I would much rather test than create test documents. Adam White once told me, “If you’re not operating the product, you’re not testing”.
It’s soooooo easy to skip all documentation and dive right in to the testing. It normally results in productive testing and nobody misses the documents. Until…three years later, when the prog makes a little change to a module that hasn’t been tested since. The team says the change is high risk and asks you which tests you executed three year ago and how long it took.
Fair questions. I think we, as testers, should be able to answer. Even the most minimal test documentation (e.g., test fragments written in notepad) should be able to answer those questions.
If we can’t answer relatively quickly, we may want to consider recording better test documentation.
Warning: This is mostly a narcissistic post that will add little value to the testing community.
I’ve been pretty depressed about my proposal not getting picked for Let’s Test 2014. Each of my proposals have been picked for STPCon and STAR over the past three years; I guess I was getting cocky. I put all my eggs in one basket and only proposed to Let’s Test. My wife and I were planning to make a vacation out of it…our first trip to Scandinavia together.
Despite my rejection, my VP graciously offered to send me as an attendant but I wallowed in my own self pity and turned her down. In fact, I decided not to attend any test conferences in 2014. Pretty bitter, huh?
I know I could have pulled off a kick-ass talk with the fairly original and edgy topic I submitted. I dropped names. I got referrals from the right people. My topic fit the conference theme perfectly, IMO. So why didn’t I make the cut?
The Let’s Test program chairs have not responded to my request for “what I could have done differently to get picked”. Lee Copeland, the STAR program chair was always helpful in that respect. But I don’t blame the Let’s Test program chairs. Apparently program chairs have an exhausting job and they get requests for feedback from hundreds of rejected speakers.
Fortunately, my mentor and friend, Michael Bolton read my proposal and gave me some good honest feedback on why I didn’t get picked. He summarized his feedback into three points which I’ll paraphrase:
- A successful pitch to Let’s Test involves positioning your talk right in the strike zone of an experience report. You seemed to leave out the teensy, weensy little detail that you’re an N-year test manager at Turner, and that you’re telling a story about that here.
- Apropos of that, tell us about the story that you’re going to tell. You’ve got a bunch of points listed out, but they seem disjointed and the through line isn’t clear to me. For example, what does the second point have to do with the first? The fourth with the third?
- Drop the dopey idea of “learning objectives”, which is far less important at Let’s Test than it may be at other conferences.
So there it is. One of my big testing-related failure stories. Wish me luck next year when it give it another go, for Let’s Test 2015…man that seems a long ways off.