Friday, June 24, 2011

Reflection of a day at DEWT

DEWT peer conference: A fact
On June 11th 2011 the first #DEWT peer conference was held. For passionate testers attended by passionate tester and challenged by the same testers. The intention of this day was to share information about topics we have chosen in a previous DEWT meeting with the understanding it interest us and might help us understanding better and become better testers.
Next to sharing information it was also an opportunity to practise some skills like presentation and teaching. Or what about sharing ideas to work on them.

The evening before
Actually, it started already the evening before. In an informal setting, more informal then on the 11th we sat down at the bar and immediately the spirit was already there. The spirit of supporting and challenging each other, tell about their experiences and how we might continue.

This was just at the beginning of the evening, there was much fun from sharing experience stories, judging the music, talking about artists and how lucky we are the have open minds able to learn what is testing all about.

The day it happened
At 9 o'clock sharp we started.....with waiting when the last persons would show up. And after 10 minutes the great happening was opened by Ruud Cox, appointed chairmen for the first part of the day. On a previous meeting of DEWT we decided to support this day with 2 chairmen (Also Jeanne Hofmans) to restrict our ideas and thoughts. Based on the same session we came up with the following program (except the lightning talks, those were defined during this day)

On todays program where the following topics:
§ Opening presentation on Artful Testing by Zeger van Hese
§ Transpection by Michael Bolton
§ Lightning talks by:
Jeroen Rosink: Testing Pyramid
Huib Schoots: The power of knowing nothing
Zeger van Hesse: Bader Meinhoff-phenomenon:
§ RST and SBTM in The Netherlands by Ray Oei
§ Credibility (the quality of being trusted and believed) introduction by Ruud Cox

Each performance had its own perspective and story, you had to be there if you had the chance.
I shall not recapitulate everything instead let me tell you some of the lessons I learned

Some Lessons Learned
When Zeger told about art and artist he made the relationship with testing. What I liked is that he sees testing as and art though we are not the artist. Testers can be seen more in the role of an art critic. And an art critic should know about all the variants of art.
Should he?
This triggered me thinking about the tester, should he also be aware about all the variants of testing? Perhaps at a certain moment. At least what he knows about testing must be told with confidence en compared to the truth.

I think if you keep shouting something is bad, that noise will no longer leave your room. If you tell the story and you are capable to make that story accepted then you gained reliability. This means you have to be able to explain in certain details what your test was all about....You have to be able to tell and explain the art of the software.

Another challenging topic was supported by Michael Bolton and was about transpection.

What I remember about the definition was Transpection: "An idea in head to explore which gives the person the opportunity to probe/play with the idea without influenced too much"

Valuable information about this topic can be found on:
Transpective Dialogs for Learning
by James Bach

Blog: Transpection and the Three Elements of Checking by Michel Bolton
Blog: Transpection and the Three Elements of Checking by Michael Bolton

He challenged us to use transpection to investigate the meaning of it. it made us think. Some investigated the internet to find more information, or examples. Together with Jean-Paul we did our own mind exploring to see how we would see the boundaries of transpection.

What I learned about transpection it is already done by persons like is a good way to gain information or guide persons to learn/gain insights. Not everything is a transpection, pub talk can be rather not. It has a beginning and an ending although you never know which direction it goes. Though it starts with a main subject.

I think transpections can change over the time. With this I mean:
- you are the person who held the transpection and challenge the other
- you are the person who is challenged
- During the initial transpection, in which you are challenging your idea, you leave space for the other for a moment of transpection. perhaps you get it back later on?

Some questions I still have:
What is the option to step out of a transpection?
How can you step out without minimizing the result for the other?( Rude behaviour might distract and loose focus on the results)
Can the main subject be changed? How is this done/monitored?
When do you have a transpection and when did you loose the transpection?

These are some questions I have to look further and learn about myself.

The Lightning talks
The first talk was provided by Huib Schoots. He explained the idea of the power of knowing nothing. I think he is onto something. Though I know a bit about this :-)
It reminded me about the concept by general Rumsfeld: about known-knowns onto the unknown-unkowns.
If there is some power behind the information we don't know I think it can be worth to investigate what we don't know and always be aware of it.

I was also chalenged to held a talk. This gave me the opportunity to challenge an idea. While expressing the concept I was triggered to continue thinking about it. What was my idea? The main concept is that testers start as junior and grow up as senior. Only there is not much space for seniors so if you want to survive, you ahve to be good at what you are. This reminded my about a story by Adam Coucher: The most important stakeholder are you!

Or what Cem Kaner ask us: do we want to be commodity (a banana)Exploratory Test Automation: Investment Modeling as an Example by Cem kaner or do we challenge ourselves and learn?

In my opionion if you want to stay in business you have to create to ability to learn and not only to remember. You have to be aware that you can't rely on what you have done in the past or which certificates you collected. You have to be aware and think what you want to be.

During the lightning talk MB chalenged me: about the "You" and the "Why" he was right. Who am I to tell you what to do!!!

Zeger spoke about the Bader-meinhof-phenomenon. If I'm correct it is about the situation, when you noticed something strongly you suddently see it all around you. Imagine you have a new car, before you never noticed those beautifull cars, and now it is all around you. Imagine what this can do with bugs. You never were aware of this type of bugs and now: HELP!!!!

The thing I don't like is the title of this phenomenon, it has some negative feeling. Im certain there are other sources from psychology which explains more in detail from another perspective about it. I know that something similar is also explained by Oliver Sacks in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
In one of the chapters he explains about a situation where after learning about it he saw similar symtoms all over the city by people.

Somehow we made it to lunch and deserved also a great walk through the woods next to the hotel.

RST in The Netherlands

After getting back some final tutorials were given by Ray Oei who explained about the lessons he learned implementing RST at 3 companies. It was sometimes hard as we still live in "TMap-country" There was some sound who explained that if TMap is asked we might call it TMap.

This idea I reject. Why call it something which doesn't work in the essence because when we ask testers about it they too often exlpain that it is not done as written therefore intended. They made there own twist..When asking them about it it is far from TMap. They use some templates, they use some techniques, they use some something and at least: it is al planned and those planned are nto telling what you actually did.

What I believe is: if you found you own way to make testing happen, don't lean on a name to sell it. By selling it under a name like TMap or ISTQB you support the believe it actually works. So it is sold more often. Perhaps it works for you, what I believe in is in honesty. Borrowing good things or bad things from a concept which leads to your succes doesn't make the concept be a succes.

Ray remined me why I suport RST because it chalenge you to think out of the box, it helps you to guide your thoughts, it leaves space to make it work for you!

Are you credible?

After the RST the final presentation was provided by Ruud about credibility of a tester. he is onto something, we testers should be aware about our credibility more often. When it is gone it is hard to gain back. Perhaps we should copy his action and create our own card or "buy" it from Ruud

copyright about the photo: at Zeger van Hesse/ copyright of the actual object (style-card): at Ruud Cox


  • Safety language

  • Two ears one mouth

  • Yes but

  • Lighten up a little

  • Empathy

With this final tutorial we closed the day in STYLE and went out for a dinner and reflect on the day and share some mysteries and parrots ;-)

Afteral it was a great day.

See also
Zeger van Hesse
Jean-Paul Varwijk

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