My thoughts on Brisbane ANZTB SIGIST: September 2010

I went along to the ANZTB SIGIST last night, at the Hilton here in Brisbane. It was probably the best one I’ve been to, both in attendance, and caliber of presenters. There were five presenters all up, which is a lot to squeeze into two hours including drinks and conversation. It’s no surprise then that the last presentation by Craig Aspinall was a little bit rushed, which is a shame because I would have liked to ask more questions than time allowed (apparently the Hilton would kick us out if we stayed longer).

Craig Smith and Rene Masten from Suncorp began with an excellent presentation on Agile Testing. Craig was awesome in both presenting his extensive knowledge (he’s a coach) and his slides were also very cool (minimal text and no bullets!).

Craig’s main theme was about how to make testing cool: ensuring people say “that’s cool” when you tell them about your testing. He talked about what makes up an agile team, the techical divide between devs and testers, ATDD, ensuring you deliver, and how there is currently a great opportunity for testers (who want to be bothered). Rene followed by talking about organizational change, training and coaching, communicating what you’re doing (internally and externally) and building quality in.

Craig finished with a great motivating style of emphasizing it’s all about passion and craft, “who’s awesome!”, and not being afraid of technical challenges.

The other presenters were Ben Sullivan and Brent Acworth, both also from Suncorp, who gave a demo of BDD using JBehave and Hudson. I enjoyed the talk but there wasn’t much I hadn’t seen before or didn’t know.

The final presentation was by Craig Aspinall and was unfortunately squeezed into a small time slot. It was about what Craig dubs “Automated Black Blob Testing”, the rationale being testing is not black box as a box has a predefined shape, it’s more of a blob.

Craig’s approach looked solid, although I was slightly concerned when he mentioned the project being a SaaS solution and how much effort was being put into automated testing.  I’m not criticizing what Craig did tehnically, I am just concerned about the prevalent practice of the onus of testing SaaS solutions being put onto the customer. I believe if you buy a SaaS, you should get a working SaaS, minimal, if any at all, testing required. But that’s just me. Otherwise, a great talk, besides Craig using Java when Ruby and Watir would have done the trick. ;)

A great ANZTB SIGIST, and hopefully more good ones to come!

Craig Smith’s Slides

Some of my photos

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Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.

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