Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Comedy bug, and upcoming events

So I saw this, and I thought you should, too: Just an Ordinary Day in Skyrim . Particularly funny bug at 20s or so in.

While I'm here*, the Exploratory Testing workshops in Oxford went very well, thankyou. Those of you in the know will already know that I'm organising a 2-day workshop on exploratory testing techniques in Amsterdam on 12 and 13 April. Contact me if you want to be kept up-to-date (and to get the earliest-bird discount). Details to hit the web soon. There's been a bit of a hiatus in the 'lots of ways to manage ET' series, but the rest are in the works. Expect to see one at most this week, none at all next week. So much for writing a new post daily; turns out day-to-day stuff gets in the way.

If I was around, I'd be setting off to one of the following low-cost local events;
Paul Gerrard's UK Test Manager Forum is next week, in London. 2 days (tutes, talks and dinner) for just under £300 inc VAT. Maybe, on reflection, that's not a particularly astonishingly low-cost event. The TMF's track format has a keen eye for conversation rather than lecture, which is all to the good, and so it's hard to pick out a particular recommendation. In the tutorials, look out for Dave Evans' hands-on workshop 'Specification By Example, in Practice'.

Chris Ambler is organising TestFest in Brighton on Feb 22. Tickets are £60. As he describes it, it will have not one, but two parallel interactive elements demonstrating test tools and approaches. Twin TestLabs anyone? The event has a clear focus on Brighton (and the UK's) gaming industry, and is as far as I'm aware the first time that a testing conference has paid the large and creative community much attention beyond a couple of track sessions. There's lots to discover from game testing (see bug above), and it looks great. Anyone with an interest in where we've come from will want to know that Geoff Quentin** will be in evidence.

++Missed this in the initial posting... ++
TCL is running a Zappers event in London, also on February 22nd. Zappers is a great opportunity to meet and talk and test. The event is free, and TCL don't simply lay on food and beer, they also set up a software/system target or two, and award prizes for finding bugs. TCL organise regular Zappers events all over the world, and huge kudos to them for doing so.

++Missed this too... ++
Tony Bruce and Nathan Bain set up the Agile Testers meetup a few years ago, and Tony's persistence has made it a monthly must-do. The next is on Feb 27th. Breaking the mould, (the meetup is generally in a pub, and is more about talking to each other than being spoken to) it's at SkillsMatter in London, and Chris Guest from Microsoft will be talking about Powershell.

++And another...++
The Agile Tester's Meetup is back to its usual format a couple of days later. From 5:30 on Wednesday 29 Feb (leap evening, so perhaps there will be a tale to tell about bugs of the day from iPhone owners) at the Shooting Star opposite Liverpool Street station. Free entry, good chat. Sign up on LinkedIn or (my preference) Meetup.

The SIGiST is doing its thing on 7th March for £132. Thankfully, this time you've got Lee Copeland, Julian Harty and Lloyd Roden, all of whom are worth your time. As a special treat, the usually-fascinating Allan Kelly gets a 15 minute slot too.

Ministry of Testing (the ever-present STC in ninja disguise) are running TestBash in Cambridge on March 23rd. It's a day long, and costs £99-£150 depending on how fast you move. Among the excellent selection of speakers, Steve Green and Alan Richardson are two of the best practicing and practical testers I've worked*** with. Not only this, but both have a keen focus on the exploratory end of the spectrum, and both have novel and well-thought through things to say.

* I'm not going to be nerd-sniped into diagnosis, but it seems that you won't have seen this posting until Monday 6th, though it's dated and was written January 31st. Dave's probably already packed his bag for the tutorial.
** Geoff played a vital part in initiating a number of things that now seem a necessary part of our industry (the SIGiST, EuroSTAR, BS7925 and the awful exam, various training organisations and approaches). If that list seems a little old-school, remember that's what initiating means. One reason for the longevity of these bodies is that Geoff built their sustaining communities by seeking out participants whose views were at odds with his own, but who in some sense matched his keenness to communicate and engage with other testers. If the SIGiST, exam and so on now seem moribund, that is perhaps because of the lack of diversity of their current participants. Personally, Geoff has been a crucial and much valued influence – and we taught a class together that was built in part around our fundamental disagreements.
*** Worked with as in: found real bugs in real stuff for real money, working with real people for months at a time. That's what they do.


  1. Big edit: added a couple of things.

    Someone recently asked me if London was a good place to be a tester. I reckon we can be proud of how active our local community of testers is.

    And on those lines, I've just sent a note to the LEWT community: LEWT10 on March 10 or 11? Drop me a line if you want to be in the discussion.

  2. Hi James, thanks for the shout out and see you at LEWT, if not before.