Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Mon, 19 Mar 2007

PNSQC Call for Papers

The Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference is one of my favorite conferences. I think it usually runs about 200 people, so it's small enough to meet people. As a regional conference always in the same place (Portland, OR, USA), there's a continuity of attendees that allows some papers to be less introductory than in other conferences.

They tell me:

Once again we are closing in upon the deadline for submitting abstracts for the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference. This year is our 25th anniversary and our conference theme is "25 Years of Quality - Building for a Better Future." We would especially like to hear from people (like you) who have submitted papers in the past.

This year we have a new submission process revolving around the Conference Management Tool from Microsoft. You can submit via https://msrcmt.research.microsoft.com/PNSQC2007/Default.aspx

The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2007 for our conference on October 8-10.

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Sun, 11 Mar 2007

Jeremy Stell-Smith

I need a picture of Jeremy Stell-Smith to use as decoration for my SPA 2007 talk. (It's background for a story about an epiphany I had while pair programming with him.) I no longer have his email address. If you do, could you forward this request to him? Thanks.

## Posted at 09:12 in category /conferences [permalink] [top]

Thu, 25 Jan 2007

Workshop on guiding Agile products

It's a crying shame how poorly we treat product directors on Agile projects. They're tossed into the hardest job on the team with no training, no support, and no one to talk to. Something Must Be Done.

I would like to have two peer workshops this year. The main purpose is to let product directors get together and teach each other. A secondary purpose is to have a mix of product directors, testers, programmers, and so on teaching other.

Since I will be in London anyway for Software Practice Advancement 2007, I'm thinking that would be a good place to have one, and March 30 - April 1 would be a good time to have it (possibly shifting it a day or shortening it a day).

The format I'm thinking of would follow the AWTA variant of the LAWST workshops. The format is one mainly of people telling their stories to the group, who respond by asking lots of questions. There's no time limit on a presentation, so the question-and-answer period can really probe into what happened and what conclusions can be drawn. There may also be open space style breakout sessions and lightning talks.

What I need is a local organizer. Up for it? Mail me.

I'm also thinking of having one in North America. Possibly in Chicago, Calgary, Toronto, Denver, or somewhere else.

## Posted at 19:30 in category /conferences [permalink] [top]

Tue, 02 Jan 2007

The Agile 2007 submission deadline is January 26th

August 13 - 17, Washington, DC, Marriott Renaissance Hotel

Deadline: January 26, 2007

Agile software development focuses on delivering business value early and often in the project lifetime with the ability to incorporate emergent requirements. It accentuates the use of rich, informal communication channels and frequent delivery of running, tested systems, while attending to the human aspect of software development.

Agile 2007 is the premier conference for people who are using, or wish to use, agile development principles to improve software development. The agile community will gather at Agile 2007 to share techniques and technologies, research and experience, and innovations for the managerial and technical sides of agile software development.

Agile 2007 seeks proposals for a wide range of topics including: developing, testing, individuals and teams, customers, planning, leadership, learning, innovation, process and process improvement, organizational change, project management, retrospectives, remote collaboration, and offshoring.

We invite submissions covering all aspects of agile methods in the following categories:

  • Tutorials
  • Research Papers
  • Experience Reports
  • Discovery Sessions
  • Educators' Symposium Presentations
  • Hands-on sessions
  • Beginners Track Presentations
  • Talking Heads
  • Research-in-Progress Workshop Presentations
  • Vendor Talks

Detailed calls for proposals for all submission types are available at http://www.agile2007.org. Proposals will be peer-reviewed and a selection will be made to create a highly relevant conference program for beginners to experts in the area of agile methods.

Important Deadlines:

January 26, 2007: Deadline for all submissions (except Research-in-Progress Workshop and Vendor Talks)

March 1, 2007: Vendor Talk submissions due

April 2, 2007: Notification of acceptance for submissions

May 14, 2007: Camera-ready manuscripts due for Research Papers, Experience Reports and Educators Symposium Papers

May 25, 2007: Notification of acceptance for Research-in-Progress Workshop

June 22, 2007: Camera-ready manuscripts due for Research-in-Progress papers

August 13-17, 2007: Conference

## Posted at 09:52 in category /conferences [permalink] [top]

Tue, 24 Oct 2006

Wanted: sound file

My life would be ever so much better if I had a snippet of the ka-chunk sound that a 35mm slide projector makes when changing slides. Anyone got one or can record one?

Update: My life is ever so much better. There are at least three people in the world much better at Google than I am. Thanks, all.

Update: I've gotten requests for what I used. Here it is: http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/tagsViewSingle.php?id=4868. It uses a Creative Commons license.

## Posted at 14:49 in category /conferences [permalink] [top]

Mon, 09 Oct 2006

An OOPSLA tutorial

If you're going to OOPSLA, I recommend you attend the tutorial Programmers are from Mars, Customers are from Venus: A Practical Guide to Working with Customers on XP Projects. I haven't taken it myself (never been in the right place at the right time), but I've talked to the lead presenter, Angela Martin, at length about the topic, and she's given me the complete notes. For those who don't know of her, Angela is one of the first names that springs to mind when you think about customers / product directors / product owners. Not only does she have practical experience, but she's also done some extremely interesting anthropological-ish research. Her co-presenters are Robert Biddle and James Noble, who have quite a good reputation as presenters. (Their postmodern programming presentation a few years back is a classic, a St. Crispin's Day event.)

I mention this because the description at the OOPSLA site has two flaws. "Working with Customers on XP Projects" in the title makes it seem that it's not for Scrum projects, but it is. And the blurb does not say, "This is for you too, programmers." From Angela's description, it most emphatically is.

## Posted at 09:02 in category /conferences [permalink] [top]

Thu, 21 Sep 2006

Learning from you

I've been invited to the Software Practice Advancement Conference. The idea appeals: expense-paid trip to London, opportunity to rouse the rabble along some lines I'll be previewing here as I have time, and a conference that's said to be good (I've never been). On the other hand, I hate overseas flights because I can't sleep on planes, and Dawn almost certainly can't come with.

Here's what would tip me over the edge. There are lots of people I could learn from in London. If there are teams there who do something really well (making small stories, writing FIT tests, release planning, etc. - anything), I would like to come work with you for several days. Not just visit and watch, but act as much like a team member as I can. Let me know.

P.S. The idea of visiting practice is part of what I want to rouse the rabble to, something that lives in the same space as the MFA for Software, something that's part of my formal discussion of Jim Waldo's OOPSLA essay On System Design, which will be titled something like Surviving in a World of Ever-Looming Malignity: Or, Monasticism for the Married.

UPDATE: Yes, I'm not expecting to be paid for the visits.

## Posted at 19:16 in category /conferences [permalink] [top]

Tue, 29 Aug 2006

Two conferences

Give a thought to going to the second Continuous Integration and Testing Conference in London on October 6-7. I went to the first one and liked it. I'd go to this one, but I understand you can't take water on planes now and I'm mostly water.

I will be going to the Simple Design and Test conference near Philadelphia (USA), on October 27-29.

And RubyConf is sold out already. Rats. That'll teach me.

## Posted at 09:18 in category /conferences [permalink] [top]

Fri, 04 Aug 2006

Workshop on Agile performance testing - Exeter, England

Posted at the request of Ross Collard, organizer.

WOPR7 is a workshop on agile performance testing. See www.performance-workshop.org for details, including how to apply.

It will be held in Exeter, England on October 12 - 14, 2006 (Thursday - Saturday). WOPR7 is a peer-level mini-conference, invitation-only, deliberately small and collegial, and free. James Bach will conduct a related one-day tutorial on Wednesday, October 11, also free.

Prior WOPR workshops have uniformly been rated outstanding. WOPR6, for example, was held on the Google campus in California last April, and attracted 120 applicants for the 20 seats available.

Some myths may make people ambivalent about applying to attend WOPR7 --

Myth 1.. Travel to the U.K. is a hassle / we do not have a budget for European travel / the food is bad in England. Actually, Exeter is a delightful, semi-medieval university town. The climate will be great in October. So will the camaraderie.

Myth 2.. "In my organization, we do not do agile performance testing and thus do not have any experience reports (ERs) to share on this topic." In response, I ask questions like: "Well, do you test and compare the performance iteratively?", and "Do you have to be agile and respond adroitly to fast changing conditions, often under tight deadlines?" They always say: "Of course! But we do not rigorously follow XP, Scrum, etc."

Myth 3.. "I would like to go to WOPR7 as a participant but have no ER to submit, so I know I will not be selected." We have room for motivated beginners as well as experts.

Myth 4.. "I would like to go to WOPR7 and I do have a story (an ER), but it could not possibly be selected over ones by Harty, Sabourin, Pearl, Barber, etc.". See comment above on myth #3.

## Posted at 07:43 in category /conferences [permalink] [top]

Mon, 31 Jul 2006

The Gordon Pask Award 2007

Each year at the Agile200X Conference, the Agile Alliance presents the Gordon Pask Award for Contributions to Agile Practice. Here's its description:

The Gordon Pask Award recognizes two people whose recent contributions to Agile Practice demonstrate, in the opinion of the Award Committee, their potential to become leaders of the field. The award comes with a check for US$5000.

Last year's recipients were J. B. Rainsberger and Jim Shore. This year's are:

Laurent Bossavit, for translating Extreme Programming Explained into French, for early and helpful activity on the English-language XP mailing list, for organizing a French-language site, mailing list, and wiki, for XP Day France, for the (incipient) thoughts on his blog, and for his championing of code dojos.

The collaborators Steve Freeman and Nat Pryce for helping found XP Day, for their long-time involvement in the Extreme Tuesday Club, for their joint role in the development, evolution, and popularization of the idea of mock objects and its realization in jMock, and for the networks of collaborations they're involved in (storytelling in Fit and scrapheap programming, for example).

(That "network of collaboration" thing presents a problem. Steve and Nat are extreme examples of a problem the Pask award faces: given the collaborative nature of Agile, any boundary you draw that says "this idea, here, is due to that set of people, there" is bound to leave out contributors. Steve and Nat are far from the only people who've worked on mock objects, and they've both collaborated with other people on other things. Where do you draw the award's line? There'd be some justification for giving it to the whole of London, or at least to the whole Extreme Tuesday Club.

(The committee—Rachel Davies, J.B. Rainsberger, Jim Shore, and me—discussed such matters for two and a half hours, maybe more, one night [causing me to rudely skip dinner with Laurent, for what I hope he now thinks is a good reason]. At times, I found myself thinking that maybe the whole idea was too much trouble. Where I ended up is that we should not avoid doing greater good because we cannot distribute all the credit that's deserved. I hope no one gets upset. Believe me, trying to pick two awards from many possibilities is just no fun at all.)

Our criteria are evolving (and, starting with this second year, they're mainly in the hands of the past recipients). We are looking for people who provide both ideas and actions. We want people who are advancing the state of the practice. But we also want people who are spreading knowledge of the existing state of the practice, so that Agile teams know what more there is to learn. And we also want people who are helping people on a personal level, not just at the abstract level of ideas.

## Posted at 09:31 in category /conferences [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




Agile Testing Directions
Tests and examples
Technology-facing programmer support
Business-facing team support
Business-facing product critiques
Technology-facing product critiques
Testers on agile projects

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Working your way out of the automated GUI testing tarpit
  1. Three ways of writing the same test
  2. A test should deduce its setup path
  3. Convert the suite one failure at a time
  4. You should be able to get to any page in one step
  5. Extract fast tests about single pages
  6. Link checking without clicking on links
  7. Workflow tests remain GUI tests
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Design-Driven Test-Driven Design
Creating a test
Making it (barely) run
Views and presenters appear
Hooking up the real GUI


Popular Articles
A roadmap for testing on an agile project: When consulting on testing in Agile projects, I like to call this plan "what I'm biased toward."

Tacit knowledge: Experts often have no theory of their work. They simply perform skillfully.

Process and personality: Every article on methodology implicitly begins "Let's talk about me."


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Hiring Johanna Rothman
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Where to Find Me

Software Practice Advancement


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