Notes from SWET3 Rikard Edgren

I spent this weekend in nice, dark, foggy Ringsjöstrand for the third Swedish Workshop on Exploratory Testing. Johan Jonasson, Ola Hyltén, Anders Claesson, Oscar Cosmo, Petter Mattsson, Rikard Edgren, Henrik Andersson, Robert Bergqvist, Maria Kedemo, Sigge Birgisson, Simon Morley.

The format is LAWST-style, which means a presentation is followed by a facilitated discussion, that goes on as long as it brings value.
The theme for this event was Teaching Testing, and the abstracts can be downloaded here.

I did the first presentation using my current assignment as teacher together with Henrik Emilsson on a 2-year higher vocational study for testers.
We have a lot of exercises to make the knowledge stick, and we primarily use open source applications to make it more real.
I shared how we find suitable applications and tie them to something we are teaching, and I showed some examples of applications we have used.
The discussion that followed lasted a couple of hours and spanned many areas: course literature, complexity of software, unreal situations, authorities, ISTQB, tools, how to teach so they learn etc.
I learn a lot by teaching, and also by discussing the teaching.

The second experience report came from Johan Jonasson, who is involved as instructor in BBST online courses.
The videos are available for free, but the best thing with the education is the realistic problem-based assignments and the peer reviews.
Discussions followed for a couple of hours and included cultural and online difficulties/opportunities, how to give feedback in writing, and a summary of the slides material:
“a condensed library of test information that will broaden your views.”

After a break, we had six eight-minute Lightning Talks, where you can’t go deep, but a lot of ideas are brought up:
Anders Claesson shared his model for making sure students really learn what is thought.
Sigge Birgisson talked about his efforts to create a quality vision/model/goal for deliverables.
Rikard Edgren wondered why no one (except Oscar Cosmo) test charisma when we all know it is important. (Emilsson came up with the name Charisma.)
Henrik Andersson showed that objectivity is an illusion, so we should focus on the inherent subjectivity in test selection, execution, interpretation.
Robert Bergqvist wondered if Exploratory Testing has been more accepted, or if it just is a word in fashion.
Simon Morley has a great idea on a Groopman-inspired book “How Testers Think”, although he denies he will write it.
Then we had dinner, bubble pool, a lot of conversations on many subjects (“lean is waste for testing”), perhaps a small beer, and a good night’s sleep.

The second day only had room for one topic, which was Simon Morley on “Mindset Changes: Changing the direction of the oil tanker”, about how to teach the “right” view on testing to both managers and testers.
Many suffer from test case counting, and they have to be cured in different ways.
Simon says to testers he don’t want to hear any numbers, and thereby force them to talk about what they have seen, and what they haven’t done.
He does presentations to managers about problems with number focus, and after that he can use dashboard-like reporting.
The most important dimension might be trust.
Consensus in the room was that gut feelings are better for making decisions, but that we don’t have the proper words to talk about this.
A lot of examples and ideas were shared, but we didn’t reach any solutions before the time was up…
“if communication isn’t good, it doesn’t matter what you do”

Eleven happy check-outs with a richer network and knowledge; SWET has charisma.

3 Comments
Henrik Emilsson November 21st, 2011

Thanks for the write-up!
Wish I could have been there…

Rikard Edgren November 21st, 2011

You were there in spirit.
Plus, we talked three hours about the education you and I are doing, and eight minutes about your charisma concept.
Say hi to EuroSTAR from me!

[...] A nice write-up by Rikard Edgren with picture of attendees and the abstracts can be found here. [...]