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

No comments: