March 8, 2011

Swiss Testing Days 2011

Join me at Swiss Testing Days in Zurich on Wednesday 16 March for my Integrating Testing into an Agile Environment presentation. I'll be discussing how both testing and the role of testers changes in an Agile environment. The goal is to effectively integrate testing with development to create one cohesive team that consistently delivers quality software.
  • Make testers an integral part of the Agile team, ensuring that testing is present throughout the iteration or release cycle.
  • Transition from documentation-heavy requirements to effectively working with user stories in creating test cases and acceptance criteria.
  • Leverage existing testing skills while working with developers and users to improve team agility without sacrificing quality.
If you're attending, I'd love to chat about your specific challenges with testing in an Agile environment after the talk. If you're not able to attend the conference this year, I'll be live blogging the event all day. Just bookmark this page, and come back on the 16th to catch all of the action! Watch this space, I'll be live blogging Swiss Testing Days from Zurich on 16 March!16 March at Swiss Testing Day I'm in Zurich at Swiss Testing Day.  The conference has about 750 attendees, and there's a lot of energy and information here.  The keynote speaker, Julian Harty of eBay, gave an enteratining talk on "The Six Hats of Software Testing."  He notes that we can play six types of personalities that are relevant to testing, and he uses hats as a metaphor for these personalities.  Blue hats signify overview and purpose, red signify passion and emotion, yellow optimism, white data and objectivity, green creative, and black pessimism. Harty advocates testing teams "try on different hats" during meetings and while working (all team members wear the same hat), to gain different perspectives. 16 March at Swiss Testing Day The second talk I attended was "When to Ship," given by John Fodeh of Cognizant.  I was interested in this talk because the topic is similar to one that I'm presenting at QUEST 2011 on April 6th in Boston.  While John took a different approach than I am, we both agree that you make your decision to ship based on data, so you had better be collecting, analyzing, and reporting on multi-dimensional measures of quality to be able to make that decision. John noted that metrics serve multiple purposes - to understand, assess, predict, improve and communicate.  To me, those reasons are so important that one of the first things that testers should decide is what data needs to support decisions for the software, and make sure they get the data they need.  It's a very high priority. My talk is next . . . 16 March at Swiss Testing Day My talk was Integrating Testing into Agile Development, and was meant to provide a general guide or blueprint to adapting the role of testing to an agile process. I had about 160 people in the room (standing room only!) and during the question and answer period there were lively discussions around how to work in distributed Agile teams, how to train testers in the roles of other stakeholders, and what and how much to automate. To keep on schedule, the discussion was cut short, but we continued out in the hall with another dozen questions. All in all, it was a lively session with a lot of give or take. 16 March at Swiss Testing Day This afternoon the conference had two separate "mini-sessions" of fifteen minutes apiece.  The first one I attended was Shareholder Value Added (SVA) Test Organisation, given by Chris Dimitriadis.  This presentation attempted to quantify the value to an organization of the testing process.  Testers tend not to think about the value they bring to the business as a whole, but it's something we should think more about, because it brings to the forefront how much organizations need testing. The second mini-session I attended was Functional Testing is from Mars, Usability from Venus, by Thomas Veltman.  He noted that functional and usability testers have different objectives and ways of achieving those objectives.  For example, function testers measure to a predefined level of quality - meets requirements, while usability testers attempt to achieve an ideal - the best user experience. 16 March at Swiss Testing Day The conference is over, and the energy and enthusiasm here are among the highest I've seen at a conference.  The last session I attended was State-driven Testing: An Innovation in UI Test Automation, by Dietmar Strasser.  It described a new framework for testing that focused on measuring state changes in the software.  While this approach may have potential, the software was neither a commercial product nor open source, so it was difficult for the audience to assess its value. I'm a strong supporter of conference such as Swiss Testing Day, and this is one that provides a high quality experience and a lot of value for the tester and test manager.  Consider participating next year if you are in Europe and looking for the latest information on testing methods and practices. [liveblog]