I was honored to be invited to participate in Turku Agile Days along with other wonderful practitioners and presenters including Matt Wynne, Elisabeth Hendrickson, Diana Larsen and Linda Rising (just to name a few). One of the most cool things about this conference is that YOU can see all of the action, including the exciting and hilarious Testing with the Stars, on video.

Needless to say, judging Testing with the Stars along with Elisabeth was a highlight, and took up all of the first day and much of the second, but totally worth it. Not only was I entertained, I learned stuff! I couldn’t believe how creative and experienced the ‘contestants’ were. Some were even pretty good at actually dancing!

I experimented with taking graphical notes, inspired by Marlena Compton a couple weeks ago at Telerik Testing Summit. I had colored pens and a sketchpad. My drawings probably wouldn’t be too intelligible to anyone else, but I could easily sit down with you and explain them, I feel I’ve retained the information much better with the addition of drawings and diagrams.

For example, when I look at my drawing of the music player that Sergey and Pekka (I’m not going to try to spell last names here, check the link above for the contestant pairs) used to demonstrate how to come up with a test strategy, I remember how they asked, “What does it tell us?” The little globe I drew reminds me that they thought of different geographical challenges, such as whether members of the development team were geographically dispersed, or whether users in different parts of the world would use the device differently. My drawing of Anssi and Tom’s toy motorcycle isn’t too great, but I can recognize it and recall their test strategy based on purpose, results, actions and learning. And I chuckle looking back at the stapler for which Petteri and Jenna Riia came up with a testing strategy (surprisingly, it was not red!)

You need to go watch the Testing with the Stars videos – at the very least, watch the semi-final and finals. The sessions are only 10 minutes each.

Elisabeth’s talk on learning from her #fail was also both amusing and educational. My favorite new metric for code reviews is “WTFs/minute”.

Ola Ellnestam‘s talk on Real Options helped clarify a concept I’ve been wrestling with. Set-based development is an example of Real Options. It helps me to think about starting with the ideal outcome, and working backwards to plan different options on how to achieve that goal. Not committing until you know why makes a lot of sense. Ola pointed out options for user stories grow from conversations, and we should plan at least three options. That’s something I want to try with our team. Matt Wynne warned that you shouldn’t run out of options before you get to that ideal outcome. I drew a “road of trust” on my sketchbook page, with the reminder “do not abuse” – that’s a visual message I’ll keep with me!

Jaako Aro and Marko Klemetti shared an interesting experience report on how they performed a “Heimlich Maneuver” (well, it took three years, but that’s pretty fast in big-company time) on a huge organization with 50 Scrum teams. One example of the level of change is that their build time went from 8 hours to 8 minutes. Jaako and Marko emphasized communication and feedback to overcome a “We’re too special to change, don’t make us do something new” culture.

Linda Rising, what can I say, she always inspires me. I’m working on my agile mindset now. Be sure to watch the video of her keynote. I’m going to read Mindset by Carol Dweck and learn more.

Here are my own slides for my keynote “The Whole-Team Approach, Illustrated“, they are hard to see on the conference video.

This photo of the winners of Testing with the Stars (who won for their testing prowess as well as their dancing ability) is murky (I took it with my iPad), but brings back fond memories. Check out the videos! And plan to come to Turku Agile Days 2012. Above all, they have great coffee, by a champion barista!

Testing with the Stars winners

Anssi and Juha, Dancing Robot and his tester

 

coffee

At Turku Agile Days, it's all about the coffee