My visit to Let’s Test 2015 – Day 2

My second morning under the Swedish sun went better and my alarm woke me up. At the breakfast table I was joined by some new and tired faces and had good chats with them. Again I got some info about sessions I missed the day before.

After breakfast I had a short but inspiring chat with Michael Bolton.

Guy Mason’s “Utilizing Automation Tools in a CDT environment”

The morning session I chose was “Utilizing Automation Tools in a CDT environment” with Guy Mason. A very interesting session, because it described the idea that Richard Bradshaw propagates about “automation in testing”, but coming from a bit different angle. Since this is a topic that I currently try to establish at work, I was all the more interested in this discussion, if all arguments and approaches I found so far, were confirmed and needed a new look on them. Guy’s message was to use automation everywhere it makes sense to make work easier, test coverage (how ever you define it) bigger, and showing results quicker. This is not necessarily said, to use automation to automate tests, but to facilitate them. And don’t shy away of creating disposable scripts. Together with everything I learned from Richard so far, this completed and confirmed most of my views on this topic, and gave me more aspects and arguments. I made lots of notes in this session, so there will be another post about this soon, I hope.

“Defense Against The Dark Arts” with Laurent Bossavit and Michael Bolton

After a short break the full-day workshop started that I had to decide already in January and was looking forward to a long time since. “Defense Against The Dark Arts” with Laurent Bossavit and Michael Bolton. One of multiple reasons for me to select this workshop was to experience Michael Bolton in action. Michael did a fair share of the workshop and it was very inspiring for me. But Laurent’s enthusiasm for the topic was fantastic. This workshop was build upon his book “Leprachauns of Software Engineering” and he led many discussion and approaches how to reveal information that let you confirm your bias towards a statement or not. There will definitley be a follow-up blog post on this later.

I worked together with Hannes (thanks for the reminder Hannes) and Kadri, my room neighbor, as we found out later, and also a joyful person. She is not shy to seek for help when stuck with the assignment, which is in my eyes an excellent skill, that too few people have, including myself. I am sorry that I forgot the name of the last fellow we worked with, because I really loved the outcome of our group, analyzing how to confirm a claim or not.


At lunchtime the strategy to choose an empty table and look who joins paid off again. I had a very interesting discussion with a project manager from Sydney. When we talked about the morning session from Guy he wondered why there is a need for that discussion. At his company they all call it automation and in the end it all helps generating a good product. What a pleasant view on that topic.

The workshop continued and we were discovering interesting degrees of information related to our initial statements. Laurent was very inspiring in leading this discussion. But I said that already.

It was time for dinner and catching up with Megan and others over a plate of fantastic reindeer shavings or two.

Julian Harty “If not you? Who? If not now? When?”

Already during lunch time it was anounced that we have additional tracks for the evening, and one of those additions won the race for me. I went to see Julian Harty to experience his inspirational topic about the schooling projects he supports in several second and third world countries. This intense and emotional session blew my mind. Julian described us all the problems he had to encounter in the past and how he solved them. Problems you don’t even think off when knowing only the first world. And I have to say I was very fond of helping our partner school in Madunda, Tansania, when I was in school. But I guess time let me forget most of the problems that needed to be challenged there, 25 years ago. And as Julian showed us, they were not that big different back then, as they are now. But he found solutions to master some of the problems. There will definitley be a post on this session. It was so mind-opening, frustrating, motivating, and more, I need to reflect on that session soon. My hat’s off to you, Julian. You’re doing an incredible job out there.

When checking twitter for some Let’s Test updates I found out that Michael Bolton was hosting the dice game in the Test Lab. Thankful to Julian for ending earlier I rushed over to the testlab. Playing/Learning the dice game was on top of my list for this conference, so I needed to take this chance immediatley. Two testers were already trying to find out the algorithm that Michael Bolton prepared for them. Observing their results I quickly discovered the algorithm and Michael confirmed it. Sadly I was not able to join from the beginning, so I had no chance for a retrospective from Michael and don’t know how to facilitate a dice game session. I guess I need to put this back on my list of things to do at the next conference.

In turn I simply turned around and joined Ruud in trying to solve the puzzle Alexandra prepared for us. We came, I guess pretty far, but then the next round of the murder game started and I wanted to continue observing. So solving the puzzle is on my list to complete later (and still is).

In the next round of the murder game I came pretty close to find the solution, but I had not enough information to solve it completely. But it was great fun, observing. The solution btw came out only the next day in the last session at lunchtime, which I missed sadly, but my conclusion was kind of right.

After that I grabbed Richard Bradshaw and picked his brains about parts of the automation puzzle that I currently try to conquer at work. Richard gave me some great input how to continue with my puzzle. When I told him my ideas that go a different way than his usual approach, he came up with hints where to find more. Lim joined in the conversation and also had some hints at hand. Thanks guys, this helped me a lot to continue.

When trying to get a beer for Richard, I was intercepted by Paul looking for people to join him with a round of StarFluxx. 5 Minutes later -Richard got his beer, and was already in the next discussion, so no worries- I ended up in the hallway playing StarFluxx with Huib, Tanja, Paul, Chris and I don’t know who else joined in. My biggest success besides winning actually one round, my only one in those 3 days, was to kill the cute fuzzy alien creature – TWICE!!! Yes, Huib, I killed it twice! And I am still proud that I did. 🙂

I went to bed around 0230, Let’s Test was slowly coming to an end.

Read more about day 3 here.


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