Friday, 25 October 2019

HUSTEF 2019 – Conference at a Glance

Hi all! It’s time for the next post regarding this year’s conferences. I’ve been (with my good friend and colleague Jani Grönman) invited to speak at three conferences this year: TestCon Europe at Lithuania, HUSTEF in Hungary and Quest for Quality in Ireland. My plan was to share my thoughts about all these conferences, but unfortunately, I had to skip TestCon blog post due to scheduling issues. The review is already underway and it’ll be added here as soon as possible.
I’m rating the talks based on my personal opinion, which means that they might be totally different from yours. AND I haven’t seen the talks yet, so the results might be totally different once I get to see some of them. The process is the same as in my previous “At a glance” posts. Look here for instructions.

This is Conference at a Glance – HUSTEF 2019!
What I have heard through grapevine is that the conference is highly valued in Hungary and the premises a gorgeous. I can’t wait to see the venue and the city of Budapest.  From web page:
“HUSTEF is one of the premier conferences in Europe for practitioners in all areas related to software testing. The conference was founded in 2011 by the members of the ”Hungarian Testing Board” with the aim to have an annual platform where the best from the software and IT R&D sector can exchange information about new developments in the industry. HUSTEF has grown to be one of the biggest software testing events in Europe, with more than 670 attendees from all over the world attending the 2018 conference. HTB is the local representative affiliate of ISTQB accrediting thousands of software testing engineers who share a belief in the power of innovation and a desire to be leaders in the field of testing.”
The talks and workshops vary from technical talks to practical, from AI to think like a tester. This is the kind of place where I want to be! Let’s see what we have ahead of us. I want to say that I am really biased towards intelligent testing thus making it difficult to see good in some of the talks.

Keynotes (There seems to be quite a lot of those)

Tariq KING - AI for Software Testing: The Ultimate Journey

In the last blog post I wrote, I mentioned Mr. King’s talk. There will be quite a lot of talks about AI and it is a big thing in software testing now and in the future. I believe this is going to be an experience report that describes Ultimate’s ways of working. Since I will dive deep into AI and ML in Q4Q-conference week after HUSTEF, I see this as a nice introduction.

  • Short time value: ** (The opportunities to learn and create some basic knowledge in AIST is a good thing. To take these lessons to my daily work at the office doesn’t seem likely now. At least without a proper introduction to the subject.)
  • Long-time value: (I think the long-time value comes from somewhere else. My current company isn’t going to adopt these AIST principles any time soon.)
  • Steal-ability: (My skills and the nature of my current workplace I see very little to incorporate to my work nor do talk about it in the foreseeable future.)
  • Challenge-ability: ** (The role of “intelligent testing” isn’t to be lightly brushed aside. AIST is a tool and it is useful in its own domain.)

Philip LEW - From Tester to Thought-Leader: The 8th Habit of Highly Effective Agile Testing

An interesting topic in general. The skills development is something that I and Jani will do a talk about. If this talk describes the skills themselves, we talk about methods to deliver those skills to the team. Also, since Mr. Lew knows quite a lot about coaching, I see a lot of similarities in our way of thinking (and maybe in the contents of our talks).

  • Short time value: *** (Skills and ways of thinking are what I’m interested about and I think he can deliver a lot of valuable information.)
  • Long-time value: *** (The habits of being effective as a learner are something that everyone should have. Learning is the most important feature of a tester!)
  • Steal-ability: *** (I’m SO going to steal ideas from this topic! Luckily it is on the first day, then I can refer to it in our talk.)
  • Challenge-ability: ** (The problem (the only problem) with this talk is that I might be so biased towards thinking this is so awesome talk that I accept any ideas presented.)

Dionny SANTIAGO - Surviving the AI Testing Apocalypse

Although this is also something that will be a topic at Q4Q, I think this is an interesting topic for me personally. I’m not worried about the coming of AI. I’m worried about the hype and attitudes it brings with it. AI is a tool like that serves a purpose. When agile testing came with a strong focus on automating tests, testers were worried they run out of jobs. Adapting is a key thing here. I don’t see every tester having to be able to code an AI but learning how to use it as a tool. Hopefully, this talk will shed some light on that area.

  • Short time value: ** (A thought-provoking things once again. Being able to talk about the pros and cons of AI is valuable.)
  • Long-time value: ** (Being able to “keep my job when AI takes over” is a good skill. Not being a traditional engineer with a technical skillset, I need the skills to help me get through the Judgement Day without Arnold.) 
  • Steal-ability: * (I might include some of these things in my talks about testing skills and skills development.)
  • Challenge-ability: ** (It might be that the talk doesn’t help me in the way I think. The “surviving” might be focusing solely on developing technical skills to some level. I can do that, obviously, but I am seeking different help and ideas.)

Jennifer BONINE & Janna LOEFFLER - The Life of a Tester: From Once Upon a Time to Happily Ever After

Am I hearing more AI and ML talks? This seems a bit similar to Dionny Santiago’s talk about keeping your QA job after AI is released to the world. The animation makes this an interesting keynote. I’ve known Janna Loeffler for a couple of years now and I know she can deliver a killer talk with visual aids. The animation might prove really valuable in learning about the subject. I and Jani keep saying that quality is not made by the testers but by the whole team. I think this presentation taps into that. Quality IS everyone’s responsibility!

  • Short time value: ** (The survival theme keeps popping up in the conference. I hope this supports and gives new views on the subject.)
  • Long-time value: ** (“Writing my own story” is important in these times of change. This talk should change my views in the long-term.)
  • Steal-ability: ** (Although I cannot steal the animation, I’m sure I can make some of the ideas my own. Life as a tester needs constant adaptation and having a long term plan is always a good thing.)
  • Challenge-ability: ** (When talking about AI again, I see possibilities of colliding with my ideology of having intelligent testers and using AI as a tool. Let’s see what happens…)

Talks (Only 6 this time)

Prashant HEGDE - Revolutionize Your Testing Strategy with MindMap Driven Testing

I started using mind-maps over ten years ago and I even gave a talk about it at Nordic Testing Days in Tallinn in 2012. The use of mind-maps has changed my thinking and the way I report and take notes in my testing. In agile testing, reporting should be agile as well. I’ve found it useful to do that on a mind map. Apart from reporting testing, I use mind-maps to model the context and the product. It helps me to understand the system as an entity instead of separate functions etc.

  • Short time value: *** (Being able to hone my skills in using mind-maps is really useful for me. The insights I’m expecting might inspire me to write something down on how I use them nowadays.)
  • Long-time value: ** (Having a background in using mind-maps in the past might not bring that much new stuff, but perhaps it helps me look at things from a different perspective. At least it should inspire me to use them in more efficiently in the future.)
  • Steal-ability: *** (If I see a technique or hear an idea in this talk, I will most definitely use it to my advantage.)
  • Challenge-ability: *** (Knowing quite a lot of the subject, I’ll be able to challenge things that don’t fit my view of the world. Though I don’t totally disagree, I try to help Prashant make more out if his use of mind-maps by offering my own view.)

Jeremias RÖßLER - Test Automation without Assertions

Ok… Silver bullet test automation tool, eh? I might be overly critical and I’m sure my biases are at work here. I have an allergy to snake-oil test automation. The topic sounds like a tool advertisement. Hopefully, it is more of a technique or an approach to testing instead of offering one tool to solve all problems. I’m sorry Doctor, but we might not have joint ground in this subject.

  • Short time value: ** (My company is always looking to improving test automation. I might be able to offer a solution for them to assess. Perhaps we can find a use for it.)
  • Long-time value: * (Knowing about things always help to develop as a tester. Being able to talk about Recheck most definitely helps me when discussing keyword-based test automation.)
  • Steal-ability: (I see very little things to take as my own or develop it further.)
  • Challenge-ability: *** (I expect to see things that contradict my views. It might be more useful to have a proper talk outside the conference room so that I won’t spoil the event for those who find it useful.)

Aleksandra KORNECKA - Cognitive approach to software quality

I’m a soft skills person. I like thinking, emotions, communication, etc. skills that are not necessarily engineering skills. This talk might help me develop my skills in those areas and be able to talk about them.

  • Short time value: *** (I should be able to use these skills in my work quite easily very soon. On a weekly basis I need to coach people using these skills and teaching them.)
  • Long-time value: *** (Knowing these skills most definitely helps me be a better coach.)
  • Steal-ability: *** (I see large potential in developing this topic further with my previous knowledge. 
  • Challenge-ability: * (Not knowing too much of the research side of things might make it quite difficult to challenge ideas.)

Vojtěch BARTA - Customer Testing and Acceptance

At my company and in my role as a coach we quite often train acceptance testers and customers to do some testing. This can be in the form of accepting the system and paying the bill, some form of validation to lay the blame for defects or contract violation or some other. Acceptance testing always requires a mission which we try to achieve. The talk seems to cover most of the issues I am facing in agile testing in our company. How to make people understand the importance of UAT?

  • Short time value: *** (We have a lot of coaching cases coming up and I feel that this could drastically improve the value of our work.)
  • Long-time value: *** (I’ve been on the customer side doing the acceptance along with other testers, so these skills also help me in my future assignments to test from the end-user/customer point of view. Also, knowing more about acceptance testing helps me educate our sales teams to make better proposals and have them involved them development throughout the lifecycle.)
  • Steal-ability: *** (I’m SO going to steal as much as I can from this talk. The fact is that I can incorporate this knowledge into my previous knowhow and be a better tester and a coach.)
  • Challenge-ability: ** (Since I know quite a bit about this topic, I feel that I have loads to say about this. I’m keen on seeing the results and can Vojtěch include all the important things in his talk.)

Janna LOEFFLER - On the Shoulders of Testing Giants

Just like Janna, my philosophies are molded by these Giants. Michael Bolton, James Bach, Cem Kaner, Jerry Weinberg, etc. are the bedrock of my testing self. These views are then affected by people like Elisabeth Hendrickson, Huib Schoots, etc. I have my feet firmly on the shoulders of there magnificent individuals.

  • Short time value: *** (As a story I’m sure I get loads of ideas and remember to be thankful to those I work with. The talk might not have a “thing” to take home, but it most certainly will make me think of all the people I look up to.) 
  • Long-time value: * (I’m not sure if there is a long-time value here. I expect a story and something to make me think. I might find it easier to acknowledge the influences, but at this point, I feel this is more of a short-term thing.)
  • Steal-ability: ** (“Stealing” this might be hard but talking about it can be a bit easier.) 
  • Challenge-ability: * (I am on the same lines as she is. You need to appreciate the people that influence you. Maybe even say it to them occasionally.)

Shekhar RAMPHAL - Five Levels of API Automation

API testing is an important thing in testing. I’d say a basic level of test automation is API automation. Asserting calls is fairly simple and can be done on almost any language and testing tool there is. It’s nice to hear a talk about making test automation easier. I think it’s good for “dummies” like me.

  • Short time value: *** (A more detailed understanding of API testing is good to have. Even if I can’t do automation per se, I can use the knowledge to coach developers to do better tests.)
  • Long-time value: ** (Skills like this will be beneficial in every kind of testing in this era. AI and similar tools require knowledge of API testing.)
  • Steal-ability: * (To further develop this is a bit too difficult for me, but I believe I can incorporate this into my daily work.)
  • Challenge-ability: ** (I have some prior knowledge of the area and I have healthy critical thinking towards automation. The API testing can (and should) be used wisely.)

There you go!

Well, that’s my view on a few of the talks and keynotes at HUSTEF 2019 conference. Like I said before I’m not saying I attend all these talks, but I feel they might be good candidates for my itinerary. I encourage all of you to comment on what are your views about these talks and other talks as well. If I happened to comment on a talk you’re presenting, please give me a comment. It would be lovely to hear from all of you!

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Quest for Quality 2019 at a Glance

Hi all! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on my blog. I’ve been busy with various things, but I have now decided that it is a good time to share some thoughts about the forthcoming fall. I’ve been (with my good friend and colleague Jani Grönman) invited to speak at three conferences this year: TestCon Europe at Lithuania, HUSTEF in Hungary and Quest for Quality in Ireland. My plan now is to share my thoughts about all these conferences.

I am not an expert with some of the subject matter of these talks I’m about to rate (in my Angry Bird scale) and I am sure I misunderstand a whole lot based on the description on the website. As the title says, this is a glance. It is not a comprehensive analysis. I have described my process in more detail in this post, but here’s the gist of it:

I will grade topics using 0-3 stars per area, in FOUR areas:
Session value – short time span (How much can I get out of the session tomorrow – next year?),
Session value – long time span (How much can I implement o 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, more importantly, make it my own?), and
Challenge-ability (My past knowledge on the topic and my willingness to challenge the session contents.)
I’ll choose the sessions as follows:
Choose two sessions from each day based on my interest in the title
Choose one session from each day that I pick randomly

This is Conference at a glance - Q4Q 2019!

The conference is mostly about AI and ML, but my talk “Test Coaching” has been chosen to add a more general perspective to the technical set of talks. I will write about test coaching either here or some other platform, but I try to remember to update this post to link to that post.

The concept of AI replacing tester is absurd. As a tool to do better testing, a tester will most definitely benefit from new ideas and tools in the toolbox. I promise not to be judgmental about the topics, but I am most certainly biased towards a non-technical approach to testing and I might be over-critical with some topics. Bear with me, though. This is subjective after all. 😉

One thing to note: I haven’t met most of the presenters, so my rating is based on the bio and my quick research of that person.

Keynotes (There seems to be quite a lot of those)

Tariq King - AI-Driven Testing: A New Era of Test Automation

As a context-driven and holistic tester, I am keen on learning about new things to boost testing efficiency and reliability of information testing provides. The way Tariq talks about AI as a tool is fascinating. I’m fascinated to see live demo how the bots work. I mean, they might work on their own, but the practical application to software testing is what I want to hear. I hope I get answers on how can I use AI in my daily work IN PRACTICE.
Short time value: * (The implementation of this is not yet in my immediate agenda. Let’s see…)
Long-time value: ** (The topic is very interesting and if I cannot implement it immediately, I can at least share my views on it.)
Steal-ability: - (The description offers more questions than answers, so the steal-ability is a mystery now. My technical abilities might hinder me taking the topic to the next level, but let’s see.)
Challenge-ability: ** (I am sure I can find things that rub me the wrong way. As a tester rooting on using one’s brain to test, outsourcing thinking to a machine sounds dangerous and reckless.)

Pallavi Kumar - When AI Meets Software Testing

The keynote description leaves a lot in the dark, but I guess it follows the same track Tariq sets in his keynote. The future of testing always intrigues me. It also frightens me to some degree. Based on the background of Pallavi Kumar, she uses AI in various other purposes, including mental health (which is close to my heart).
Short time value: * (I hope to catch some good ideas but implementing them in my daily work seems a bit distant. I am, however, very intrigued about hearing her talk and maybe chatting with her afterward on practical applications of AI in mental health.)
Long-time value: ** (The future of testing is an interesting topic, but I fear this is a praise to AI. Like Tariq’s talk, I should be at least able to talk about it. Also, I feel the effects of mental health makes me want to hear this talk.)
Steal-ability: - (Same as Tariq, basically.)
Challenge-ability: - (I don’t see “un-challenge-ability” being a bad thing. This should be purely about new insight on applications of AI.)

Michael Clarke - “Robots Took My Job!”: Where do Testers Fit In A Future Fueled by AI & ML

Michael’s view about AI and ML is quite close to mine. Where does AI & ML leave testers? I want to hear more about this. Since Michael doesn’t seem like your run-of-the-mill technical engineer, I feel he’s a kindred spirit. Him being a sole tester in a team resembles my work as a tester for the last few years. I most definitely wait for this talk.
Short time value: ** (Talking about the importance of human tester is important and I totally agree with that. I will most definitely get a lot of ideas from this talk in the short and long run.)
Long-time value: ** (Like I mentioned, this will be a great talk for me.)
Steal-ability: ** (The topic is close to my heart. As a holistic tester I will further develop this idea to benefit my company and the testers in my community.)
Challenge-ability: * (I feel there could (and should) be things I don’t agree with. I hope the talk shows that humans are the ones doing the testing. AI is just a tool!)

Yasar Sulaiman - Will Artificial Intelligence Take Over QA Jobs?

There are quite a lot of talks about testers losing their jobs. In my talk, I talk about a way to keep the testers up to speed with their skills, hence I don’t see us losing our jobs. Yasar talks about evolving testers and I think it supports my talk quite nicely. There is always a threat of people losing their jobs but adapting to change is the key to having a long and stable career.
Short time value: ** (To be able to talk about the evolvement of the tester to fit today’s testing industry is a key element to my job.)
Long-time value: ** (In the long run I might be able to advise the skill set needed to perform specific tasks in various projects. There are quite a lot of domains that can benefit from AI as a tool for a tester.)
Steal-ability: * (Same as Michael Clarke’s talk, the topic is close to my heart. Maybe I can develop this further.)
Challenge-ability: * (Same as Michael Clarke’s talk essentially. Let’s see where the talk leads us.)

Jason Jerina - The Future of Quality Assurance: A Path for A.I & Human Intelligence

First, I thought “Yet another keynote about the future of testing.” but it seems this is more about tool hype. Tools and automation are a tricky subject for me. I fear that the IT community starts to think the tools are snake-oil that solve all testing problems. When we add the AI to that, the thinking of a human might get forgotten and its importance lost in the cogs of technology.
Short time value: - (I feel I don’t get too much in the short run for I see quite a lot of technology hype in this keynote. There might not be that much to implement in my current job.)
Long-time value: * (I will be able to talk about AI and ML on a larger scale. The value of that is currently lost to me.)
Steal-ability: - (I have no intention of stealing this subject unless it turns out to be more than a sales pitch for automation.)
Challenge-ability: *** (I’m sure I won’t agree with most of the stuff. I will most definitely try to challenge the ideas represented.)

Rhealyn Mughi - Robots Are Here; What Can We Do To Keep Up?

Yet another keynote about the future of testing? The topic, however, guides the audience to keep up with the technology and robots. Rhealyn Mugri also talks about the impact, which is nice to hear. We’ll have to see if this keynote promotes intelligence over tool-hype.
Short time value: - (I don’t see too much short time value since this is more about the future of testing. The guidelines might come handy in the long run.)
Long-time value: ** (The guidelines and talk about rapidly evolving industry are useful information.)
Steal-ability: - (I don’t yet see anything steal-able, but we’ll have to see. The future is always interesting, but I don’t see how to make this topic my own.)
Challenge-ability: * (Is this more about robots in general or how they affect testing? I feel there might not be that much talk about testing. If there are no practical applications to implement the guidelines for testing, I will challenge the usefulness of those guidelines.)

Talks (Only 6 this time)

Zachary Attas – Services: How to Test Them When You Have The Keys to The Castle

Ah! Test strategy – my favorite. I feel that people underestimate the value of a good strategy. The focus is usually writing a document and burying with the rest of the plans in some dark corner of the project library. End-to-end testing and test automation both sound interesting. I work at Solita and we use a lot of integration and E2E automation. It is nice to see what possibilities this talk provides to make our tests better.
Short time value: * (I might not be the one writing the code, but I feel that this talk helps me aid others to create better tests.)
Long-time value: ** (In the long run, I might be able to help teams generate a good strategy for integration testing. This is vital to my role as a coach.)
Steal-ability: ** (I try my best to understand the details of the talk. The strategy will be the main part that I am interested. How to generate strategy is my favorite part of learning to test.)
Challenge-ability: * (Not knowing too much about the technical aspects of integration tests, I might not be the best candidate to challenge most of the content. I do feel that the strategy generation part will be my focus and I will see if there are things that sound odd to me.)

Shama Ugale – Testing Conversational AI

The idea of testing conversational devices is intriguing. I can see the difficulty in it and the techniques to do so need to be carefully thought of. I haven’t been involved testing such systems, but I see a progression towards that area in many fields, such as infrastructure maintenance, elderly care, phone advising, etc. Besides, I use these devices at home, so it is intriguing to know how these devices are tested.
Short time value: * (While the topic is very interesting, I can’t see the near-future application of this kind of testing.)
Long-time value: ** (In the long run, I might able to consult teams and customers to test these devices or services. I’m sure these skills are transferable to other approaches of testing.)
Steal-ability: * (Having rather limited technical skills currently, I don’t see too many opportunities to adapt and build upon this subject.)
Challenge-ability: - (The topic is new to me thus I don’t see much challenge-ability in this topic. I believe however that topic is interesting enough to overcome that.)

Maik Nogelsen – Testing VR; The Trinity Of Testing

Maik sounds like an esteemed figure in software testing. I expect a lot from his talk and chatting with him. His work in German testing community sounds awesome. Anyhow, his topic on the VR sounded quite interesting. I read an article about Fallout 4 the difficulties of testing the game. I became interested in the possibilities and difficulties of VR testing but haven’t had a chance to hear more about it. I think this is a great opportunity to learn more about it.
Short time value: *** (I may not be able to implement the techniques or the methods to my daily work, but I am keen on learning about it.)
Long-time value: * (Like I said before, I might not be able to implement this topic to my daily work, so it might not generate that much value in the long run.)
Steal-ability: * (While I might not be able to “make it my own” I’ll learn how things are done in the real world.)
Challenge-ability: - (The topic is new to me thus I don’t see much challenge-ability in this topic. I believe however that topic is interesting enough to overcome that.)

Sunder Shyam - AI Techniques To Improve Software Testing

The topic sounds quite ambitious and quite hard to grasp. I’m not fully sure if the talk is about solving the oracle problem or introducing a new idea called TDP (never heard before). They don’t seem to be the same thing. I might be wrong, but the description sounds a bit unclear. I’ll assume the topic is about solving the oracle problem with AI testing AI.
Short time value: ** (Solving the oracle problem is applicable to various other areas other than AI. Testing in general benefits from knowing more about the oracles. This could be immediately transferred to my current work.)
Long-time value: * (This helps me understand the AI testing (and AI doing the testing) and the problems that AI can solve in development.)
Steal-ability: * (The vagueness of the description makes it hard to determine the aspects I could further advance. Test automation applications might be the most direct useful things for me.)
Challenge-ability: * (I believe the challenging will be easy when moving from AI world to human intelligence world and applying the skills to oracles in human testing.)

Milan Gabor - Security Testing For n00b Testers?

I have been keeping security testing at arm’s length due to it being highly technical craft. Lately, I’ve come to realize that my job as a coach is somewhat like those doing security assessments and analysis. Where I show the problems in testing practices and skills, sec-testing shows problems in programming practices and skills (perhaps in platforms, tools, etc.). I have always had some curiosity, but the first step is a hard one to take. I hope this talk kickstarts my thirst for sec-testing.
Short time value: *** (I’m a n00b! The first steps are very valuable to me getting a grasp of what security testing is and can be.)
Long-time value: ** (On a long run I can be more certain when talking to my coaching clients about the importance of security testing.)
Steal-ability: * (In this case “making it my own” isn’t about stealing this but making it a push to the right direction.)
Challenge-ability: - (With quite a narrow knowledge on the subject but great enthusiasm, I see myself being happy to become a non-n00b.)

Jörgen Damberg - The Luxurious Development Future – With The Obstacles In The Rear View Mirror

My work is situated in a highly agile world with loads of CD/CI-pipelines and test automation, I’m intrigued by hearing more about AI and CD working together. Knowing the obstacle and how to move past them helps me coach teams in a way that immediately brings value to their daily work.
Short time value: ** (This subject and the skills are quite transferable to my work immediately.)
Long-time value: ** (On a long run I can coach teams to enhance their CD/CI pipelines to make their life easier.)
Steal-ability: - (Building my own version of this talk is quite farfetched.)
Challenge-ability: * (While I know a fair bit about CD/CI and the problems we have, challenging Jörgen and helping solve the actual problems.)

There you go!

Well, that’s my view on a few of the talks and keynotes at Q4Q conference. I’m not saying I attend all these talks, but I feel they might be good candidates for my itinerary. I encourage all of you to comment on what are your views about these talks and other talks as well. If I happened to comment a talk you’re presenting, please give me comment where might I be mistaken. It would be lovely to hear from all of you!

Pekka “Testing pastor” Marjamäki