It started out on twitter: 7 passionate software testers meet with a great idea: start a Dutch version of peer workshops on (exploratory) testing. Inspired by American, English and Swedish examples: Los Altos Workshop on Software Testing (LAWST), London Exploratory Workshop in testing (LEWT) and swedish Workshop on Exploratory Testing (SWET). Our main goal: get together with like-minded, explore our profession, get inspired, have geeky conversations about our craft software testing and learn. After some tweets using the hashtag #NLET1, we doodled a date and got together in Den Bosch on 17th November 2010 for the first time. This first meeting was to talk about the idea: what are we going to do? A great evening sharing our ideas on what we could do…
Our first ambition is to organize a full weekend peer workshop in a hotel somewhere in the Netherlands, like our Swedish colleagues did. Ideas flying around the room: lighting talks, Testing Dojos, standups and retrospectives during the weekend, use the internet to gather extra information, share books and discuss them. Hopefully we can invite a “big name” to get us going.
After this inspiring evening we share a google doc to further brainstorm the ideas. Almost two months later, on 13th January 2011, we meet again. First we discuss the name we want to use for our peer workshop. Thirty minutes later DEWT is born: Dutch Exploratory Workshop on Testing. Borrowed from the London version. It sounds kind of cool, like dude!
DEWT Founders from left to right: @MichelKraaij (Michel Kraaij), @ruudcox (Ruud Cox), @huibschoots (Huib Schoots), @JeroenRo (Jeroen Rosink), @TestSideStory (Zeger van Hese), @RayOei (Ray Oei) and @SimonSaysNoMore (Peter Simon Schrijver)
Then we talk about what we can do when we come together: again some nice additonal ideas go across the table: exploring tools like Rapid Reporter, discuss and share heuristics and do transpections.
We can’t wait until we get together for a whole weekend. After two sociable and very inspiring evenings we decide to start small: an evening in March somewhere to see how things work out. See it as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming weekend workshop.
We finish the second evening discussing some books we have read that inspired us:
Understanding and Managing Risk Attitude by David Hillson and Ruth Murray-Webster
Ruud: This book explains in a very easy readable and concise way what uncertainty is, what risk is and how people respond to risk i.e. risk attitude. This book classifies risk attitudes and gives tips how these attitudes can be managed. A large part of this book describes the human factors like cognitive biases and emotional literacy in relation to risk. After reading this book I understand that risk is way more than likelihood x impact.
A Practitioner’s Guide to Software Test Design by Lee Copeland
Peter: This book tells about the various test techniques which a tester can use for a test assignment he/she needs to do. It is explained in a simple and straightforward way. But the essence of the book is the parallel Lee Copeland explains regarding his son. Once Lee joins his son (he is a glazier) on his working day. What he recognized was that his son used a toolbox from job to job with several tools. For each job his son used different tools. Lee says that a tester must also have a toolbox with tools a tester can use. This book is one of those tools.
Exploratory Software Testing: Tips, Tricks, Tours, and Techniques to Guide Test Design by James Whittaker
Jeroen: This was one of the First books I read about Exploratory testing. In my opinion the explanation about touring in one of the first chapters learned me that you should be aware changing your vision of an object occasionally and intentionally with such respect and awareness that others also make up their own vision about places and objects. Touring helped me visualize and explain to others some aspects of Exploratory testing.
Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar by James Bach
Michel: “A buccaneer-scholar is anyone whose love for learning is not muzzled, yoked, or shackled by any institution or authority; whose mind is driven to wander and find its own voice and place in the world”. This book is about one of those buccaneer-scholars, named James Bach. In this book James takes you along his life, learnings, career choices he made, and many more. He shows you how he gained his knowledge and explains how you can gain yours. Celebrate your triumphs and celebrate your failures. I really enjoyed reading this book. It really reminded me of my own turbulent life. This book gave me the ability and the energy to look things from a different perspective… and it still does.
Now i know, i’m definitely a buccaneer-scholar!
Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully by Gerald M. Weinberg
Zeger: This book is brimming with priceless advice for the (experienced or wannabe) consultant. Jerry Weinberg shares many secrets from his own consulting career in a humorous and often provoking manner. With laws, edicts and rules, he touches on a wide range of topics, like the toughness of the trade, resistance, change and how to gain control of it, pricing, marketing, trust etc. Highly recommended!
How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
Zeger: In this book, Jerome Groopman conveys the complexity of the physician’s role. He illustrates the uncertainties and difficulties that arise in understanding patients, eliciting their stories, making a diagnosis. The similarities with software development – and bughunting and testing in particular – were literally biting me in the face: heuristics, use of scripts… It reminded me of the Jerry Weinberg quote : “what is a tester but a software pathologist?”.
Perfect Software: And Other Illusions about Testing by Gerald M. Weinberg
Huib: This book was one big smile. A lot of recognizable anekdotes about testing. My life as a software tester comes with a lot of explaining why we should test, why we can’t test everything, people using fallacies about testing, etc. As Michael Bolton says on the Amazon.com website: “We’ll each want at least two copies — one for our own bookshelves, and another to hand to our clients so that they can better understand precisely how we can help them.”
Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach by Cem Kaner, James Bach and Bret Pettichord
Ray: A great source of inspiration for anyone interested in testing. Full of tips, tricks, insights, do-s, don’t-s, and most of all: experiences you will recognize or want to avoid. Not a book to be read from start to finish in one go, just open it somewhere and read a few lessons. It is also a fun read.
The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris, Daniel Simons
Ray: When I did the RST course I was confronted with the ‘moonwalking bear’, and missed it. Many have missed the original ‘monky business illusion’ from Daniel Simons who did this first experiment. I am still reading this book – to be honest – but this book tells of how we are often not aware of what we see. The illusions in our reasoning and other ways our perceptions fools us.