Experiences of the Agile Testing and BDD Exchange

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The Agile Testing and BDD Exchange took place last week. It was the first time that I had attended the event, and I was looking forward to attending something that was not purely testing focused. I think that we in the testing world do need to branch out a bit more and attend events that are not merely about testing, (blog posts on that coming later), and this was one of my first.

Although billed as a testing event, it was primarily BDD focused, with sessions focused around requirement analysis and definition, stakeholder engagement and business collaboration. And testing.

As is usual with Skillsmatter events, all the talks were recorded and podcasts are available. I took mindmaps as each session progressed, where it was possible to do so. You can find them all linked below.

Two things struck me at the event. One was that it the audience was primarily Business Analysis and BDD focused. This wasn’t a bad thing and meant that it was possible to strike up some conversations around how testing could get closer to the business, and how the information that testers can provide can be of real value to the whole team. However, despite everything that we as testers say and the education that we do, there are still significant numbers of people in the software development world who do not understand that testing should be more than just pushing buttons and checking. Too many attendees were using the term QA, and too many were questioning the value of testing, which surprised me at a conference about Testing and BDD. This shows we have a lot more work to do in order to educate and share what testing really is, and Tony Bruce did an excellent job in this respect with his talk ‘What Do Testers Do?”. Unfortunately I don’t think everyone was listening.

The second thing that struck me was that having group Skype Q&A sessions as part of a conference can actually work. The session ‘BDD and the Business Analysts’ was conducted with 5 experts in Business Analysis who were all sitting in various parts of the US, with the facilitation and questions coming from the conference in the UK. I was dubious that it would work but it worked very well. It felt inclusive and I’d certainly like to explore doing something similar at testing events and meet-up groups.

Overall, the Agile Testing and BDD Exchange was worth attending. It was good to meet those who one does not normally meet at more traditionally ‘testing’ events, and share cross team experiences, rather than just talk testing. I’d go again.

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