Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yesterday, I met some of my heroes

On November 12th 2008 I attended the EuroStar 2008 conference.

Of course I went to visit some presentations, gain some information by those stands. Also important was to see other or former colleagues.

As some or perhaps most know the Netherlands is a small country. When it is rainy, which is currently in this time of year, traffic jams are things you can count on. I did the same. Only I should have counted further then just an half an hour.

I calculated 1/2 hour additional time through traffic jams, 5 minutes registration, 15 minutes for a coffee break including showing my face to the stand of my employer Squerist and then straight ahead to the first keynote.

Only I needed all this calculated time to arrive at the location. And on the quest for some coffee I came in the room where the keynote was already started.

The keynote given by Randall Rice went about Trends That May Shape Software Testing which gave me some ideas to think about how the future can be related to SOA, Energy etc.

Almost at the end (I skipped the outsourcing part) my need for coffee beat the interest for outsourcing. Only the coffee bar was closed so I had to get some from the restaurant. (I expected that coffee is for free the whole day, what was I wrong)

Drinking my coffee within 3 minutes I walked to the Stand of Squerist. On the way to it I saw one familiar face. Egbert Bouman, author of a book related to software testing: SmarTest. I this book because it presents another approach on software testing were Business is taken a central place and compares their approach with TMap, ISTQB, TestFrame and TestGoal by not telling they are right or wrong. He explains how they do it. He was the first hero I met that day. Why is he one of my heroes: He has something to say and is willing to share it with others, listening to you and also keep recognizing you after you have talked to him.

Arriving atthe stand I saw there some of my colleagues, when they read this, they will also know that I collected them as my personal heroes as they are giving me the chance to become what I like to be :) (I'm thinking this is getting a bit slobbery) So I ran to the presentation about model based testing presented by Elise Greveraars: Tester Needed? No Thanks, We Use MBT!

It was quite a good presentation, only I have some doubts/questions now on Model Based Testing. Why do we need another new role for a tester? Why is Model Based Testing an answer if we can't use models which are there to create code from because if they containing errors we are creating those errors also in our test cases? Why do we always need tools? Why not start thinking first and keep it simple so every one can understand it.

After this presentation there was a short break. I went again to the dungeons of the building. Yes, literally to the dungeons as there was the exhibitor section. And there can be fun in the dungeons, as there were some former colleagues I worked with and some more new people to talk to. Even a long lost former colleague who went to Finland to find his luck. (Rolf, it was good to see you again!)

I had to hurry to be on time for a workshop given by Michael Bolton: Heuristics: Solving Problems Rapidly
He is good!!!! As he writes on his blog about the "Heuristics Art Show, EuroSTAR 2008" It was a show. And I'm glad I didn't miss that show. Michael has the gift to make the crowd feel happy by given examples and by his enthusiasm. He has to gift to exploit the happy feeling to interaction and understanding. At least he provided me with some guiding directions to think, read, and discuss more about heuristics. Michael: thank you for this show. At that point you already were ahead for becoming one of my heroes.

I intended to have a meeting during lunch with him. Somehow I wasn't the only one in the building. So I didn't skip lunch and eat my sandwich alone :)
During lunch I spoke shortly with him only he wanted to attend another presentation with the promise we would meet eachother lateron. I forgot that I planned to go to the presentation from Graham Freeburn: Make Your Testing Smarter - Know Your Context! And also forgot to go.

So I spend my time to meet other people and also a person I met also earlier this year, Derk-Jan De Grood. He is author of a book called TestGoal. This is another great book which is also available in English. It is not offering a new method or technique, it provides guidelines how testers can give contribution to their job and a framework to structure it. (I couldn’t resist to looking at the demo and will mail you about my findings)

After a while he came down the stairs, entering the dungeon together with Graham Freeburn and another person I forgot about his name. Michael and also Graham took the time to explain the meaning of certification. Why testing the tester is more useful. How to ask correct questions. Giving us a context to think in.
Graham, thanks for that hour. (or was it more). To you, Mr. Michael Bolton, thanks for taking the time to gently push me in a direction to think more and further about software testing and their context. I recommend also others to monitor his blog

Almost at the end of the day, no time to get home as there certainly would be traffic jams all over the country, I attended the book presentation from related to Agile testing by Anko Tijman and Eric Jimmink: Test2.0. Besides the presentation there was also food. Plain good "Snert" with bread.

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