by Jokin & Marta

Testbash 2016

On the second week of March, the whole Flywire Software Testing team (yeah, all two of us!) went to Brighton (UK) for Testbash.

TestBash is a Software Testing conference hosted by the Ministry of Testing, and it is not a conference like any other.

  • Talks go on a single track, so all attendees share the same experience, there is no chance to choose the wrong track.
  • One meetup every night, all week long, with lots of chance to meet other testers, this is a true social conference.
  • Affordable price, this is a nice feature.
  • Close to Valencia, since EasyJet has a daily flight to London Gatwick.

Tickets for the conference were sold out 6 weeks before the event started, that’s something quite unusual for a conference.

After the workshops and the talks, we got back with some learnings…

As for Jokin…

I learned that Mob Programming is the natural evolution of Pair Development, and it can be applied to testing as well. This strong approach is something we are already experimenting in Flywire, and the workshop helped me understanding the technique.

I practiced how to deliver a test plan (a good one!) in 10 minutes, focusing in the people who matters and letting the details for later. The idea behind the workshop was that you can create a test plan every time you have some learning that turns the old one into obsolete.

I understood that if you want to move a big team into agile, the approach of creating a separate team to get Agile, and then the rest will follow won’t work. It won’t work because of Plato and his cave. The rest of the company that stays in the waterfall side will do whatever it takes to bring the project down. If you need to switch to Agile, Be like Moses, split the Red sea in two and lead your tribe to the other side, and have faith.

… that was what I got out of the workshops. As anyone who went there, each had their own experiences, points of view and questions to answer. Many other things were told and questioned, but these are the things that I came back with.

As for Friday, my 3 takes are…

When I grow up, I want to give a talk like Michael Wansley did. What a stage presence, what a way to tell a story, now I know what I should be practicing to in the next 12 years, I want to say “Always know where you are in the process.” and sound like a boss, yeah, because that is what I’ve seen Wanz doing.

I was able to say hello to Katrina. This lady is just awesome, if you ever need to learn about Testing with Continuous Delivery, Session Based Testing, Mobile Testing, or simply How to become a great Tester check her blog. She takes her time to put things together and share it, for the benefit of anyone who is interested, and she is really good at it.

I learned how a episode of Testing in the Pub gets done. As when you are exploring a feature and you find something interesting, I stumbled with Stephen Janaway walking away and smiling, and he asked me “do you want to join?” And hey, that’s all what it takes me to join the party.

Uh, yeah, I also wanted to have something to do while at the conference. I wondered about performing a live blogging of the event, I once saw Michael Larsen doing it at EuroStar but I didn’t feel confident to jumping into it, not the first time I wanted to perform live blogging it had to be at TestBash, I need to practice this first. But what I could do, was to help a bit by standing at the workshop door, checking people in, and also I brought my camera so Kim Knup and I got some pictures that we could share.

And last, I didn’t go alone! Not only Marta came to Brighton, but also Gemma Serra joined us at the conference, 3 testers at Testbash, all the way from Valencia, not bad for the 46th largest city in Europe.

Jokin Marta & Gemma
Jokin Marta & Gemma

As for Marta…

I got to Brighton some days before the conference to assist to the Rapid Software Testing training that Michael Bolton was performing. Jokin told me great about this training, so there I went, really excited about learning from a big name in testing. And the thing is that I learned a lot, about testing, reporting, testing heuristics and so on, but I didn’t get so surprised after all, I think that I already had some lessons that Jokin has been given the time we have been working together.

They were 3 intense days, sharing experiences with testers from different countries. I noticed that independently from where we come from, we as testers worry about the same things, dev/testers ratio, too much documentation, get effective and shameless reports etc.

I also noticed that there is not a predominant gender in the Software Testing role, not as there is in Software Development. In other words, as a woman I loved to see the diversity and plurality we have on our craft.

On Thursday I went to the workshop about games and testing, and it wasn’t bad, but I was waiting for something else, not because of the content, the games were great and the workshop was really enjoyable, but maybe I was expecting something more related to testing.

And finally Friday arrived, and it was time for testbash and the talks. And the talks were awesome! I think I can not tell one that I liked the most, because I really enjoied a lot of them, testing intelligent algorithms by Bill Matthews, The force is a Good Tester from Patrick Prill, the majestic presentation that Michael Wansley come up with, the pairing experiments from Katrina Clokie…

I get back with the grateful sensation of having been to a spectacular conference, not because it was big, or sophisticated, but warm, cozy, friendly and very professional.