The other day was the first event of the new local context-driven test community ConTest. It was initiated by Henrik Andersson and House of Test and hosted at FooCafe in Malmö. When I got to know about it, I knew I just had to go there of course. I also knew of a couple of people that would not be able to resist the opportunity. However, I was happily surprised with how many people actually showed up. A good 30 people experienced 2,5 hours of LAWST styl(ish) peer-conference setting with lightning talks followed by facilitated discussions.
The theme of the event was simply Context-driven testing and since it was the first event, Henrik prepared a couple of us to present lightning talks that could be targeted with discussions. And I think that was a wise move, so that the people that have not experienced peer conferences before could focus on good questioning. While not everyone asked questions, I think there was a fair amount of discussions anyway to fill up the time and I think we would have been able to fill a whole day with those topics.
I was honored with the first presentation, focusing on the basics “What is Context driven testing?”. With the short 10 minutes I got, I focused on the basic principles of context driven testing and gave a few examples of how they apply. I thought myself it was a good foundation of discussion that stretched for a good hour where the people that never heard about context-driven got opportunity to wrap their heads around it.
Maria Kedemo shared her thoughts on the context-driven community. She talked about her experiences with CAST and Lets Test, how those conferences really invited people to engage each other throughout the events that are not mainly around speaking but conferring. The interesting people that are there gives incredible experiences. Also, she brought up some of the different medias of how to engage with the community through blogs, twitter, linkedIn and Skype. My comment here is that coaching over Skype is a VERY rewarding experience. If you haven’t tried it, do it soon!
Robert Bergqvist talked about his experiences in a very large project and how he applied context-driven approaches on top of the already existing and non-existing testing practices at a large bank. Since they used a pass/fail approach to test cases, he gathered his own test results in OneNote including questions for clarification, unknown areas and risks from gut feeling. These notes he shared informally with stakeholders in the project and got very good responses.
Martin Nilsson talked about his approach to using exploratory testing as a learning activity in the beginning of a big project, and how the session notes from that session became valuable as a learning resource throughout the rest of the project.
Some quotes I captured throughout the event:
In my context, If its not passed, its failed and will be handled/managed
Different contexts have different meaning in regards to test results. This was a comment on Roberts regression test results where a Failed test is really bad.
I captured the stuff that was between pass and fail
Robert about what he was doing in the project apart from doing his job.
It is never hard to find the risks
Siren Hofvanders (Securitypony) comment on a question regarding different test approaches and how also security testing can be done exploratory style.
Do the testing first and then plan for these extra things
About priorities when mixing scripted with exploratory testing
I must say that everyone there got more excited and up to speed during the two latter discussions, since they were more concrete experiences. With that in mind, I also have good hopes for the coming ConTest events where I don’t think it will be any problems with filling up with experience reports to discuss.
For my own sake, I need to gather ConTest people somewhere, so I created this twitter list, Contest-Foo. As I have never used lists on twitter before I am still not sure what the point is, but I figured it might suffice trying it. So if you were at ConTest in Malmö with me and you are on twitter, give me a shout, I want you here.
As a final note, the proposed hashtag for this group was #ConTest. Whoever has been on twitter knows that hastags are used for multiple purposes, which is why #contest just gives us opportunities to win things. But stay tuned for #foocontest.
The context driven school of testing is a good representation of my personal normal state of mind when it comes to my profession. I really like to hang out with like-minded people that are outspoken about belonging to this community of testers. I also recognize many of the people within this community to be interested in and are practicing good Agile testing. When I started to write this post I also realized I gave it a shot 3 years ago, when I still hadn’t wrapped my head around context-driven. But although my knowledge and experience has changed a lot during that time I still think the post is valid in some sense.
Before continuing, read my previous posts in this series:
Agile Testing – Traditional testing perspective
Agile Testing – Agile perspective
Agile Testing – Programmer perspective
Agile Testing – Project management perspective
Context driven testers
Starting off my stay in San Jose with Test Coach Camp, my head was already full of ideas before the conference. But that did not actually matter when I got up to speed of conferring with my fellow peers at the conference.
This was my second CAST. Last year I got to meet so many new people that I have been in contact with since online and at other conferences. The difference for this year was obvious, I must already have known or at least met and talked to one third of this years crowd before. It was a comforting thought when I was about to go to San Jose. Anyway, it turned out big parts of the other two thirds were highly interesting people as well, so if I would have to regret something from this years conference, it would be that I did not talk enough to the people I already know. That is a pity when you don’t meet very often. But I made so many new friends instead.
Another difference from last year was that this year I was a speaker. Read more…
Some weeks ago when I was traveling to CAST in Seattle, I had to go through the well-known border control of the US. All in all, I have to say that I was a little disappointed since I did not at all experience it as very complex or special as I had imagined. But of course there was more control than when traveling between European countries, and I was surprised about the well-informed officer talking to every single arrival in the line for passport control. While waiting, I observed how he asked very thoughtful and deep, yet quite regular and open questions about arrivals and their stay in the US. Getting closer to him made it possible to over hear some of the conversations. A family in front of me almost got into trouble when the father said the children were american citizens but they had some foreign passports. Read more…