#BREWT… so it begins

There Be Dragons

Over the past years, peer conferences on software testing have sprung up all over the world. Europe in particular has seen a lot of strange acronyms emerge: DEWT, DWET, SWET, CEWT, LEWT, TITAN, PEST,…

When initial talks started for DEWT (the Dutch Exploratory Workshop in Testing) in 2010, I jumped on the Dutch train. It’s been a great – nay, fantastic – ride so far. But there was always that undisclosed little area that was conspicuously absent in the peer conference landscape. One country that testing-wise had “Here Be Dragons” written all over it: Belgium.

Sure, there were plans, ideas and good intentions, but rarely the energy. This is were Beren Van Daele decided to kick things up a notch. With energy to spare, he registered a site, fired off some invitatons and started planning that first peer conference on Belgian soil.

BREWT force!

That is how BREWT was born. The Belgian Research Event and Workshop on Testing. Undoubtedly similar to DEWT but with a distinguished Burgundian twist (and most likely some uncut Belgian surrealism thrown in the mix). I see BREWT not only as a peer conference, but also a sounding board of professionals, a place to discuss and share ideas, an opportunity to sharpen our skills and thinking. A movement? Let’s see where it leads us.

Et tu, BREWT?

Our first major event will be a peer conference in the fall of 2017. If you’re interested in joining, we would like to hear from you!

For more information, visit us at http://brewtconf.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

 

Eurostar 2016 sketchnotes

In my continuing deliberate sketchnoting practice, I documented the Eurostar sessions I attended (or rather, the sessions for which I arrived on time to get properly set up).

Testing the inside of your head – Liz Keogh

testing-the-inside-of-your-head-liz-keogh-eurostar-2016

Lessons learned from the worst bug I ever found – Ru Cindrea

lessons-learned-from-the-worst-bug-i-ever-found-ru-cindrea-eurostar-2016

The critique of AI in the age of the net – Harry Collins

the-critique-of-ai-in-the-age-of-the-net

Stories from testing healthcare.gov – Ben Simo

stories-from-testing-healthcare-gov-ben-simo-eurostar-2016

Kolb’s testing cycle – Beren Van Daele

kolbs-testing-cycle-beren-van-daele-eurostar-2016

Growing a company test community – Alex Schladebeck

growing-a-company-test-community-alex-schladebeck-eurostar-2016

Don’t learn the rules, learn from the rules – Dale Emery

dont-learn-the-rules-learn-from-the-rules-dale-emery-eurostar-2016

The Power of Doubt – Becoming a Software Skeptic (Paper)

Last week I had the privilege of presenting at the EuroSTAR conference in Stockholm, as always a pleasant experience that deserves a more lengthy blog post, later. I would like to use this first post in nearly two years (yes, this blog makes even tumbleweed feel lonely) to publish the paper that accompanied my presentation, “The Power of Doubt – Becoming a Software Skeptic”.

title-slide-power-of-doubt

The whole process of writing this paper was quite the adventure, submerging myself in the wondrous world of skepticism, science, philosophy, pseudoscience and the paranormal for almost two years. Somehow I hoped to find clues to help me with my testing. I think I did.

Here is my paper in pdf format. Enjoy.

The Power of Doubt – Becoming a Software Skeptic.pdf

PS:
Tip of the hat to Kristoffer Nordstrom, with whom I started an accountability partnership to start and keep us both blogging. I realise this isn’t a full-fledged blog post, but it’s a start. Right?

DEWT 5 – sketchnotes

A week ago, the fifth edition of our Dutch Exploratory Workshop in Testing (DEWT) peer conference took place. DEWT5.

The elevator speech: DEWT is a weekend full of experience reports and facilitated discussions with a pleiad of (inter)national testers. And fun, of course: games, beer, walks in the woods! And let’s not forget that good old friend Laphroaig. The theme this year was “Test Strategy”, hand-picked by this year’s content owner Ruud Cox. The diversity in the reports was striking, as was the diversity of ways in which people interpret the notion of a test strategy. Yes, let’s assume it was long elevator trip.

I set out to take notes of all the talks, and I learned a valuable lesson in the process. It is very hard for me to combine focused note-taking (sketchnote-style) while critically thinking about the matter at hand. Then again, I have always known that  multitasking is really a my… oooh shiny scans:

Marjanna Shammi:

DEWT5-MarjanaShammi

Maaret Pyhäjärvi: 

DEWT5-MaaretPyhäjärvi

Ruud Teunissen:

DEWT5-RuudTeunissen

Richard Bradshaw:

DEWT5-RichardBradshaw

Peter Schrijvers & Massimo D’Antonio:

DEWT5-PeterMassimo

Ilari Henrik Aegerter:

DEWT5-IlariAegerter

Simon Knight:

DEWT5-SimonKnight

Joris Meerts:

DEWT5-JorisMeerts

My Eurostar 2014 closing keynote

I had the privilige of delivering the closing keynote at the Eurostar 2014 conference in Dublin. I crafted a talk that was unique to this event, bringing the theme together, summarizing what the theme meant to me and exploring how it is all connected.

I know the slides can only tell you so much when the narrative isn’t there, but here is the online version of my Prezi:

Everything is connected – exploring diversity, innovation, leadership

Everything is connected

Although it was the first (and last) rendition of this talk, I think it went well. Several people found it to be “thought-provoking”, which is exactly what I was aiming (and hoping) for.

Now that this is over, I feel I am done with conference presentations for a while. I’m planning to take a long-awaited deep dive – with lots of reading, learning and working on new content. I’m taking it slowly. There are some important topics that need exploring, and now I am finally giving them (and me) the time to make that happen. I’m also looking forward to some exciting collaborations with others in the near future.

I’m following my energy. Let’s see where that leads us.

Let’s Test 2014 – sketchnotes

The busy month of May offered me another opportunity to practice sketchnoting: the wonderful Let’s Test conference in Runö – Stockholm. The conference was, as always, fantastic. A good number of the sessions were experiential workshops that invite participation rather than sketchnoting (although I might make summary notes on them later on), but there was still enough goodness to get drawing.

I am growing fond of the live noting of conference talks – with the unspoken rule of posting it on twitter before the last attendee leaves the room. I very much like the live time-pressure aspect of it since it doesn’t allow my evil perfectionist side to take over. My DEWT-friend and colleague Ruud Cox has gently tried to nudge me into two-stage sketchnoting or even non-live sketchnoting (books, recorded talks). As my conference calendar is fairly empty for the rest of the year, maybe I’ll have a go at that.

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40 years of trying to play well with others - Tim Lister

 

amtweet

 

 

The DIY guide to raising the testing bar -  Alessandra Moreira

 

mh-cwtweet

 

 

Can playing games actually make you a better tester? - Martin Hynie - Christin Wiedemann

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Realism in Testing - Dawn Haynes

 

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A critical look at best practices - Jon Bach

 

 

 

StarEast sketchnotes

One of my personal goals for this year is to become better at sketchnoting. And becoming better – for me – means: working at expanding my visual library and – more importantly – practice, practice, practice!

Last week I attended StarEast in Orlando, and testing conferences happen to provide a wonderful opportunity to get some of that much needed practice in.

Armed with a Confidant notebook (a new brand of notebooks by Baron Fig) and a set of sharpie pens, I went to work. Apart from the Selenium and Webdriver tutorial by Alan Richardson (hands-on coding does not match well with equally hands-on drawing), my keynote and the one preceding it (duh!) and a presentation about game testing of which I missed the first ten minutes, I took notes for every single talk I attended.

I like taking notes this way – the timed challenge provides me with much needed focus (no zoning out here), and the notes seem to stick way longer. As a bonus: even if the content does not particularly appeal to me, the added note taking practice still makes it worthwile.

So, without further ado, here goes:

SketchNote Rob Sabourin  SketchNote Erik Van Veenendaal

SketchNote Lightning Talks  SketchNote Theresa Lanowitz

SketchNote Michael Bolton  SketchNote Lloyd Roden

SketchNote Jennifer Bonine