Wednesday, 29 April 2015

I quit my job, sold my apartment and started doing what I love - TESTING

People might have been wondering (or somewhere deep inside I hope they have) what has been going on in my life. I have been intentionally silent for a while now. I ain't silent no more. I believe the hibernation has been my salvation. I have been able to regain my passion and my confidence. This post is a short review of my year 2014. I'll describe some of the events that changed me and my attitude towards my career. I'll describe what made me lose my passion for a while and what made me regain it.

The beginning of 2014 was tumultuous time for me. I had done the EuroSTAR2013 talk and I was hugely perplexed by the amount of the positive feedback and the intensity of the criticism. I decided it would make sense to lay low for a while and reflect what I had done. I came to understand that I had been flying on my own hype. I didn't deliver what I had promised, I made grand plans and told about them like I had already done them. I needed to set my feet back to the ground. And it was hard.

A lot of personal changes have been happening in the past year. Among the changes a divorce. I now see how much relationships with close ones can affect ones decisions subconsciously. I must say that there were more good times than bad. However the beginning of 2014 set in motion a set of events that lead into my new found passion towards testing and coaching.

I realized during the summer of 2014 that I was utterly and completely isolated and desolated in my home, in a strange city. I cannot say how much of my discomfort came from waxing and waning depression. I do know that after getting out back to my home town, I have felt healthier than ever. So what I did, perhaps on the spur of the moment, I quit my job and moved away from Helsinki. I am actually still trying to sell the apartment I own with my wife, but I live in a 2 bedroom apartment now with my daughter. So basically I packed my things and left.

I was thinking for weeks that I regret the decision, and I might have for a while. Without a job, I found myself in school trying to educate myself with the ins and outs of Pervasive Computing at the Technical University of Tampere. I had some baits in the water waiting for a prospective employer to bite. And when finally Solita decided to give me a chance, I was relieved.

#High6 will be flying at NTD2015 in Tallinn
So, there I was once again, trying to motivate myself to study something that didn't give me the “thrills”. I mean, I like programming and scripting, I like the technology and all. I just… I am a square peg in the round hole, when it comes to formal education. The worst thing is that I keep hearing this “you should really stay in school, cuz you need the degree to get a proper job”. I feel guilty for those kind of comments. The most successful people I know or look up to aren't those who graduated from schools and universities (although they might have degrees), but those who followed their dreams. I know it sounds immature and possibly silly, but I feel I am being made homogeneous in the school.

I have realized my motivation is intrinsic to the core. It is almost narcissistically selfish, but when I follow my own reasons I get results. My motivation, it seems, is pleasure. I want the pleasure of feeling admiration. I want to do things that make me feel good. If I feel bad, I rebel, I fight against the restraints until I depress and collapse. To be able to function, I need to find things that I feel good about.

What happened then was quite miraculous. I started working at Solita to pay my bills and support my mind-numbing studying (which I also sucked at, in addition to despising my inability to study). I was just a consultant (a testing specialist) in a project, trying to find my place and role in the organization. Or that’s what I though. The environment was… magical. It made want to be a beacon of light. I saw people willing to listen to my insight on testing. I saw people seeking my company to chat about some testing problems. I was like “I found my people!”

Me talking about "How to make anyone do anything" at Solita
I've worked there half weeks for two months, until in April I started to do full week. To this day, I have been coaching three all-developer teams to test, manage their testing with Session Based Test Management, and more projects are lining up to use my services. Also I have been able to share my knowledge on coaching for my colleagues, invited to facilitate classes that are still to remain secret. This all and more. This all feels like I have regained my wings and I can fly again.

Long story short, I found my passion I thought I had lost. There is no reason anymore to fly under the radar. 

I'm back - loud and ugly as ever! ;)
- Peksi


Monday, 13 April 2015

Nordic Testing Days 2015 – Conference at a glance

Just to keep the momentum going, I shall tackle the Nordic Testing Days 2015 in a similar manner I did the Let’s Test. I chose the two conferences for they’re close by and I wish I could attend either or both of them this year. The real reason is that I want to keep writing, now that I have momentum. This is

Nordic Testing Days 2015 – Conference at a glance


The Nordic Testing Days 2015 is the fourth of its kind. Having had the privilege to attend the first of its kind as a speaker, I have a special kind of attachment to it. I did a full blown evaluation of the sessions I attended while I was at the conference 2012, but I shan’t do it this time. The conference is a 3 day spectacle with tracks, tutorials, workshops and more. I’ll choose the sessions as follows:

  • Choose one session from each day based on my familiarity of the speaker
  • Choose one session from each day based on my interest in the title
  • Choose one session from each day that I pick randomly

Those should total 9 sessions. I’ll choose 2 random key notes to accompany those.

I will use a heuristic grading system (introduced here) to determine what would be the best session for me. I will grade the stuff with Angry Birds ™ grade – 0-3 stars per area – on five areas:


  • Person-to-person (How will the person and his/hers work affect/inspire me or the people I know?), 
  • Session value – short time span (How much can I get out of the session tomorrow – next year?), 
  • Session value – longs time span (How much can I implement to my work and teach to my colleagues, my community?), 
  • Steal-ability (How much of it am I willing to borrow and further develop to make it better and/or mine?), and 
  • Challenge-ability (My past knowledge on the topic and my willingness to challenge the session contents.)


Keynotes


Mart Noorma’s “ESTCube-1: Testing in Space”

Intergalactic journey ahead. I would pay money to contribute to something that eventually goes orbiting the Earth. Alas, I cannot yet. Soon, perhaps. I know next to nothing Estonia’s space program, but I think this keynote requires some background checks to be able to get everything out of the keynote. Since I followed Philae landing (they had some Finnish technology there also) I am keen on hearing more on the subject.

I must admit I haven’t heard of Mart Noorma, but I think he’s not that loud on the testing scene. What are the key values here might be the inspiration to reach the stars. The short time value might be high-ish but I cannot see too much long term value in this. I might be the wrong crowd for this session, but I’m expecting inspiration and insight from Mart Koorma.

Although this keynote might be hugely inspirational, I see very little in the light of challenging or stealing ideas. It’s a shame, actually, for I am an avid science follower. The thing is that I might be expecting more of a testing approach to the keynote and less of a technical story. Experience report working in difficult situations is always good, but I don’t see myself as the optimal audience for this.


  • Person-to-person: 
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: *
  • Steal-ability: 
  • Challenge-ability: 
  • Total: 3/15 stars



Rob Lambert’s “Why Remaining Relevant Is So Important”

Why is it important to stay relevant? I mean, Rob is obviously going to answer that, but why make a keynote of it? Don’t we all know, if we fossilize we are, out in the next round of layoffs? What is the big deal? What I feel Rob is trying to say is we need an attitude change. The relevance comes from want to thrive and be the best. If you’re the one who’s always on the cutting edge of technology, skills and thoughts, other people want to be like you! You become the beacon people look up to.

Rob Lambert is one of the most influential people in the testing scene. His blog was one of the first ones I started to read as a budding tester. I have met him once in person, and he’s a warm, easily approachable character. The problem is that should I have more time on my hands, I’d be more keen on approaching him with my ideas on managing testing. Alas, I have not.

Staying relevant has far-reaching influence. It brings high long time value to the company and to myself. The ideas sound like easily adaptable and with genuine examples the value might become even greater. Short time value might be in form of planning ahead my skillset. With this session and Alexandra Casapu’s “Examine Your Testing Skills” session at Let’s Test 2015, I see no reason why one couldn’t stay relevant to their company or their community.


  • Person-to-person: **
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 11/15 stars




Wednesday


Kristoffer Nordström’s “Taming the Terminal-based Applications and Testing Them” (based on familiarity to speaker)

Kristoffer was the guy that inspired me into taking my Pythonian skills forward. His lessons in “Python for testers” and many more inspire many. He’s a great sport and I wish I could attend his tutorial at the conference. If the session has anything close to what I expect off of him, people will be having a hoot!

After reading the description, the tutorial seems quite useful to me. When I was doing testing at F-secure I ran into terminal-based application every once in a while, I might even have created some tooling with Python. This tutorial strikes that particular nail in my skill repertoire.

The values right now are mediocre, however, since my current job description doesn’t touch terminal based stuff. I would have rated this very differently a year ago, I must admit. Also being one of the few testing specialist at the office, I think I wouldn’t be the guy to be teaching this to developers. I could benefit from having a better understanding of testing frameworks and tools, better confidence in my skills, and have a good time at the session. Also, since I have some experience, I could challenge Kristoffer to make him hone his material to perfection. ;)


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: *
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total: 10/15 stars



Kristjan Uba’s  “Let's Learn: Experience Learning through Gaming” (based on interest in the title)

Gaming. My favorite way of learning. If we’re going to play games and learn from testing, I think this session is worth its weight in gold! …at least to a procrastinator and a child-minded person like me. The values are both immediate and long lasting, if done properly: one starts to seek out the games mentioned to play with their friends and colleagues, besides those games can spawn entire new epiphanies on some other testing related area.

I don’t Kristjan Uba from before, but I bet he’s the kinda guy I would get along really well. He sounds enthusiastic, innovative and funny, the kind of a person I like spending time outside work with. Perhaps, should I miss the opportunity to join, I can badger him to play some of the games on some other occasion.


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 10/15 stars



Robert Sabourin’s “Just-In-Time Software Testing” (random pick)

Ok. Rob has been on my radar from the beginning of my testing career, yet I know next to nothing of him. He’s one of those “one-star-should-be-three-stars” kinda fellas. I am aware of this “just-in-time” method, from some blog post in the past.

The description made me hum in pleasure. That is something, not only I want, but I need. As a professional tester I need to be able to make snap decisions about prioritization, change of focus and moving people to test the right thing. With content like that on a tutorial, I see no point to sit this one out! The values of this sessions are far reaching and immediate! These are the things I must educate my colleagues with, my community should be aware of this, and my work would vastly benefit from the skills and knowledge this tutorial gives.

For I know quite little about the subject to begin with, I see a lack of challenge-ability for me. Maybe a quick 1-on-1 with Rob might get me into the mood. Perhaps a blog post or two to limber my mind...


  • Person-to-person: * (I wanted it to be ***)
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 11/15 stars



Thursday


Sami Söderblom’s “If James Bach and Mary Gorman had a baby, how would it test?” (based on familiarity to speaker)

Mr. Happy Monkey himself talking about… WHAT? Biology? Child birth? Intercourse? I have to say if he hadn’t been picked based on me knowing him, I would have chosen the session based on the title. Sami Söderblom is a good friend of mine. He’s a whiskey-junkey, a cat-photographer, a father, an explorer and a good friend. We have a history through my whole testing career, from my first big testing project to this day. He’s the “three-stars-should-be-the-milkyway” kinda fella.

I must say I’m on pins and needles what the session is about. The description says: “FITCODES”. I’m sold. SFDPOT has been my guideline through my recent testing career. At the Turku Agile Days 2012 I modeled the testing of speedos using the SFDPOT. This week we did testing exercise on testing whatever found in one’s pocket using SFDPOT. To advance the heuristic that has been the lifeline for me is something I really, REALLY, would like to see.

The values, for me, are huge. Should I be able to use the heuristic in my everyday work is a great benefit. In addition to this, to be able to help others test their software better, to design better tests, to manage testing in a better way, make the session even more valuable. To learn how Sami came up with the heuristic is a good steal-able. To refine it to suit my particular needs would be awesome. And, since I know quite a lot about the subject, challenging would be the cherry on the cake.


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: ***
  • Total: 15/15 stars


Beat that! No pressure, Sami. ;)

Stephen Janaway’s “Why I Lost My Job as a Test Manager and what I Learnt as a Result” (based on interest in the title)

Test coach, he says. I think I like him already. The transformation to Test Coach has been my goal during this year. Teaching people on how to test and make them better at what they do. If Stephen can help me achieve that, I’d be happy as a hippo.

I actually don’t know Stephen from the past, but with his attitude towards coaching, I bet we can hit it on. Value coming out of his “shift to coaching” session could become quite valuable for me with my ambitions and goals, but to all traditional test managers. When I came to my current work place, I told I wanted to be a coach, but I have yet to find my focus and methods in implementing it.

To more easily understand Stephen’s session, I feel I must read the blog post first. Maybe then I can be able to challenge him in a better way.


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: **
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 9/15 stars



Erik Boelen’s “Acceptance Testing At Its Best” (random pick)

I’ve heard some experience reports on the subject of coaching end-users to test the acceptance of a product. They have all been educational, but seemed to be lacking some punch - the methods to implement the procedure to one’s own context. I have never heard of the speaker before, but I fresh blood to the Testing Arena is always a crowd pleaser. ;)

This seems like a good session for those battling with limited testing resources and acceptance testing stuff. I see a lot of material I would like clarification to and some areas where challenging might be in order. Values are unpredictable here. Since I work closely to projects and the project management nowadays, I see some intersections to my work. This might be a huge value to a test manager of any kind. I cannot say.


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: *
  • Steal-ability: *
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total:  7/15 stars



Friday


Erik Brickarp’s “Going Exploratory” (based on familiarity to speaker)

Erik. My man! He’s been around for a while. I was introduced to him by a hint from James Bach few years ago for paying the RST course from his own pocket. Anyone to do that is a personal hero of mine. He’s a great thinker, a fine coachee – fine and dandy bloke on all fronts. I’m really excited to see him in person since he has evaded me the few times I’ve attended conferences in the past.

So, Erik’s gonna talk about how he switched from rigid testing process into an exploratory one, failed, learned, tried again, repeated, succeeded. This is something that I want to do! I think my key takeaway is the sandboxing. In my recent project I have drastically changed the process with constant deliverables. This means more freedom in the execution but rigid documentation. I think Erik can give me a couple of good tips how to make the process less painful and more appealing to… the client. (You wer thinking I was gonna say “opposite sex”, weren’t you?)

I definititely see value in this. Short time value comes mainly from the insights that I can implement as soon I hit the desk after the conference and long term effects can sprout an inspiration where I combine my learning to what Erik gives. Very valuable in deed.


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total:  13/15 stars



Radomir Sebek’s "You don't need to be a musician to test music production software" (based on interest in the title)

Music is close to my heart. I compose various kinds of music, hence I have an interest in both the industry and the tools of trade. Combine music and testing – I’m hooked. Although I have never heard of Mr. Sebek, I am keen on hearing what he has to say.

The whole concept is intriguing, having to quickly learn a vast domain to better test it. I think that is the core of software testing in general – fast learning, adapting, moving focus and prioritization based on learning. I want to examine his methods of approaching the subject. The coaching aspect (as in using testers with various backgrounds and influencing them) is also interesting. I am intrigued what kind of methods have been used in the influencing. Experience reports like this are usually difficult to challenge, but usually highly steal-able.


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total:  10/15 stars



Ilari Henrik Aegerter & Ben Kelly’s “Ben and Ilari's Spectacular Testing Circus” (random pick, honestly!)

Like I mentioned in my earlier post, I have spent some time chatting with Ilari. He has coached me on different things. Ben Kelly has been on my radar, like many testers, but I haven’t yet figured him out. It seems I am compelled to read his blog a few times before I go chat with him.

The session itself is a puzzle (pun intended) since it can contain many things. Interactive games, puzzles, cool problems, etc. are the salt of testing skills. I bet this is a session where I shall spend at least an hour or two, since I just like to challenge myself. I expect to be challenged and to be able to challenge other testers and maybe increase some skills while having fun.


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total:  13/15 stars


Conclusion

There are many sessions that I didn’t tackle although they might be worth gold. If you feel (as a speaker) that I should tackle yours, drop me a line. I’m also eager to discuss my choices with the people I rated.

It seems that I am attending the Nordic Testing days. I shall be there with my beard flowing and throwing #high6’es to people. ;)


Varsti näeme!
- Peksi

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Let’s Test 2015 – conference at a glance (from a distance)

Just to get up again and write something, I decided I’d do something I’ve done before. I really want to join the Let’s Test 2015, but it seems I cannot. This blog post is similar to those I’ve done before for it is a “Conference at a Glance” kinda thing. So this is

Let’s Test 2015 – conference at a glance (from a distance)


It seems the conference is a 3 day thing with 2 key notes, 33 sessions or various kind. Since I’m a lazy person, I shall do the following:

  • Tackle both key notes
  • Choose one session from each day based on my familiarity of the speaker
  • Choose one session from each day based on my interest in the title
  • Choose one session from each day that I pick randomly

That should bring me to a total of 11 sessions that I try and grade. If you (as a conference speaker or as anyone else) feel like I should do more, just ask me in the comments section.  I try and keep it simple.

I will use a heuristic grading system (introduced here) to determine what would be the best session for me. I will grade the stuff with Angry Birds ™ grade – 0-3 stars per area – on five areas:


  • Person-to-person (How will the person and his/hers work affect/inspire me or the people I know?), 
  • Session value – short time span (How much can I get out of the session tomorrow – next year?), 
  • Session value – longs time span (How much can I implement o my work and teach to my colleagues, my community?), 
  • Steal-ability (How much of it am I willing to borrow and further develop to make it better and, more importantly, mine?), and 
  • Challenge-ability (My past knowledge on the topic and my willingness to challenge the session contents.)


Ben Simo’s “There was not a breach – There was a blog”

Based on the description on the webpage, I quickly came to think I should have done something like that. I should have started blogging about something that is affecting major public. Like the Finnish Railway renewal or something else of a similar matter. Having not thought of the idea, I shall keep my eyes open the next time something big comes up. So “Thanks Ben for giving me a great idea. Don’t mind me copying it in the future!”

As we’re talking about a keynote here, I don’t think during-session-challenging will occur. As this is kind of an experience report, I feel I can absorb huge amount of wisdom and ideas from it. If only reading through the description gave me so many ideas already, attending the keynote might blow my mind. Alas, it might not happen. So my head is safe for now. Challenge-ability might be a bit low, but if you think the challenging as in self-challenging, things I can challenge in my own thinking processes, ways of working, how I present myself to others. On those parameters I see a lot possibility to challenge.

On that note, the steal-ability just went through the roof. As for long term value, I believe that short term value comes from bringing the conversation to the coffee tables for those who are not American nor have the exposure to HealthCare.gov. The long term effects lie in the the steal-ability I mentioned before. If I can introduce some public service kind of attitude towards my own behavior, it’ll really make a difference.

P2P-level is a bit tricky. Ben has been on my radar for years. I’ve been following him and reading his blog sporadically, but I never really came to realize how much of an influence he has been. There hasn’t been too much communication between him and me save for a few tweets now and then, or some random facebook comments to each other’s posts. I must say I should have been more in his face about stuff. I shall change that and get to know him better!

As for score (should I be at the conference I would attend the keynote whatever it might be):


  • Person-to-person: * (I wanted it to be ***)
  • Short time value: *
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: ** 
  • Total: 10/15 stars


Antti Karjalainen’s “Detecting the Heartbleed Vulnerability”

The description might not provoke my vastest interest, but I was part of the Heartbleed scene in a sense. While working at F-secure I heard about it weekly during the “hip season”. I didn’t particularly have anything to do with fixing nor working with it, but I was there to spread knowledge about it.

The thing is, I am the kinda guy who shies away from über cool tools, fancy technology and protocols. I have some interest in security testing, fuzzing and analytics, but I’m more comfortable to leave those to the people who know them better. When it comes to knowing what fuzzing does, I’m comfortable in what the Wikipedia says. That is to say with no disrespect towards the fine men and women who dapple with such technologies. Hats off to all of you!

P2P is a challenge for me, since Antti is a Finn and I might have run into him at some other conference. I can’t put my finger on it, however. I have never talked with him about fuzzing nor about tools (“the shying” and other excuses). The thing is, I don’t think I could talk with him about the fancy stuff. I might have a few cool comments like “that looks cool” or “whaddaya know”. The thing is, however, that I cannot say for sure. I wish there would be a common ground on which we could build a conversation and then work from that.

The short term value might be in form of an interest into fuzzing tools. Or to some yet unknown aspect of fuzzing I could use in my testing. I feel that the topic is so tool/technology oriented, I might not get enough. It also affects the long term value for I don’t think I am capable of transferring that knowledge to my community or colleagues. I don’t say there won’t be any inspiration during the keynote – I might change my way to think testing and tools.

And since my knowledge on the technology and the tools are so diminutive, I feel the steal-ability and challenge-ability are scored low also. This isn’t to say that Antti doesn’t rock most of the listeners’ world! I believe that he is the kinda guy we need more of. Just like Ben, helping regular people with their daily lives is what counts!


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: *
  • Long time value: *
  • Steal-ability: **
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 6/15 stars


1st day sessions:

Ilari Henrik Aegerter’s ”A Tester's Walk in the Park” (based on familiarity to speaker)

Ok. Having read the description, I’m torn in half: A session without a clear outtake or a fountain of good ideas. I don’t know quite yet. I do appreciate that the problem solving is the key to it, but are we talking about artificial, abstract problems like “where is testing going”, or concise practical problems like “how can I convince my manager to pay my trip to Sweden”? The uncertainty intrigues me in a way that I wouldn’t dare miss this session. If we can coax people like Michael Bolton or Ben Simo to join in with their problems, it can be a hoot. It could be a hoot with just me, Ilari and three guys I don’t know. The thing is “I don’t know”.

I have spent some time chatting with Ilari. He has coached me on different things, latest today (the April 1st 2015) on how to approach a testing communication problem. I know this guy and I like him. I have to admit I haven’t paid too much attention on his whereabouts the last 18 months, but I reckon that all will be changed.

The value of the sessions is a tricky one. I cannot say what value I can get for I don’t know the contents that well. On short term it might arouse good conversations and comradery between the people attending. Experience reports in the form of problem solving might be a good take-away. In longer time span, the technique itself might be a good thing to learn. The introduction of philosophical thinking and approach to software testing is actually quite intriguing. Challenging the session might be a tough one, since it feels like an experience report of a sort.


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: **
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 10/15 stars



John Stevenson’s ”A Journey Towards SelfLearning” (based on interest in the title)

WOW! This sure sounds cool! A sessions in a form of a game show! Count me in! I am interested in learning and how people learn. I am a continuous learner myself and I think it is time to up that interest in me once again. If this session could make my learning more structured, I would get more out of the time I have at hand.

I know next to nothing about John Stevenson, but lately I have spotted some of his tweets. He could be one to chat more deeply about learning. Him and James Bach might be a good dinner guests if I wanted to talk about learning and teaching. Since I hope to be a teacher of a sort someday, I think they could give me valuable ideas.

The value I see from this session is vast, both long and short term. While stirring me short term, it could make me think about my life on a longer run, my education and my striving towards being a teacher (though Finnish teachers are paid really poorly). Since I know something about learning, I think I might even be able to challenge John on his ideas. Though I don’t think I can introduce any particularly new and fancy to his curriculum, I might be able to increase the value of the session by making him express thing in different ways to be more easily approachable.


  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: ***
  • Steal-ability: **
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total: 11/15 stars



Louise Perold ’s "Non-violent Communication" (random pick)

Well well well. NVC. I must say I had need for those skills today when I argued with a developer on why the test cases written for manual execution are a poor excuse of a test automation. I did seek some coaching from Ilari (like mentioned before) but I wasn’t able to convey my point to him in a way that would have left both him (the dev) and me in a mutually enjoyable place of mind. Having said that, Louise’s session might be the one for me.

I don’t know her at all, though I might have traded tweets in the past. I’m intrigued meeting her, though. Should I not be able to come to conference, I really want to talk to her about Mortimer J. Adler’s book “How to Speak How to Listen” which I’m reading sporadically now and then. Also what I found out from Daniel Pink’s book “To Sell is Human” might contribute to the Non-violent communication.

Values from this session might be really high in short term and long term. I might not be able to transfer them to my community in a way Louise could, but I bet the example and behavior might influence my co-workers and other people as well. My knowledge on listening and conversation skills might enhance the challenge and steal –abilities, but I would have to let the time indicate what’s beneficial and what’s not.

Non-violent starring would be as follows:

  • Person-to-person: *
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: **
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total: 10/15 stars



2nd day sessions:

Laurent Bossavit & Michael Bolton’s ” "Defense Against The Dark Arts” (based on familiarity to speakers)

Critical thinking, they say. Very well. I would expect something like this from Bolton and Bossavit. Given Laurent’s book “Leprechauns of Software Engineering” it is about time to teach us Earth dwellers them skills to tackle possibly harmful (and perhaps even rigged) information.

I know both of the speakers and I love spending time with them. Both incredibly intelligent fellas with excellent ideas and views of the world. It seems almost a loss that I might have to miss their workshop. But I shan’t weep! I find their session really intriguing so I might badger for a coaching sessions should I need to miss the event.

As for value of the session, I see high value altogether. Critical thinking skills and the practical application of it are worth gold in the testing industry. Whatever I can bring home from that session would be valuable material for my colleagues in ways to think critically.

Since I have some former knowledge on critical thinking, I feel the challenge-ability is high. Also I see that the whole session is about challenging, I feel compelled to challenge much of their material. Steal-ability is high in a sense that I want to educate my colleagues on that particular subject.

My god, I’m looking at quite a session:

  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: ** (it’s really 3 stars, but I cannot give the highest score yet)
  • Steal-ability: ***
  • Challenge-ability: ***
  • Total: 14/15 stars



Huib Schoots’ “How to be an Explorer of Software” (based on interest in the title)

Mr. Schoots talks about creativity? The guy who had a conference sessions in which he mostly played music talks about creativity? I think this is the stuff everyone needs to see. The title pushed me in a quite different assumption on the contents of the session. I thought that it would be about hands on exploring something, but since the description kinda gave the impression that it’s about how we document and observe, it actually fulfills the title quite well. Interested I surely am.

Huib is a great fella and he could be one of the top 3 reasons for me to attend. He is the bloke that makes people smile on their worst day. All that and a world-class tester! Say no more! I have seen Sami “the Monkey” Söderblom talking about exploring, read (the beginning) Elisabeth Hendrickson’s book on exploring, so it would be nice to see another take on the subject. The value is hard to define, since I feel the values are more personal than community wide spreadable thoughts. To be able to more concisely test and document a software is a great skill to have.

To challenge Huib is something I think he would enjoy more than anything, so I think I must get in touch with him and get my hands on the material if I can’t attend. I might also be able to steal something that I later present something as my own, but I ain’t gonna let him know. It’s hard to put a finger on the stuff that I’d like to steal, but I bet there are loads of stuff.

The exploration of stars…

  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: **
  • Challenge-ability: ***
  • Total: 13/15 stars



Erik Davis’ "Effective Practice Manager" (random pick)

A practice manager. That’s a new term for me. Based on the description I didn’t get what is a practice manager. Is it like a skill coach or a competence manager? Either way I feel this is an experience report with some educational features. Oh it’s an experience report with discussion. Maybe we have some cool practice manager problems we can help solve for him. Challenging might come to play while there’s a discussion in the session, but I do know so very little about the subject beforehand.

I was intrigued by the “increase their own impact at work” bullet point. That is something I want. I want autonomy and to see my own passions and skills realize in my daily work. In that sense this session might be a good catch. It would definitely have long term effects but I couldn’t get the short term value out of the description. Maybe it lies in the “whatever else comes out of the discussion”.

I don’t know Erik at all. He might be one of those blokes who have avoided my radar so far. Based on his personal description I think I he would be the guy to get to know. Maybe I’ll ask him for a beer at the evening activities. His interest in educating testers and building their skill set is something I want to do also.


  • Person-to-person: **
  • Short time value: *
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: **
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 8/15 stars



3rd day sessions:

Jari Laakso’s ”Security Testing” (based on familiarity to speakers)

Before I have even checked the description on Jari’s session, I must say I am intrigued by this. He is my first touch on security testing on my Finnish blog years back. Unfortunately, I haven’t met the guy. I know he’s intelligent and capable tester, but I haven’t been in contact him for some time. Maybe I have to rekindle that connection to get the latest.

Ok. The description. Very well! Hands on security testing! Where do I sign? This is like one of the essential stuff that people are asked to when doing exploratory testing. SQL injections are in every text book on testing, but this guy actually shows how to do that. Nice! I can see the value skyrocket! The thing is, to be able to share this knowledge I should know even more about the subject. I might lack the interest in security testing in general, so I might not be able to teach these skills to others (I’d ask Jari to do it for me).

To challenge him might be difficult due to the fact that we are talking about technical stuff once again. Things like cross-site scripting are founded on protocols, REST-calls and whatnot, and I don’t feel I can challenge him on those. I might wanna try, tho. ;)


  • Person-to-person: ***
  • Short time value: ***
  • Long time value: *
  • Steal-ability: *
  • Challenge-ability: *
  • Total: 9/15 stars



Alexandra Casapu’s “Examine Your Testing Skills” (based on interest in the title)

Hands on testing and discovering our testing skills. I like it. In EuroSTAR test lab I had the chance to dapple with Mr. Lyndsay’s machines and I really want to have another go! Besides I’m interested in how my skills map out. I don’t know Alexandra, but I’ve heard of her. She is one of those people I want on my “meet these people in the Testing Scene” list.

The idea of having various non-technical skills to help you with testing is interesting. I would like to know other peoples’ skills and if I can borrow their passions and learn what they know. I’d be able to steal ideas from the participants and from Alexandra. Very nice! Since I have been doing some reading on skills, I might be able to challenge her and my previous views quite easily. And skills practicing in practice is always something to take home to.


  • Person-to-person: **
  • Short time value: **
  • Long time value: **
  • Steal-ability: **
  • Challenge-ability: **
  • Total: 10/15 stars



Scott Barber’s  ”Experiencing Product Owners”  (random pick)

Random in deed… Scott, if you’re reading this, you might want to check the description on the website. ;)

A big star on the effort, though.

Conclusion

Having surpassed the pain of starting to write again, I feel joyous on how I managed to rate 10 (Scott’s doesn’t count) sessions on five heuristic parameters. The toughest thing is ahead of me, though. I need to convince someone to pay my trip to Sweden.

Vi ses!
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