Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Acorn Grew

A couple of months back I posted about a tentative Michigan Testers Meetup

Well it actually happened - 30 testers arrived at Lansing, MI for an afternoon - and evening  - of talking testing. When we came up with the idea we didn't know how much, if any, interest there would be, it was a pleasant surprise to find 42 people signed up and most of those actually turned up.

Somehow I'd volunteered myself into doing a lightning talk and was first up - and to add to the nerves the presenters were also being miked up, not used to that and been awhile since I've spoken in public.
Seemed to go OK though I have another post lined up about a mistake I made in it...

Next up was Erik Davis who had driven up all the way from Columbus, Ohio. His voice had gone during the week and he didn't think my suggestion of doing his presentation through the art of mime was a good one.
He improvised though and gave one of the funniest presentations I've been in - he had written up his talk and used a text-to-speech program ( with an impeccable British accent ) to read it out. The talk was about how Eric has wanted to set up his own local Tester Meetup and what he's done to get it off the ground. It's happening so good luck to him !

Jess Lancaster, a fellow organiser, gave a very enthusiastic talk about tester skills and how often "technical skills = programming" rather than the full gamut of things that being 'technical' could cover. Loved his delivery and energy, any tester listening to him would want to leave the meeting and start working on improving their skills

The event was kindly hosted by Tech Smith, great facilities and two of their testers Wade Stevens and Clint Hoagland gave talks on what they are up to. Wade loves using video for recording bugs and gave a good talk on why and how he uses them, Clint talked about how the company is moving from Waterfall to Agile with the problems they face and some of the solutions they are coming up with.

Along with questions from the audience this was a good session, as you can see from the outline the range of topics covered was wide-ranging

Snack break next and a problem found with inconsistent requirement. Trays of Subway sandwiches but the plates that were put out were the TV dinner type plates with 3 compartments all of which were too small for a sandwich. Defect ?

Next up was Matt Heusser with a talk on automation and some of the pitfalls of the approach that companies often take where they set it up to do a 'click click click check value click click check value' which they think is mimicking the approach a human tester is taking. But Selenium does not have a "oh look these buttons overlap" function or a "lets see what happens if we edit the second item in a shopping cart and save it then re-edit it and add a third item oh look the program is in a mess"function.

To demonstrate his ideas he got the room to play Battleships, people were divided into teams, one half could be 'exploratory' and react to the feedback from their moves, the other team had to script out the plays they were going to use before play started. I'd taken part in this before at a GR Testers Meetup so took on the role of interested observer. Quite amusing to watch a room full of adults calling out "E4...hit"  "D7...miss"  "A6.. you sunk my cruiser". No real surprise when the exploratory groups won.
More discussion led by Matt of when and how automation can be used.

and then it was over
Raffle tickets drawn for some prizes, announcement of other testing events - and a plan to hold another Michigan Tester Meetup in 3 months time.

Some of us then adjourned to a local bar to carry on the discussions including how many tests cases would it need to cover the range of chicken wing options and sauces...

Discussion of ideas - check
Discussion of other peoples experiences and problems - check
Enthusiasm level raised - check

- and for one tester who suffers from social anxiety but who pushed herself to make it happen - it happened. Kudos to Hilary and a great example of what can happen if you put yourself out there and start engaging with the test community - online and off.

Thanks also to Matt and Jess for helping organise, TechSmith for hosting - and for Michigan testers for turning up on a Saturday afternoon.


Tony Bruce said...

Sounds great! Hope I can make a meetup one day.

Tony Bruce said...
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