Karen N Johnson- Build Your Thinking Tools

Karen Nicole Johnson

How do we improve ourselves as software testers? What are the thinking skills we should develop? How do we refine these skills?

Observing is one of the essential skills for software testers. We need to detect changes and differences even when they are subtle. Visual imaging helps us to imagine software that doesn’t exist (yet), to plan testing. Abstracting helps us to see the outline of a product while not losing focus on small details. Managing distraction and focusing are also vital skills. Recognizing patterns enhances a tester’s ability to detect software defects. Mental modeling helps testers understand information and gives us a method for forming strategies and problem solving.

Let’s explore why this skill is helpful, how can we practically improve on this skill and how we explicitly apply this skill to our craft. Being able to draw an immediate correlation from theory to practical application is essential – without this connection we are not driven to pay focus our attention on improvement or change especially when we are perpetually busy with our “regular” work and lives. To focus on improving we must see the purpose in doing so.  Karen draws immediate connections from theory to practical application of each of these skills. She explores why these skills are necessary and how we can explicitly apply these skills to our craft.

Karen N. Johnson has worked as a software test consultant for many years. Her client engagements range from teaching to project work. Karen is frequent speaker at conferences. She is a contributing author to the book, Beautiful Testing by O’Reilly publishers. She has published numerous articles and blogs about her experiences with software testing. She is the co-founder of the WREST workshop, more information on WREST can be found at: http://www.wrestworkshop.com/Home.html  Find her on Twitter as @karennjohnson  (note the two n’s) and her website: http://www.karennicolejohnson.com.

Martin Hynie and Keith Klain- Part 1: Talking About Testing; Part 2: STOP TALKING ABOUT TESTING!!!

Martin Hynie & Keith Klain

Why is it so hard to talk about testing?
It feels like such a struggle every time we try to move the conversation beyond metrics, test coverage, tools and checklists… and yet management still does not get what we are doing and walks away shaking their head. The information created by skilled testing should be of immense value… how can it be so hard to describe our work? This can’t be that hard, can it? Surely it must be them… or… can it possibly be that we are the problem?
In this experiential workshop, Keith and Martin will guide us through an exploration of models, tools and methods for examining our relationships including:

  • Trading Zones and Interactional Expertise
  • The SCARF Model
  • Cynefin and Sense Making
  • Context Driven….as it relates to communication

We will look at how we communicate with leaders and decision makers outside the
world of testing. Using real world frustrations (that you bring to the workshop), we will
discover how the very skills that make you an excellent tester can be leveraged to
building linguistic bridges between groups who do not speak the same language.
The talent and value that you bring to your company should be something that you find
very easy to sell to anyone who is passionate about achieving the corporate goals. In
this workshop, we will discover how to change the conversation away from explaining
why testing matters and towards how we are part of building opportunity for success.

Martin Hynie: With over fifteen years of specialization in software testing and development, Martin Hynie’s attention has gradually focused on emphasizing value through communication, team development, organizational learning and the significant role that testers can play to help enable these. A self-confessed conference junkie, Martin travels the world incorporating ideas introduced by various sources of inspiration (including context  driven testing, the Satir Model, Pragmatic Marketing, trading zones, agile principles, and Christensen’s Job-To-Be-Done, progressive movement training) to help teams iteratively learn, to embrace failures as opportunities and to simply enjoy working together. Follow Martin on Twitter @vds4 or visit his blog http://developersbestfriend.com.

Keith Klain: Keith Klain is the Executive Director, Head of Software Quality Management for Tekmark Global Solutions, a full service telecoms and technology consultancy provider. For the last 20 years Keith has built software quality management and testing teams for global financial services and IT consulting firms in the US, UK, and Asia Pacifc. Keith designed the Software Testing Education Program with the Bronx based non-profit Per Scholas which has graduated 150+ students from diverse backgrounds into jobs in technology. He was the Executive Vice President of the Association for Software Testing and the recipient of the 2013 Software Test Professionals Luminary award. Twitter: @keithklain Blog:http://www.qualityremarks.com

Matt Heusser- Testing Influence: Getting Test to the strategy table


“Crank out the test results so we can put this thing in production, while making the job easier” is certainly one rallying cry for software testing, but you march to the tune of a different drummer. Your information can provide valuable insights into not only when to ship, but what to build, and when to build it.
Yet when it comes to the organizational planning table, testing is unlikely to have a seat. Even when we have a seat, we are often perceived as negative nay-sayers. (In some
organizations, there is no planning table. Just a series of closed door meetings that seem invisible to testing.)
We’ll start with an introduction to corporate strategy, but quickly move from lecture to
discussion. After corporate stratgy, we discuss how testing becomes central in modern
software delivery, and how to capitalize on that for competitive advantage. We’ll take a
look at what testing could be, including discussions of resilience and continuous deployment. After that we walk attendees through the tools to perform a gap
assessment, including an informal mini-assessment with attendees, in an environment
of safety. After that we break into small groups to discuss small, actionable experiments
to both increase the value of testing and to make that more visible.
When you think about it, testing is an incredible crucible of decision-making power. We
have infinite possibilities, and have to make decisions based on limited time, limited
information, and conditions of uncertainty and pressure. It’s fantastic – and should have
a wider reach, not less.

Attendees will leave with:
* An introduction to how testing fits into modern business stategy
* An overview of the concepts of lean startup
* Tools to assess the state of testing in their current environment
* An informal, reactive assessment of the situation
* A plan to move forward

As the Managing Director of Excelon Development, Matt Heusser, consults, trains, and does software delivery while helping others do it. Probably best known for his writing, Matt is the lead editor of “How to Reduce The Cost of Software Testing” (Taylor and Francis, 2011), editor for Stickyminds.com, and recipient of the 2015 Most Popular Online Contributor to Agile at the Agile Awards. A 2014 recipient of the Most Influential Agile Test Professional Person Award (MAITPP) in Potsdam, Germany, Matt also served as the lead organizer of the Software Testing World Cup. He is a former member of the board of directors of the Association for Software Testing and creator of Lean Software Testing family of methods.

Damian Synadinos- Commutication: Moving Ideas with Words

“By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life.” – Jean Baptiste Girard

Damian Synadinos

How are concepts conveyed? How are thoughts shared? One way is by using words. But, which words should you use? And how can you tell if your words effectively convey your thoughts? What causes miscommunication, what are its effects, and how can you avoid it? And what are the benefits and limitations of a shared language?

In this workshop, we will move from general to specific as we collaboratively attempt to understand and answer these questions. Starting with the definition of definition, we will investigate words and meaning, their properties, and their relationship. We will examine how miscommunication can occur, look at some potential consequences of it, and explore a few methods to minimize it. Finally, we will apply these ideas as we attempt to define some common testing terms and create a “common testing language”. In the end, attendees will gain new knowledge and tools to help them more effectively transfer ideas with words.

Workshop Takeaways:

•The meaning of words and meaning.
•Some causes and effects of miscommunication and strategies to avoid it.
•The difficulty of creating a shared language, even in a microcosm.
•Ways to better understand others, and be better understood.

Damian Synadinos started testing software—on purpose and for money—in 1993. Since then, he has helped build better software and build software better using various
methods and tools in numerous roles at many companies in diverse industries. During
the past ten years, Damian has focused primarily on teaching and leading testers and
improving processes. Currently, he is the enterprise quality lead of metrics and reporting at a large Midwestern bank, helping to answer questions and tell stories about quality with data. In addition to testing, Damian enjoys improv, golf, poker, gaming, acting, cartooning, and spending time with his family