The NWEWT Experience

The first ever NWEWT (North West Exploratory Workshop on Testing) conference happened last weekend (1st to 3rd of April) in Liverpool. I want to start off by saying Thank You to Duncan and Emma for doing a stellar job of organising the event. I definitely felt privileged to be part of the conference.

It was my first time at a peer conference and I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit anxious about the whole thing. But the whole thing got off to a great start with dinner on Friday night which most of the attendees of the conference attended. For my starter I had ordered soup and was served an empty bowl (Yes…a bowl of soup without the soup.). On hindsight I realised this was an apt metaphor of how little I knew compared to my peers. The dinner was a good way to meet everyone and get to know a bit about them before the conference started in earnest.

The topic of the conference was Regression Testing. We were meant to present our experiences and thoughts on  regressions testing. Over the course of the next two days we would hear talks from almost all the attendees and have discussions about what was presented. It was very interesting to find that a few of the talks mentioned that although they started thinking they were doing “regression testing”, they realised soon after that they weren’t actually testing for regression of their system. They were just testing. This definitely matched my experience as well. In fact since earlier this year I’ve stopped using the term after I heard someone pointed out that “regression” meant returning to a former state. In my mind that meant the definition of regression testing would be to test if the system under test had returned to a former state. In my current context that would be virtually impossible.

The other big takeaway for me was that we should focus on risk during testing. Although this seems obvious it is something I often need reminding of. @nortern_tester talked about using the FIBLOTS mnemonic to help identify risks. @Arborosa also mentioned that continuous testing involved continuously assessing your risks.

Anomaly Detection is also something I will be doing some research on after @DanAshby04 mentioned it like a million times. I think he’s trying popularise it as the next testing catch phrase.

NWEWT has also sparked off a new wave of enthusiasm to run a LEWT (London Exploratory Workshop on Testing) which I hope I’ll be invited to.

Apart from learning about testing I also rode my bike (motorcycle not bicycle) up to Liverpool. A round trip of 488 miles. 5 and a half hours up and 5 hours on the way back. It is the longest ride I’ve ever done and will constitute more than 10% of my annual mileage. The 5 hours back went by very quickly as I spent most of it reflecting on the conference. Most of the 5 and a half hours going up was spent wondering if I would get blown off the road by the crazy wind.

Some thoughts on my LetsTest 2015 experience (or Why you should go to LetsTest)

I just came back from LetsTest 2015 in Runö. For those that don’t know what LetsTest is, its a Context Driven Testing conference with a focus on workshops rather than lecture style presentations. Another thing that makes LetsTest different from most conferences is that accommodation and food is included. This really puts you in an environment to learn and socialise with your peers. The venue is in an idyllic location and some of the workshops are actually run outdoors.

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