Monday, 8 July 2013

Michigan Testers Meetup - Round 2 with added eh?

Twas a dark and stormy night...
but even a massive thunderstorm and backed up traffic was not going to stop a bunch of hardcore testers meeting up at Lansing, Michigan. Talking of hardcore, Erik Davis and Nick drove up from Ohio to be there

The first Michigan Testers Meetup had been a great success but had finished with only a vague plan to do another one sometime. Then we heard that Paul Holland was going to be in Michigan teaching RST so the opportunity was seized and a Michigan Testers Meetup was quickly arranged.

Pizza and wings eaten, it was time for things to get started and Pete Walen did a lightning talk about being in a support band and opening for Rod Stewart at Grand Rapids. His argument/analogy was that testers are like support bands, they get the crowd warmed up and make the main attraction look good.

Not an argument I was convinced by - headliner bands do not want to be upstaged by support bands and often sabotage them to make them sound bad. I dont think it's a good selling point to attract people to the profession - go to a school and ask if they want to be a headliner or a support band? I'd also recently seen Rush at the Van Andel arena and they played 3 hours with no support band so I'd be worried there might be a flurry of "support bands are dead" blog posts...

Onto the main talk, Pauls talk had 2 main topics - how your brain works and bad metrics.

For his brain talk he referenced a book called Your Brain At Work ( now on my Wish List ) and how the social aspects of the brain are often ignored. Being ostracised can activate the same pain and threat responses in the brain as feeling hungry, feeling part of a group is a primary reward. Instead of being in a silo and having a friend vs foe mentality, being social and friendly means the brain can use a different set of pathways and you can become more productive.

Then it was onto metrics
Yeh, those big bad metrics. Paul outlined a number of the typical ones, how they are used and what is wrong with them. Just about every tester will have been exposed to them - though how many recognise why they are bad is another question.

Paul then outlined how he put a new approach into his place with examples of the reports and charts he produced and the whiteboard he was using. A proper real life experience report so it was really interesting to hear how he went about it and how it evolved.
Great presentation, passionate delivery mixed with humour and plenty of personal anecdotes and so the time flew by.

Time for questions and then it was over.

The meeting carried on at a nearby bar but as I said at the start, 'twas a dark and stormy night and I'm still not used too driving at night over here so sadly I made my excuses and left.
Though as most of the people there will be at CAST next month it wont be long before I will be enjoying a beer and chat with them.

Thanks to TechSmith for hosting, Clint for the pizza n wings, Pete and Paul for talking, Matt Heusser and Hilary Weaver ( shame you couldn't make it ) for organising.

So, when is the third one?