The Workshop on Teaching Test Design

Have you ever seen an HR manual that told you everything about the interview process: How to post a job, how to book a training room, how to have the person report to the front desk, how to write an offer letter … everything except how to figure out who the right candidate is?

That’s sort of the form of the interview, but without the power.

Now think about test events. Webinars. Blogs. How many of them talk about what we actually do when we test – where test ideas come from, how to decide what to do next, and what to do when we get the results of that action?

A few. Not nearly enough.

Consider, for example, the difference between the Quick Attacks Exercise/Tutorial and 95% of testing writing on the web; it is a striking difference.

Talking about the tactical details of testing is hard. Too often we give up, and talk about theory, or how to hire, or tools, or how to document, or something else. There is certainly a place for that, but I have been to entire conferences where no one ever gave us a USB stick and aske me to test any software – where no one even projected a user interface on a screen and asked “How would you test this?”

What is up with that?

Like I said, this kind of work is hard. I know; I tried to organize hands-on tracks at two different conferences. Getting speakers to apply was like pulling teeth. Once we had the line-up, it was weak. Several of the “hands on” sessions turned into a speaker having a conversation with the audience.

I don’t blame anyone. Developing good training on tactical testing is hard. (Did I say that before?) It is not like there was anyplace to go to learn how.

So let’s change that

My company, Excelon Development, is going to host a one-day conference on Teaching (Hands-On) (Tactical) Test Design February 16th, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio, at the Drury Inn Hotel and Convention Center; use this booking link for a hotel discount. The intent of the workshop is to continue to develop leaders who create their own test exercises, but also to develop new tactical training material, right there, that day. Our format will be something like the WHOSE Workshop of 2013, with a series of presentations in the morning, a brainstorm and “pitch session” to present possible test exercises, work in small groups, possible rotation, and presentation.

Chris George recently described WHOSE as “one of the most intense, challenging, yet fun and enjoyable events of my professional life so far.”

Why Ohio in February?

February 16th is the day before QAOrTheHighWay, the midwest’s largest one day test conference. The Drury Inn is about a half-mile walk away and the official conference hotel.

Costs, logistics, and bonuses

At $50, we’ve priced “WHatDa”, the (WorksHop on teaching Test Design) as a non-profit event; Software Delivery 24/7 Members pay half that amount. We’ll start at 8:00AM and run until 5:00PM; we will take a break around noon for lunch, which will not be provided.

This is a working conference; every attendee will participate. Participants with particular experiences, ideas, theories, or samples to share are encouraged to submit those ideas to consideration for the morning session. If you don’t have exercises to bring, that is okay: You’ll help refine ideas in the afternoon.

Our goal is to produce public, defensible work. Some speakers may have intellectual property concerns, which we will discuss before the presentations begin. We will make a good faith attempt to balance our goal with developing new material for the world with protecting intellectual property that already exists – especially if if predates the workshop.

One final bonus: I, Matt Heusser, intend to develop some test training material at this workshop. At least one of the exercises should ‘work’ over the web. After the event, we’ll run a free google hangout for the first ten people that sign up. If we get enough new exercises, we’ll make it a series.

How can I sign up for the Workshop in Ohio?

Click “Buy Now” below to use Paypal or Credit Card — or use the special method emailed to Software Delivery 24/7 members.

Questions? Post them here, email, or raise them on the Excelon Development Google Group.

4 comments on “The Workshop on Teaching Test Design

  1. Thanks for this interesting initiative,
    I wonder how much one can gain from a workshop – even if attending once a year,
    I guess practice during live work can also be used –
    If for instance we create a web page which presents random attack patterns – highlights with option for more detailed reading,
    If one has this in front of him while testing (maybe even as part of ALM/Bug-Tracking daily tools he/she use), then we can get to a more constant practice, and in means which don’t take much dedicated time, but gives connects more to the tester experience – If a real Bug is found and reported, its more likely one will remember that type of attack next time when planning tests, or during execution.
    (Now our “back of the mind” includes only phenomena we have encountered, or discussed with colleagues)

    @halperinko – Kobi Halperin

    • Kobi, the workshop is on /teaching/ test design. It is on helping people to create the sort of exercises you want to run everyday. And yes, I hope that when people leave, they invest a lot more time than that!

  2. […] Accidentally, like 95% of our community.  A better question would be: how did I become involved in community of skilled testers, thought leaders in our profession? My answer is: through peer workshops and conferences. Take an opportunity to participate in such event that is happening a day before QA or The Highway. It’s a one day peer workshop organized by Matt Heusser, and is open for everyone: […]

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