Thursday, May 19, 2011

Impromptu Testing Miniconference at eBay

Well, this turned into an interesting evening!

When we found out that Shmuel Gershon was coming in from Jerusalem to visit the U.S. for testing conferences and presentations, Adam Yuret decided to come down to the Bay Area from Seattle to meet with him, and invited me to come along as well. We also mentioned to Jon Bach that we were getting together, and he invited us to come down to the eBay campus in San Jose to have pizza and drinks with him. The closing sentence of the invitation said "I expect each of you to be ready to give a lightning talk".

Sure enough, everyone was good to their word, and we picked up an additional participant with Doug Hoffman (he lives nearby, so he decided to drop in, too).  With that, the first San Jose/Bay Area Mini-Conference (tweeted as #sjBAM) got underway.

Adam Yuret delivered an impromptu demo related to using Cucumber on the eBay site, and we discussed the benefits and disadvantages of his approach. I gave a talk on the intersection of Scouting and Testing, and discussed the stages of team development (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing) and the scouting acronym EDGE (Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable) and how the approaches can be used to empower testing teams. Doug Hoffman discussed the false sense of security that we have when our tests pass, showing that we are missing a part of the equation (passed tests are not just passed tests, there are also silent misses in that, and those are not "passes"). Jon Bach discussed the idea of "open book testing" and how we can construct questions to build testing charters and testing approaches that go far beyond just simple testing missions (and helped us discover some interesting anomalies within the eBay site for fun). Shmuel finished up the talks with a comparison of reductionism and holisticism and how it relates to testing (you'll have to wait for Shmuel to blog about that to see exactly what the talk was about).

We recorded these both on video and audio, so expect them to become podcasts very soon :).
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