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Looking back on CAST 2014 and forward to Let’s Test Oz

After finally returning to Australian soil after an extended trip to the US following CAST, I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience of attending my first CAST. I still have much processing to do of the ideas I encountered during those crazy three days in New York, but my takeaways right now can be condensed into:

  • The CDT community is strong and growing and it feels like it is shedding its “vocal minority” image.
  • We’ve moved on from ISTQB certification bashing as our main focus.
  • Heuristics are a very valuable part of CDT – I really need to make more use of them and promote their use in Dell.
  • The idea of “tester velocity” was new to me (thanks to Henrik Andersson) but could serve as a simple way of incorporating test estimation into sprint planning.
  • The development of a significant software testing capability in New York via Doran Jones and the Per Scholas scheme to encourage on-shoring of testing in the US is very inspiring.
  • The movement against the ISO 29119 software testing standards that started at CAST is a turning point for the CDT community in my opinion, we’re finding a voice and using it.
  • New York is a very cool city!

Next stop Let’s Test Oz in a couple of weeks. I’m really looking forward to this conference and I hope we manage to capture that special Let’s Test vibe here on Australian soil.

A turning point for the context-driven testing community?

I recently attended the CAST 2014 testing conference in New York and one of the big things to come out of that conference seems to be the opposition to the new testing standards known as ISO 29119. This came about as a result of James Christie’s presentation about standards, which you can view online. A paper petition against 29119 did the rounds at the conference and this has now been made generally available via an online petition.

The idea is that there is clearly a lack of consensus in the testing community about such standards and it is part of ISO’s remit to consider if there is enough disagreement around the standard to say that it should not go ahead. This is all interesting enough in itself (though it’s not possible to see the standard in all its glory without paying for copy from ISO/IEEE) but it makes me wonder if this is something of a turning point in the context-driven testing community.

This petitioning against the standard is a very public voicing of the community’s different approach to software testing, a confident and strong expression of the community’s desire to improve the craft. This feels like the first time the community as a whole (rather than relying on some of the “big names” to make their points) has drawn a clear line in the sand and said which side they stand on.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether the CDT petition can gain enough traction to force the ISO to reconsider this standard. (If you want to follow the action on this topic on Twitter, look for #stop29119)

CAST 2014 is over… as an event but not as a resource

CAST 2014 is over and what a full-on three days that was! The first day was spent in a heuristics workshop with Fiona Charles, then the two-day conference to follow. The sessions were all good quality and the vibe of the event was great too. It was great to see a sold-out (250-strong) crowd forming from the context-driven testing community to share their passion.

I’m writing this post just as the event has ended, so there are so many takeaways competing for brainspace right now (to quote from Blazing Saddles, “My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives”), so I’ll do a follow up post when I’ve sorted through at least some of them.

In the meantime, it was great to catch up with so many familiar faces, meet many new ones and to see such passion for the craft of testing. You can get some sense of the goings on via the CAST 2014 Tweets

Anticipating CAST 2014

My first trip to New York is less than a week away now, to attend the CAST 2014 conference. As I write, I’m attending a work meeting for a few days just out of Los Angeles so have had some time to adjust to the time difference from Australia before heading to New York at the weekend.

I have a great sense of anticipation of both CAST and visiting New York. I’m not sure what to expect of CAST – while I had lots of direct experience reports from others who had attended Let’s Test, I don’t have the same sense of what to expect from the CAST event. I’m hoping it embodies the same spirit of openness and context-driven passion that I witnessed at Let’s Test. The locations couldn’t really be more different – a remote campus in the countryside of Sweden to a city campus in the heart of Manhattan – but I hope the takeaways for me turn out to be just as strong.

I’ll report back on CAST – as well as whether New York really is so good as to be deserving of being named twice!