I Attended John Stevenson’s great talk and workshop at Monday night’s Software Testing Club Atlanta.  I’m happy to report the meeting had about 15 in-person attendees and zero virtual attendees.  Maybe someone read my post.

John is a thoughtful and passionate tester.  He managed to hold our attention for 3 hours!  Here are the highlights from my notes:

  • The human brain can store 3TBs of information; This is only 1 millionth of the new information released on the internet every day.
  • Over stimulation leads to mental illness.
  • John showed us a picture and asked what we saw.  We saw a tree, flowers, the sun, etc.  Then John told us the picture was randomly generated. The point?  People see patterns even when they don’t exist.  Presumably to make sense out of information overload.
  • Don’t tell your testing stories with numbers.  “A statistician drowned while crossing a river with an average depth of 3 feet”; Isn’t that like, “99 percent of my tests passed”?
  • Don’t be a tester that waits until testing “is done” to communicate the results.  Communicate the test results you collected today?  I love this and plan to blog about it.
  • Testers, stop following the same routines.  Try doing something different.  You might end up discovering new information.
  • Testers, stop hiding what you do.  Get better at transparency and explaining your testing.  Put your tests on a public wiki.
  • Critical thinking takes practice.  It is a skill.
  • “The Pause”. Huh?  Really?  So?  Great critical thinking model explained in brief here.
  • A model for skepticism.  FiLCHeRS.
  • If you challenge someone’s view, be aware of respecting it.
  • Ways to deal with information overload:
    • Slow down.
    • Don’t over commit.
    • Don’t fear mistakes.  But do learn from them.  This is how children learn.  Play.
    • (Testing specific)  Make your testing commitments short so you can throw them away without losing much.  Don’t write some elaborate test that takes a week to write because it just might turn out to be the wrong test.
    • You spend a 3rd of your life at work.  Figure out how to enjoy work.
  • John led us through a series of group activities including the following:
    • Playing Disruptus to practice creative thinking.  (i.e., playing Scamper.)
    • Playing Story War to practice bug advocacy.
    • Determining if the 5 test phases (Documentation, Planning, Execution, Analysis, Reporting) each use Creative Thinking or Critical thinking.
  • Books John referenced that I would like to read:
    • The Signal and the Noise – Nate Silver
    • Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
    • You are Not So Smart – David McRaney


  1. Leonidas said...

    3TB? How about more like 2.5 Petabytes. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-memory-capacity/

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