…. Harder Better Faster Stronger.

TestBash Brighton 2017 delivered so much, there have been some pretty comprehensive blogs about the conference day already. A good example of which is:

 

I’m going to concentrate, for now, on the workshops I attended on the Thursday.

As I mentioned in Look around you, do you see those faces…..

Essentially, conferences should be there to provide recharging of batteries, new ideas, reassurance and a fresh testing perspective.

For this blog, I’m going to concentrate on the morning session ‘Thinking and Working Visually for Software Testers’ as led by Huib Schoots.


As a side note Del Dewar covered the correct pronunciation of Huib’s name on the Friday.

 


 

I am no artist and yet I find myself drawn to diagrams, flow charts, mind maps and such, as opposed to written documentation. I think I even took one of those online tests (super credible) and it suggested I was a visual mathematician, whatever that means.

For me, I was looking for any techniques and tips to be able to use some of these in my day-to-day work.

Huib got us to start drawing straight away, but not before asking us to describe, in pairs, our house to each other. Then, taking a short while to sketch our homes and repeating the exercise again.

This immediately highlights the power of pictures, no matter how badly we draw them, the mental picture one can create with these stimuli outweighed the power of words.

Examples were given, from IKEA instructions to road signs.

Huib allayed fears of not being able to draw, empowering us all to express ourselves however we could and encouraging us to practice simple things. As with anything, practice can make perfect passable.

We were pointed to The Sketchnote Handbook for further reading.

The session gave us the chance to try:

  • Sketchnoting to TED talks.
  • Design test cases in flowchart form.
  • Using mindmaps to present, in pairs, ourselves to each other in pairs.
    • Huib showed us his CV in mindmap form.
  • Mindmaps as test plans.
    • Mindmaps into test cases.
  • Session notes – note-taking for conferences and classes.
  • Test coverage outline – this is something I’ve been trying to get my head into since I started at my current role last summer.
  • James Bach’s Heuristic Test Strategy Model and SFDIPOT (page 4).

There was so much to takeaway from this session and my head was spinning.

I must confess that I didn’t take session notes in any of the talks, which meant that I wasn’t able to start processing all that I had taken in until I got home.

The slides contained more than enough reference material to keep me busy for weeks, but even with just the session as a stand-alone point of reference, I will:

  • Present more ideas in sketch form.
  • Keep a note book with me, to capture thoughts as and when they come rather than trying to do so retrospectively.
  • Try test strategy/plans/coverage in mindmap form.
  • Play with flowcharts, handwritten and online, more.
  • Try to communicate better, and more visually!

Thank you Huib.

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