Thursday, April 4, 2019

Testing Monogatari: a #STPCon Live Blog Entry

Ah yes, the after lunch stretch. I will confess I'm a tad bit drowsy but what better way to cure that than to have a rapid-fire set of five-minute test talks.

We've had several speakers play along with a variety of topics:

Brian Kitchener getting hired into a QTP shop with a background in Selenium. His idea was talking about how to make organizational changes when they are a big ship and you are just one person. The answer is lots of little changes to help prove that making small scale changes and proving their benefits can be scaled to make larger changes.

Brian Saylor talked about the idea that "CAN'T" is a four letter word. To Brian, can't is the most offensive word.

"I can't do that" really means "I don't want to do that".
"It can't be done" often means "I'm too lazy to do this"
"You can't do that" often means "I can't do that, so therefore you shouldn't be able to"

Thus Brian asks us to be sensitive and to strike the word "can't" from our vocabulary and see what it is we are really saying.

Tricia Swift talked about changes she has seen over the last twenty years. The major changes she noticed was that there was about ten percent of her MIS class who were women. Compared to her CS friends, she was a lot more represented. She is happy to see that that has changed. ISO compliance and Waterfall was everything twenty years ago (and oh do I remember *that*). Thankfully, much of that has changed, or at least the approach has changed. Most important, she is seeing women in development where twenty years ago there were very few.

Raj Subramanian wants to make it clear that "It Is OK If You Mess Up". The issue with a culture where messing up is punished means that nothing creative or innovative will be tried. Cultures that penalize people for making mistal=kes ensure that they will remain stagnant. Raj basically shared an example where a test had an effect on production (an airline app) and the learning experience was that his rogue test exposed a series of policy problems with their production server. Raj still has that job and the product was improved, all because a mistake was acknowledged and accepted.

Anan Parakasan shared his experiences with the conference and the development and focus on "trust". It's a word that has a lot of different meanings and isn't exactly easy to nail down. Anan shared ways that he felt that trust could be better fostered and developed for our teams. Additionally, developing Emotional Intelligence will help considerably by making a team more effective. Think less adversarial and more collaboratively.

Final talk is Heath (?) and he talked about "feature flag insanity" and the fact that his organization has gone a bit trigger happy with their feature flags. Having them means running with them on, of and not there. However, his point was that the flag had contexts that were understood by some people but not others. Needless to say, the feature flag had an option to fail every credit card transaction. Not being able to find it and have it rolled out to production meant that every credit card transaction in production was failed and that cost a whole lot of money. In short, know your system, document it and make sure everyone knows what the feature flags do.

Came down to Raj and Brian Kitchener and they both have $50 Amazon gift cards. And with that, I'm much more awake ;).

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