Official Announcement – STWC – Software Testing World Cup

We are proud to announce the first annual Software Testing World Cup (STWC)!

Imagine a world test competition, held over the internet, on your continent, in a time zone that is reasonable for you, on a Saturday, with local judges you know and respect.

STWC is a global event with a sportive, competitive character for the testing community.
It will consist of a continental round of testing, done online, so that all the testing professionals out there have the chance to participate.

The continental champions will be invited to one of the best testing conferences in Europe; the Agile Testing Days 2014 in Potsdam, Germany!
There they will test it out to crown the winning team and get their hands on the STWC trophy!

All flavors or testing can participate and form a team to enter the competition.

Interested and want to get more information?
Registration is free. Participation is free.

Check out the official website: http://www.softwaretestingworldcup.com/

We will update the website over the next days and fill it with more information.
Get yourself registered as a team or stay updated with general news regarding the Software Testing World Cup.

Melior homo vincat!
May the best win!

English kindergarden “Little Feet” opened

For anyone looking for a child day care center, there is a new one in Hamburg East; between the area of Farmsen, Berne and Rahlstedt. Easily reachable with public transport and with convenient parking for car arrivals.

It is run by two experienced professionals, Mrs. Michelle Rose and Mrs. Patricia Vlasa.

Both have worked the last three years as a professional “Tagesmutter”. This is a official title for child day care persons. The education is funded by the government and takes around one and a half year to finish, before you get your certificate.

The ladies will cater to the needs of small babies, up to the age of three preferable.

Since the demand for English education is high, their educational concept includes the singing of English child rhymes and spoken English language.

They rented a location just for the purpose of child day care, the center is called Little Feet and you can see the location on Google Maps .

They have done a great job in furnishing it with cosy carpets, play toys and have two rooms available for sleeping and playing. Some photo collection is online to get a first impression.

If you are interested, how the state of Hamburg financially supports the parents, have a look.

Feel free to spread the word and help the two Tagesmütter to get their business up and running. If you know parents, who are looking for a child day care, sent them the link to the website, so they can contact them.

Skurriles aus dem Testeralltag

Note: For my non-German reading peeps: A translation would loose out on the word play; sorry.

Manche Anekdoten kann nur das Leben selber produzieren. Wenn man die Analogie der 1000 Affen und das Werk eines Shakespears bemühen will…

Hat allerdings mehr Dada oder Haiku Charakter.

Kurzer Hintergrund:
Die Anforderung war, einen Wert in der Auswahlliste zu haben, der „<leer>“ hieß. Dieses war nicht umgesetzt. Nach erster Einschätzung ging die gewünschte Umsetzung technisch nicht (Details sind hier nicht relevant).

Nach der Analyse durch die Entwicklung kam dann folgender Kommentar zum Defekt:

„… Ich weise aber darauf hin, dass es bei diesem Feld allerdings nicht möglich ist irgendetwas anderes außer NICHTS oder einem Wert aus der Werteliste auszuwählen.

Beim Löschen kann also entweder alles oder nichts gelöscht werden – es kann auch nichts außerhalb dieser Werteliste eingegeben werden (außer NICHTS). …”

Ich hoffe ich bin nicht der Einzige, der dieses komisch (im Sinne von witzig) findet. :-)

Experience report on a Miagi-Do challenge

I was attending the test automation day in Rotterdam, where I had the chance to meet a few Miagi-Do fellows and took the opportunity to ask for a challenge.

Huib Schoots (@huibschoots), Jean-Paul Varwijk (@Arborosa) and Matt Heusser (@mheusser) gave me the chance and we sat down for it between some sessions.

Huib took the role of the challenger.
And, boy, did I took a learning that day. Sometimes I felt like in Vaders Force Grip. :-)

I had some time for reflection since then. Here are my learning’s.
Traps. Some I was expecting, some were unknown (to me). 
I try to summarize the traps, as I see them and will mark my comments as well.

Trap: Surroundings (Environment). We had the challenge in a time-boxed environment (since the next conference session was looming ahead) and the noise level and distraction was varying as well.

Maik: This is not unusual in real situations as well; we as testers also have to deal with that.

If you have the chance, setup a quiet, concentrated meeting with your stakeholders. Try to have as few distractions as possible, phone, email, walk-ins, etc. Maybe changing to an alternate place (meeting room, go out for lunch) can provide already some focus.

Nevertheless. Have a checklist, mind map or some guide at hand. Maybe even sketch it out on paper. Having it only in your head can or cannot work.

Trust me, if you sitting with three people all making comments (intentionally or not) and a personality like Huib (:-)), it did really distracted me from my mental checklist and my brain became a distracting factor as well (shame on you, my brain!).

Trap (which I brought on myself): Preparation time.
Maik: After the challenge was given, I didn’t ask for some private preparation time. Even 2-4 minutes might have helped me sharpen my mental checklist to the current context. And nobody “forbid” it. But by not even asking, I lost out on that chance!

Trap: Challenge setup and challenger agenda
Maik: Since it was a challenge, I expected some “rules” and even “hidden rules” of the challenger (here: Huib). Knowing that there were some and actually recognizing them or even actually engaging them is different.

For example: I expected that the challenger would hide or avoid certain information, till I trigger them. But sometimes I felt, I was actively led astray.

Which is okay, since it is a challenge; but it adds an additional layer of difficulty.

In reality I would expect that the stakeholder, who is coming to me, would “play nice” and “play along”. As in, we are on the same side.

Example: Stakeholder has no clue about testing. I would expect that he would play with open cards and acknowledges that fact. Then I can adjust my role and help him better; I need to give him different information as someone who knows about testing.

But that is my assumption. This leads me to…

Trap: Intention of the stakeholder
Maik: One thing I re-learned again is try to find out the intention of the stakeholder coming to you.

Stakeholder can have different kind of motives. They can look for a scape goat, they can be totally clueless to testing, they can really want to help you with all they can contribute, they might have already made up their mind about the product and just want “proof” of their opinion, they might want to help, but have a different understanding of the context.

It is not easy, if at all, to find out the intentions of the person you are talking to; especially if they are unknown to you.

I knew Huib in person from five days at the Agile Testing Days 2012 (@AgileTD), so he was kind of “unknown” to me.

 

Now the last trap, which I brought on myself and which is the hardest to admit:

Trap: Hybris.
Maik: I knew and know, that there are a lot of unknowns to me.

In Testing, there are situations, I haven’t encountered yet or software bugs I haven’t seen or found. I read a lot; I had the chance to apply some of it and I am trying to keep up with information.

So I betrayed myself by believing, I could do the challenge and do it good. I didn’t expect it to be a breeze, but manageable.

Besides the fact, that I love riddles and puzzles, I also wanted to show to my fellow Miagi-Do’s, that I know my game and can step up to the plate.

If you are a tester with experience or a consultant with a lot of exposure, you should treat each stakeholder with your whole focus and concentration and take their request or questions seriously.

Serious in the sense, that to really think about what their request is, what their questions mean (to them) and not brush to fast over it, cause you have done it many times before. Maybe you are right, but sometimes you might be wrong and doing not a good service to your stakeholder as you could have done.

 

Conclusion

For me it was absolutely great to take on a challenge and get feedback from peers I respect. I wish we all could open one big company and work together on a daily base.

Even if I busted on that challenge, my takeaways made this experience worthwhile.

2. PotsLightning announcement

The second PotsLightning peer workshop will be held on 27th of October 2013.
It is lined up on the sunday before the Agile Testing Days 2013 conference.

Some people are arriving the weekend before and now they have the chance to attend also a workshop with peers in a relaxed atmosphere.

This year we will do an Open Space format as not to restrict the flow via setting a strict theme upfront.

If you are interested to attend, please contact us via email.
Should you already know a topic you want to talk about, feel free to sent it in the email  and we make a rough idea collection on the website.

Twitter Hashtag: #PotsLightning

Here are the information in short:

Date: 27.10.2013
City: Potsdam, Germany
Venue: Dorint Hotel

Scrum in your daily life

At the AgileCoachCamp (#ACCDE12) I attended a wonderful session named „Scrum in your daily life“.

Deborah W. (#weberde) brought this session up and chose an outdoor location.

We started with six participants and the idea was to share stories, where one had applied Scrum or other agile elements in her or his personal life.

Deborah started and shared how she and her boyfriend used Scrum one weekend to finish her household chores. Next was Sebastian (#stdout); if I remember correctly; who told a story, where a couple organized their flat moving with Kanban.

Quite a few people used retrospective elements with their partner on a time boxed approach (every week 2 hours) and also tried out coaching elements with their kids.

This lead to the question, why do we as coaches have to “fix” the things, which went wrong way earlier in the society. (Well, “wrong” in our opinion).

In the meantime a little crowd of bypassers had gathered to listen and sharing their input.

The topic brought up some stories of regular school life in Germany and Austria and how kids are natural agilists and how that is (seemingly) changed when they enter the school system.

The session was closed after 90 minutes (triple the initial planned time), since it was clear, we could spent even longer on that topic.

On the open space evening news Deborah and Wolfgang (#wwiedenroth) proposed a follow up session the next day.

The session was filled with up to 20 attendees. One local school teacher was convinced to join us and shed some of his opinions.

Due to the sheer number of active people we had to use the fish bowl format.

It was a wonderful experience to attend these two sessions and the energy and involvement the people put into it.

I put up some pictures from the second session (agile school theme) here.

(As a side effect, I started to use a personal Kanban board. Let’s see what my retrospective about it will be.)

AgileCoachCamp 2012 (DE)

Last weekend was the AgileCoachCamp 2012 (#accde12) in Rückersbach, Germany.

I got lucky and my spot on the waiting list came through. Willingness to share a double room with a stranger surely helped.

The seminar place was marvelous. It had more than half a dozen rooms for sessions and also two forum sized rooms for group meetings and big sessions. Food was awesome and the service very good. A very good spot for a retreat.

There were some socializing on the arrival day and my roommate turned out to be Michael Leber; who I met at the CAT trainer course.

We watched Germany win their game, nearly doomed by a projector shutting down.

“How many coaches & consultants do you need to abort the 90 second sequence?”.
Well, 40 were not enough. Thanks to the service personnel for helping us out.

Next morning we met at the forum room and we surely needed that space. Seventy people sitting in a circle was quite a sight. The opening session was facilitated and the organizers, sponsors and the Open Space format was introduced.

I had experience on a small scale with this format, but to see it working with so many people was cool.

And here came the typical problem… too many interesting sessions at the same time.

The day went by and I had some good sessions. Some planned ones I skipped and some chance ones I attended. And it was alright as it was.

We got some evening activities like Swing dancing and “Jazz & Agile” and some pretty good games; Pirate Fluxx the secret winner. It was so well sought after, that, even after patiently waiting, I didn’t manage to score a seat in the rounds. I surely have to try that one out.

Sunday was another great day. By now I knew quite some people and we used the breaks or the walking around for chitchat and some good discussions.

Leaving in the afternoon felt quite strange. Happyness mixed with sorrow.
For me it was a very worthwhile spent weekend.

I will blog about two sessions in particular:

1. Scrum in your daily life

2. Two Pronged Approach to Agile Transition.

PotsLightning Announcement for 2012

We are happy to announce another great community event for Agilistos (agile interested persons).

In November are the Agile Testing Days in Potsdam, Germany and it has become an ever increasing stream of participants, which is fabulous in itself.

For those interested for discussions not covered by the conference and with the opportunity not to be limited by a time-boxed session, we coined „PotsLightning“.

It is a Low-Budget, Non-Profit, Free-Entry peer event.

What does that mean?
Most conferences or workshops have entry fees, which often is out of budget for regular folks. Getting your employer to pay for it is also often difficult.

Secondly the tracks are pre-defined by the organizer and might or might not cover your interest.

We decided to organize an alternative form.

There will be no entry fees in any form. Each participant will cover their own expenses, be it accommodation, travel or meals.

We as the organizers will take care of the room, soft drinks (or the odd tray of German beer ;-) ).
So far we always found a sponsor for the room; which most often is the biggest cost.

We also draft a rough vision, what we think could be the topic for the workshop.
Experience shows, that this focal point helps some people to create ideas for their contribution.

And that is another major difference: Each participant is expected to contribute.
Be it in a talk, a presentation, a puzzle, test or code challenge or any other interesting work.

That way we try to ensure, that the workshop will be active and interesting.
It is “by the people for the people” (borrowed from Abe).

So here it is:

PotsLightning (Pre-ATD workshop)
18th of November, 2012
Dorint Hotel (venue of ATD)
Potsdam, Germany

Theme:

  • The role of the tester in agile;
    or why do testers have their own conference
    and do not go to general agile conferences
  • Training and coaching
  • Transition to agile -
    approaches, obstacles, practical experiences?
  • Agile pitfalls, common reason for “failures”;
    lessons learned, etc.

Deadline for contributions: 30th June 2012

You will find more detailed information on the GATE homepage over the course of the next months.

Feel free to contact us if you are unsure. We will be most glad to provide you feedback.

Comments:
The GATE workshop started in 2011 by Markus Gärtner and Maik Nogens.
The second GATE workshop will be held in Munich this September.

While I am the “main face” for the PotsLightning, the initial idea bouncing was with some passionate Agilistos:

Seeing the DEWT and GATE people work together gives me some great ideas for the future. :-)
Who knows, next time we pair with the Danish (DWET) and Swedish (SWT) folks…

GATE auf Reisen, München Ahoi!

Schwer zu glauben, das der erste GATE Workshop (German Agile Testing and Exloratory) schon über ein halbes Jahr zurück liegt…

Im Oktober 2011 starteten wir unsere Vision, einen Ableger einer Community Veranstaltung zu schaffen, welche es weltweit gibt und auch in Europa in einigen Ländern erfolgreich gestartet ist.

Unsere Vision einer Low Budget, Non-Profit Veranstaltung ohne Eintritt haben wir umgesetzt und sind gut gestartet (betrachtet man die damals kurze Vorwarnzeit für Interessierte :-) ); mit Eusebiu Blindu hatten wir internationale Beteiligung und insgesamt sehr viel Spass.

Wir hatten im Kern die Diskussion/Fragestellung, was macht einen “Agilen Tester” aus und ich für meinen Teil habe noch viel Neues mitgenommen an Wissen.

Und endlich haben wir, dank Markus Gärtners Initiative, den zweiten GATE Workshop am Start. Er findet am 08. September 2012 in München statt.

Diesmal geht es um das Thema “Die Zukunft des Agilen und Explorativen Testen”

Wie immer erwarten wir von den Teilnehmern, das sie Beiträge zu diesem Thema einreichen.
Wir sind interessant an

  • innovativen Ansätzen im Testen
  • Kombinationen von Session- und Thread- Basierten Testmanagement
  • Kollaborative Wege zur Test Charta Erstellung
  • Testpraxis (Testing Dojos, Testautomation Codeklausur, Hands-on)

 
Einsendeschluss ist der 1. August 2012, schickt es bitte via EMail.

Genaueres findet ihr auf der GATE Seite.

Bei Fragen, Wünschen oder Feedback findet ihr Markus und mich auch online. :-)