Well – My first official self funded testing event… Kiwi Workshop on Software Testing 2!
Hang on, why does an Aussie head to a Kiwi Workshop on Software Testing? I really hope you didn’t actually ask that… coz I’d have to slap ya! ;0) The great thing about this testing community; all are welcome (at least to begin with – haha). I was the ‘token’ Aussie as my counterpart unfortunately couldn’t make it at the last minute.
There are some great guys pulling this all together… you can check them out here. It all started 12 months ago via KWST1, and has continues to grow in strength with KWST3 already in planning! The challenge for the coordinators; make them every 6 months, not 12.
The format is based on LAWST. Have a read of that to get an understanding if you’re not already familiar.
The topic this time round was Ethics in Software Testing; a VERY challenging one that is driven by very personal beliefs and moral fibre. There was a very diverse group of attendees… James Bach (Content Owner), Brian Osman (Facilitator), Richard Robinson (Facilitator), Aaron Hodder, Andrew Black, Andrew Robins, Chris Stapleton, Donna Chin, Farid Vaswani, Geoff Horne, Jeff Bedwell, John Lockhart, Katrina Edgar, Katrina McNicholl, Liz Kitching, Mike Talks, Mike Ward, Oliver Erlewein, Sheryl Toenders, and Sophia Hobman.
Many of these attendees were first timers dealing with the Peer CONFERence format (myself included). Having read about LAWST and KWST1 I had as much of an understanding as a first timer could. I’m not sure that all of the first timers had that same level of understanding. There were some that were surprised at the approach, but handled it reasonably well. For those that don’t know, they can be quite daunting. Getting up in front of people and providing a topical experience report is scary enough, let alone the ‘open season’ that follows. Questions are asked, advice is given, and critique is given (whether you like it or not). Depending on the flow of the discussion things can get somewhat ‘heated’. I presonally think this is a good thing… I believe that people learn a lot from these situations. A certain ‘truth’ bubbles to the surface.
Please don’t take this the wrong way though. The aim is not to tear people apart, the aim is to learn. How can you ever get better at something without questions? I don’t think you can. Even if you’re practicing something by yourself you’re constantly asking questions of your own ability.
As I mentioned, the topic of Ethics in Software Testing was a difficult one, especially for us first timers who also had to come to terms with the format aswell. Many people mentioned that it was great to see and hear that they weren’t the only ones dealing with ethical dilemmas in their workplaces. I think I can safely say that we all shared many of the dilemmas, or at least have done in the past. The experiences ranged from being asked to do something you didn’t feel was right (go on, just sign off…), to cultural ethics and how they play a part in our common off-shoring world. I personally learned a lot from these experience reports. I’ve come back armed with various ways to handle various situations, all of which I believe will be helpful during my career.
Also, I had some great conversations with peers over drinks and dinner.
On the first evening I got to know Andrew Robins better. Andrew is a context-driven tester from a mission critical environment who has worked extremely heard over the past ten years building his credibility which allows him to forge ahead in the context-driven world! I love the way he relates his many years of Aikido training to his outlook on life and testing. This is a passion of mine, and also relates very closely to my book project. I plan on speaking with Andrew a lot more, so thank you to KWST2 for bringing us together. This was followed by more great conversation with John and Geoff, along with a lovely piece of steak and a pale ale brewed in NZ!
On the second evening I had an ‘educational experience’ over dinner with James, Oliver and Geoff. During day one the issue of counting test cases came up. This ended up being one of those ‘heated’ discussions I referred to above. There was no real resolution found prior to heading to a break and during the break the discussion continued. It was decided that over dinner on the second evening it would be discussed again. It was great to listen to James, Oliver, and Geoff talk about the subject and I learned a lot from it. I added my 2 cents here and there, but being the introvert that I am, I listened and reflected mainly.
So now I plan on organising a AWST (Adelaide Workshop on Software Testing), unless of course that acronym is taken. I’ll be inviting my Kiwi brothers and sisters in true ANZAC spirit.
If you ever have an opportunity to attend a Peer CONFERence, I urge you to go. Last but not least a very special thank you to my bro, Brian. A personal invite that I am very grateful for… we need to get together at some stage and have a chat about tisting versus chicking. ;0)
E haere rā, Kia waimarie.