How to Choose a Good Software Testing Conference

It just occurred to me that there is a whole bunch of below standard software testing conferences out there. How to avoid them? And what exactly is it that there is to be avoided?

Here is my “to be avoided” list:
- Overcrowded with the sales people of tool vendors
- Conference is organized by a tool vendor
- Sessions were selected on the criteria: “what tool vendor is willing to pay for it”

Here is my “oh yeah, great” list:
- great speakers
- interesting formats, like unconference or coach camp
- participation and discussion instead of 45min bloody boring bullet ball battles (yes, I know, it is called bullet point, but it wouldn’t have made such a cool alliteration)

What is it that should happen at a conference?
If you are inspired for action = that is good.
If you learn something new = that is good, too.
If you are inspired, delighted, enlightened, and cannot stop smiling = then it is really great.

Make up your own mind and choose wisely. Maybe you’d like to follow @testevents. They promise to update you on testing events.


Lines of Thought on Software Testing

Ok, let’s start with some thoughts on software testing. Sometimes I find it a good idea to clarify the meaning and connotation of some words for common understanding. So, here are my 3 words:

  • Checking
  • Verification
  • Testing

Is there a difference or is it just irrelevant wordplay? I don’t know, let’s elaborate.

When I hear “checking” I immediately see a boring check list and then I fall asleep. The word “verification” evokes an image of a bureaucrat verifying that all fields on a stupid form are filled in. Now it is “testing” that gets my blood flowing. I mean, looking over the fence to another domain: they are called food testers and not food checkers and their life is filled with glamour and delicious wine. That’s where we want to be, don’t we?

And: There were some famous people named “Tester” such as Desmond Tester, Jon Tester and William Tester. Well, they were not really that famous.

I see checking, verification and testing in ascending order of skillfulness. Checking is just following detailed instruction (e.g. detailed test cases executed by non testers). Verification adds some element of inquiry to it (e.g. detailed test cases executed by testers). Testing on the other hand vibrates in full swing by skillfully questioning the product.

The company I work for calls what my group does “software verification” for the only reason that the term “testing” was already occupied by production. My next mission will be to change the name of my group to “software testing”. And, of course, become better at what we are doing which at the end of the day is far more important.

And here is a good book to start with: Lessons Learned in Software Testing