Journey to and through Let’s Test 2013

Markus Gaertner and I sat in Let’s Test Lab and discussed about children and how we are attempting to achieve a work life balance. You may ask, ‘Discuss personal lives at a testing conference?’ Oh yeah, we did. It would not have happened on Skype or Gmail or Facebook. It happened only because we met in person at Let’s Test conference.

In March this year, I was returning from a client meeting in a car along with Pradeep, Sunil and DS when Pradeep suddenly popped a question, “Who wants to go to Let’s Test this year?” as he took a steep left turn at a cross road. I instantly said, “Yes”. This is how my journey to Let’s Test started.

Beautiful Stockholm

Pradeep and I landed at Arlanda airport around 3 PM after a turbulent landing and reached our Hotel by train. It was fun to watch the countryside slide so fast on the train. We toured the city for two days over the weekend and visited Gamla Stan (Old Town), The Royal Palace, Nordic Museum, Aquarium, Central Station, Church and many other places. The most beautiful thing about Stockholm is the exotic display of flowers all over the city. The city looked so lovely. As an Indian who witnesses daylight for 12 hours, it was surprising to spot Mr. Sun at 4 AM in the morning. He wouldn’t go away until 10 PM in the night. It was a thrilling experience!

My Tryst with Test Ninjas

I had the privilege to speak to Steven Smith at breakfast. It was wonderful  meeting him in person. I connected very well with his views on Team Work and Leading People. We discussed some challenges I was facing and how I am working through them. He appreciated my approach and gave some suggestions. I felt very good speaking to him particularly because I thought our love for people matched a lot. He had decades of experience to share from. Meeting Steve was a great start on the second day of the conference.

I met many testers who I already knew or interacted from Twitter world. I loved the way participants put up E or I on their badges to indicate Extrovert or Introvert. It was very helpful while interacting with them without hurting their sentiments. I think this is something we should adopt at Indian Conferences.

There were too many great sessions to choose from. Omnipresence would have helped! There were many great speakers, some great concepts and limited time. I compensated for missed sessions by speaking to the speakers during breaks and evenings.

Breathing testing for 3 days, day in and day out felt awesome. For me, it was definitely the first time because when I am home, I am usually with children and busy with household chores. Here I was, amidst testers thinking testing 24/7. The only folks who were not-testers were the conference staff and family members of some participants. There was testing in the air!

Johanna’s opening keynote on “Becoming a Kick-Ass Test Manager” was a great start for the day. After reading Johanna’s articles for a long time now, her keynote was not a surprise in any way.  Her love for people values showed so strongly in her presentation. She shared great stories from her experience, some so funny that people laughed out loud. Paul and Ilari’s facilitation during this keynote was awesome – Johanna hardly listened to them J. In fact, it looked like she was facilitating their facilitation process. Watching Paul facilitate conference sessions has been a very wonderful thing. He is such a natural!

Julian Harty delivered an entire session on ‘The Leading Edge of Testing Mobile Apps’ with the help of a simple drawing on the white board. I was blown away. This was the most fantastic part of Let’s Test. Speakers were allowed to use slides, mindmaps, sketches, white boards, flipcharts and props. Jari Laakso had a bagful of puzzles which he used during his session. Dawn Haynes used slides and lot of diagrams while Fiona used a mindmap and lot of flip charts for the exercises. Few speakers just spoke their heart out without using anything at all. Couple rooms had U shaped seating arrangement to make it more interactive during the sessions. This freedom works very well for speakers who are creative with unconventional presentation formats. I just loved the variety.

Carsten’s exercise during ‘The Art of Understanding’ demonstrated the gaps we have when it comes to understanding context, mission and people on projects. I felt privileged to do this exercise with Johanna while Steven Smith was watching over us. I love the depth at which Johanna thinks and asks very simple questions. She helped entire team construct a beautiful story around the exercise which we shared with the rest of the audience. I heard a Wow! Johanna and I had the same complaint – time was too short for this mini-workshop. We had to cut short our work given the time constraint. I must attend the longer version of Carsten’s workshop in future (CAST perhaps :P).

Pradeep always told me, “If there is one person I want you to meet atleast once, it’s Paul Holland”. After meeting Paul, I have started telling the same thing to Moolyans. It was obvious I would be at his session. The room was over-filled and many had to stand through the session. Huib, the facilitator joked to Paul, ‘Did you pay them?’ Paul spoke about ‘Bad Testing Metrics and What You Can Do About Them’. I sat in the first row because I didn’t want to miss either his jokes or stunts.  He had great examples from his own experience on bad metrics and how he tamed scores of test metric demons. What was particularly interesting for me was the path he took to transform traditional script kiddies to exploratory testing enthusiasts. He had some great material to show how he helped fix the ‘Bad Metrics’ problem. I was very fortunate to spend 3-4 hours on the last day of the conference talking to Paul. He shared some great stories on bad metrics, his personal journey in testing and how he started with RST. He introduced me to SET, a card game that exercises quick pattern recognition. It was fun to play with. I wasn’t all that good, but I should get better by the time I meet Paul again.

There were many more great sessions followed by Scott Barber’s closing keynote “Business Value of Testing”. I liked his communication style. I didn’t get a chance to speak testing with Scott, but his session highlighted many things that we do at Moolya as part of our business testing service.

As the session came to a close, I bid goodbye and promised to catch up with many testers sooner or later. Great people, great learnings. My most  special moments were when I met many twitter friends whose work I follow closely online. Meeting wonderful testers wouldn’t be complete without a photo shoot. I clicked most of the testers with me by their side which I later posted on twitter. It was fun!

Hatisficed

Oh Yeah! I got Hatisficed!

Celebrating excellence in testing

Let’s Test Lab

I didn’t test at Let’s Test Lab as I was too busy meeting many testers for the first time. I often thought I could go back to Test Lab later, which didn’t happen. I did go to the Test Lab one evening specifically to meet James Lyndsay and witness his super-awesome black box testing machines. Pradeep was all gaga testing one of them while I chatted with Markus Gaertnae. It would have been fun to test alongside other testers who I have not worked with. Next time around, I must to spend more time in the Test Lab.

Love for Moolya

Let’s Test Community showered Moolya with lots of Love and Warm Wishes. It was wonderful to see many testers walk up to us with questions like, ‘What makes you successful as a Context Driven Testing Company’, ‘How are you handling traditional thinking’, ‘What’s special about your testers?” and so forth. We were super excited to share our success stories with everyone. Many were thrilled to learn about Academy and Startup Test Lab. Jari Laakso tweeted this wonderful thing about Moolya.
We are glad that the world is recognizing our passion to change the world.

Closing Notes

Thanks to Let’s Test team for putting up a great conference. It was well organized, had some very great speakers and participants. The most beautiful thing was that Let’s Test helped testers connect with many testers who are as passionate as we think we are in the testing space. Let’s Test memories will remain special!

Let’s Test 2013 was GNIKCUF AWESOME!