30 June 2012

EAST pub evening

Knowing that I sometimes rush into things and generally can become a bit over-engaged (worst case ruining the balance in a previously well working group), I was quite anxious after suggesting a pub evening for EAST just a month after finding the group/network. Luckily it turned out just fine with, once again, lots of ideas and inspiration to bring home.

Anyway, the evening started at six o'clock and ended (at least for me) four hours later. All and all we were 8 or 9 people and topics ranged from molecular gastronomy and parenthood to a wide range of software testing related subjects. Also quite a few comments were made regarding the different choices in beer (or in the single case of not choosing beer). As usual (always?) the majority of the participants were from Secra.

I intend to dig down a bit into some of the subjects we talked about when writing these summaries but I really need to get a notebook and make sure to bring it cause for some reason I don't remember too much about the specifics from yesterday (only two beers so shouldn't be that... I hope). I'm pretty sure though I'll go "ohh, yes, now I remember" the day I really need to.

Anyway, after the initial "who are you, where do you work, what do you do" questions, I and a former Ericsson colleague talked a bit about the problems we faced testing a humongous product, with huge simulators, stone age code base and no clear end user. We compared it a little bit with testing other products and also touched upon the automated testing subject both in this particular product as well as in the other companies represented. Don't have many conclusions from this but it was interesting laying out many of the problems.

Another subject we talked about was scrum and mainly the scrum master role. In one company the role were rotated and kept very light weight compared to a very team leader like role in another (with a third in between). We discussed the benefits and problems with rotating and, at least my, conclusion was that as soon as the scrum master role stops being very light weight it's hard to rotate and when the risk of making it a heavy weight team leader role is imminent. You could also turn it the other way around saying as long as the role is rotated the risk of making if heavy weight is less likely. We also talked about a company where scrum master was a full time job and one scrum master could be responsible for one to three teams depending on skill. The idea was interesting as in weird and something I hope never will happen at my own work. Finally we talked about the different approaches to being scrum master where some (not necessarily the participants) considered it a prestige role while others considered it an interruption in the daily work and also how it differed being scrum master as a consultant compared to an employee at the company.

To wrap up the subjects, we talked quite a lot about the responsibility for test, the interesting path of learning programming and testing quite simultaneous so you're neither a top grade programmer nor a top grade tester but a top grade "something in between", we talked about the danger when all responsibility for testing is put on testers (especially in programmer heavy organizations), we talked about how cognitive science is a valuable skill to all testers and how students in cognitive science with computer skills were highly sought after as software testers, especially by consultant firms. Well we talked about tons of other stuff (respect for test, lack of testing skill for newly graduated students, problems with experienced testers with very little testing knowledge etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.) but let's stop here for now.

Finally Bishop's Arms were a great place; quiet, spacious and great selection of beer. Credit to Johan Jonasson for suggesting Bishop's and to Frida Brantvall for discarding Johan's other suggestion. May be relevant to add that the level of noise apparently were a lot lower than usual thanks to the great weather (most people were sitting outside).

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