A career goal has been achieved this week… a track session at a software testing conference.

I presented on my mnemonic for usability testing; CAN I USE THIS? From all accounts it went went. I’m awaiting some feedback from a special member of the audience who was seated in the back row, Mr Michael Bolton. It was great to finally meet Michael and I hope our paths cross again soon.

Some Tweets during my session…

  1. Peter Pender ‏@PeterPender  Apr 9

Usability session with @MartialTester was amazing. Many cool ideas and lots to think about. #starcanada


  1. Peter Pender ‏@PeterPender  Apr 9

@MartialTester says “Usability is important!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


  1. Pradeepa N ‏@NPradeepa  Apr 9

Hallway testing- pull some one from the hallway and ask them to test with fresh set of eyes! @MartialTester #starcanada


  1. Pradeepa N ‏@NPradeepa  Apr 9

Emotions leading up to the usability testing for users are equally important vs. emotions when actually testing @MartialTester #starcanada


  1. Peter Varhol ‏@pvarhol  Apr 9

Usability is subjective; usability testing not so much @martialtester #starcanada


  1. Pradeepa N ‏@NPradeepa  Apr 9

Usability is subjective, Usability testing not so much! @MartialTester #starcanada – How True!


  1. Peter Varhol ‏@pvarhol  Apr 9

CAN I USE THIS? A mnemonic for usability testing @martialtester #starcanada


  1. Pradeepa N ‏@NPradeepa  Apr 9

@MartialTester is talking about usability debt! Interesting #starcanada


  1. Peter Varhol ‏@pvarhol  Apr 9

In addition to technical debt, there is usability debt @martialtester #starcanada


  1. Peter Varhol ‏@pvarhol  Apr 9

Usability is the dance between human and machine @martialtester #starcanada


It was an awesome experience.

I’d like to call out specifically a couple of testers that made the conference for me… Paul Holland and Nancy Kelln. Both amazing people, and amazingly thoughtful testers. It was very refreshing hearing Paul talking about software testing metrics and reaffirming some of the arguments against them. Unfortunately Nancy was speaking at the same time I was (the dreaded after lunch slot) so I missed her’s… I did hear wonderful things about it though.

Thank you to both of you for hanging with me and sharing experiences… and taking me to my first MLB game… Go the Blue Jays! There were 2 home runs, “a bunch of other rare shit” that happened (sorry, I forgot what it was all called about 5 minutes after Paul told me), a ‘hot dog incident’, and a ‘beer can incident’. It was the best night I had while I was in Toronto. I’d only ever watched MLB on TV (obviously) and if I’m honest… found it a little boring. Being at the game was amazing! If I lived here, I have a feeling I would be hooked.

Oh, and one other person… Scott Barber. I love that dude! So much energy… and another wonderful look at metrics in his track session. I wish him all the very best with his latest challenge!

There was one bad side (actually a couple). I only adjusted to the time zone the day I had to leave (damn you!), and my two beautiful girls weren’t with me. This hit the hardest while visiting Niagara Falls. I’m not a good lone tourist. My wife (and more recently my daughter) has always been there with me. But, on the bright side… I have some great information now that I can use to plan our trip to North America!

Thank you for the opportunity TechWell, and THANK YOU to my awesome CEO from Innodev!

WTANZ 18 – Why…

…did it take me so lone to get involved in one of these?

WTANZ 18 took place on Saturday and it was only by chance that I got involved. I had just sat down to check emails and PING… a little reminder from WTANZ that they were starting in 15 minutes. My daughter had just sat down to watch a movie and my wife was reading a book, so… why not?

Burrowing into Bugs was the title of the session and it was great! I won’t go into any great detail as the transcript is available via the first link above. I will say that while the initial bug hunt was fun, the most value, for me, came from the discussion after it. It was great to take a closer look at a couple of bugs and discuss how these rated. Obviously there were more questions than answers… which was terrific. This meant that many participants were searching for context rather than making really bold assumptions.

It was important for me to recognise that it all came back to business value. I.e. What we would do in these situations (if real life testing scenarios) would be driven by what value it had for the business. Would we spend time investigating certain bugs? Well, that would depend…

Another noteworthy take away for me was realising that I had been missing out! There have been quite a few WTANZ sessions of late, and this was the first I had attended. Shame on me, and lesson learned!

I hope I’m free for the next one, and I hope others are too!

Thanks to Dean Mackenzie and Ale Moreira for bringing these bad boys back to life.  ;)