Highlights from CukeUp! Sydney 2015

I spent the last two days at CukeUp! 2015 in Sydney, in the beautiful but hot Cell Block Theater.

Here’s some of my highlights.

Building Quality Into the Process, not the Product by Sharon Robson

Sharon shared some insights on how to build a culture of quality from her experience at Tatts Group. Her key message I picked up was “start with the end in mind”, think about what you’re thinking about. A great tip of hers I found useful was dealing with people who won’t give you their time to do something: do it yourself, but really wrong. They’ll line up to show you how wrong you are, they love to prove you wrong. A great talk that really redefines quality and testing as we move forward.

An evolution of BDD and co-creation within a cross-functional team by Adam Taylor

Adam from ‘ustwo’ shared his journey towards better BDD and the lessons he has learned along the way. Key things like having declarative scenarios, aiming for shared understanding, user stories being the start of the conversation not the beginning and defining acceptance criteria as rules not scenarios. My key takeaway was they don’t want to achieve a complete picture in sprint planning: they just want to start the conversation and elaborate as they go. Adam did a great job of presenting, it was very surprising that it was his first time doing so.

BDD is Dead. Long Live BDD by Lilly Ryan and Jaksha Shah

Lilly and Jaksha from ThoughtWorks shared some myths of BDD (for example it can be done in isolation by testers) but shared if it’s done right it’s great for bridging the communication gap. A great presentation with some good questions about their views.

When your testing is in a pickle by Anne-Marie Charrett

Anne-Marie’s presentation was intentionally thought-provoking with some key points raised about how people approach BDD without asking things like what problem are we trying to solve? The key themes from Lilly and Jacksha’s talk came through like the importance of bridging communication gaps and establishing a culture of collaboration. I liked the Alexander Den Heijer quote “when a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower” which applies to changing cultures not tools or specific people.

“BDD and Testing are getting Divorced” – It will be messy, but better for the kids in the long run by Hamish Tedeschi

Hamish’s talk was interesting in that he proposes we separate BDD and testing, advocating BDD without automation. Whilst I can see there is certain baggage between the two, I personally don’t agree with this as you’ve probably seen in my own talk, I think BDD approaches are ways to deliver sustainable automated regression tests for sustainable continuous software delivery.

Beyond BDD by Matt Wynne

The grand finale of the conference: Matt’s talk was of a similar theme to others in the misuse of BDD with a pithy analogy of burnt toast software development – where developers write software, someone finds bugs (possibly) automatically, and the developer fixes these but introduces new bugs. Matt suggests that developers should be focused on writing automated low level tests alongside code using the behavior defined by a cross functional team, designing the code in the best way possible: “The best way to prevent defects is with a design that makes them impossible”. Good design needs less tests, less code, less code for tests. The best software is code that doesn’t exist. Amen.

Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.