Agile Testing Days 2013 – Day 1 Talks Notes

In the first (well technically second if you count the tutorial day) day of the conference I attended the 2 morning talks and in the afternoon I floated between consensus talks and the various workshops and vendor boots. Here are the key points talked about in those talks.

“How to avoid the testing swiss cheese syndrome” by Marc Rambert

  • We’re not born testers – we become testers;
  • 2% change in a full release (development effort), how much testing effort is required?:
    • 10 test cases related to new features and bugs fixed in this release
    • 90 regression test cases
    • solution: there is no relation – it’s too difficult to align testing and coding
  • speed and continuous delivery make it impossible to test everything after each change;
    • change request implemented and tested (build 0)
    • functional regression set #1 (build 1)
    • bug because of last minute effect (build 2)
    • go live!
  • strategies to focus testing where it adds value (requirements, risks, experience, collaboration)
  • a new opportunity to improve testing in a black box:
    • learning system: learn your tests as usual but capture footprints (link code and test)
    • detection: application changes
    • smart engine
    • you can also add tests that have been run before
  • test scoring to prioritise test execution
  • avoid the testing swiss cheese syndrome: find a way to make your application speak

“Be a real team member” by Tony Bruce

  • What makes a good team member:
    • engage, and use that to build a relationship, interest and motivate people (4 keyword framework)
    • motivate: provide someone with a reason for doing something
  • Models (engage)
    • Belbin team model – action oriented roles, people oriented roles, thought oriented roles
    • plant is someone that comes up with the idea
    • resource investigator, co-ordinator, shaper, monitor evaluator, team worker, implementer, completer finisher, specialist (they key is balance)
  • as you learn more your role will change too
  • Margerison-McCann model
  • day to day:
    • positive action over positive thinking – do it rather than mention it / think about it
    • ask the questions!
    • feedback: express what you do want, rather than what you don’t want!
    • reciprocation: essentially states that if someone gives something to us, we feel obligated to repay that debt; give help; ask for help (give and take)
    • always acknowledge, never dismiss or ignore
    • don’t assume that only people with higher jobs than you have valid opinions
    • beware of the curse of knowledge
      – cognitive bias
      – can be off-putting
      – can leave people feeling dejected
      – why the should care?
    • act as a sounding board
    • appreciate any input
    • beliefs followed by behaviours
    • find people who work because they believe people over money
    • always able to offer different perspectives
    • invest time with people whose work crosses organisational boundaries
    • breaking bread – sharing your lunch – best ideas are shared over food
    • remain reliable
    • listen – don’t just sit around with your headphones on – listen and eavesdrop
    • do the i’s and cross the t’s
    • problems don’t lie in the philosophy of procedures but in practice, and practice is governed by attitude
    • before you speak think – is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, kind?

Consensus Talks

“Group Testing” by Christian Baumann

  • Regression testing, how to overcome its error proneness and boredom?
    • no testers in the team
    • group testing! everyone involved, tests distributed randomly, everything until finish and debrief
  • benefits: concurrency and performance issues detected, no one is testing alone, safety net before release;
  • how often do you do it and when? it got forgotten;
  • lists get too long, big tests vs. small tests;
  • regression testing was done in areas where automated tests are lacking;
  • executed regularly (frequency depends on findings);
  • not too boring or repetitive;
  • unsolved issues:
    • decreasing motivation
    • retrospective not done regularly any more
    • number of tests growing
  • officially it was meant to happy every 2 weeks but it just didn’t;

“Are we still testing the wrong stuff?” by Stephan Kamper

  • There’s more to test than what’s desired today
  • two values of software:
    • ability to tolerate and facilitate such ongoing change is the primary value of software, it has to be soft
    • build the software without too many bugs (we’re ok at this [-ish])
  • however, the 1 value people keep saying you ain’t gonna need it (yagni);
  • everyone (test, ux, ba, managers, etc.) should care about eh primary value too;
  • but, few teams do this kind of testing, future readiness not that important after all? relation to software life time?
  • we need zebricon: there’s no answer but may be a concrete answer isn’t the point;
  • how about testing future readiness?

“So I am an Agile test manager now… but what does that mean?” by Mitch (surname unknown)

  • Manager could manage test cases… but you would be a tester in that case;
  • could also manage tests… but you would be a test co-ordinator;
  • could also manage testers… but you would be a people manager;
  • strategies and guidelines: manage environment, boundaries around team, strategy and guidelines for self organised teams, impact mapping;
  • 3 amigos idea in a test manager.

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