Category Archives: Experiences

Conferences, conferences, conferences

At the start of this year I made a conscious decision to try and speak at more conferences. I think it’s important that those of us who feel happy standing up in front of crowds of people and talking about testing do so; it helps spread ideas and keeps things fresh. I also find it’s a great way of meeting new people, exchanging new ideas, and doing so while keeping the costs down :)

So, I’ve been making a real effort with my abstracts and submissions this year (a topic of a future blog post). And I think I’ve also got a bit lucky as well, since I’m speaking a few conferences this year. It’s all really rather exciting. The full list is below:

I’m really looking forward to it all. Hope to see you at one or two. Now I’d best get off and write all those presentations :)

Live from Pipeline

I’m at the Pipeline continuous delivery conference today. I’ll try and mindmap as many sessions as possible and post updates here. Scroll down to see the earlier sessions.

It’s All About the People

Last up – Tomas Riha, talking about why its All About the People. A good presentation about moving to Continuous Delivery at VGT. My mind map is here.

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Big Ideas, Small Company, Moderate Heresy

Next up, Big Ideas, Small Company, Moderate Heresy from Alex Wilson and Benji Weber from Unruly. A very interesting presentation on their approach, particularly their synchronous processes. My mind map is here.

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Ship It!

Next up is Phil Wills from The Guardian, talking about “Ship It!”.

Here’s my mind map.

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The Rational for Continuous Delivery

First up, The Rational for Continuous Delivery from Dave Farley.

Here is my mind map.

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Live from Testbash

I’m here at the awesome TestBash conference today. I’ll be posting updates here, hopefully some mindmaps too.

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First up – Scott Barber. An excellent presentation about Managing Application Performance. My mind map is here.

Next up, Contextual Decision Making, from Mark Tomlinson. Great presentation with added spinning cats. Mindmap is here.

Jez Nicholson gave us some good tips on how to win developer friends and influence people.

Joep Schuurkes explained to us how to help a new tester to get a running start.

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Context driven testing in an agile context from Huib Schoots. Some great stuff.

Bill Matthews kicked off the afternoon talking about Getting Out of the Testing Game.

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Stephen Blower taught us how to inspire testers and what inspires him.

Iain McCowatt presented a great talk on changing our automation models.

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Chris George gave us a great story from RedGate on how they improved a legacy automation suite.

And finally Keith Klain gave a great talk on how to talk to a CIO about testing.

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And then 99 second talks, and that’s it. What a great day!

Testing Android At Facebook

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I spent a very useful and interesting day at SIGIST on Tuesday, presenting a talk on mobile testing, and listening to a number of talks from other speakers.

Simon Stewart’s presentation on how they test they Facebook Android application was very interesting. There is no Android team at Facebook, with all feature development taking place in the same team, irrespective of the platform. This helps ensure that the offerings are consistent across platforms.

They make a lot of use of test automation, (something that Facebook are famous for), and this applies to Android as much as other platforms, in particular a focus on unit testing and functional test automation using Selendroid.

Facebook have two main guiding principles for their test automation:

  1. Signal > Coverage – ensure that the results of running tests are acted upon, and failing tests are fixed or removed.
  2. Speed > Coverage – ensuring nothing takes more than 10 minutes to rub, and running tests in parallel.

Facebook also use a lot of dog-fooding and make use of Google’s Alpha and Beta test programs to ensure a wide coverage of devices and test scenarios, in particular to fill gaps between their primarily automated test strategy.

I drew a mind-map of the talk which explains everything in more detail. Click on the image to get the full size version.

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Testing In the Pub Podcasts Are Here

Myself and Dan Ashby (@danashby04) have started a software testing podcast. It’s called Testing In the Pub, primarily because we spend time in the pub talking about testing, and we thought that others in the software testing community may be interested in hearing what we talk about.

We published the first episode yesterday, called “Reviewing the Conferences 2013″, which is about the conferences that we attended in 2013, and the main learnings we took from them.

Testing in the Pub has it’s own website, and, (Apple approval permitting), will be in iTunes very soon.

It’s be great if you had a listen and gave us some feedback. This is the first time we’ve done something like this, and so all feedback will help us make it better.

If you want to appear as a guest on one of the shows then let us know as well. We’d really like to make the podcasts as varied as possible so the more the merrier :)

Automated Functional Testing – A Test Activity?

If you are a functional test automation expert then times are good. There’s big bucks to be made in the contracting game, companies are desperate for candidates to ‘automate everything’ and to get to this oddly perceived test automation nirvana that those who are either mis-informed or have hidden agenda’s seem to feel fit to promote.

This has made me think. Primarily about how we have got to this state? Is it because, as the testing community, we have wanted to own test automation? Is it because those outside of the test community see test automation as less important than the production code that it tests? Is it that we just built up an expertise and then protected it just for the money?

Some might say that what has actually happened is that we now have a situation where second rate developers now have a great way to stay in the development game. There is a danger, in the apparent supply-side crisis that we find the industry in, that companies merely employ anyone who says they know something about test automation, without doing the same due diligence that one would do for a development position. This would be a mistake.

In my mind there is a solution to all these problems, and that solution comes from treating test automation just like production code. And that means primarily using developers to write it. Sure, you may choose to have testers involved as well, where they have the skills and expertise, but let’s not try and force skills on people who don’t want them, and let’s not accept second rate people just because they can ‘do some test automation’. One advantage to using developers is that test automation becomes a team thing, and you are less likely to spend time playing catch-up when development slips. One downside; it’s going to look like the team has slowed down. Believe me, it hasn’t. It’s just got more effective, and is playing to the right skill-sets.

Don’t believe me? :) Here’s a couple more examples from Rob Lambert and Amy Phillips which show where continuous or more frequent delivery has been successfully rolled out at New Voice Media and Songkick. The common thread – in both cases the test automation is a development activity.