Agile Testing FAQs and Mythbuster – Software Testing Atlanta Conference 2015

Here is my slide deck from my talk at the Software Testers Atlanta Conference. It was lots of fun to deliver it. Full, engaged, room (even though it was on of those dreaded post-lunch slots!), good questions, good laughs. It was also refreshing to do a US conference without checking into an hotel not to say a 12+ hours flight… (One of the advantages of living in Boston …)

Thank you for the conference team for inviting me! always fun to visit Atlanta (and have some BBQ on the way back to the airport…)

LSSC11 – My impressions/takeaways

Impressions

Keynotes – The Keynote by Chet Richards was AMAZING. He is a great speaker, and his content was just right for opening the LSSC conference. He had tough competition with David Snowden talking about Complexity, so instead of chosing the best keynote, I’m mainly glad we could enjoy both. Snowden’s keynote was tougher to digest, and I think it will take me time to really bring myself to the level of consciously applying ideas from Snowden’s Cynefin in my day-to-day work.

From LSSC11

 

Choosing sessions was very difficult. More often than not I had to skip sessions I really wanted to hear. I guess its a sign of the quality of the topics/tracks/speakers. Talks of cloning, transparent walls, and other sci-fi solutions to the problem were abound on twitter. We had to suffice with a constant stream of tweets from the various sessions. Mostly that only increased the frustration for not enjoying the other session as well 🙂

With this in mind, I made a conscious decision to spend some serious time outside the Kanban tracks, to try and open my mind to other things. I attended some talks from almost every track.

This year I also tried to spend more time talking to people outside the sessions. It’s hard as the content was great, but the conversations are even better.

 

These are my highlights:

  • Both talks by Benjamin Mitchell. I was looking forward to hearing Benjamin for a while now, and wasn’t disappointed. He is a great story-teller, and if you mix in his passion for Argyris, people, and system thinking you get winning talks. He also mixes in a lot of self-awareness and introspection, so you really get a feeling of being along for the ride, and learning what to do if you are in a similar situation, as well as how to apply learning to any situation.
  • I also had a couple of corridor discussions with Benjamin – about CFDs, Control Charts among other things – which I found challenging and inspiring. Benjamin is the kind of guy you want as a mentor, too bad he’s in London not Tel Aviv 🙂
  • The new kanban board game from Russell Healy (that’s Brickell award winner Russell for you guys…) – I’m a big fan of the getkanban game for those who aren’t aware of it, and the new version adds some cool things. The cubes are out (good riddance), and it also conveys the effects of batch sizes and cadence very clearly. I didn’t have the time to play through the whole game, but got a sneak peak at all the features as an insider… The new kanban tool Russell is working on is also interesting, and he has some interesting thoughts what to do with it which I like.
  • I leave praise for my colleague Inbar’s talk about Who’s afraid of the big bad wall – Gemba Walks and Visualizations to others who are less subjective than me… suffice to say it felt great to see people coming over and telling him how much they liked it, and seeing the tweets about it. Well-deserved as it was a well-thought-out and executed talk about an important subject.
From LSSC11
  • Sufficient Design by Joshua Kerievsky was another favorite. His pragmatic views about Design, Context-specific behaviour, levers for indicating required levels of different qualities of solutions, and other aspects were all interesting and well-delivered. I’m now left with some reading and thinking to do about how to apply all of this. It was also interesting to note that Joshua spoke parallel to Siddharta Govindaraj who talked about Using Class of Service for Managing Risk in Innovative New Product Development, and there were several parallels and synergies between those talks, that we explored on the twitosphere in real time, which was amazing.
  • Outside the tracks, I had some interesting discussions with Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry about Personal Kanban and their unique approach to consulting. Don’t know how much of it makes sense to me yet, but its thought-provoking for sure..
  • Lean Coffees – While I’m doing similar personal kanban-driven sessions, the use of Lean Coffee to drive communities and organizations forward has more depth to it than I realized. I’m going to try and experiment with it, both for the Israeli Lean Software community, as well as client work. At the minimum, seems like a must have at any conference/gathering of people…
  • Had some great discussions with Dennis Stevens about Scrum, PMI, and the universe, and am looking forward to collaborating with Dennis on things related to PMI and Project Management in general.
From LSSC11

General Thoughts and Takeaways

  • As suspected, I have lots of learning to do, especially around System Thinking, Argyris, Cynefin, Risk. Thats great, no boredom for me.
  • The LSSC conferences are really aimed at intermediate/advanced practitioners looking to stay ahead of the curve. I don’t think we currently have a formula for Beginners/Executives, but I had some interesting discussions with David (Anderson) about this yesterday. We should keep the conferences more or less the same way in my oppinion. For the current Value Proposition they are great. Some tweaks can always help, but bottom line, the format works.
  • We can become more effective as a community if we find higher bandwidth and more intimate ways to interact outside the conference. Had some interesting talks about virtual coaching katas, debriefs, mentoring, etc.
  • Can’t wait to see the presentations and movies from the conference, Word on the street is that they will be available late June, for LSSC members.