested to read the previous part of this series as well.

This day impressed me most by the three key notes and discussing the effects of corona and working from home with Anne Colder.

Thursday

The first keynote of the day was Ard Kramer’s “How to nudge your way through agile testing”. Ard presented six ways to nudge people to make a decision in a certain way – probably a way that we want them to go. In a very consistent way he made the distinction between doing something (the nudging) and the ethics of doing it.

It’s so important to aware of these techniques, because then we can more consciously decide whether or not to follow the nudging.

These are the six kinds of nudging he explained:

  • Default options
  • Commitment through consistency
  • Anchoring
  • Decoy effect
  • Zeigarnik effect
  • Activate unconscious behaviour

The name Zeigarnik effect was new to me, although I read about the way it works somewhere on the net. Basically it states that one can remember an activity that has been interrupted (not not completed) more easily at a later point in time.

The Tester’s Learning Toolkit” was the second keynote, presented by Vera Baum. Supported by incredibly great graphics Vera explained the various levels of experience people may have.

  1. Novice
  2. Apprentice
  3. Crafter
  4. Expert

She explained how we can develop from level to level, and why it may not be the best approach to let experts teach novices.

The last keynote of the day – and the conference – was Vernon Richards‘ “What does the ‘Coach’ in ‘Quality Coach’ mean?”. He introduced 6 styles of leadership and how they can be applied in the context of software quality. I loved his way of giving examples his experiences in applying them.

With this highly interesting and super entertaining keynote ended the official program of the Agile Testing Days 2021.

In the evening, I discussed the effects of having to work from home with Anne Colder, leading to another contribution for the ebook “Software People … Work From Home“. Stay tuned. 🙂

This ended a truly brilliant experience of the Agile Testing Days. It was so great to finally meet real testers in real live, discuss software related topics during breakfast, lunch and dinner… as well as in between.

Thank you! Thank you to everyone I spoke to, especially the organisers who ran an incredible conference!

Agile Testing Days 2021 – Part 2

If you haven’t read it yet, you may like to start with the first part of my Agile Testing Days 2021 summary.

Wednesday

I started Wednesday with a Lean Coffee. At the Agile Testing Days this is traditionally facilitated by Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin.

We discussed a good number of topics, such as how to get folks to try new ways, ways to practice testing and the role of testing/testers. I like this way of quickly covering a broad field of topics, to give people input to work with. I recommend tying this format, if you haven’t done so yet.

Jutta Eckstein‘s keynote “Agile Comes with a Responsibility for Sustainability” covered the three main parts of sustainability:

  1. People, the social equity bottom line
  2. Planet, the environmental bottom line
  3. Profit, the economic bottom line

See for example the Wikipedia article about the ‘Triple Botton Line’ for more details. I find that these aspects are all incredibly important and also believe that we, the community of software people, have a shared responsibility to help achieve improvements in all three areas.

The second keynote on Wednesday was João Proença‘s “Limitless within our boundaries”. He explained nicely how limiting options can improve creative work. His example were his Band that got completely stuck, when they experienced the possibilities of a music studio for the first time. It’s the same in most other contexts, including software development. I very relaxed presentation style and body language. I found it super nice that he reminded me, that I recommended submitting a session to the Agile Testing Days – and I am really, really glad I did.

The session “Resistance is futile” by Anne Colder & Jantien van der Meer, was about how to facilitate changing behaviour. The session was Star Trek themed and I am luck I survived in my red shirt. 🙂 Details about the model of “The Rider, the elephant and the path” are, for example, available at https://www.creativehuddle.co.uk/post/the-elephant-and-the-rider. I like the way they explained the model as well as the exercises to illustrate how it can be used.

For me Bruce Hughes‘ keynote “How to be an Ally to Non-binary Folk in Tech” was next. It was brilliant, hilarious, sad and helpful. The standing ovations she received were absolutely well deserved. The blog post appache attack helicopter wrote at https://undevelopedbruce.com/2020/07/06/non-binary-in-tech/ explains what was covered in xer keynote. I recommend reading it. To her ‘appache attack helicopter’ is an acceptable pronouns BTW. See: https://undevelopedbruce.com/about-me/ (read that as well, I may help further understanding the complexities of existence). Lisi Hocke tweeted a great summary of this keynote:

The last session I attended as Søren Wassard‘s “Digesting Poets Society”. A very nice, relaxing and emotional bonus session about another way to get creative: Poems. We mostly heard English poems, but also one from a Welsh author, recited in Welsh by a Welsh (and no other than Bruce).

Part 3 of the series is available now, too.

Agile Testing Days 2021 – Part 1

After a two year break, I could finally attend the Agile Testing Days in person. I was a bit worried about having to deal with the corona virus floating around and infection counts increasing significantly in Germany. However, the organisers handled this exceptionally well: Only vaccinated or recovered people were allowed to attend, every attendee received two test sets for self-testing and the certificates to prove vaccination/recovery were checked twice: During check-in at the hotel and the conference. During the conference it became obvious that many (likely most?) people tested every day. For me this meant I felt a lot better!

Additionally, they offered ‘colour coded’ masks: A blue masks indicated “I’m OK with getting near people, even hugging” and black ones which meant “I prefer some distance, please”. I took a black one and was pleased that people respected this. Thank you everyone!

What follows is a summary of some sessions and events.

Monday

Originally I had planned to give my workshop “Get a Lot Out of This Conference” (a teaser video is available on Vimeo), however it turned out that most first time attendees weren’t at the conference on Monday already, some would even only arrive on Wednesday. Since this workshop makes most sense when done before the conference, we decided to cancel it. And that’s OK since my ‘plan B’ was to attend the session to build a Tiny House. – Sadly this session also had to be cancelled, for reasons outside the control of any one at the conference. Thankfully the organisers allowed us non-builders to join on of the other sessions of this day and I could participate in “A Path to Holistic Testing” presented by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory. Alex Schladebeck also joined my table. It was super interesting to see how being a CEO can change focus, when it comes to sign-up forms for courses (this was the example we used in the exercises). Hint: The GDPA plays an important role.

I learned a lot in this super entertaining tutorial. This will be very useful in helping my team.

Tuesday

A session I looked forward to a lot was Maaike Brinkhof‘s “The Struggle with Learning How to Code”. I enjoyed the story telling about her experiences in learning to code immensely. She also offered great tips for how to prevent the barriers she ran into.

The second talk I attended was Alex Schladebeck who presented “Unit Testing and TDD from the tester perspective”. It was a great presentation and I am already looking forward to getting the slides which contain links to resources and further information.

Some insights of Alex' talk: TDD can be seen as exploratory programming.

The ‘traditional’ highlight of this day is the costume party including dinner and the award ceremony for the MIATPP (Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person) award. This year I had the honour to be asked to announce the winner. As every year, first the dinner is served and then the award. I had a hard time keeping a straight face when the (future) winner asked if they may join my table. Introducing the winner and keeping the tension up to the very last moment was great fun, especially since apparently no-one had any clue who might be the MIATPP this year.

Again congratulations, Raj Subrameyer, MIATPP Award Winner of 2021!

Continue reading the second part at https://seasidetesting.com/2021/11/22/agile-testing-days-2021-part-2/

Tips for Conference Proposals & Sessions

Disclaimer: This year I’m one of the reviewers for the Agile Testing Days.

It’s proposal season again, at least for one of my favourite conferences, the Agile Testing Days; the call for papers is open until March 28th (for 2021).

There is a good number of articles and blogs available on the topic of Agile Testing Days proposals alone: I suggest to follow the advice Uwe gives with his blog post “Call for Papers Submission Pitfalls & How to Do it Better! Tales from a Conference Organizer“. There’s more info to find from that same conference over on YouTube: https://youtu.be/QxC-Ee51xmM

Mind The Context

Another important tip (especially for those thinking about a keynote) comes from Liz Keogh:

If it’s an opening keynote, I try to open people’s minds to learn and question. If it’s a closing keynote, I try to help them reflect on what they learned. Keynotes are there to frame the rest of the conference.

Liz Keogh on Twitter

I believe similar thinking applies to other sessions too: Make your session fit into the frame of the conference and what you know about the attendees expectations.

Tell a Story

I personally try to at least come up with a story, either one I made up or a personal one. Both worked well for me:

For a ½-day tutorial about testing and the Internet of Things (IoT), I set up the story of Goblin King Jareth the 42nd, who wanted to control his kingdom with a set of IoT devices and tasked the participants with testings these devices. The framing story helped to provide some reason to actually participate in the exercises.

For a (read: ‘the’ 🙂) keynote I gave at Agile Testing Days 2019, I chose the most personal story I possibly could: My diagnosis of and treatment for cancer – and why I still consider myself lucky. Read about it in “Being Lucky — A Keynote at the Agile Testing Days 2019“.

If you like to know more about telling a good story, be sure to read Huib Schoots’ blog post “Storytelling“! You’ll find — no surprise — a good story (and many links to more information, too).

Be Prepared

Things can go wrong: The notebook you planned to give the presentation with may crash. The projector may break or the sound system my fail. You may forget what you wanted to say. These things all happened to someone somewhere.

It’s better (and impressive!) to be prepared. For my keynote, I prepared index cards with notes of what I wanted to say when, when to make extra long breaks and other instructions, such as when to proceed to the next slide. At first I numbered them, so I could sort them, if I dropped them on the floor.

Numbered index cards

Later, I also put them on a thread: Now, even when I would drop them, they would still be sorted! This would have saved the talk, had I dropped those cards.

Index cards on a thread, to prevent shuffling

Some of the directions didn’t work out in the moment the presentation was live: The introduction was totally different from what I expected (and significantly louder!).

Mind the Last Possible Moment

One important, even obvious, aspect: Don’t miss the dead line. I did once and it’s annoying. Very annoying. — Most of the work was done for nothing, because I forgot to check the calendar. I learned it the hard way: If I’m too late to submit, it doesn’t matter how good the proposal was. Only if submitted within time, a paper has a chance to be selected.

I hope to see many great and inspiring proposals for the Agile Testing Days 2021!

Agile Testing Days 2020 – the Other Two Days

In a previous post I summarised the 1st day of the Agile Testing Days 2020.

Lean Coffee

2020 was the first year, I facilitated a LeanCoffee. Thank you Janet Gregory & Lisa Crispin for inviting me to help!
Since this was an online-only conference, we used a web application and Janet selected LeanCoffeeTable. I found it easy enough to use. I particularly like the ability that all participants can enter actions and learnings during the topic discussions as well as generate a PDF to summarise the meeting. I found this a very pleasant experience.

Here are some of the ideas and insights, I kept:

  1. No Testing Column
    I’ve learned that some teams entirely remove the testing column(s) from their boards. Obviously, this simplifies the board. But more importantly, it also seems to help teams integrate testing tighter with the overall development. This in turn supports teams working as one entity, and not as a number of people who happen to work on the same story.
  2. After all those years: So many topics about testing
    Even after years, in some cases decades in testing, there are still areas that one can learn about, drive into and possibly thrive in. The next point is one that surprised me a bit.
  3. Automated accessibility testing
    At least some parts of accessibility (commonly abbreviated a11y) testing can be automated. More on that later.
  4. Productive ensemble testing
    Test in an ensemble testing (formerly known as ‘mob testing’, similar to mob programming) can be productive even with people that haven’t worked together. This was mentioned by a Lean Coffee participant who joined a group of people (with whom they never worked with before) for a testing session. To their surprise people worked together quite well.

The Last Talk On Software Testing

I had the great pleasure to moderate Rahul Verma’s talk ‘The Last Talk on SoftwareTesting’, where he explained were he thinks the business of tasting (no typo!) went wrong. Entertaining, hilarious and light hearted. And thankfully not actually the last talk on software testing at all. Here’s a very nice summary by Ekaterina Budnikov:

Automated Accessibility Testing

I participated in Cecilie Haugstvedt‘s workshop ‘Automatic Accessibility Testing for All‘.

I was really surprised how far automated testing of accessibility is possible – and how easy it is to get started! In addition to that, I found it interesting that automated a11y (the common abbreviation for accessibility) tests can and should be divided into unit and integration tests.

An important learning: The tests that check contrasts (e.g. of text and background) are integration tests: Most often colours are set site using CSS, so not every article, product description etc. needs to be checked individually. Also the computation of how good (or bad) the contrast is, seems to be more time consuming than I thought it is.

For a first step to get some idea of accessibility of a page in Chrome: Using “CMD-OPTION-I” (on a Mac) or “View ➙ Developer ➙ Developer Tools” (via the menu) open the developer tools. Then go to the ‘Lighthouse’ tab & click generate report.

Moderating a New Voices Track

I also really enjoyed moderating Chris Baumann‘s talk ‘Extreme learning situations as testers’. The talk & topic were so good, some of the attendees stayed in the Jitsi room to discuss the topic for the whole next time slot! The following tweets cover some of the ideas & insights Christian shared with us:

Thank you Mariia for the wonderful summary!

Do you also have insights and ideas you took home (where you probably were all the time anyway, this year)? What are they?

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