Tag Archives: conference

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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London Tester Gathering Workshops 2014

The London Tester Gathering Workshops are back this year, Oct 16th-17th in London. Last year was great (see my blog post with more details).

This year I’ll be running a workshop on mobile testing. More details to come, but Super Early Bird tickets are already available for a bargainous £95 instead of the usual £395 so well worth getting some early.

Other speakers include John Stevenson, Richard Bradshaw, Nigel Stock, Rob Fahey and Peter Houghton.

More details from  Skillsmatter: https://skillsmatter.com/conferences/1912-london-tester-gathering-workshops-2014

London Tester Gathering Workshops 2013

I had the pleasure of attending the London Tester Gathering Workshops last week, organised by Tony Bruce and the team at Skillsmatter. It was a good couple of days, and a good break from the presentation led conferences that I have mostly attended in the past.

As an offshoot from the London Tester Gatherings, the purpose of the workshops were to enable testers to get more hands-on and practice in a group setting, with support from some great testers and presenters. For me it was a good opportunity to get back to being a bit more hands-on, and to improve my knowledge of security testing in particular.

If you were wondering what the venue or some of the attendees looked like :) then take a look at Tony’s blog. He took the pictures, I spent the time learning and talking testing.

Day 1

There were a couple of workshops that really looked interesting. Black Ops Testing, run by Tony, James Lyndsay, Steve Green and Alan Richardson, and Security Testing for Mobile Apps, run by Bill Matthews.

Black Ops Testing focused on scouting, intrusion and extraction. Or, as the intro said – if you don’t like military metaphors: Thinking, Exploration, Diagnosis. It focused around exploratory techniques and a whole lot more. Using a variety of techniques on a test server, meant that we were able to quickly put into practice what we were learning. Sadly I have lost the mindmap I wrote so you’ll have have to take my word for it, and wait for the blog post from Dan Ashby.

The Black Ops Testing workshop continued on in the afternoon but sadly clashed with Bill Matthew’s Security Testing for Mobile Applications workshop. Given my focus on mobile testing, both professionally and otherwise, then this one couldn’t be missed. Bill focused the session around the Mobisec VM  and gave us all a large number of hints and tips on security testing for mobile applications.

I drew a mindmap: Security Testing for Android Apps

We focused on testing for Android applications, learning basic tools and techniques alongside some application security concepts. It was very useful to be able to setup the Mobisec VM in particular, and then use that to test an application with known vulnerabilities  Security Compass Exploit me –  they have a set of labs you can follow as well on their site. Using a VM meant we got all the tools we needed in one package, and Bill was on hand to explain, answer questions and make sure we were heading in the right direction. It was a good session with lots to takeaway and practice.

If you have an interest in mobile security then I would definitely recommend that you take a look at the Mobisec VM, and then head over to the Security Compass site. They also have an iPhone version, together with labs you can go through to help learn the main concepts.

The day concluded with the London Tester Gathering, which is always a good opportunity to meet old friends and new one’s over a beer or two.

Day 2

Day 2 was all about security testing again. Firstly Bug Hunting for Fun and Profit with Martin Hall, then The Evil Testers Guide to Http Proxies with Alan Richardson.

Bug Hunting for Fun and Profit was all about the tools and techniques that would enable testers to find security exploits in popular websites and applications, in order to make some money from bug bounty programs. Martin clearly knew his stuff – he gave us a lot of examples, a whole bunch of tools, and a lot of supporting information on which sites run bounty programs, the best way to approach them, and how to make some spare cash.

I mindmapped my ideas from the workshop, although, like Bill Matthew’s workshop the day before, this was just the start of things. There’s a lot of practice to do, both using the tools and the techniques before going onto any live sites. Fortunately there are a number of sites that one can practice on, and Martin gave us some great tools to use.

Bug hunting for fun and profit - Martin Hall

The afternoon was spent with Alan Richardson, talking about The Evil Testers Guide to Http Proxies. Having spent both Bill and Martin’s sessions using proxies then it was great to have Alan give his ideas and helpful advice. The session was organised around testing the Gruyere web application, a vulnerable app designed for practicing web security testing. Alan gave us a lot of documentation and support, far more than I can go through in one blog post.

The Evil Testers Guide to HTTP Proxies and Developer Tools

Wrap Up

The London Tester Gathering workshops were a great couple of days. I learnt a lot, and I now have a lot of great opportunities to learn and practice. The presenters were all very knowledgeable, and were happy to share that knowledge and a lot of useful tools, slides and experience. I met a lot of good testers who were keen to learn and improve their skills. It was great to meet some old friends, but equally it was good to see so many testers in the workshops that I haven’t met before. Sometimes the testing community can seem a little cliquey and this workshop certainly was not.

Thanks to Tony and all the other organisers and presenters. If you didn’t go to the workshop this year then make sure you check it out next year. It’s well worth it.

Further Notes From A Testers Hierarchy of Needs – pt1

I’ve written about Maslow and links between humanistic psychology and software testing a couple of times before. I presented ‘A Testers Hierarchy of Needs’ at TestBash 2.0. This post gives a bit more information and material to support the slides which you can find on this page.

The idea is that the headings match the slides, in order to make things easy to follow. It’s split into two posts – the first talks about humanistic psychology and Maslow. The second will focus on how we can adapt this to software testing.

Abraham Maslow, Humanistic Psychology and Testing

Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who died in 1970. He was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms”.

The needs of humans, in their most basic form

Humanistic Psychology focuses on the needs of human’s in their most basic forms. It focuses on the positive qualities in people in a positive way and is based upon observations of humans’ innate curiosity – innate curiosity, something useful for testing I’d argue. Consider the classic “Testing is questioning a product in order to evaluate it” for example.

Maslow studied what he called exemplary people such as Albert Einstein,  rather than mentally ill or neurotic people. He also  studied the healthiest 1% of the college student population.

Humanistic theories of 
self-actualization

Humanistic psychology is a perspective which rose to prominence in the mid-20th century in response to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. Maslow once commented: “It is as if Freud supplied us the sick half of psychology and we must now fill it out with the healthy half”. Humanistic psychologists believe that every person has a strong desire to realize his or her potential, to reach a level of “self-actualization”

It holds that people are inherently good.

Qualities of 
self-actualizing people

Maslow studied what he called self-actualised people. He realized that all the individuals he studied had similar personality traits. All were “reality centered,” able to differentiate what was fraudulent from what was genuine. We do that as testers. They were also “problem centered,” meaning that those treated life’s difficulties as problems that demanded solutions. We do that as testers. These individuals also were comfortable being alone and had healthy personal relationships. Are we like that as testers? :)

Self-actualizing people tend to focus on problems outside themselves; have a clear sense of what is true and what is false; and are spontaneous and creative..

The Theory of Needs

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The theory of human needs can be expressed or ordered in a pre-potent hierarchy—a pressing need would need to be mostly satisfied before someone would give their attention to the next highest need. Maslow described human needs as being relatively fluid—with many needs being present in a person simultaneously.

1) At the bottom of the hierarchy are the “Basic needs or Physiological needs” of a human being: food, water, sleep and sex.

2) The next level is “Safety Needs: Security, Order, and Stability.” These two steps are important to the physical survival of the person.

3) The third level of need is “Love and Belonging,” which are psychological needs.

4) The fourth level is achieved when individuals feel comfortable with what they have accomplished. This is the “Esteem” level, the need to be competent and recognized, such as through status and level of success.

5) At the top of the pyramid, “Need for Self-actualization,” occurs when individuals reach a state of harmony and understanding because they are engaged in achieving their full potential.

Once a person has reached the self-actualization state they focus on themselves and try to build their own image. They may look at this in terms of feelings such as self-confidence or by accomplishing a set goal.

Usually people in developed countries focus on the third and fourth level of needs while those in less developed worlds focus on the first and second.

Meta-motivation

Maslow used the term metamotivation to describe self actualized people who are driven by innate forces beyond their basic needs, so that they may explore and reach their full human potential. To become better people. Or better Testers.

But how does this fit in with Software Testing? We’ll find out more in part 2.

Presenting at TestBash – A Testers Hierarchy of Needs

TestBash

I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to speak at TestBash 2.0 recently. TestBash is one of the best software testing conferences, and this year it has a great line-up of speakers: James Bach, Seth Eliot, Matt Archer, Amy Phillips, me, Lisa Crispin, Huib Schoots, Bill Matthews and Tony Bruce.

Dan Ashby has written a great blog post about the presentations themselves, and I’ll leave it to Dan to explain what everything was about. I’ll do that for two reasons, one because he does a great job of explaining it, and two, because, as a presenter, I wasn’t always watching what was going on :)

My Presentation

I presented A Testers Hierarchy of Needs, which took ideas from Humanistic Psychology and the work of Abraham Maslow, and applied these to software testing, and the software testers. It stemmed from a blog post that I wrote last year, which seemed to be well received, and attracted a fair few comments.

I’ve published the slides on this site so do take a look  - A Testers Hierarchy of Needs.

I’m also writing a further post, which will go into a bit more detail about my presentation, and the links between humanistic psychology, Maslow, and software testing so do look out for that.

Less Than Three Weeks Until TestBash 2.0

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TestBash 2.0 is less than 3 weeks away. I’ll be speaking on “A Testers Hierarchy of Needs”.

What motivates you to work and improve as a tester? Why do the testers in your team work well together? Or why don’t they? Have you ever wondered what motivates professional testers?

Maslow’s Theory of Needs seeks to describe the psychology of humans by way of a hierarchical model. From physiological needs up to self-actualization, it helps explain what motivates us and how we express that motivation. A Testers Hierarchy of Needs does the same for software testers.

If you manage testers and have a keen interest in ensuring that your team are motivated and work well together, or if you are a tester wondering what is needed to make your team great, then come along and discover more. I will present a framework which helps explain tester psychology, how internal and external factors can affect their motivations, and steps that can be taken to better motivate yourself and your team.

It would be great to see you there.