Category Archives: Conference

WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND TEST MASTERS CONFERENCES?


Originally collated and published here.

We asked our participants, leading experts in software testing and quality engineering community. Read their responses below.

The event was extremely well organized, and I enjoyed every session. In addition to great speakers, the attendees at this event were engaging and thoughtful. Definitely one of the best conferences I’ve attended.

Alan Page, Director at Unity Technologies
Bellevue, Washington

Thank you for the perfectly organized conference! It was terrific and a great opportunity to connect with some sharp minds in the industry sharing their experiences and knowledge. I found both attendees and speakers were energetic to learn what similar problems we are facing in software development and how others have solved them. The sessions were interactive with the top-notch content. Overall a great conference to attend!

Arpit Jain, Software QA Lead at Validus Research Inc.
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

I attended the Test Masters Academy in June 2018 both as a speaker and attendee. What a great time! The ability to connect with other speakers and attendees at sessions, group activities and networking opportunities during the conference provided a well-rounded experience. I would recommend this conference to anyone who is looking to enhance their career and take it to the next level – especially if you enjoy learning in real-world settings. I look forward to participating again!

Melissa Tondi, Strategist at Rainforest QA
Englewood, Colorado

There are today many conferences around the US and around the world.  Each of them has its own characteristics, and for the Test Masters Conferences, this is a group of testers that comes together to share and learn from their experience and knowledge.  The size and organization of sessions allowed for everyone to take an active role and participate in the conversations, making the experience more personal and focused on each of our own needs.

Anna manages to get great speakers to share and facilitate and this in itself helps to place the Test Masters Conferences among those events that you want to mark on your calendar and try to participate at least once in a while.

Joel Montvelisky, Product & Solution Architect at PractiTest
Israel

The Test Masters Academy Conference is the best conference offered in the nation. I have been to other Test Conference but come back to this one. It offers more real world, today’s testing world learning. I have found those who give presentations and collaboration workshop are the best in the tech industry. The conference is small which give you opportunities to get more one-on-one interactions. I appreciate being able to meet so many testers who come from all over the world to attend. Combine the strength of the presentations, meeting new people and a great atmosphere for learning makes them outmatched for any other conference. I would definitely recommend to anybody who wants to learn in a smaller setting.

Paul Hansen, Principle Tester at Hughes Network Systems
Orem, Utah

Test Masters Academy brings in experts from around the world to an amazing location on Times Square. As attendees, we have ample opportunity to meet the speakers and dive deeper into testing topics. The group activities are engaging, encouraging participants to rethink the paradigms of testing.

Thomas Haver, Senior Application Architect at Huntington National Bank
Columbus, Ohio

Presenting at Test Leadership Congress has been an honor and great pleasure. I did a workshop around whole team testing and the interaction I had with the audience was very engaging. I feel that the theme of the conference itself is very unique and something that our industry needs to take seriously i.e. test leadership. I would like to participate again should there be something more I can come up with to suit the idea. Great job Anna and thanks for doing what you are doing!

Lalit Bhamare, Co-founder & chief editor at Tea time with Testers

Read more about Test Leadership Congress (June 26th-28th)

Read more about ConTEST NYC (November 20th-22nd)

How concepts of feminism makes me a better tester -Part 1

Introduction

This article is based on Eeva Pursula’s talk at the Agile Testing Days (Potsdam, Nov. 13. 2018). It sums up her realizations on how feminist mindset supports the testers mindset, and how feminist concepts and feminist thinking can help us identify problems in the work environment and fix them to make our teams work better. At the end she will also share about what feminism can teach us about defining a testers role.

Target audience: Anyone

Why a tester would relate to a feminist?

Testers and feminists have surprisingly much in common. We cherish a questioning mindset. We notice things that others don’t pay attention to. And sometimes we feel a need to do things that some people find disturbing. We may seem angry as we see a lot of structural problems and feel that we do not have power to change the things that need to be changed. And we meet resistance by people who don’t want to dig deeper into things.

Many things (like women’s right to vote) that were considered radical when the first feminists started to speak about them, are taken for granted today in many parts of the world. Some people have it difficult to understand that this does not mean that all relevant goals of feminism would already be achieved. Or they feel that since things are worse somewhere else, we shouldn’t point out problems at home.

Similarly, a tester may face pleas to stop finding new problems, as so much has already been done. But having fixed the worst bugs that were found on the first test rounds does not guarantee that we had a decent product in our hands.

The mindset of curiosity and suspicion

Feminism is about noticing what things are taken for granted and what is assumed, and questioning those things, the conventions and priorities and the frameworks of our thinking, to find out, which ones of them hurt us more than help us.

For example, I used to work in a smallish company where project managers were supposed to substitute the assistant when she wasn’t available. About 90% of the time it was a woman filling in for her even though about 90% of the project managers were men. Nobody meant it to be that way, but since we didn’t do anything to change this, we actually created a company culture where women’s work was less important than men’s work.

Similar situations are seen in many places, as women tend to do tasks for the common good just because these tasks need to be done, while men seem to be better at taking only tasks that benefit their personal careers [1]. If we want more women on leading positions, we have to notice these patterns and start valuing this work, or divide it more evenly, or hire someone for it.

Questioning is also the basis of a testers mindset. We get the best results if we are able to notice the hidden assumptions and forgotten points of view before any code is written, and communicate in a way that has a positive impact. But often times it would not (yet) pop into our minds at the whiteboard, or we fail to notice that our discussions leave people with different interpretations. So we bump into problems when we start testing.

I’ve seen many carelessly formulated requests that have lead into fixing wrong things. For example, when we want to get rid of some error messages, there can be confusion about whether the fix is about hiding the error message or about finding what caused it and fixing that. And sometimes the first suggestion for solving a problem only solves that one step, leaving the workflow unusable. Or the side effects of the fix make the product worse than what it was before.

There can be problems even if the functionality is able to do what it’s supposed to do. I’ve reopened features that could not be found by a user, or gave them false expectations. And I’ve seen a system freeze when the second user logged in.

Even if we try to think about an issue from all possible perspectives, some blind spots easily remain, so we should always be skeptical about whether all real workflows have really been thought through, and whether everything is done that needs to be done. If something seems trivial or avoided it’s probably good to look at it more thoroughly. And when we see risks or are confused over what has been done, we have to have courage to say it out-loud, even if we are not sure whether there really is a problem or not.

Making pain visible

Feminism is about making pain visible and sharing it so that it can be turned into a force that changes things. That’s what #MeToo campaign is about, as well as many human rights campaigns, sharing painful stories. It is not nice, but it seems to be necessary, because the ways we protect our minds from the threats around us, produce victim blaming. We easily close our eyes from the suffering of the others, whether they be refugees or transgenders or what ever group we alienate ourselves from, making up excuses why we should not care, and why they are to blame for their own despair. Nothing changes if we don’t see how much pain there really is, and how little power the victims have for avoiding it. Fixing things starts by seeing and understanding the problem.

As testers we also need to point out things that are sort of hidden below the surface. In a software project, there are many questions that need to be solved, and we need to find the ones that have been forgotten or given up with.

Once I was asked to test a product that had proven to be difficult to develop further without breaking old features. I read through the requirements, and in addition to simple user workflows, there were a bunch of small but important features with tricky time dependencies and other stuff that made them impossible to be tested by just using the software. So we had a meeting with the people responsible for the product and I asked how are these things tested. To one of my questions the answer from the developer was: “We don’t have  an environment where that could be tested, and it worries me.” Apparently nobody had ever before asked him about that, and he had never found time to raise this issue by himself. But once he got it out, he continued the discussion telling some other rather worrying things that I would not have known to point out. So sometimes the best testing is about finding the ways to make developers speak.

Breaking illusions to enable deliberate choices

Feminism is about breaking illusions. For example, in the University of Kansas, they created an exhibition named “What were you wearing?” to break the illusion of too sexy clothes causing women to be raped [2].

Testers also break illusions, mostly illusions related to the quality of the system under test, but it’s not just about finding bugs.

I used to test a rather old and big software that had three development teams that were responsible for different modules in it. But there were things that were common for all the modules, like some of the user roles. In that product, there was a tiny checkbox that gave superuser rights for a user. As I worked with different people in different projects, I found out that the meaning of this checkbox was seen quite differently in different teams and by different developers. Some seemed to think that no customer should ever be a superuser, while others coded customer requested features behind it. So I raised a question about this to allow us to make deliberate choices. That lead into some quite interesting discussions as well.

Making corner cases visible

Inter-sectional feminism raises awareness of corner cases that affect many lives of true, living people. The point is that our work for giving oppressed groups decent possibilities in life does not always help people who are at the intersections of these groups, marginalized in more than one way. We tend to see people from minority groups as solely representations of that particular minority group, so for example in Europe it’s easy to think that depressed muslims or black trans women would not exist. When we talk about European values, we often think about thinks like justice, equality and human rights. These can only be achieved if we give a voice also for the people who are normally neglected.

Similarly a tester sometimes needs to find stories to justify that a bug needs to be fixed even though the developer thinks that no real user would ever really encounter that problem. I’ve found it helpful to be able to name a particular customer, who would most probably see the situation from my perspective. Sometimes it’s of course difficult, and we may have to settle for waiting for user feedback. In those cases it would be good to make sure that we have a way to get some user feedback, because minor problems in software can become costly as they affect which services our customers choose to use.

Check your privilege

But if we talk about feminism, it’s not really enough to question things out loud.

What makes feminism unique as a philosophy, is that it also wants to make privilege and power structures behind the conventions visible. Privilege means things you don’t have to deal with, things you basically do not need to see nor understand [3]. It’s quite easy to see things where we are less privileged than others. If you are left handed or from a poor family, or you have any other disadvantage in your life, you probably see how most people around you are more privileged than you are. The challenge is to see, how I am privileged myself, and how my struggles are less than someone else’s. And we tend to make assumptions about the privileges of others, even though many of them we cannot see. We should be more aware of these assumptions and be able to question them. That can only happen if we learn about lives of different people.

From a testers point of view the concept of privilege is quite self evidently useful when we talk about accessibility. One reason why computers and robots are so great is because thanks to them physically disabled people can have normal jobs, but only if the digital tools that we build for our customers are accessible.

User roles are another point related to privilege. Many testers have heard a developer say “works on my machine” as they use administrator access rights when testing the feature, and the problems are only encountered with more limited access rights.

Tools are also a privilege. Many of us work with huge fancy screens our customers can only dream of. After the workday we may use just a phone or laptop for our personal needs. When my first child started school, for the first year we didn’t get any notifications from the schools electronic communication system. That was because I had filled our contact information to their web form using my laptop, and the check-boxes for giving permission for sending notifications did not fit onto my screen, so I didn’t know that they existed.

So there are quite many things where we have to remember that our users do not have all the information and tools and options that we have.

Leadership is about making people want to follow you

In addition to understanding our privileges compared to our customers, it’s also good to be aware of the power structures at work.

As testers, we are the ones who bring the bad news and spoil the joy of others by reminding them about inconvenient realities. Someone else has to worry about how difficult it is to fix the things we find. From a developers point of view that might feel like we use our power to be mean. So even as we need to be rather merciless in shedding light on problems, we also need to show some empathy and ability to evaluate the significance of our findings. Pick up your fights, and you will more likely be taken seriously when it’s time to fight.

And fighting generally is not the way I want my job to look like. I want to build collaboration, an environment where all roles support each other. It is important because there are many things where I really do not have a power. A tester does not get to decide what improvements are done and how the code is written, and this kind of things can cause frustration for us.

So we need to see, what are the things that we can change, who do we need  to convince in things that are not ours to decide, what is the information we need to give them to make them see the significance of the things that we see, and how to tell about our findings in a constructive way. Testing does not add quality to the product, quality is added by giving developers better possibilities to do their work well, and testing is one crucial tool for that. The way we communicate about problems, and how we are seen as humans, has a huge impact on how the problems are issued, and whether our work is seen as something that takes us towards the teams goals or not. 

References

[1] Harward Business Review: Why Women Volunteer for Tasks That Don’t Lead to Promotions (Linda Babcock, Maria P. Recalde, Lise Vesterlund, July 16 2018) https://hbr.org/2018/07/why-women-volunteer-for-tasks-that-dont-lead-to-promotions

[2] Huffington Post: Art Exhibit Powerfully Answers The Question ‘What Were You Wearing?’ – The installation proves that clothing has nothing to do with sexual assault. (Alanna Vagianos, Sep. 14 2017) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/powerful-art-exhibitpowerfully-answers-the-question-what-were-you-wearing_us_59baddd2e4b02da0e1405d2a

[3] Everyday Feminism: What Privilege Really Means (And Doesn’t Mean) – To Clear Up Your Doubts Once and For All (Maisha Z. Johnson, Jul 21 2015) https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/07/what-privilege-really-means/

Author bio

Author's photo

Eeva Pursula has been in the software industry for 8 years, mostly doing exploratory testing. She has worked with many development teams practicing different blends of waterfall and agile, testing many kinds of browser-based solutions.

 

Eeva has a wide range of interests that have taken her to study topics from physics to philosophy to arts and social psychology. For her testing at its best is about questioning and opening eyes to avoided subjects. She is a storyteller who likes building collaboration instead of confrontation.

Twitter @EevaPursula

LinkedIn – https://bit.ly/2SgtRnz

WOMEN TESTERS JULY 2017 EDITION

WOMEN TESTERS – JULY 2017 EDITION

JULY 2017 edition of Women Testers is brought to you by the team of Women Testers and in association with Testing Circus.

In this edition, we have brought to you an article by the multifaceted conference organizer “Maaret Pyhäjärvi” titled “Five Controversial Ideas to Increase Your Impact as a Tester”. 

An aspiring UX Alchemist, industrious and a regular contributor to women tester magazine “Parimala Hariprasad” shares about “How to Improve Mobile Payment Forms”. 

A poetic tester, the software specialist, who is terrific at testing “Vivien Ibironke Ibiyemi” writes about “The Tester’s life!”. We are in for a treat, read on.

“Anne-Marie Charrett” defined by dynamism shares her perspective on when to stop and to be respectful about the stop criterion’s in the article titled “Finishing Exploring”. 

“Dhanasekar S” writes a guest post, wise words for testers from a test practitioner in this article “Seven Wisdom From A Software Tester”.

We look forward to you reading and sharing this edition which also features a special editorial written by Paul Seaman who is the co-founder of EPIC Testability Academy (ETA). ETA teaches people with autism the basics of software testing. Saluté Paul Seaman and Lee Hawkins.

From around the testing world: These software testing conferences are lined up for this quarter STeP-IN Summit [Aug -Sep], Copenhagen Context Driven Testing Conference [Sep]EclipseCon  [Oct]. Do write to us at [email protected] and share your testing experience for the upcoming edition by September 30th 2017.

Thank you for your awesomeness authors and for the timely submissions. And Testing Circus for your continued inspiration and patronage.

Happy to present these write-ups from the leaders and friends from the testing community. 

Co-ordinator and Editor
Jyothi Rangaiah

WOMEN TESTERS APRIL 2017 EDITION

WOMEN TESTERS – APRIL 2017 EDITION

 

APRIL 2017 edition of Women Testers is brought to you by the team of Women Testers and in association with Testing Circus.

In this edition, we have brought to you an article on leadership and follower-ship titled “Fulfilling your potential as a leader and as a follower” by “Isabel Evans.

We are proud to present to you all, a guest post and an announcement about a Testing School started in Australia  by Paul Seaman and Lee Hawkins for those in autism spectrum and their mentors “EPIC Test-Ability Academy – the story so far”. 

An international conference ‘Test Master’s Academy’ producer “Anna Royzman” writes “On Leadership, Diversity and Inspirational Role Models”.

Farzeen Abbas has written a confession in her role as an Agilist in “Confessions of an agile test lead”.

We look forward to you reading and sharing this edition which also features a special editorial written by Parimala Hariprasad titled “A Chance to Dream”.

From around the testing world: These software testing conferences are lined up for this quarter Mobile Dev+Test, STAREAST, Quality Jam, Atlassian Summit, Europe. Do write to us at [email protected] and share your article for the upcoming edition of Women Testers by May 30th 2017.

Upcoming conferences:

Test Master’s Academy brings to you 2ND ANNUAL TEST LEADERSHIP CONGRESS – MAY 1ST-3RD, NewYork City.  Watch this video to learn more: https://youtu.be/ldKUOGOK2BM 

Thank you for your awesomeness authors and for the timely submissions. And Testing Circus for your continued inspiration and patronage.

Co-ordinator and Editor
Jyothi Rangaiah

WOMEN TESTERS OCTOBER 2016 EDITION

WOMEN TESTERS – OCTOBER 2016 EDITION

Software testing e-magazineOctober 2016 edition of Women Testers is brought to you by the team of Women Testers in association with Testing Circus and with the support of Keith Klain.

In this edition, we have bought to you the following articles: A guest post  “Testing is Dead” (Again) Thanks to DevOps written by Lee Hawkins.
For the first time, women testers features an article from a veteran from the tech world A Critical Path to Problem Resolution by Bruce Seaman.

An article for our new testers by a new tester, Himansha Tyagi who writes about her Journey of A Newbie Tester 

Helena Jeret-Mäe shares her experiences in the form of Lessons from Observing an Organization

What are your testing knowledge sources? As a reply to this question, Ajay Balamurugadas writes his sources of testing know-how in the article titled My Sources of Testing Knowledge

And a candid editorial by Karennjohnson to make us all think about the changing testing profession and the growing need to up-skill/reinvent ourselves as testers.

From around the testing world: Call For Papers is now open for EuroSTAR2017.  Take time out to respond to the early bird registrations CASTx17

We look forward to reading and sharing your new learning experiences while you are at these software testing conferences lined up for December 2016 Software Testing Conference, Peers of Estonian Software Testing (PEST), Agile testing days, NFTCon. Do write to us at [email protected] and share your article for the upcoming edition of Women Testers by December 30th 2016.

Thank you for your awesomeness authors and for the timely submissions. And Testing Circus for your continued inspiration and patronage.

Co-ordinator and Editor
Jyothi Rangaiah

Functional Conference 2015

Functional Conference 2015 Schedule is now live.

At this conference, FUCONF host’ s 30 speakers who will present a potpourri of these 16 functional languages:

APL/Dyalog
Clojure
ClojureScript
Erlang
Escher.jl
F#
Groovy
Haskell
Hy
Java8
JavaScript
Julia
OCaml
PureScript
Scala
Swift

BE THERE TO WITNESS IT ALL AND LEARN NEW VIEWS OF THE OLD AND NEW PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES!

#FUCONF2015