After completing my own CAST2011 Emerging Topics track presentation, “Tester Fatigue and How to Combat It”, I stuck around for several other great emerging topics and later returned for the Lightning Talks.

My stand out favorites were:

  • Who Will Test The Robots? – This brief talk lasted a minute or two but I really loved the Q&A and have been thinking about it since.  The speaker was referred to as T. Chris (and well-known by other testers).  One observer answered by suggesting that we’ll need to build robots to test the robots.  I realized this question will need to be answered sooner than we think.  Especially after the dismal reliability of my Roomba.
  • Improv Comedy / Testing Songs – This was my first encounter with the brilliant and creative, Geordie Keitt.  He changes the lyrics of classic pop songs to be about testing.  You can hear a sampling of his work on his blog.  Sandwiched between his musical live performances were several audience participation testing comedy improvs with Geordie, Lanette Creamer, and Michael Bolton.  It was bizarre seeing Bolton quickly turn an extension cord into a cheese cutting machine that needed better testing.  At some point during this session, Lanette emerged, dressed as a cat (from head to toe) and began singing Geordie’s tester version of Radiohead’s Creep song.  This version must have been called, “Scope Creep”.  Here is a clip…

    “Features creep. Features will grow. What the hell is this ding here. That don’t belong here…”

  • Stuff To Do When I Get Back From CAST2011 – This Lightning Talk was presented by Liz Marley.  I found it very classy.  This is what Liz said she would do after Cast2011 (these are from my notes so I may have changed them slightly):
    • Send a hand-written thank you note to her boss for sending her to CAST2011.
    • Review her CAST2011 notes while fresh in her mind.
    • Follow up with people she met at CAST2011.
    • Sign up for BBST.
    • Get involved in Weekend Testing.
    • Schedule a presentation in her company, to present what she learned at CAST2011.
    • Plan a peer conference.
    • Watch videos for CAST2011 talks she missed.
    • Make a blog post about what she learned at CAST2011.
    • Invite her manager to come to CAST2012.

      Thanks, Liz!  So far I’ve done five of them.  How about you?
  • Mark Vasco’s Test Idea Wall – Mark showed us pictures of his team’s Test Idea Wall and explained how it works: take a wall, in a public place, and plaster it with images, phrases, or other things that generate test ideas.  Invite your BA’s and Progs to contribute.  Example: A picture of a dog driving a car reminds them not to forget to test their drivers.  This is fun and valuable and I started one with one of my project teams this week.
  • Between Lightning Talks, to fill the dead time, facilitator Paul Holland ripped apart popular testing metrics.  He took real, “in-use”, testing metrics from the audience, wrote them on a flip chart, then explained how ridiculous each was.  Paul pointed out that “bad metrics cause bad behavior”.  Out of some 20 metrics, he concluded that only two were valuable:
    • Expected Coverage vs. Actual Coverage
    • Number of Bugs Found

Lightning Talks rock!


  1. Richard Siemens said...

    Can you give an example of "Expected Coverage vs. Actual Coverage" that was talked about? I just know my manager will assume this is a test case execution percentage...

    I like the idea of of a test idea wall. I'll probably need to start this off in my cube, but it could grow from there.

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