Let’s Test Oz 2014 – Day 1

15 Sep

It’s 11PM and day 1 hasn’t finished yet, there are activities still happening around the hotel. This is really a different style of conference than I’m used to. All participants stay at the same hotel where the keynotes, breakout sessions and test lab take place, so the conference doesn’t actually end at a specific time each night.

I arrived this morning in the picturesque Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. I was excited, nervous, intimidated, keen, and relieved to have made it here. There was a contingent of testers already here and the conferring had begun before the conference’s opening keynote. About 5 minutes after entering the hotel, most thoughts of intimidation and nervousness were gone. This is where I was meant to be. I mingled and promoted twitter as a means for learning more about the context-driven testing community.

The opening keynote was delivered by James Bach:

How do I know I am context-driven?

What followed was a wealth of information based on years of research, hands-on experience and debates, condensed into a one-hour talk. This was an excellent summary of what it means to be context-driven, from one of the founders of the context-driven testing community. There was one slide in particular which I could’ve questioned James on for another hour, called Implicit principles of the Context-Driven School of Testing. This slide contains ideas which could fill a book, if James had time to write another book.. I think I need to read some more books before I can fully fathom the concepts presented! The beauty of this conference is that I have many opportunities to find James in the hotel and ask about this slide in more detail, ask for advice on recommended further reading, and discuss testing in depth.

As usual, I found James’ talk personally motivating and compelling. Specifically, the categorisation of levels of involvement in the context-driven community felt to me like a call to action and I’ve treated it as such. I will be actively ensuring that I fall into the Committed Practitioner category, and probably also Committed Student as I love to keep learning.

These are some of my favourite quotes from James‘ keynote speech:

“A professional society of people trying to be the best they can be” – Yes! This is a growing crowd which I’m proud to be a part of.

“Respect and nurture people who are learning” – James noted the Greeting vs. Challenging methods of introducing testers to the context-driven community, and his tendency towards the latter. There are other leaders in the test community who patiently introduce those who are newly discovering professional testing approaches.

“The product is a solution. If the problem isn’t solved, the product doesn’t work”. Hallelujah!

“Testing has parallels with martial arts, you need to practise, and EARN respect” – I’m paraphrasing here.

“Context-driven testers must be able to answer the question ‘What’s your approach to testing?'” – Oops. I have some homework to do.

“Instead of best-practice, say a practice. For example, we use a practice for defect management.” That’s a huge improvement! This would make the software world a better place šŸ™‚

“You don’t need to promise, quantify or lie. See Keith Klain for more information.” I’m paraphrasing again. This was another call to action for me.

In conclusion…

This is what I got from the FIRST HOUR of this 3 day conference. I’m glad I made the effort to attend, I’d have deeply regretted missing out.

Stay tuned, more to come. But not tonight šŸ™‚


Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Software Testing


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3 responses to “Let’s Test Oz 2014 – Day 1

  1. neilstudd

    September 16, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    So glad that you’re having a great time!

    You’ve done well to publish *anything* on Day 1. My main memory of Let’s Test in Sweden is that there is hardly a moment of down-time, even in the evenings. I managed to transfer scribbled notes to electronic notes in some of the breaks, but I still felt like that was eating into quality conversation time!

    Grasp all of the opportunities that you can; make sure you find James! One useful thing about a multi-day conference is that you can shorten your own internal feedback cycle: “What was best about today? What did I miss out on? What can I do better tomorrow?” – and then each day gets better and better! (In Sweden I was relatively passive on Day 1, spoke on-stage on Day 2, and led group discussions on Day 3. My only regret is that I wasn’t brave enough to give a Lightning Talk, you should definitely try it if you get the chance!)


    • Kim Engel

      September 16, 2014 at 12:18 AM

      Thanks Neil šŸ™‚ Today I took on a leadership role during a group exercise in Fiona Charles’ workshop on Leadership, and over dinner I came up with ideas for 2 Lightning Talks for tomorrow. I’m getting right into it šŸ™‚



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