Agile Testing Days 2012 – My Thoughts

Way back in my first post about Agile Testing Days 2012, I tried to explain my thoughts and journey leading me to attending this conference. I didn’t really know what, if anything, I would get out of this, but felt that I should at least try it once!

Was it worth it? You bet your shiny rainbow coloured unicorns it was! To be immersed in so much enthusiasm for testing of all flavours became infectious. All too often you do your daily job, in the same office, with the same people and you get into your little safety bubble of comfort and over time your passion and unbridled energy for testing becomes eroded as you do one more cycle of regression testing for the next release. Leaving that bubble and jumping into the Agile Testing Days conference both feet first re-ignited my tester flame and turned it up to 11!

Okay, that might be a bit OTT but you get the drift!

people-talking_1As a guy with a life-long stammer, I’ve always found walking up to people and just talking to them really hard and uncomfortable, so imagine being faced with a hotel full of people doing just that. Nevertheless I figured that to get the most out of this experience I needed to man-up and talk, and to be honest it was the best thing I could have done. The conversations that were had over lunch, in between sessions, in the evening were often more thought provoking than the presentations. They certainly led to several acquaintances that I hope to maintain and foster to further my level of testing knowledge.

So what did I learn during the 4 days?

Test Specific Stuff

  • It’s not all about test automation. I guess I already knew this but it’s easy to get sucked into the void of fixing/maintaining test automation without looking at the bigger picture. We have been very guilty of this on my team and this is something we want to change. Yes, automated tests are important when striving towards frequent releases, but they do not typically find new bugs. They will help to protect against regressions, but there is no substitute for exploratory testing.
  • In a similar vein, Sigge’s session on Developer Exploratory Testing has finally encouraged me to go ahead and try it in my team. I prefer to call it ‘Team Exploratory Testing’ but already the rest of the team are up for it so my next task is to plan a TET session.
  • Anyone can test. It’s a bold statement, but true. So testing and developing are skills, not necessarily roles. You may have team members who specialise in testing, or specialise in software development but it’s very important that the team takes responsibility for all aspects of the software development/testing. (see a past blog post around this area http://www.simple-talk.com/blogs/2012/11/09/its-only-test-code/)
  •  ‘Agile’ is a culture, not a methodology. To be truly ‘Agile’ is to be agile in nature, respond to change, make change and continuous improvement, don’t stick to a particular methodology (ie Scrum) if it’s not really working for you, question how you work and evolve. Think about what you are trying to achieve, and work out what you need to change to get there.

Community Stuff
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  • Twitter adds a whole new dimension to attending a conference. The back-room chatter, getting the heads-up on cool stuff and just sharing your thoughts has never been easier. My conference experience was certainly enriched by tweeting! I had only signed up to Twitter a few weeks before leaving for Germany and boy was that a good idea!
  • It’s more about the conversations than the talks. Something I’ve said a few times is that I got so much more out of the conference by making the effort to have conversations with people as well as attending the presentations. If you don’t do this, you are really missing out!
  • Coming into the conference I wasn’t sure what I could offer the community as I was certain that everyone would know far more than me. But it became clear that some of the testing processes, particularly around automation, that we do at work is pretty leading edge stuff. This has inspired me to start writing these blog posts, of which there will be some more coming soon sharing some of the cool stuff we do!
  • The more you put in, the more you get out. This really summarises most of the above I suppose, but it’s absolutely true. If I had not have put myself out to get up at silly-o-clock in the morning to get to the Lean Coffee’s then I wouldn’t have had the interesting conversations with Lisa, Dani, Sigge, Pete, Stephan, Matt etc!


And Finally…

So that’s it, the end of my blogging about Agile Testing Days 2012 and look out for some posts about specific testing stuff!

See you at Agile Testing Days 2013! 🙂

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