Workroom Productions

Mainly related to software testing

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Location: London, United Kingdom

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Has the UK SIGiST lost its way?

The SIGiST used to be the go-to testing gathering in the South East, if not across the country. 

The meetings had genuine energy, the speakers were world-class (and from all over the world), and SIGiST-connected movements led towards successful (in numbers if not acceptance) standards and exams. The group was one of the largest and most active Special Interest groups in the BCS.

Over the last few years, it has come more firmly under the wing of the BCS. It has lost its website, and with the website has gone any degree of facilitated online interaction between attendees. Participants have been disenfranchised; firstly in losing their vote (you now have to be a BCS member to vote), and secondly by the extended term limits of the officers.

In the few years since these changes, London tester gatherings like the TMF and the Tester Meetup have risen in frequency and attendance, SkillsMatter days have taken off with a range of testing themes, and XTC and ACCU regulars extend a warm and knowing welcome to testers. There is constant twitter chatter. Here on the STC, the online community is fertile ground for newspapers, books, groups and ideas. 

It's two days to the SIGiST. The program for the event was announced on 24 August for the 16 September - less than four weeks before. The last post on the SIGiST's facebook wall was May. There's no LinkedIn event. Whack SIGiST into twitter, and all you get are references to the Brisbane SIGiST (let's ignore @mpkhosla reminding @MarkCTest that it exists, and my own plaintive self-promotional tweet). Until I set it up twenty minutes ago, there was no listing for the SIGiST as an event on the STC. There are still spaces available. 

At this late stage, one would not expect to get time off work, or funding. However, there is a single overriding reason to go, if you care about this once-fine forum: the meeting on Thursday is the AGM. 

If you're a BCS member (I'm not), and can spare the time, and want to say something, then please get yourself to the RCoG on Thursday morning and wake the place up. I've got the slot straight after the AGM - I'm more than happy to adjust my talk if you have something (anything) crucial to say. Note: You don't have to pay the entrance fee to attend the AGM. 

If you're on the SIGiST committee, and are blowing sparks because I've written this here and on STC, then I can't tell you how relieved I am that you're reading.

Cheers - 


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Irrational Tester - video and new version of paper

Here is version 1.06 of my paper "The Irrational Tester". SQE have kindly posted a video of (one version of) the talk that goes with it; keynote at STARWest 2009.

TestLab stuff coming soon...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

TestLab Followup - not yet...

Bart Knaack and I ran the "TestLab" at EuroSTAR. I've got lots to write about it - but unfortunately (or fortunately) I came back to an unexpected job in the UK. I'll post conclusions, bugs, pictures and more in a day or two. I've not yet submitted the bugs to OpenEMR, either. It will all happen, but not immediately!

For now, read Michael Bolton's blog postings Bravo! and Best Bug, or Rikard Edgren's Notes.

Cheers -



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oh for goodness sake

The estimable Association for Software Testing isn't exactly approachable via Google, is it?

As it happens, it's reasonable on Bing.

The AST is an association for testers, run by testers. Perhaps it works on their machine.

I shouldn't be so sarky. I've sponsored their conference before now, in 2006 and 2008. I recommend you go.

(now, let's see if my journal-to-blog tool manages picture attachments properly. Expect to see an edit if it's still bust.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Exploratory Testers - London 3 July - Prince Arthur, Euston.

As you may know from a previous posting, Michael Bolton and I are going to bring the participants of our separate Exploratory Testing / Rapid Testing classes together, after our classes finish on Friday evening. Please join us!

Date:                Friday 3 July, from 5:30 pm
Place:                The Prince Arthur pub, near Euston station. Reviews from Beer in the Evening and Fancy a Pint. Here's Google streetview, which should help you get there. Being just next to Euston, it's good for tubes, trains, bicycles and other rational London transport.

I think this is a remarkable opportunity – I hope to see you there!

Cheers - James

Thursday, June 18, 2009

London, 3 July – Exploratory testers in a pub

Tentative plan: Michael Bolton and I are (separately) teaching in London in July. Our courses, mine on Exploratory Testing, his on Rapid Testing, end on the same day. We've talked about bringing the participants together in a London pub at the end of the course. Yesterday, at the SIGiST, we slipped into an announcement.

We don't yet have a pub set, and one or both classes will have to travel (my course is in the City, Mike's is in Westminster). We hope that we will have an enthusiastic, engaged, but not-too-exhausted group of exploratory/rapid testers, and that by bringing the participants in our classes together, we'll all have a lovely time, and learn some stuff.

Details will be posted closer to time, but are, so far: A group of exploratory testers will be meeting in London sometime in the early evening of Friday 3 July. It will be a unique event. Please join us.

PS - a few places are still available on my course. Details here, book here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More testers in a pub

If you're interested in testing and based in London, you'll want to be in the Washington pub in Belsize Park tomorrow (Tuesday) night.

The Wash is, funnily enough, only 15 minutes wobbly walk from the LEWT pub (and five minutes by steely steed from Workroom Towers). However, you'll have to tell me all about it – one of my other lives has precedence tomorrow pm. Have a lovely time.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Designing Experiential Exercises

Readers of this blog may already know that I prefer to learn/teach by doing. If your preferences match mine, you'll be interested to know that Jerry Weinberg and Esther Derby are running a public workshop in Albuquerque on the Design of Experiential Training, from June 22-25 (or 26, depending on which web page you read). Details from Jerry, from Esther.

Jerry is, in addition to his other stuff, the master of the experiential exercise. Or so the people I trust tell me. I'm hugely excited to be going to the workshop. Heaven knows why I've not mentioned it here before. Anyway: I'll be in Albuquerque for midsummer, doing fun stuff.

Have I mentioned my class? Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing, in London. 2-3 July? Looking forward to that, too. It's all very hands-on and participative – and I imagine I'll still be full of the joys of ideas, and just past my Albuquerque jetlag.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Busses and Exploratory Testing classes

You wait for ages, then two turn up at once.

I'm running my course in Exploratory Testing in London on 2-3 July. Details here. This is the course I've taught at Nokia, Google and around the world. It is a limited size, practical, hands-on class, and it is all about testing – specifically, how to uncover problems in working systems in a disciplined and efficient manner. I really enjoy teaching this class; lots of lightbulb-on moments for all.

To our mutual frustration, my colleague Michael Bolton is teaching 'Rapid Software Testing' at the same time, also in London. It's a great class, too. The scheduling problem is ours - but the choice is yours!

There's more to say here, but I've got a lovely on-site hands-on testing gig until the end of the week, and the daily stand-up happens in 35 minutes, at the other end of a 30-minute tube ride. Scrums wait for no man, or, at least, no tester...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Best Paper at STAREast

I'm pleased to announce that The Irrational Tester won "Best Paper" at STAREast. * ** ***

The paper is currently at version 1.0. I'm adding stuff (and sorting out the prose) for version 1.1. Please read it - if you've got any comments, I'd be very interested to hear them.

* The presentation got 9.something out of 10, too.
** In 2002, my paper
Adventures in Session-Based Testing (written with Niel vanEeden) won "Best Paper" at STARWest and at EuroSTAR.
*** Three
Best Paper prizes! Three! Wahey! ... shutting up now ...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

London Exploratory Testing, 2-3 July 2009

Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing will happen in London, on 2-3 July.

We're at the lovely Royal Statistical Society, near the Barbican, just north of the City.

I've kept close to last year's prices, and even managed a small reduction (you get a buffet lunch in 2009...), so it's £630+VAT. There's an early-bird discount, so if you book and pay before June 8th, you'll get 10% off (£567+VAT). Email me to register, or get into the online registration here: Online registration

This is the course I teach at corporate clients (recently Google and Nokia). It's very hands-on, with exercises and discussions driving the workshop. You'll discover:

  • The test design skills to probe a system and trigger a bug
  • The analysis skills to model the system and understand a bug
  • The discipline to manage your exploration and sustain your bug rate
Exploratory testing is a disciplined approach used to uncover risks and surprises in real systems. It's a great complement to the massive confirmatory testing found on agile projects, and a necessary skill for agile testers, and for any other tester who needs to do more than simply verify that a system is working as expected. Test managers find this course useful for reconnecting with their test skills, and for understanding the challenges of effectively managing a team that is making good use of ET.