Monday 15 December 2014

What I got back from EuroStar - Restore to Factory Settings: What to Do When a Change Programme Goes Wrong by Isabel Evans

Since I attended the EuroStar conference, I would like to write down a little about talks I went to, just to put together notes, pictures and toughs.

Restore to Factory Settings: What to Do When a Change Programme Goes Wrong by Isabel Evans.

Isabel started her talk explaining what influence diagrams were about. And since the example found at Wikipedia is TLWR, she used a simple example.

She told us that when she gets sad, then she eats chocolate.
when she eats chocolate, then she gains weight.
When she gains weight, she gets sad.

And expressed this with a simple influence diagram.
Instead of using a mindmap where some items are related or belong to some others, in a influence diagram there is a circular relationship between all elements, creating a ecosystem of influences that helps us understand change, or why things got to a certain state.

Once this was clear, she moved on and explained how she started working for a big company with the mission of improve testing, and how she found out that it was not enough to improve testing, but that a lot of global improvements across the whole company had to take place in order to improve testing.

Check out her initial plan in green, and the influences she found out that were happening in red:

Also, she found out how the influence of management was impacting the developers, and came up with another nice diagram:

At the end of her talk, she linked her example to Joels law of leaky abstractions and how this law does not only apply to software, but also to process and relations inside the company.

What I got out of it:
I wasn't aware of influence diagrams as a powerful tool to explain circular cause-effect conditions, but since this talk, I think it's going to be a new tool in my belt.

At our peerTransfer office we have a nice influence diagram about development speed, just by the coffee machine.

You can find Isabel at Twitter, there is a nice interview at the Ministry of Testing and you can listen to her keynote at the EuroStar site.

Friday 5 December 2014

What I got back from EuroStar - Every Tester has a price, by Michael Bolton.

Since I attended the EuroStar conference, I would like to write down a little about talks I went to, just to put together notes, pictures and toughs.

Every Tester Has a PRICE: Sources of Product and Project Information by Michael Bolton @michaelbolton.

This man has taught me a lot about Software Testing, so attending to his talk was in my plan. Not because I haven't been to any of his talks before, but just because I knew I'll learn something out of it.

Michael is also a musician, and the way he performed his talk reminded me a lot to those times when musicians gather together to teach and learn from each other, first explaining what they are going to do, then doing it slowly and finally playing the whole set so the music sounds with it's intended form and the harmonies happen to make total sense.

We went to the room at the conference, and it happened to be totally crowded, so after a glance he decided that whatever format he had planned for his talk wouldn't work, so he improvised using a laptop and xmind a tool for doing mindmaps.

He talked about handling expectations, about how for a single test you should not expect a single result, about how requirements live in collective heads, in collective tacit knowledge.

And then he asked the assistants to outline where a tester could gather information about testing, and many things came out, like Requirements, Competing products, Marketing campaigns, Regulations, Bug reports...
At some point he had his screen full of items, (about 50 of them) you could use to get information about what you should be testing and making questions about.

But all these items were messed around the screen, so the eureka! moment came when he told us that there are four types of Information:
- Reference: Information that is written somewhere.
- Conference: Information that you get when talking with people.
- Inference: Information you get when you use something, or people use to do in a certain way.
- Experience: Information you got from experiments you did, or from things you know how to do.

And he allocated each of the items to one of these four types, explaining how each one could belong to a certain type of information and making totally sense out of the previous mess.

What I got out from it:
Well, I already knew how important it is for a tester to have information about what he is testing, what the context is about and what matters and why. Bolton reminded me that when I search for information, there are a lot of places to go and to have in mind, it's just a matter of using your imagination.

I haven't found this talk at the internets, but if you are curious I can recommend you his talk about Agile Testing Quadrants and maybe, to check in his page and take a Rapid Software Testing class whenever that might be. I took that training in May 2012, and it set my testing career looking (so far) at the right direction.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

What I got back from EuroStar - The Internet of things.

Since I attended the EuroStar conference, I would like to write down a little about talks I went to, just to put together notes, pictures and toughs.

The Internet of Things by Andy Stanford-Clark @andysc 

Andy explained to the audience what the so called 'Internet of things' is about connecting to the internet devices that traditionally didn't have connectivity.

This idea is hitting the big industry, and he used his own example of how his family is measuring their home energy consumption, how he collects the data, analyse it and learn things out from it.

To put it short, he developed a series of devices so he would track the electricity consumption, open windows, weather forecast, temperature, mousetraps and some system behind that would tweet any news regarding his home. (things like "living room window has been open for 3 hours", or "Mouse trap in studio just caught a mouse", you get the idea...)

And over the layer of measurements, he added another layer of intelligence, so his home would tweet advice to set the washing machine on, based on current electricity consumption and a good weather forecast.

What he was explaining, is that business of any kind need to find new ways to deal with customers. Be that by connecting devices to the internet, offering services in the cloud, by managing data or by providing intelligence.

He explained us how his future was like, and he warned us, that one day, your toilet is going to suggest you to visit the doctor, and your insurance company is going to offer you such a toilet.

What I got out of it:
I loved to see how Andy was able to put together simple solutions to deal with a complex problem, that's engineering at its best state. I also got a curiosity about how much energy our home is consuming, and I'm considering trying out some the stuff that can be found at efergy or opendomo.

PD. I found a similar talk Andy gave at a TEDx event, it's not exactly the same, but it might be worth 16 minutes of your life.


Tuesday 2 December 2014

Thank you for EuroStar 2014

Last week I went to EuroStar conference in Dublin, and it was a blast!
Dublin Conference Center
I have to say that this was totally unexpected to me. I tried to win a ticket at the greentester contest, but didn't make it, and even that I have a budget for trainings and conferences, EuroStar was just too much for me.

But then, one month ago, Rosie Sherry emailed me asking if I would go to Dublin if she managed to get me a ticket, and my answer was "Yes, sure!".

So, the conference has been grand!, I attended to great talks, knew a lot of people and had a lot of fun.

But first things first, I have to say Thank you...

Thank you Rosie Sherry for getting me a ticket to the conference, I had a great time in Dublin and it happened to be a great experience.

Thank you Morten Hougaard, who came up with a ticket for the gala dinner, so I could join the crowd in this event.

Thank you Michael Larsen, for sitting down with me, letting me complete a challenge and providing a Miagi-Do brown belt which I will wear with honour.

Thank you to Emma, Guna, Ru and the rest of the Test Lab folks for making the lab the best place to be in the conference. Perfect to practice stuff and complete challenges. Hugo and I were able to solve the black box, and the feeling of satisfaction was worth the struggle.

Thank you to the people behind the EuroStar conference, I saw you all working very hard so the conference would be a success, and because it was, you deserve every nice word about how it went.

Thank you to my team at peerTransfer, for testing all issues that came to my kanban slot while I was at the conference, so when I got back to the office I didn't have a mountain of issues waiting to get tested.

You people rock! and I am grateful to all of you for this experiences I had.

And last but not least, thank you Empar, my beloved wife, for rowing my same boat, in the same direction, for running our family while I'm miles away,

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