1. Made it to hotel on time in public transpo shocker, had yummy snax, then listened to a talk by James Whittaker on "Testing Dialogues in the Executive Suite." This turned out to be about something else entirely, basically, "What testing needs to evolve into being as the current state of software is unacceptable and we're supposed to have an even more computerized life in 20 years." He demoed a first person shooter hack as how he'd like testing to work ("Here's your enemies! And these are magnetic bullets to hit them with!"). He said his talk is online ... at www.msdn.com/testercenter, but don't be too suspicious about him being at Microsoft because he did teach testing at some college in Florida for a really long time and according to Lee Copeland his books are good enough to buy with your own money. (I will try to add more notes about his talk later, but probably not until tomorrow.)
2. Guy behind me said, "Hey, aren't you the American girl who moved to London?" and then proceeded to tell me he'd seen my blog and apparently spent enough time on it to recognize me from my pix. My. (Yesterday Mr. Copeland said, "Aren't you the Vonnegut expert?" because he'd Googled me and found the books I'd written on Amazon. Odd what traces you leave of yourself on the internet.)
3. Listened to Elizabeth Hendrickson's "Extreme Testing" talk, which was mostly full of, "Wow, I've worked on teams that aren't dysfunctional" to me (despite what she was actually talking about this is what I heard, a description of a beautiful world I've never lived in). She also had great "I'm a testing nut" rubber bracelets to give away which I'd like to get a hold of. Er, let's see, she recommended that testers in XP situations work with the developers and work with the customers - developers can put in things to help you test and customers can help you design your tests as well as providing feedback on the system themselves.
4. Went to the expo and got a multi-colored flashing luggage tag. Actually, I got two, but I'd like to get more. Also got some sort of AC/DC t-shirt ... actually it says AQ/TC and below it "for those about to test," but the font is AC/DC.
5. Went to a talk on Fundamentals of Data Warehouse testing by Mark Bloom, who works at Capitol One. I figured he'd know his stuff. Oddly he used to be a product manager - and he says old mainframe programmers are the best people to staff his team "because they used to code on 128K and they know how to drive data through the small pipes." It was a good talk and I wish he'd had a four hour session to really go over stuff. I got good recommendations on how to scrub data. He also encouraged people to have their business define what data elements are the ones that need to be kept secure when you need to test against production-like data rather than using your own judgment.
6. Lunch - soft tacos and enchiladas, chips and salsa and flan and coconut cream cake. Yum. I gave a woman I was sitting next to the five minute version of my talk so she could go to the one she wanted to that was at the same time, in exchange for a promise from her to give me the info from that talk later.
7. Books - bought $150 worth after getting work to promise to pay for $100 of them. Oops. Saw the woman I mentioned on my blog a year ago (Lisa Crispin) and thanked her for inspiring me to submit a paper for the conference.
8. 1:45 - "Growing our industry: cultivating testing" by Isabel Evans, who is English. She has a degree in horticulture and used this as a metaphor to say that QA really ought to have better certification than it does now. I did not agree that people needed to be certified but I certainly think the current system is a waste of time, an opinion which I shared with her during the Q&A.
9. "Testing Disasters and Turnarounds," Randall Rice. I couldn't avoid this talk for obvious reasons - I love other people's horror stories. Basically, companies with no documentation and constant changes are pretty likely to be falling appart, and when you're trying to come up with a solution for the problems, it's useful to do it as a series of things that take place over different timescales - but if you can't get management buy-in, you're hosed. Enjoyable!
Then it was 4 PM and I was BEAT and wanted to actually get to the hotel before the sun was setting so headed back. Nap time now, then I'll have a swim and get a room service pizza and work on my paper ...