Monday, June 12, 2017

Nordic testing days - closing it all up

So, second day of NTD 2017... The scary part where I get to speak. At least, it was directly after the keynote, so I would have most of my day worry-free. 
Fiona Charles's keynote raised an important matter - As testers we should be responsible for our ethics - both towards the company that hires us, but more importantly, to the public that our product affect, and to ourselves. In a perfect world, everyone would be doing the right thing, so there will be no ethical dilemmas. Sadly, our world is not perfect, and we are asked to lie, or help in covering up information, or take part in a product that we think is morally inappropriate (my personal "no way I'll work there" include gambling sites, porn and most ad-services). In such cases, we have to know when to say "no". "No" to lying. "No" to deception. Also, it is very important to know that there are levels of saying that no. Most of the times, this no should be voiced internally - Letting the product owner know that the tests indicate a very high risk in releasing the software, asking again if we are comfortable with *this* business decision, going over your manager's head to make sure your concerns are not ignored irresponsibly, even resigning when you think the company is acting immorally (but not illegally) . Sometimes, when there's something more serious is on the line, it means that we should notify external entities - turn the external auditor's attention to the flaw that might cause a safety-critical component to malfunction, anonymously tipping the police when acts of fraud are being sanctioned by the CEO,  or even going to the media to reveal how irresponsibly the company is handling their user data despite all warnings and attempts to fix this. 
My main takeaway from this talk is that it's always easy to know what is the right thing for others to do. Especially in retrospect. Knowing the right thing to do yourself, and having the courage to do so - is not always that simple. Let's hope we won't face such dilemmas ourselves. 

Then, after the break, there was my talk. Was I nervous? yes. I think it went well, and some of the questions I got at the end indicated that my message had indeed reached at least some of the audience (my message, in short - threat modeling is very much like testing, so go and do that. 

After that, I could enjoy the rest of the conference worry-free, and went on to listen to some very good talks (such as Carly Dyson's talk on her insights from being a consultant, Melissa Marshall's thoughts about integration tests or Gwen Diagram's talk on logging and monitoring). 

Finally, was the closing keynote. Usually, I really like the keynotes - where you get great speakers with ideas that are inspiring and thought provoking. This one, sadly, was neither. The speaker, Kristjan Korjus, showed us a really interesting product - a robot that is meant to facilitate "last mile delivery" and make delivery a lot less expensive. It is, to borrow the Cynefin terminology, a very complex situation, and thus probably the most interesting situation, when the way forward is by probing fast and learning in retrospect, so I'm assuming that any of the directions there could have made out a great keynote that will give people something to take home except "oh, look, a cute robot". Instead, we got something that looked a lot like a sales pitch, and I'm not even sure who is supposed to buy what. 

Anyway, after the keynote and thanking the amazing conference team for their magnificent work we've moved to a nice bar for the after-party, where we got to say goodbye to those flying soon after the conference ends, and chat a bit more over dinner with those that were staying another night.
Yes, naturally we met a bit more with people at a(nother) pub for some more chats and fun. 

The last day where I could say it was still a bit conference-y was when we met the next morning for breakfast and final goodbyes. I then went with Sven for a day-trip in the countryside (where I took the picture you can see above). A really nice way to take a slow cooldown from a conference. 

So, all in all - it was a great conference. A lot to consider, great experiences and even greater people. If you are making a list of conferences you want to attend, this one should be very high on your list. 

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