Monday, 13 April 2015

Nordic Testing Days 2015 – Conference at a glance

Just to keep the momentum going, I shall tackle the Nordic Testing Days 2015 in a similar manner I did the Let’s Test. I chose the two conferences for they’re close by and I wish I could attend either or both of them this year. The real reason is that I want to keep writing, now that I have momentum. This is

Nordic Testing Days 2015 – Conference at a glance


The Nordic Testing Days 2015 is the fourth of its kind. Having had the privilege to attend the first of its kind as a speaker, I have a special kind of attachment to it. I did a full blown evaluation of the sessions I attended while I was at the conference 2012, but I shan’t do it this time. The conference is a 3 day spectacle with tracks, tutorials, workshops and more. I’ll choose the sessions as follows:

  • Choose one session from each day based on my familiarity of the speaker
  • Choose one session from each day based on my interest in the title
  • Choose one session from each day that I pick randomly

Those should total 9 sessions. I’ll choose 2 random key notes to accompany those.

I will use a heuristic grading system (introduced here) to determine what would be the best session for me. I will grade the stuff with Angry Birds ™ grade – 0-3 stars per area – on five areas:


  • Person-to-person (How will the person and his/hers work affect/inspire me or the people I know?), 
  • Session value – short time span (How much can I get out of the session tomorrow – next year?), 
  • Session value – longs time span (How much can I implement to my work and teach to my colleagues, my community?), 
  • Steal-ability (How much of it am I willing to borrow and further develop to make it better and/or mine?), and 
  • Challenge-ability (My past knowledge on the topic and my willingness to challenge the session contents.)


Keynotes


Mart Noorma’s “ESTCube-1: Testing in Space”

Intergalactic journey ahead. I would pay money to contribute to something that eventually goes orbiting the Earth. Alas, I cannot yet. Soon, perhaps. I know next to nothing Estonia’s space program, but I think this keynote requires some background checks to be able to get everything out of the keynote. Since I followed Philae landing (they had some Finnish technology there also) I am keen on hearing more on the subject.

I must admit I haven’t heard of Mart Noorma, but I think he’s not that loud on the testing scene. What are the key values here might be the inspiration to reach the stars. The short time value might be high-ish but I cannot see too much long term value in this. I might be the wrong crowd for this session, but I’m expecting inspiration and insight from Mart Koorma.

Although this keynote might be hugely inspirational, I see very little in the light of challenging or stealing ideas. It’s a shame, actually, for I am an avid science follower. The thing is that I might be expecting more of a testing approach to the keynote and less of a technical story. Experience report working in difficult situations is always good, but I don’t see myself as the optimal audience for this.


  • Person-to-person: 
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: *
  • Steal-ability: 
  • Challenge-ability: 
  • Total: 3/15 stars



Rob Lambert’s “Why Remaining Relevant Is So Important”

Why is it important to stay relevant? I mean, Rob is obviously going to answer that, but why make a keynote of it? Don’t we all know, if we fossilize we are, out in the next round of layoffs? What is the big deal? What I feel Rob is trying to say is we need an attitude change. The relevance comes from want to thrive and be the best. If you’re the one who’s always on the cutting edge of technology, skills and thoughts, other people want to be like you! You become the beacon people look up to.

Rob Lambert is one of the most influential people in the testing scene. His blog was one of the first ones I started to read as a budding tester. I have met him once in person, and he’s a warm, easily approachable character. The problem is that should I have more time on my hands, I’d be more keen on approaching him with my ideas on managing testing. Alas, I have not.

Staying relevant has far-reaching influence. It brings high long time value to the company and to myself. The ideas sound like easily adaptable and with genuine examples the value might become even greater. Short time value might be in form of planning ahead my skillset. With this session and Alexandra Casapu’s “Examine Your Testing Skills” session at Let’s Test 2015, I see no reason why one couldn’t stay relevant to their company or their community.


  • Person-to-person: **
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 11/15 stars




Wednesday


Kristoffer Nordström’s “Taming the Terminal-based Applications and Testing Them” (based on familiarity to speaker)

Kristoffer was the guy that inspired me into taking my Pythonian skills forward. His lessons in “Python for testers” and many more inspire many. He’s a great sport and I wish I could attend his tutorial at the conference. If the session has anything close to what I expect off of him, people will be having a hoot!

After reading the description, the tutorial seems quite useful to me. When I was doing testing at F-secure I ran into terminal-based application every once in a while, I might even have created some tooling with Python. This tutorial strikes that particular nail in my skill repertoire.

The values right now are mediocre, however, since my current job description doesn’t touch terminal based stuff. I would have rated this very differently a year ago, I must admit. Also being one of the few testing specialist at the office, I think I wouldn’t be the guy to be teaching this to developers. I could benefit from having a better understanding of testing frameworks and tools, better confidence in my skills, and have a good time at the session. Also, since I have some experience, I could challenge Kristoffer to make him hone his material to perfection. ;)


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: *
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total: 10/15 stars



Kristjan Uba’s  “Let's Learn: Experience Learning through Gaming” (based on interest in the title)

Gaming. My favorite way of learning. If we’re going to play games and learn from testing, I think this session is worth its weight in gold! …at least to a procrastinator and a child-minded person like me. The values are both immediate and long lasting, if done properly: one starts to seek out the games mentioned to play with their friends and colleagues, besides those games can spawn entire new epiphanies on some other testing related area.

I don’t Kristjan Uba from before, but I bet he’s the kinda guy I would get along really well. He sounds enthusiastic, innovative and funny, the kind of a person I like spending time outside work with. Perhaps, should I miss the opportunity to join, I can badger him to play some of the games on some other occasion.


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 10/15 stars



Robert Sabourin’s “Just-In-Time Software Testing” (random pick)

Ok. Rob has been on my radar from the beginning of my testing career, yet I know next to nothing of him. He’s one of those “one-star-should-be-three-stars” kinda fellas. I am aware of this “just-in-time” method, from some blog post in the past.

The description made me hum in pleasure. That is something, not only I want, but I need. As a professional tester I need to be able to make snap decisions about prioritization, change of focus and moving people to test the right thing. With content like that on a tutorial, I see no point to sit this one out! The values of this sessions are far reaching and immediate! These are the things I must educate my colleagues with, my community should be aware of this, and my work would vastly benefit from the skills and knowledge this tutorial gives.

For I know quite little about the subject to begin with, I see a lack of challenge-ability for me. Maybe a quick 1-on-1 with Rob might get me into the mood. Perhaps a blog post or two to limber my mind...


  • Person-to-person: * (I wanted it to be ***)
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 11/15 stars



Thursday


Sami Söderblom’s “If James Bach and Mary Gorman had a baby, how would it test?” (based on familiarity to speaker)

Mr. Happy Monkey himself talking about… WHAT? Biology? Child birth? Intercourse? I have to say if he hadn’t been picked based on me knowing him, I would have chosen the session based on the title. Sami Söderblom is a good friend of mine. He’s a whiskey-junkey, a cat-photographer, a father, an explorer and a good friend. We have a history through my whole testing career, from my first big testing project to this day. He’s the “three-stars-should-be-the-milkyway” kinda fella.

I must say I’m on pins and needles what the session is about. The description says: “FITCODES”. I’m sold. SFDPOT has been my guideline through my recent testing career. At the Turku Agile Days 2012 I modeled the testing of speedos using the SFDPOT. This week we did testing exercise on testing whatever found in one’s pocket using SFDPOT. To advance the heuristic that has been the lifeline for me is something I really, REALLY, would like to see.

The values, for me, are huge. Should I be able to use the heuristic in my everyday work is a great benefit. In addition to this, to be able to help others test their software better, to design better tests, to manage testing in a better way, make the session even more valuable. To learn how Sami came up with the heuristic is a good steal-able. To refine it to suit my particular needs would be awesome. And, since I know quite a lot about the subject, challenging would be the cherry on the cake.


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: ***
  • Total: 15/15 stars


Beat that! No pressure, Sami. ;)

Stephen Janaway’s “Why I Lost My Job as a Test Manager and what I Learnt as a Result” (based on interest in the title)

Test coach, he says. I think I like him already. The transformation to Test Coach has been my goal during this year. Teaching people on how to test and make them better at what they do. If Stephen can help me achieve that, I’d be happy as a hippo.

I actually don’t know Stephen from the past, but with his attitude towards coaching, I bet we can hit it on. Value coming out of his “shift to coaching” session could become quite valuable for me with my ambitions and goals, but to all traditional test managers. When I came to my current work place, I told I wanted to be a coach, but I have yet to find my focus and methods in implementing it.

To more easily understand Stephen’s session, I feel I must read the blog post first. Maybe then I can be able to challenge him in a better way.


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: **
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 9/15 stars



Erik Boelen’s “Acceptance Testing At Its Best” (random pick)

I’ve heard some experience reports on the subject of coaching end-users to test the acceptance of a product. They have all been educational, but seemed to be lacking some punch - the methods to implement the procedure to one’s own context. I have never heard of the speaker before, but I fresh blood to the Testing Arena is always a crowd pleaser. ;)

This seems like a good session for those battling with limited testing resources and acceptance testing stuff. I see a lot of material I would like clarification to and some areas where challenging might be in order. Values are unpredictable here. Since I work closely to projects and the project management nowadays, I see some intersections to my work. This might be a huge value to a test manager of any kind. I cannot say.


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: *
  • Steal-ability: *
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total:  7/15 stars



Friday


Erik Brickarp’s “Going Exploratory” (based on familiarity to speaker)

Erik. My man! He’s been around for a while. I was introduced to him by a hint from James Bach few years ago for paying the RST course from his own pocket. Anyone to do that is a personal hero of mine. He’s a great thinker, a fine coachee – fine and dandy bloke on all fronts. I’m really excited to see him in person since he has evaded me the few times I’ve attended conferences in the past.

So, Erik’s gonna talk about how he switched from rigid testing process into an exploratory one, failed, learned, tried again, repeated, succeeded. This is something that I want to do! I think my key takeaway is the sandboxing. In my recent project I have drastically changed the process with constant deliverables. This means more freedom in the execution but rigid documentation. I think Erik can give me a couple of good tips how to make the process less painful and more appealing to… the client. (You wer thinking I was gonna say “opposite sex”, weren’t you?)

I definititely see value in this. Short time value comes mainly from the insights that I can implement as soon I hit the desk after the conference and long term effects can sprout an inspiration where I combine my learning to what Erik gives. Very valuable in deed.


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total:  13/15 stars



Radomir Sebek’s "You don't need to be a musician to test music production software" (based on interest in the title)

Music is close to my heart. I compose various kinds of music, hence I have an interest in both the industry and the tools of trade. Combine music and testing – I’m hooked. Although I have never heard of Mr. Sebek, I am keen on hearing what he has to say.

The whole concept is intriguing, having to quickly learn a vast domain to better test it. I think that is the core of software testing in general – fast learning, adapting, moving focus and prioritization based on learning. I want to examine his methods of approaching the subject. The coaching aspect (as in using testers with various backgrounds and influencing them) is also interesting. I am intrigued what kind of methods have been used in the influencing. Experience reports like this are usually difficult to challenge, but usually highly steal-able.


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total:  10/15 stars



Ilari Henrik Aegerter & Ben Kelly’s “Ben and Ilari's Spectacular Testing Circus” (random pick, honestly!)

Like I mentioned in my earlier post, I have spent some time chatting with Ilari. He has coached me on different things. Ben Kelly has been on my radar, like many testers, but I haven’t yet figured him out. It seems I am compelled to read his blog a few times before I go chat with him.

The session itself is a puzzle (pun intended) since it can contain many things. Interactive games, puzzles, cool problems, etc. are the salt of testing skills. I bet this is a session where I shall spend at least an hour or two, since I just like to challenge myself. I expect to be challenged and to be able to challenge other testers and maybe increase some skills while having fun.


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total:  13/15 stars


Conclusion

There are many sessions that I didn’t tackle although they might be worth gold. If you feel (as a speaker) that I should tackle yours, drop me a line. I’m also eager to discuss my choices with the people I rated.

It seems that I am attending the Nordic Testing days. I shall be there with my beard flowing and throwing #high6’es to people. ;)


Varsti näeme!
- Peksi

1 comment:

The EuroSTAR Team said...

Hi Pekka,

How are you? I came across your blog and I was wondering if you would be interested in guest blogging on TESTHuddle.com?

In case you are unaware, TEST Huddle is a software testing community that was launched by EuroSTAR Conferences back in early 2014 and there has been steady growth of members ever since. Today we are proud to say that we have over 2500 members and counting.

Adding a blog post to TEST Huddle is easy as we have an upload resource option available on the site. You can upload here: http://testhuddle.com/resources/upload-resource/

The sooner you upload your blog, the sooner we could add it to the blog schedule.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards,
Daragh