Sunday, 14 January 2018

CEWT #5 Abstracts

The fifth Cambridge Exploratory Workshop on Testing, CEWT #5, will be on 28th January 2018, hosted by Linguamatics. The topic is
Theory Over Practice or Practice Over Theory? 
and here's the abstracts:

Sneha Bhat and James Thomas, Theoreticus Prime vs  Praktikertron
There is a perceived tension between theory and practice, and between theorists and practitioners. In this talk, we will propose and illustrate using a practical example that practice generates data and theory is the data which we care about. Rather than focusing on theory over practice or practice over theory, a choice of theory, practice, or both is driven by the data needed for a particular task and contextual factors.

James Coombes, Testing with no testing qualification.

If you want to become a software tester without doing a formal qualification is that possible? I will ask is there any correlation between quality of testers and those that have been on a course and have certification like ISTQB? Should this ever be part of anyone's recruitment criteria?

Aleksander Simic, The alternation

Am I more practical or theoretical person? Do I find the theory helpful? Do I know when and how to apply it? How do I learn by doing? These are some of the question I'll try to answer based on the recent events.

Karo Stoltzenburg, Are Your Lights On?

Theory over practice or practice over theory? I won't give you a definite answer to apply (always! in every context!), but rather would like to invite you to explore the question itself with me. We can look into the definitions of theory and practice, wonder what our stakeholders might be, think about analogies in testing activities and question which problem we're trying to solve here.

Alan Wallace, Practice over training or training over practice?

I’m a competitive Masters swimmer. Swimming is pretty much entirely learnt by doing, most often when we are children. Adults are hard to teach to swim partly because they want to understand the theory, but like riding a bike I can’t really explain to you how to balance your body even if I can tell you the basic mechanics of how a particular swimming stroke works. So, we don’t really spend much time on theory, but we do a lot of time practising skills in the form of training for comparatively brief periods where we are actually competing and try to ensure all that training wasn’t for nothing. Whereas in the work place, my experience has been that we spend most of our time competing. We try to fit in some learning theory, but very rarely do we spend time training. Is this ok? Should we spend more time training?

Milosz Wasilewsk, Theory and practice moving from waterfall to agile

The talk is based on my experience when producing software for mobile phones. It will deal with idea of changing the software development paradigm from waterfall to agile. I will try to compare assumptions and outcome of the change. Social aspect of the change will also be discussed.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

CEWT #5 is Coming!

The fifth Cambridge Exploratory Workshop on Testing, CEWT #5, will be on 28th January 2018, hosted by Linguamatics.

The topic is
Theory Over Practice or Practice Over Theory?
Do you prefer experience or expertise? Do you simply dive in or do you first scope out? Do your skills get sharpened on the job or in your head? Do we just need to get along and get on with it or are the semantics worth getting straight? Is the view from the coalface more valuable than the one from the library? 
The participants in CEWT #5 will be asked to consider the pros and cons of testing theory compared to testing practice. Perhaps there'll be stories about when one was critical or caused the project to go off the rails. Maybe we'll hear how it's possible to balance the two and what kinds of factors make a difference in doing that.
We might consider whether it's a balance across a team rather than a person. We might wonder whether it's possible to test without any testing theory, and what advantages that might confer. We might define a core set of theoretical concepts that we think are fundamental. Or we might not.
As usual, the topic is deliberately open and the discussion we want is open-ended and open-minded.

Note: this is not an open call for participants. We try to support the local testing community by inviting those who've attended other Cambridge meetups recently first.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

CEWT #4 Abstracts

CEWT #4 will be on 11th June 2017 at Roku and the topic is Test Managers, Can't Live With 'Em ... 

We're all managers, managed, or both so we've all got experience of people who manage testing work: test managers. But what do these people do? What value do they bring? Who are they for? Some companies are disbanding their test teams and replacing test managers with test or quality coaches. Are test managers an endangered species?

In CEWT #4 we'll be considering test managers and test management and the relationship of testers to both of them. We want to surface ideas and perspectives on those ideas and then explore both in search of insight. We want to propose hypotheses and then challenge them, and try to expose the evidence and assumptions that motivated them. We want to report experiences and then understand them and the conclusions that have been drawn from them.  And we want to do these things in a relaxed, friendly, safe, collaborative, supportive, and positive environment. 

As usual with us, the topic is a jumping-off point and so here's a few questions to help to get you started: Is test management primarily a management role, that could be done well by any competent manager? Or is it a specialist position that requires experience of software testing?  Does that sound wise? What makes a good test manager? Who was the best test manager you ever had? Why? Who wasn't? Why not? What does your test manager do for you that you couldn't live without? And what would you rather they never did again? 

If you're a test manager, when did you last test something? How deeply were you able to test it? Are you OK with that? Can you apply your testing skills to management? With what compromises? Are you afraid for your job? Or aspects of your job? Is test management actually a role rather than a position? Would your thoughts on test management differ if you considered line management and project management independently? How?

And here's the abstracts:

Why be a test manager?

Claire Banks

In my talk I will be sharing my experiences of previous test managers (good and bad) and being a test manager (bad). I have about 16 years experience in testing and still want/need a test manager. I'm so very strong in my views that I'll never be a test manager again that I've even left jobs when "force promoted" into that role. I'm looking forward to the discussions this subject brings to figure out if my views are simply outdated or whether my special brand of crazy is justified.

Test Manager - which hat to wear and when?

Sneha Bhat

It has become common to have embedded testers in cross-functional agile teams. I have seen that testers in such teams are more involved with the team members rather than with a Test Manager with respect to
planning, discussing task estimates and communicating progress
discussing strategies about what is needed/not needed for testing
decision making about when a task is complete

As a tester and a Scrum master in an Agile team, I will talk about how I see the role of a Test Manager fits into this model.

The awkward relationship between testers and non technical managers

James Coombes

I have had 7 years now working as a tester and this is a case study of the 9 managers I have had in that period of time. I will look at answering the question "do you have to be a good tester to make a good test manager?". And I will consider why some companies have a culture of hiring technical people for technical manager roles and others don't.


One Year, Two Testers, One Report

Aleksandar Simic and James Thomas

Our talk is an experience report - a two-experience report, or perhaps a shared experience report - about aspects of the relationship between a tester and a test manager in the first 12 months of working together. We'll take several milestones from that year and talk about what we were thinking, hearing, and attempting at each point, and look for commonality, discrepancy, and trends across the year through the prism of one of many communication channels.

Who needs testers anyway?

Neil Younger

Test Managers, and to an extent testers, can be at the sharp end of any company restructure, redundancies, or practices.

In this thought experiment, I'm going to challenge myself, and my biases, to see what a world without testers would look like at my company and how we might even get to that point.

Join me for this journey while I attempt to make my job title redundant!

Monday, 6 March 2017

CEWT #4 is Coming!

CEWT #4 will be on 11th June 2017 at Roku and the topic is:
Test Managers, Can't Live With 'Em ... 
We're all managers, managed, or both so we've all got experience of people who manage testing work: test managers. But what do these people do? What value do they bring? Who are they for? Some companies are disbanding their test teams and replacing test managers with test or quality coaches. Are test managers an endangered species? 
In CEWT #4 we'll be considering test managers and test management and the relationship of testers to both of them. We want to surface ideas and perspectives on those ideas and then explore both in search of insight. We want to propose hypotheses and then challenge them, and try to expose the evidence and assumptions that motivated them. We want to report experiences and then understand them and the conclusions that have been drawn from them.  And we want to do these things in a relaxed, friendly, safe, collaborative, supportive, and positive environment. 
As usual with us, the topic is a jumping-off point and so here's a few questions to help to get you started: Is test management primarily a management role, that could be done well by any competent manager? Or is it a specialist position that requires experience of software testing?  Does that sound wise? What makes a good test manager? Who was the best test manager you ever had? Why? Who wasn't? Why not? What does your test manager do for you that you couldn't live without? And what would you rather they never did again? 
If you're a test manager, when did you last test something? How deeply were you able to test it? Are you OK with that? Can you apply your testing skills to management? With what compromises? Are you afraid for your job? Or aspects of your job? Is test management actually a role rather than a position? Would your thoughts on test management differ if you considered line management and project management independently? How?
We were so happy with the changes we made for the format of CEWT #3 that we're not planning on doing anything radically different this time around.

Note: this is not an open call for participants. We try to support the local testing community by inviting those who've attended other Cambridge meetups recently first.

Friday, 28 October 2016

CEWT #3 Abstracts

The first abstracts are in and this is some of what we expect to be talking about at CEWT #3.


Michael Ambrose - Teach them to Fish

As I implement my plans to upskill my testers in development capabilities to allow us to reach ever more clever ways of testing, there will be a risk in us becoming a speed bump on the team velocity as we try and juggle old and new ways of testing.  I'll be discussing my plans to help mitigate this risk by also upskilling the developers in testing, so they can help pick up any slack, and looking at the possible consequences that can come of this - both good and bad...


James Coombes - who should do testing and what can they test?

People test for a variety of different reasons, but mainly it is to prove a hypothesis that something either works or doesn’t.  When used in an iterative manner (fixing bugs then retesting) this can be used to improve quality.  Indeed without testing it is practically impossible to say whether something works or not.

For me QA is a form of risk management, we test to ensure that our reputation as a company and organization is well respected for producing high quality software. We (the company) all own quality. This talk will focus on the reason for test and who should do the testing. A series of short examples will give insights into who should be doing testing and the key areas a stakeholder can contribute to the overall task of testing. It may or may not be obvious, but a multitude of other people apart from QA can undertake testing, and we will explore who they are.


Lee Hawkins – What is Testing? It depends ...

There are many definitions of what “testing” is – they can come from many sources, such as certification glossaries or the school of testing you align yourself with. But maybe we focus too much on the idea of a definition and focus too little on the wide range of perspectives of what testing means to different stakeholders. Let’s explore a few different perspectives together. (slides)


Aleksandar Simic - Testing is ...

An attempt to explain what is testing by telling a two days testing story - a story that can be shared in various ways.


Karo Stoltzenburg - I test, therefore I am

When you go on a lookout for answers to why we test, and what testing is (anyway), you often come across very similar explanations. Explanations that managers likely like and that contain terms such as "information", "quality", "state", "decisions", "risk" and similar.

These are great, don't get me wrong. I like them. But they are also a bit clinical, rational, purposeful. And if I'm being honest, at the end of the day, these might not exactly be the reasons why /I/ test, or what keeps /me/ in testing.

So I'd like to explore what other reasons there might be. I'll be reflecting on which (personal, subjective) value testing brings to me rather than what value it might bring to my team or company. And being true to my craft, I'll be wondering if this experiment will reveal any new information and if yes, what I could be doing with it.


James Thomas - Testing All the Way Down, and Other Directions 

The idea that testing is or can be a recursive activity - or even fractal - has some currency. In that view, a test or experiment generates some data, which suggests new experiments, which generate some data, which suggest new experiments and so on. The kinds of activities being done at each stage will be self-similar and testing is used as a kind of microscope to focus in on some aspect of the system under test. Testing all the way down.

In this talk, I'll instead view testing as a number of different instruments that can be used in an arbitrary number of dimensions. Further, I'll suggest that testing can be applied not only to a system, but to descriptions of that system, to models of that system, to abstractions of that system, to a system which is testing that system, and to a system which is testing the system which is testing that system. And so on. It's testing all the way round.

I'll finish by proposing a definition of testing that I think might capture this wide applicability.  (slides)