On a snowy Saturday, the 11th of March 2023, a group of Eclipse testers (Ela, Ada, Agnieszka, Jacek and Tomek) attended the test:fest 2023 conference which took place in Wrocław, Poland.

It is a free-of-charge event organized by a group of volunteers (our Test Lead – Darek is one of them) that we mentioned in our previous events review post, which creates a space for testers and other IT professionals to share their expertise and discuss topics from the business. But above all, the conference connects people who share the same passion. Among the speakers, it is not difficult to find names known throughout Europe, just one worth mentioning is Rik Marselis. Rik is an accredited trainer for TMAP, ISTQB and TPI certification training courses, but also, he has created and delivered many bespoke workshops and training courses.

Even though the conference lasts only one day, everyone could find a topic for themselves. Among the lectures, workshops, and discussion panels, you could learn interesting things about manual tests, automation, soft skills and things related to the scope of a Test Manager role.

The full agenda can be found on the event website.

It is also worth mentioning that the number of places to participate in the conference was limited, so everyone who took part in it had to fill in the survey and answer the question of why they are interested in this conference.

 

Our Thoughts about the Event

Ela:

The conference started with the lecture “Sustainability – the new quality characteristic” led by Rik Marselis. He brought up a subject that is very important in recent times, which is the influence of the IT industry on the environment. “Sustainability” was added as the next characteristic of ISO25010 standard and it promotes an approach to software and system development, deployment and maintenance that is environmentally friendly and reduces the usage of energy.

Another lecture I personally found really interesting was about Metaverse and why is it now as revolutionary as the internet in the 90’s. In 1991 in Poland, the first four computers located in Warsaw, Krakow, Torun and Katowice were connected to the internet. Its speed was very slow back then, but it developed so quickly that now we cannot imagine the world without it. This situation is very similar to the current development of Virtual Reality. It is probable that in a few years, Metaverse will be commonly used for daily activities such as shopping, studying, entertainment, work etc. This change will bring a lot of possibilities, but there’s also the controversy of how people would deal with processing so much information at a time. Anyway, the virtual future and constant connection to the internet is what awaits humanity and will influence the way we live.

The attendees also had a chance to speak to physiotherapist Thomas Greschütz during the conference. Thomas gave an interesting lecture on how the sitting lifestyle influences our mental and physical health and what we can do to avoid its side effects. The issues with the musculoskeletal system have drastically increased during the pandemic and this trend is still ongoing. He explained that no body position can be called “wrong” unless we change it every few minutes.

Tomasz Dubikowski was the last speaker at the conference and he gave a lecture with a very enigmatic topic named “Porzućcie wszelką nadzieję, Wy, którzy tu wchodzicie” (“Abandon all the hope, you, who enter this place”). He presented the story of how we, as testers, may feel when we start working on a new project. The main conclusion was that sometimes a project may fail even when we have very broad knowledge, and experience and we put all the effort into making it successful which can influence our satisfaction level and motivation in other projects.

Tomasz:

I attended three events, one lecture and two workshops.

In the first one, a lecture by Rik Marselis – “Sustainability – the new quality characteristic”. Rik was talking about the new quality characteristic added to the other quality characteristics of the ISO25010 standard. In this presentation, he explained this characteristic and how it aligns with other quality characteristics of the ISO25010 standard. He explained that “green IT” is only part of “sustainability” (because sustainability is focused on the organization as a whole and its impact on the planet). He also showed how to focus on Sustainability when creating new IT systems. In addition to that, he also demonstrated an approach to improving the sustainability of existing IT systems.

The second one, was a workshop led by Daria Dobrzańska & Kinga Witko – „Jak ‘sprzedać’ testy, czyli jak pokazać korzyści z testowania Klientowi?” (How to ‘sell’ tests, i.e. how to show the benefits of testing to the client?).

This workshop was addressed mainly to test managers, or to people who have contact with the client regarding the sale of tests for a given project. The pair tried to show us that during the sales process, it is quite common for us to have a lot of problems with choosing the right arguments to skilfully talk to the client. In addition, the skills and knowledge related to cooperation with our superiors or leaders are also important. Often it is they whom we must convince to introduce the necessary changes, and processes or also to expand the team to allow us to sell testing to the client.

This workshop was mostly in the form of group exercises. As participants, we were divided into small groups. Each group had dedicated tasks. It was very cool that completely unknown people, often with different experiences, were able to communicate with each other in a short time and establish a joint plan of action. After completing each task, we analysed together what had been done well and what should be improved. The answer is quite simple – listen and ask the correct question. Propose the correct approach (for example, T&M or Fixed Price), and show the client that your company is aware of his needs.

At the end, I was participating in a workshop led by Rik Marselis – “Create your own quality engineering strategy”.

The goal of a quality engineering strategy is to describe the allocation of quality measures to IT delivery items (e.g. user stories, features etc.), to balance the investment in quality engineering activities and to make an optimal distribution of effort over fundamental DevOps activities and Test Varieties. The quality risk class is used to assign the intensity of the quality measures that must be applied. The Quality Engineering Strategy uses 4 groups of quality measures:

– Build quality in (also known as preventive),

– Demonstrate quality statically (also known as detective and static testing),

– Demonstrate quality dynamically (also known as detective and dynamic testing) and

– Improve quality (also known as corrective).

This workshop was divided into two parts. In the beginning, the theoretical part, where the speaker explained to the participants what the quality engineering strategy is and how to define it correctly. In the second part, we were divided into several groups, we were given tasks and together we tried to create an example quality engineering strategy (based on the template provided to us by the lecturer). In this workshop we started with an analysis of quality risks, then we went through quality measures and finally, we assigned quality measures with the right intensity to our fundamental DevOps activities and test varieties.

It definitely was a very nice but also challenging exercise; it allowed me to look at the process of creating a strategy in a completely different way. Not only from the test perspective but from the project as a whole.

We’d definitely recommend to anyone that found any of the topics discussed interesting to take a look at attending test:fest next year. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are – you will always find something suitable for you.

Contributions to this post were made by Elżbieta Galant.