Let´s Test 2014 – day 2

Day two started off substantially colder than day one did. See picture below for comparison with previous blog post.

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That was just the outside temperature though. Inside the heat was on from the very first minute as the second day kicked off with a dance performance from the Let´s Test crew. Impressive moves all over and a nice way to get warmed up for the keynote of the day.

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The keynote was also something unparalleled. Steven Smith (@stevenMsmith1) shared the experience with all of us by making us participants. We were split up into groups and given a challenge to solve as a group. The challenge had a few simple rules and the goal was to score as many points as possible. The purpose of the exersize was not revealed and I guess a few of us felt a bit sceptical to why we were doing it. But during the debreifing part more and more insights and small nuggets of wisdom where popping up. Some about group psychology, some about parallels to software testing, some about creativity and some about time management.

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Since every group got to present their conclusions on stage the list of insights grew quite big in the end. It was interesting to see how such a small and simple excersize could yield so many insights. This was as Steven pointed out an indicator for how complex reality is.

The first session of the day was named “What can testing learn from social sciences” and was held by Huib Schoots @huibschoots. The session gave a nice overview over social sciences that we testers can learn and improve from. E.g sociology, pedagogy, philosophy etc. It made me really inspired to learn more about every subject presented but also a bit overwhelmed.

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Not because of Huibs great presentation but since I already have a big pile of books at home, some which I haven´t started reading and some that I´ve only read parts from. And suddenly I now got even more books on my list. Where to start? How deep should I dig into each subject? I got a good pointer from Kristoffer Nordström (@kristoffer_nord) though about “Secrets of a buccaneer scholar” written by James Bach on the subject of self learning. Sounded like a good meta-read before digging into the ever growing bookpile.

After lunch I decided to join the session on note taking held by Louise Perold. Not because I felt that it was the most interesting subject but rather because I felt that this was an area I could really improve in. Initially there were problems getting the required software (a tape emulator running an old text based rpg) to run under Windows 8. When that was sorted the note taking could begin. The assignment was to play the rpg and make notes along the way. The session was divided into several slots where a new technique of note taking was introduced in the beginning of each slot. A the end of each slot we shared our results and conclusions. The main takeaways from this session was some insights about note taking techniques in general  and that I need to practice my skill in this area a lot more.

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I was paired with Richard Bradshaw (@friendlytester) who made really nice scetch-type notes far better than my own. Inspiring!

The scheduled session of the day was a group discussion (debate?) on the context driven school of testing. Chris Blain had made some reflections on other schools of thinking and their philosophies and wanted to discuss if CDT is heading in the right direction and what we can do to make a bigger impact on the software testing performed today.

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The discussion is not easily summarized in a short blog post like this but the main discussion points were about marketing compared to other schools of thinking, what examples we can make on the value of CDT, if there really is a contradiction between some of the schools (could they perhaps co-exist?) and how to introduce CDT approaches in your work. An interesting discussion to listen to indeed. And I really liked the initiative from Chris to bring this up, self reflection is essential! On a side note I was really impressed with the facillitating skills of Paul Holland (@PaulHolland_TWN). He managed to keep an intense discussion on track without getting lost in all the threads and subthreads created, good job!

After dinner there was a bonus session on security testing by Bill Mathews (@bill_mathews). We got to try some basic attacks on a web site with a database backend. We got to browse and alter cookie information using Chrome and also got to try some basic sql injection attacks. Not much time to go in depth on anything but it was nice to learn about a few of the tools used and to get some concepts explained.

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With my head full of thoughts to process I did not have the energy to participate in the games played during the gaming night. But it sure looked like people had a good time.

Over and out!

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