Thursday, February 9, 2017

ETC tutorials day

Remebering names is hard. Starting tomorrow, I'm writing them down as I first ask, even if it means walking around with a notepad in my hand all of the time.

Choosing a tutorial was really tough, I mean - besides "starting with selenium", which is a very specific thing I already am comfortable with, every workshop was really appealing. And I had to choose which one I'm attending in advance.
I went to the mob-testing tutorial, since mobbing is something I think can help my team in some situations and I only need to figure out where and how it is more appropriate to use.
I came to the workshop with a clear goal - I was to maintain some sort of a meta-level perspective on the process and decipher which parts of it would be suitable to my team and which part would meet the most resistance. Simple, right? Completely failed at that, since mobbing is a very immersive activity, where the pace and the goal keep you always on your feet, and the challenge of doing something AND communicating can be overwhelming.
We were a huge mob - 14 people or so. It meant that even with short changing cycles, people had quite a long time as "co-navigators", and that hearing the co-navigators was difficult because of sheer distance. The large number of people also made improving a lot harder and slower, and I'm not sure if we got any better during the day.
On the bright side, I got exposed to a wide array of things that can be done by a mob. we started by a somewhat freeform testing of an application, followed by testing with a charter in mind, We then proceeded to do some TDD and then write a selenium script.
It was extremely interesting to notice how do different people react to the same situation - some froze at the navigator's stand, and some were comfortable sharing their ideas from the far end of the room. A point to take notice in, for me, is that this format is excluding the shy and introverts if the others don't accommodate time for them to speak and participate. Speaking over in lunchtime with some of the participants, it is also evident that mobbing is easier to "sell" as a training tool - we'll work on this together and all have a learning experience, but when "actually working" it is perceived as waste more readily.
One experience that I was missing in the workshop was one of a highly functioning mob - I guess I can imagine how it might be, but imagining and feeling are quite different from each other.

After the tutorials, each to their own way. I found myself tagging along with Helena (and some others) to a nearby pub. The two of us went to put our stuff in the hotel first, and when we got to the pub, the others were nowhere to be seen. But we had spotted there Liz KeoghAbby Bangser and Joep. The conversation went to many directions, where Abby and Liz went over some of the takeouts from Liz's workshop. Then, somehow, I got to experience one of the most effective explanations by demonstration acts I've seen. The topic was the difference between the thinking habits of testers and developers, and how does this affect a certain exercise in Liz's workshop. It really puzzled me, so I asked for some elaboration. Two minutes later I was bombarded by a series of questions, leading to this "Oh... now I see what you meant". Really amazing.

Then, sadly, Liz, Abby and Joep left to attend the speakers' dinner, which left us three (Helena, myself and a developer colleague of Helena) to find ourselves dinner, where we spoke a bit about the mobbing tutorial we were in, and flowed to other subjects - from automation to train-based conferences (that might have been the beer talking, but it does have potential), to trying to explain the non-tester at the table what do we mean when we say "heuristics" by comparing it to design patterns (and then just going over some examples that we use).

All in all, the only drawback this day had is that I will probably sleep less than I should.
Day 1 is over, waiting for the next one to come by.

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