Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CAST 2012 - Day 2 and 3: Semi Live Blog


I had to shift gears yesterday and be on the spot for quite a bit of the lightning talks (as well as giving one about humility, receptiveness and martial arts, and how they relate to testing and knowledge acquisition), plus talking about "What I learned in Test Coach Camp" and helping to facilitate the lightning talks... this is to say that I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday because I didn't get much of a chance to even sit down. But here's the recap from yesterday.

Morning: The group of us that wanted to gathered together and had a panel discussion on what we learned at Test Coach Camp. there was quite a bit of overlapping layers, and I was excited to see that the participants voted on the value of EDGE as being a key takeaway. I'm starting to think that EDGE could be a really good workshop idea for a testing conference (at some point, I'm going to have to figure out how much I can cover before I have to ask BSA's permission; EDGE is a trademark of BSA, so while I can talk about the concepts, I have to be careful how I word things).

After we did the recap on Test Coach Camp, we started another session related to "How We can Change the State of the Craft of Software Testing". For this purpose, I gave a talk on Martial Arts, Humility and Receptiveness to learning. For those who didn't get a chance to hear it on the live stream, here's the basic gist:

When I was a teenager, I was a big fan of Bruce Lee. Because of that, I wanted to learn martial arts to be an official bad-ass. I went to East west Karate school in Walnut Creek, CA in 1981 to learn Bok-Fu so I could be awesome. However, I was deeply put off by the fundamental rigor that we had to do, and I was even more put off at the fact that the cool katas and techniques I developed for tournaments were scored so low, while the staid and boring basic ones by other kids were winning medals. add to that me getting my head handed to me in several boxing matches, and I decided Bok-Fu was not for me.

Fast forward thirteen years. I'm a young married adult now, working at a company, and to have something to do at lunch, I decided to take Aikido because, at the time Steven Seagal was fairly popular and he looked really cool doing it (hey, I ain't proud, that's how I came to know about it ;) ), and I started doing it at lunch when it was offered. this time, I was cool with the rigor and the fundamentals; I'd matured to that point. the big killer was the overall time commitment expected to get really good. Four days a week, two hours each day was expected. I couldn't commit to that, so over time, my frustration level with the time commitment got the better of me, and I drifted away after a few Kyu level jumps.

This weekend, I had a chance to talk Kendo with Benjamin Kelly, who has been doing Kendo for 20 years, and yet he said he still routinely gets the smack down laid on him by guys who are 70 or 80 years old (disclaimer: Ben lives in Japan, and Kendo is somewhat of a national sport ;) ). This time, I appreciated the joy and the pleasure of the basic movements, the serenity of just practicing and working out with others, and the belt or recognition being ancillary, or unimportant entirely.

Our commitment to testing is very similar; when we focus too much on being one of the cool kids, or when we focus too much on the time commitment, we are missing the humility and the patience to genuinely learn and grow. Maybe this just comes with time, maybe it comes with experience, but when we get to a point where we are happy to do the work just for the sake of the joy of doing the work, that's when we are really ready and able to learn.

After jumping around and helping to facilitate a number of other talks (great ones by Markus Gaertner, Anne Marie Charret, Thomas Vaniotis and Matt Heusser among others, we ended the day by assisting in the facilitation and founding of a new Special Interest Group, this one based on Test Management / Test Leadership. While I don't have the ability or time to manage two groups, I definitely see some areas of cross pollination and where we can leverage strengths from each other, so I hope that the Education SIG can be actively involved in their efforts and them with ours.

So now it's Wednesday, and I'm spending the day in a room with a bunch of other people that want to beef up our automation chops. Adam Goucher is leading us in how to create and maintain a Continuous Integration/ Continuous delivery system. So far we've deployed a VM with a sample application, unit tests, functional tests, and version control tweaks.

The afternoon started off with talking about how to deploy on systems and the variety of hooks needed to allow for CI (in this case, Jenkins) to be configure d and modified to help with the deployment of the system. We've also looked at and covered migrations and how to get code copied over to multiple systems if desired.

We are going through the VM and finding issues and fixing them a little at a time so that we can get a feel for the environment. So far, it's been very interesting and very enlightening, plus I'll have a VM with all of this configured to go back and play with.

I'll come back in and add more comments on Adam's workshop but in the meantime I want to say the following:

Giving five talks in one week:


- Using EDGE to Help Coach Software Testers
- Coaching Younger Testers and Interns
- Deconstructing Weekend Testing
- Balancing ATDD, GUI Automation and Exploratory Testing
- Martial Arts, Humility and the Willingness to Learn

Facilitation of Lightning Talk Track

Facilitating the Education Special Interest Group Meeting

Participating with the Test Leadership Special Interest Group

Hanging out with lots of great people and getting feedback on BBST and the future of teaching BBST

Talking about and recruiting additional hands to help with content curation for SummerQAmp

Meeting people I had previously only known from Twitter and in a virtual manner, or having only communicated with via Skype for the TWiST podcast

Recording over 20 hours of audio for potential podcasts (including my own contributions)

Seeing myself get filmed and broadcast so I could go back and review my own talk performance

Spending a full day grokking the entire automation stack for setting up Continuous Integration AND getting my very own VM with problems to discover and try to fix, and the ability to restore and tweak as much as I want with impunity... GOLDEN!!!

All in all, this has been an amazing week. Thanks you to everyone that has made this a highlight of my testing year. I really appreciate what you all do and how much you contribute to what I learn and know, and I hope I in some small way help do the same for you.
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