Tuesday, 8 March 2016

TestBash 2016 Day 2 - RST

Introduction

Today I continued my 3-day training course on Rapid Software Testing (RST) with Michael Bolton. My goal for this week was to try and share my experience of RST and TestBash so that you can get a feel for what it’s like to attend. So far I can definitely say it hasn’t been one of those boring corporate training courses you might get sent on!

My main takeaways today

Today felt like we really got to start practicing RST and learn about ourselves. Whereas yesterday we were blown away by new ideas and approaches, today we got to ask questions, try performing RST techniques ourselves and discuss how our views differed either with Michael or with each other.
The morning for me (and I suspect many others) was very humbling. Before taking the course I had a read a good deal about RST and about the ideas James and Michael share. I admittedly started the course with a sense of confidence that I understood and could practice a lot of it already. In reflection, I think this is the very thing I wanted to be challenged on, I think I subconsciously felt that simply reading about it wasn’t enough. Well, I got what I came here for!
The main morning task I eagerly jumped into and in hindsight I think it was a lesson worth learning. I won’t go into details as I think you should go into this course relatively un-prepared to get most out of it. But let’s just say that the course is definitely not as easy as it might seem at the time. This may all sound a little negative, but it’s not! In the afternoon I felt a little more at ease I realised:
  1. I was definitely not the only one who felt like this!
  2. It was an opportunity to learn from my approach and identify the differences that Michael was speaking about.
The afternoon session provided an opportunity to practice mind maps and Michael encouraged us all to share ideas and look at each other’s approaches to tasks. I had used mind maps before but not quite got the value out of them, so I really enjoyed this and I saw so much value in this very visual representation of test ideas. It was amazing to see how varied the approaches and ideas were.

Social stuff

After today’s session a bunch of us all met up at a pub called The Eagle (which is where we are meeting up tomorrow for the first of main TestBash meetups). A few people from the RST course came and also a few people I haven’t met before turned up from other workshops. I ended up talking a lot about the sprint structure at my current workplace and it was nice to try and explain it to other people and try and justify (and therefore reason) why it worked. I like doing this because it forces me to really think about my reasoning and whether it really makes sense! I always find a few holes in my line of thinking! It was also great to meet Vernon Richards again who I’ve met before from the Liverpool tester meetup and talk about some topics I’m interested in at the moment like speaking at universities!

Looking forward

Tomorrow is my last day of RST and I’ve been warned by a couple of people it’s the hardest day! I’m looking forward to it though but I’m sad it’s almost over, I’ve been loving the discussions, the challenges and the great things I’ve learned so far. I know a few people on the course are leaving right after too, so I’m sad that I’ve only got one more day to bounce ideas off some great testers! However, there are some people sticking around and plenty more new faces to meet, especially on Friday for the main conference, so I’m looking forward to all of that!

Bonus!

One more thing! Right at the end of yesterday, I was discussing the TestBash week with people and I was asked if I was attending any workshops on Thursday. After I said no, Rosie asked if I knew a company was offering a free ticket because one of their people had fallen ill and couldn’t attend. She gave me the details, I asked and now I can definitely say I’m attending a workshop on Thursday morning - "Building quality in with distributed teams" by Lisa Crispin and Abby Bangser. I’m over the moon about being able to attend even more and maximise my week! And I really can’t thank Rosie and the company Inviqa enough for letting me know about this and giving me the ticket!

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