vrijdag 18 december 2009

Epilogue; EuroSTAR 2009, two weeks after

Currently I'm working from home, the snow and iciness made me think twice before commuting to Amsterdam again. Yesterday it took me two hours to get home, a journey that normally takes an hour. So I have (not so environmental friendly - I know) set the heater a degree higher, made myself I nice cup of coffee and started working on the planning and preparation of the chaintest which is to be executed next year March and will do some testing on a system.

It's been two weeks since EuroSTAR 2009 ended, and my mind has been racing with ideas since then. Not only that, I've been busy implementing a lot of stuff and tips I got in the conference too in my current projects.

Since I'm testing and managing a whole program, I really had use of the information provided in the 'Program Test Management- a survival kit' by Graham Thomas. I checked the 'best practices' lists in the sheets and checked the 'anti-practices' lists and set them beside the stuff I already did in my project.
One of the needed skills was negotiating and influencing, I noticed I hadn't been very strong in that department: I used the stuff learned in the workshop 'Chatterboxes and Cavedwellers' of Naomi Karten to pinpoint the problem; since I'm an introvert at doing things and my 'audience' is mostly extrovert, I suddenly understood why my message may not have been landing as I thought it did.
One of the other things in 'Survival kit' was that there should be a 'clear test organisation structure with matrixedrelationships' and another 'Clear and agreed interface with stakeholders and sponsors' and a third 'To ensure that your stakeholders and sponsors clearly understand what testing is doing for them', I realized that a part was missing: namely the program itself. I decided to combine all four (three from the track and my addition). In one large overview of the program: picturing the systems, what the connections are, who is responsible (owner, tester and users) and dates that are important. I'll also use these as 'talk-images' to align all stakeholders (first try-out was very positive!). In addendum with these images, I made a scenario with activities, time, input needed, output needed and who is responsible. Thirdly I made a gannt-diagram for time-overview. All three parts are aligned to eachother by use of colors, so the process of one piece may be 'blue' in all three documents. On the way I also made use of the things learned in 'Rik Teubens track; Many can quarrel, fewer can argue.
My 'testcase' pointed out that he really liked the overview; since he was able to place himself in the bigger picture in relation to other parts in the program (which was normally out of scope for him), he also like that he was able to easily identify the timelines and activities in the other documents because he only had to find 'his' colour.
(and I've been also thinking about another lay-over for the images like Neil Pandits' visualized Risk-based testing, heatmaps)

The second positive improvement I made in my workingarea, and this is the system I'm testing (not the program), Is the stuff on exploratory testing, the workshop of Michael Bolton really had loads of stuff in it I could use to stretch the abilities of the system under test. Resulting in some stress in the organisation though, but when I argued (;-) ) this was all beneficial to really get a good look on the quality of the system and preventing more 'pain' in the future, they were (mostly) convinced. And the secundary part of this, is that it made testing this (a bit dull but complex) system fun again.

So, I guess there's still a lot to implement from the EuroSTAR 2009 conference. I haven't been able to work out all the stuff yet, since I also had to catch up on the work I left behind when going to Stockholm, but I'm confident it will all has a place somewhere.

donderdag 3 december 2009

FunTESTic goes EuroSTAR, part five: the final chapter

What a day, what a day!
Sorry I didn't tweet the first keynote, but I was a little busy with my own track at that moment (timetable etc), so you didn't miss it: it just wasn't there.

The first track I went to, was the track by Stuart Reid, about the ISO/IEC 29119 software testing standard. I'm quite sure I saw some of the stuff we as dutch workinggroup of TestNet issued after the last review were taken in consideration and put in there.

And then; it finally was the time for my own (double) session. Susan Windsor was my chair and she is really a great support and chair. The room was re-arranged so there were two opposite sides (in stead of rows). It wasn't very crowded, but the people who attended made it (far) worth the while! What a great debate it grew out to be! And our Mystery guest: Michael Bolton, did a very good piece on Ethics and Testing which was really good! I had fun, which is the most important and it was an excellent experience!

After the lunchbreak and some 'chilling' (literally because it's very cold outside!) I went to Graham Thomas' track on Test Program Managememt; a survival kit. I find Graham a very interesting speaker, easy to listen to and with lots of (a bit cynical) humor. This track provided me information on some key aspects that are to be considered at Test Program management, so in my current working situation very handy!

After that I went to a track that was called 'The supertesters - a slightly true story' and this was an absolutely brilliant track! I'm glad I chose this one to attend. If you EVER have the chance to see this track somewhere; GO SEE IT!!! it's a must-see by Anna and Linda Hoff and Jarl Kristoffer. It's to odd to describe but I definitely can recommend this track.

And then al the tracks were over and it was time to go to the close-up sessions of the day. This started with a summary of the testlab (which I didn't visit :-( ). James Lindsay and Bart Knaack did the hosting of that and as I heard it, I regretted a bit that I didn't go.

The next slot was for a panel discussion. And I was one of the panel members! I was asked by Julian Harty (host to the session) to participate because of my twittering. The only 'catch' was that I had to answer in 140 characters because a tweet is 140 too. I was on the panel together with Geoff Thompson (last year's winner of the Testing Excellence award), John Fodeh (next year's chair for EuroSTAR 2010), Tobias Fors (my fellow-tweeter and DEVELOPER!!!) and me. We got questions from the hot-topics-board (whiteboard were people could write down topics) which we got to answer. It seemed a good idea when Julian asked me, but at that table... suddenly it didn't seem a good idea at all... suddenly there were 300+ people in the auditorium before me and sitting beside two major test'names', not to mention I'm not native AND I had to answer questions directly (which I'm not really good at cause I like to think a while on stuff). I guess there will be pictures of that on the ES site... and I guess it went well for the circumstances :-)

(btw I'm eating a muesli bar now which I bought in Stockholm C.; it's not recommendable...)

The next bit was the award-ceremony. I kind of forgot the most of the names, but I still now Anne-Mette Hass won the Excellence Award this year!
And with that Dorothy started the end-speech in which she announced that EuroSTAR 2010 will be held at Kopenhagen and that the chair will be John Fodeh.

My whole week has been an invigorating experience, which were for a large part also dominated by my nerves for today. Monday it seemed so far away, but now ES is over, it seems like it's over in the blink of an eye.

So maybe I'll be twittering next year too, maybe not, who knows... we'll see in time I guess.

(that muesli bar is REALLY terrible, but I'm really into a snack...hmmm)
(I also got promoted to Managing Consultant today!)
(I haven't uploaded any pictures of today yet, so please be patient to look on Flickr for impressions)

See you next year!

FunTESTic goes EuroSTAR part four: in the middle of it

So, this was already the second conference day. Time really flies! So much to see, to learn, to do and so many people to meet, so little time!

Today I planned a full program, but as the day went along I changed my mind a couple of times. One reason is I'm getting nervous and can't always focus on the subject of the track, the second one is that I wanted some 'easy time' in between :-)

I started early today. The opening keynote of today was of Naomi Karten. I went to Naomi's tutorial on Tuesday and - just like that day- I really liked the contents of this track. This keynote was about the process of change and how to communicate and manage this. Naomi used a model which made this very visual. You have status quo, then the 'POW', then chaos, some adjustment etc. and only after time there's a new status quo.

Naomi Karten, opening keynote on Wednesday

The first track I visited was that of Matthias Ratert. His subject was Incremental Scenario Testing; beyond exploratory testing. At first - I have to admit- I didn't really see the use, but later on as I discussed the track again with a testing colleague, it suddenly occurred to me that what was said was really 'nifty'! Maybe I can't use it in my current project, but it certainly has potential in other situations.

After this session I took a looooong break to get back at my track-record ;-) at Erik Boelen's track on 'the power of risk'. It was interesting to hear about the practical appliance en the proven advantages of a risk based teststrategy and plan.
The lunch was a bit short today, or at least it seemed shorter because in no-time I had taken seat in the T5 room where Rik Teuben held a track about ‘Many can quarrel, fewer can argue’. I like the sheets of Rik, they are nice and clean, just like the steps explained that a stakeholder has to be ‘classified’, then the arguestyle has to be chosen and last part the connected communication.

I sort of then stayed in the room, because after the afternoonbreak I had the honour to chair the track of Susan Windsor; ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’. This was a double track with exercises and it was really fun! The audience was very active in – for example- an exercise where one had to draw a circle put in communication means which you normally use (comfort zone) and then a second circle with communication means written down in that one that you would like to use (getting out of your comfort zone). And what about a topic on ‘story telling’! You got to love that! So this double track was over before I knew it.

The closing keynote of the day was the winning track of last year; Gitte Ottosen with ‘Agile and Process Maturity – of course they mix!’. I went to this track in The Hague, so I knew the contents. It was nice to hear that some of the ‘under construction’ parts of last year had developed further. Like the development and test team becoming a fully integrated group now.

Tomorrow I’ll probably will not tweet at much I guess. Since I have my own track after Stuart Reids’ ISO 29119 track. I’m really excited at this moment! I’ll probably will have a short sleep.

ps: since my internetconnection suddenly failed last night, I'm currently posting on a public computer so I don't have the time to add all the photo's I took, so take a look at my Flickr fotostream to get a visual impression!

dinsdag 1 december 2009

FunTESTic goes to EuroSTAR - part three; the startingday of the conference

Hello everybody, here I am again with news from Stockholm. I just arrived at my hotel after a very nice dinner with 4 Dutch testing colleagues in the old center of Stockholm and read all my e-mail and answered it where necessary, so now I have time to write my blog again.

It was a very dynamic day today. I got to the Mässan at about 8.15 and had plenty of time to get to my tutorial. A great start of the day with Naomi Karten's tutorial on 'cavedwellers and chatterboxes' also known as 'introverts and extraverts'(not a type-o!) I learned a lot from that session, for one reason why my messages by mail (introverts tend so set important things in writing) aren't perceived as important by an extravert, who wants to be informed on important things verbally. But also on how my behaviour is perceived by an introvert.

Naomi Karten at EuroSTAR 2009

After the lunch it was time for Doroty Graham to open the EuroSTAR 2009 conference. It was fun to see some history of IT 17 years ago when Dorothy was first chair of EuroSTAR.
Auditorium Opening EuroSTAR 2009

Lee Copeland had the honour of opening with the first keynote, which was on software testing innovations. If you look very closely to the picture below, you can see that there are nine points, where among others are 'good books', crowdtesting, testing in the cloud and virtualisation.

Lee Copeland's opening keynote at EuroSTAR 2009

I then had the oppurtunity to visit different short tracks (track of 20 minutes). Personnally I found them a bit short wich resulted in a bit of chaotic day, but nonetheless I saw some great stuff. Of Paula O'Grady, Geoff Thompson (what a great speaker he is!), Michael Bolton (burning issues) and Neil Pandit. The last track of the day track I didn't go to, firstly I couldn't choose and secondly I wanted to walk around a bit too and organise my thoughts. Below are the pictures I took during the different sessions. I've taken quite a bit more, but they were directly posted on my twitterstream (@funTESTic with hashtag 'esconfs')

Neil Pandit's track 'a visual approach to Risk-based Integration testing
If only we could make them to listen, Geoff Thompson
I'm not thát Michael Bolton...Burning issues at EuroSTAR 2009
Michael Bolton...Burning issues at EuroSTAR 2009

More to be written and shown tomorrow!
God natt!