Tiny Testbash 2015

Last Friday I went to the Ministry of Testing TinyTestBash testing conference in Brighton.  As with all testing conferences I was looking forward to learning new thoughts and ideas on testing as well as getting a chance to meetup with some new and familiar faces.

I started the day off by going to the lean coffee session.   This was actually the first time I had actually been to a lean coffee at a testing conference. (although I have tried the format before elsewhere).  As I was staying overnight in Brighton this was a perfect opportunity to do that. Staying overnight also gave the chance to pop along to the Lord Nelson the night before for a few pre Testbash drinks!!!  I very much enjoyed discussing various testing topics during the lean coffee session.

The conference started with a talk from Maaret Pyhajarvi, in which she talked about her testing experiences with developers and the wider business where she worked. I found her thoughts around the importance of collaboration and how she approached agile development of particular interest.  We have recently started doing 1 week sprints in our development team so it was useful to take on board some of these thoughts and ideas.

The second talk was a joint presentation from Jokin Aspiazu and Marta Garrido on how their team approached hiring a tester.  It’s always interesting to hear how different companies approach this process especially having done quite a number of interviews for testers in the past.   In particular I liked the idea of inviting candidates along to meet the wider team which is a great idea as it helps you understand how a potential new tester will fit into the team.

The third talk was from Kim Knup reflecting on here first 100 days as a sole tester at a new company.  Having worked with Kim previously I was keen to hear her story and how she faced the various challenges along the way.  It was very interesting to learn how she went about educating her new company on what testing is and its importance.

After a short break we moved onto the three talks that took us up to lunch.   Dan Billing talked about how he became interested in, and eventually moved into a role focusing on security testing and how he is  currently working on a new heuristic to cover the important area of security testing.   There were also talks from Stuart Wright on how he had gone from being a sole tester to leading a team of local testers and Guna Petrova talked how she got into testing, what she enjoys about it and her interaction with the wider testing community.

The afternoon started with Emma Keaveny talking about Dark Patterns.   Emma explained what dark patterns were and how they can be used within user interfaces to potentially offer customers products they either do not need or for which opting out was not easy or obvious.  The most fascinating part of the talk was around the quandary from a testers point of view and how as a tester we should react to these practices.  As a result the questions that followed the talk sparked some interesting debate.  Emma is giving the talk again at the next Brighton Tester Meetup (#testactually) on 11th November.

This was followed by a talk form Stephen Mounsey on how he uses sketch-noting in testing.  He explained how he has used this to capture the key messages from the various conferences and training courses he has been on.  The thing I found fascinating was the amount of information that could be captured from a single drawing and how this conveyed a colourful but concise summary.    The final talk of this session was from Frank Fristred-Petersen about his testing career and how as an introvert he had learned to adapt and appreciate the importance of communication in his various roles.

Richard Bradshaw concluded the talks by talking through what he had learnt from his year in mobile testing. I’ve never been involved in mobile testing before so I was quite interested to learn about the range of things that have to be taken into consideration during testing, such as different handsets, phone operating systems, even down to charging multiple handsets!  I’d also not appreciated before how important it was to actually do testing of mobile applications in the field where mobile phones tend to be mainly used.  This can lead to interesting information (like understanding the effects on an application if you have a weak or dropped signal) and be used to help uncover problems.

So what did I take from the day?  Well aside from a very nice Ministry of Testing mug (Thank-you MoT!), and not enough photos I took a whole bunch or new thoughts and ideas on testing.  I really enjoyed the day and as always it was a great opportunity to talk to a whole range of testers along the way about what they do and their experiences.

What I will say is that we have a fantastic testing community!!!   Its only in the last year that I’ve really come to appreciate this more from getting on Twitter, participating in the Weekend Testing sessions and getting along to the local #TestActually meetups in Brighton.

I’ve been testing for over 10 years and I have to say by going to the Testbash conferences and getting more involved in the testing community I am really starting to enjoy testing again having lost a little of my enthusiasm and energy for it a few years ago.   Thankfully I discovered there is a different way to approach testing which can make it more fun, enjoyable and ultimately rewarding.

I hope I am able to build upon this and increase my involvement so that I can start to give something back to the community.  Hopefully this blog is a good start (its only the second one I’ve ever written!!) to reflect on and share my experiences. Who knows maybe at some point in the near future I may find the confidence to stand up and share these with others at a testing conference…..

Finally thank-you to the Ministry of Testing for another awesome testing conference!!!

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