maandag 30 november 2009

FunTESTic goes to EuroSTAR - part two; the Tutorial Day

It's now 20.30h and my first day in Stockholm is coming to an end. It's been an inspiring day to say at least.
I woke up at about 6.30 this morning, after a terrible almost sleepless night (what fluffy beds they have here!) and went to breakfast (or 'Frukost' as they call it here). I've never seen so much types of food for breakfast! There was an whole Japanese buffet (with tofu, misosoup and seaweed) and a Skandanavian buffet (with pickled herring, cottagecheese and other strange stuff) and an English type breakfast.. I saw six very thin stewardesses in purple tenues with such large piles of food on their plate that I guess they won't be flying for much longer or have a type of boulimia.

After breakfast I took the train to the Stockholmsmässan, which is about ten minutes from here and was on time for registration. How cool to register at the 'speakersdesk'! I got a cool toy for thanx, it's an USB stick with a laserpointer in it and I got a poloshirt (not a sweater this time ;-) ) which has - for me - the extra word 'trackchair' embroidered on the back.

Coffee is not that bad here, so I got a big mug of coffee and went to hall T1 where Michael Bolton was about to give the tutorial: 'Masterclass Exploratory Testing'.
I was very much inspired by the tutorial and learned a lot this day. One of the things I also 'twittered' today was that apparently 'boundary' in 'boundary value analysis' is foremost applicable to the testers mind or the scope of his/her testing and less to the technique itself. Michael showed that there are dynamics in boundaries which makes the -1, boundary, +1 rather silly. I also learned a lot of tips and tricks that I could apply in my own testing and also that exploratory testing can be much more lucrative (and has larger ROI) then scripted testing.
He also showed that a lot of the so called automated testing we do, is no more then checking. There was a fun anekdote of 'the point of view' (reference) and that this can be limiting.
The Turkey finds the farmer a cool guy. He gets food every day, gets shelter and gets to run around outside a bit with the other turkeys. Every day the turkey has the same reference and he finds the farmer more and more a great guy. Untill, one day, right before Thanksgiving the turkey is in for a big and unpleasant surprise...
Expect the unexpected, don't repeat the same test every day for it narrows your scope of view. That is wat automated scripts are all about.
Another part of the tutorial was an exercise where we had to write down all kinds of characteristics/ values of a wineglass which could be important the some user at some time. The exercise was rounded up by a sheet which contained the ISO standard for wine tasting glasses and a picture of a wineglass found in Pompeï, which showed the controversary of both.
And so I had more then eight hours of revealing insights and thoughts (he stopped at 17.30 in stead of 17.00), which are too many to write down in this blog. Please also look at Michael Bolton's website where you can find lots of information and presentations on this subject! (

Michael Bolton at EuroSTAR 2009

After the Tutorial I took the train back to Stockholm Central and I decided to eat at the 'Stockholm FISK' in my hotel, which is apparently a popular fish restaurant. I had 'stockfish' (stokvis) which is typical Skandinavian and found it very good! (I had to admit I was a bit reluctant because of my 'knowledge' of the process to get to stockfish). I didn't stay for dessert but went to a coffeebar instead to have a large coffee (with chai syrup) and a 'Morotkaka' (carrotcake) which I found a pleasant surprise too! It's nice and sweet.
So now I've just finished my coffee and am ready to take a shower and then go to bed. Tomorrow I'll be attending a tutorial and a lot of tracks and I want to be fresh at the start of the day.

God natt!

zondag 29 november 2009

A flight to Stockholm

So, I finally made it to downtown Stockholm and am sitting in the hotel right across the central station. And that's also pretty much what I've seen of Stockholm so far (dark! cold!)
I had a terrible flight though! My ears were especially sensitive this time, popping all the time. Then - after an hour or so (still an hour to go) I got restless legs. The sandwich I bought was an insult; it was roastbeef, but over-done and with pickles on it. After a couple of minutes I had to go to the toilet, but the couple next to me were sleeping and I didn't have the heart to wake them with just a half hour to go. And on top of that there was a lot of turbulence wich prevented me from opening my can of cola. Normally I find flying an exiting experience, but now I think the ES nerves have a grip on me.
A nice thing was that the flight was early, with more then a quarter of an hour shorter flight-time we landed on Arlanda ánd I got lucky to get my suitcase very quick, which enabled me to catch the Arlanda Express right in time and had a quick journey to the hotel.
Seemingly there's also a fast way to get to the Messe, so I'm very curious what tomorrow will bring.
The room is excellent! There are even bathrobes and slippers on the bed for usage, coffee, tea for free, bathstuff for free (and nice smelling) and a waaaaay to expensive minibar. There's also a SKY bar in the hotel which I plan to visit tomorrow, it's on the ninth (I'm on the seventh) and has a great view over the city according to the receptionist.

But now I'm off to bed, tomorrow I've a tutorial to attend! Nightynight!

vrijdag 27 november 2009

FunTESTic goes to EuroSTAR - part one

As I sit "relatively relaxed" on the couch this evening, 'Slanket' wrapped around me, can of 'RockStar punched' beside me and a piece of 'la Tur' cheese in front of me on the table, I thought that it would be a nice idea to blog about my upcoming EuroSTAR adventure, and so here I am, typing my first entry of my adventure.

I've finished some last preparations today for my TH8, thursday track: The Ethics Debate. In one of the earlier sessions it seemed a good idea to make some marketing means for the track in the form of so called 'Loesjes', so Julien (red; my co-speaker) and I tracked down some of these statements and I resized the posters to flyer-format and printed them. Tomorrow I need to cut them, but the prints are ready.
I went to the prizes shop today too, to get the engraved prize for 'the Best Debater' and it has become a pretty little cup!
Last but not least I went to the hairsalon and had my hair cut and remodelled, so I'm a bit more stylish for my 'big performance';-)

I't a bit weird though. Since 2004 I tried so hard to get to EuroSTAR as a speaker with various submissions and this year I finally got the chance! It's an odd feeling, especially when suddenly Dot Graham is on the phone telling that she is considering your submission to add to the program, but I'm so exited! And now it's only two days away and then I'll be on the plain to Stockholm, time has gone so fast since I started the preparations.
Making the slides, making an intro for the booklet, setting up a forum where the Ethics Debate can go further even after the session itself (, writing the scripts, approaching the mystery guest, etc. etc.

And then the 'preparations' as a visitor too. Luckily the flight and hotel are booked by my company, but it seemed a good idea to visit the city itself too, so I added some nights at the hotel and booked a flight for my husband to fly in on Friday. I figured out which program I wanted to see at EuroSTAR, and the travels from airport to hotel and from hotel to the conference centre and I still have to plan some things I really want to see, like the Vasa museum and the harbor.

I'm planning to update on my visit to EuroSTAR regularly; by Twitter ( will try to tag 'esconfs') and on this blog, so if you don't have the opportunity to go yourself and it seems a fun idea to read some from my point of view, please check back in regularly!

My program at this moment:
Monday tutorial: Exploratory Masterclass

Tuesday tutorial: Chatterboxes and Cave-Dwellers: Understanding Extraversion and Introversion in the Workplace

Tuesday conference:Prioritising Tests? Use Your Gut Instinct; A Visual Approach to Risk-Based Integration Testing; If Only We Could Make Them Listen!; Burning Issues of the Day; and maybe Is "Agile" Distracting You?, but I'm not sure about the last track yet.

Wednesday conference: Incremental Scenario Testing: Beyond Exploratory Testing; Risk-based Testing - Details of our Success; The Power of Risk; Effective Bug Management - Challenges and Best Practices (not sure yet); Don’t Shoot the Messenger! (I'm track chair here so this is a certain visit)

Thursday conference: ISO 29919, my own track; The Ethics Debate, Program Test Management: A Survival Kit (if I don't need a big break then ;-) ) ; The Supertesters - a Slightly True Story

and off course I'll be visiting the expo and the keynotes!
so stay tuned for part two!

woensdag 25 november 2009

Testing Tapas LiveMeeting next summer?

This column was published in Capgemini's COP IT Testing Newsletter

Since the clock went to wintertime, I seem to have done the same. My days are shorter and my nights longer. Ok, I guess this needs some explanation. My days seem shorter because they are filled with lots of work, before I know it, it’s time to go home and lately I feel like I have done tons of work, but nothing seems to be done from my to-do list which I set out to complete that day. My nights seem longer though, not only do I try to sleep an hour more (lately I have had shorter and shorter nights, not resulting in a very energetic me) but I also seem to be getting more done. I find the evenings very pleasant to work on articles, innovations and concepts, reading and following up on mail. Twitter seems more alive (due to the fact the overseas testing colleagues are mostly posting then) and if I have to use the test environment, I don’t have troubles with the performance because I’m the only one (or at least one of little instead of many) working on it. Two weeks ago I did the course on webcast (LiveMeeting and communicator usage) and I got really enthusiastic about the possibilities, I really hope everybody gets this course soon and gets as enthusiastic as I am. I’m thinking about organizing one-hour SIG like meetings which everybody can join from home, making it also possible for the people who normally can’t attend a meeting at Papendorp to join in. And since it’s wintertime nobody will be out in the garden or on terraces drinking nice rosé and enjoying tapas, but now I come to think of it; a Testing Tapas session on LiveMeeting in the garden is not a bad idea at all… any up-front joiners?

zondag 15 november 2009

Testing Enterprise Architectures

Blogpost as published on Capping IT off:

As testers we know that being involved in an early stage of the development cycle will save money on defect solving in the last stages of the development cycle. This is also confirmed and visualized by Boehm. As a frequent test(manager) in chain testing assignments I see much more then only the software that is to be used, but also get involved in the processes that are set up around the usage of the software (and even non-software-usage-processes) and more than once have I found that it would have been very nice to have been involved in the ‘design’ of those too, the earlier the better. So that got me thinking, what is before processes and software? Well, for instance; Enterprise Architecture.
And then I really got going. Are Enterprise Architectures testable? And will the impact be the same if a tester is involved in setting up one as the Boehm curve says, if so, what money will that save? What ís the financial impact of an error in an Enterprise Architecture, or for that manner, what is the image damage when an enterprise architecture isn’t set up right or is the impact of a defect in the set up architecture that big, that it will affect the whole existence of an organization? Then I got more practical; how does one test an Enterprise Architecture? I think to answer that question is to firstly get clarity on the requirements of an Enterprise Architecture and that’s where the crux is, because most requirements that I found, mind: I only did some brief investigation here, on Enterprise Architectures aren’t very measurable or SMART (or checked for that matter). So in able to test an Enterprise Architecture in the future, I plea for starting to involve testers right at the setup, so we can learn and develop this area of expertise, I’m convinced that it will have huge benefits to have a validated architecture in the future, which –if Boehm ís applicable- will save a lot of money. I’m very interested to hear more opinions on this, so please don’t hesitate to contact me on this one, I’d love to hear it! To be continued (I’m sure!)…

woensdag 4 november 2009

Standardization Agile, Agile Standardization

(previous Dutch blog in English version - on request :-) )
Discussion can be joined at: FunTESTic's Forum

The last couple of weeks two subjects have been in the spotlight for me: 'Agile', because of TestingExperience had a special (sept. 2008, issue nr. 7) and 'Standardization', because I'm a member of the NEN NC 381007 and have a lot to do with that in that role.

Off course a connection is quickly made and then I started thinking about standardization within Agile of even 'Agile standardization' (can that be done?). It occured to me that a lot of colleagues that I talked to, the subjects rule eachother out. Apparently the perception is that 'standardization' hinders an agile project per definition. Standardization is associated with slow, sluggish and bureaucratic while 'agile' is associated with fast, flexible and non-bureaucratic. Further more is seems that almost everybody seems to think that 'standardization' (and with that 'certification' and normalization) stands in the way of innovation (whether this is innovation of programming or processes)

I wouldn't write about this if I didn't have another opinion. I experience a hgreat amount of freedom to nnovate when there's standardization, I'm not occupied with worries of connecting and making sure everything fits toghther. I can use time to work on new ideas instead and it stimulates my creativity to find solutions that fall within the boundaries of a standard. Also, even though standards are in place to create a solid ground, it doesn't forbid to suggest improvements. Standards are just as good prone to development as any other product, progressing insights and innovation can have an impact on an approved standard so that it can evolve to a newer version of this standard.

And than the Agile stuff; I don't see this as a hindrance either.
I think diversity within the Agile area causes delay, first one must define wich boundaries there are at development, while a standard has that allready in place so that everybode can start right away and there will be no discussions on the way to work. I wont'discuss al the aspects here, because I think the bottomline is clear. I'm curious how others think about this, so please join this discussion!