The WeTest Weekend Workshop rises to the challenge

Big Thoughts

9 December 2013 • Written by Katrina Clokie

Katrina Clokie talks about her experiences at the recent WeTest Weekend Workshops, an affordable testing conference presented by local talent

As one of the organisers of the first WeTest Weekend Workshops conference, I was nervous and excited as the last Saturday of November fast approached.

Aaron Hodder and I had done a lot of planning to ensure the event ran smoothly, but it all felt very unreal until people started to actually arrive. It was a relief to welcome the 54 testers prepared to give up their Saturday afternoon to talk testing. Our theme for the event was ‘Challenge and Change’.

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Katrina at registration (Photo by @AWGHodder)

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Aaron opening the conference (Photo by @craigmckirdy)

The conference included three parallel tracks that each ran four 50-minute sessions. In the first session, I facilitated for Rupert Burton who spoke on Automation. Rupert shared his experiences with test data and shared his pros and cons of hard-coded data versus a set retrieved by database queries. The following discussion covered:

  • How we use production-like data responsibly in our testing

  • How we can test using system-generated databases

  • Techniques for mocking data

  • Whether automation gives you more time to test or ties you down

  • Where bugs are found by automation

In the second session of the day, I facilitated for Oliver Erlewein who bravely stepped in as a last-minute replacement to speak on organisational change. Oliver spoke of his experiences in implementing change at a large organisation and shared his insights into why his attempt ultimately failed. The discussion that followed covered:

  • The differences between change instigated top-down vs. bottom-up

  • How to influence change outside of testing practice

  • The differences in influence between a separate testing team and an embedded tester

  • How testers are seen as interchangeable, rather than skilled professionals

  • The difference between evangelists and stakeholders

After a short afternoon break, the third session kicked off. In my final facilitation role of the day, I enjoyed listening to Craig McKirdy speak about his journey in testing. He talked about his education path from a traditional testing environment to an awareness of different practices. He cited Brian Osman and James Bach as key members of the context-driven testing community who inspired him to become passionate about his craft. The following discussion covered:

  • Training vs. certification

  • How we teach our junior testers

  • How we influence the certification syllabus

I was free to enjoy the fourth and final session of the day as a participant. Anna Marshall spoke on her varied role as a test manager. She discussing the challenges of knowing exactly what a test management role entailed, her previous experience including line management, process improvement, resource scheduling, training, forming strategies and attendance at many meetings! The discussion that followed covered:

  • How the market sees a test manager

  • How to responsibly communicate metrics as a test manager

  • Whether it was possible to shield a team too much

  • The conflict between each responsibility within the role

The day finished with short and eloquent closing remarks by Aaron, followed by pizza and drinks for all participants.

A big thank you to Assurity for supporting a growing community of thinking testers and providing great t-shirts for all attendees.

To join our events in 2014, sign up for WeTest Workshops.

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