Tasting Let’s Test’s Rock Legends

Conferences, Software Testing

Smokescreens, AC/DC and a semi-headbanging James Bach.

This is how this edition of Tasting Let’s Test Benelux was introduced. Picture it.
I found this to be the catalyst for the day that followed. A conference took place of which an energetic crowd, a rock-n-roll setting, a ‘Testing laboratory’ bar and local talent were its primary ingredients. I reveled in their knowledge.

Harmony in the Testing-Checking provocation

There’s much to read about the distinction made between testing and checking. Mostly, when James Bach and Michael Bolton talk or write about this subject there is an unspoken, unintentional subliminal message that Checking is Testing’s smaller, less important brother. In his opening Keynote, James wished to address this. Which he did marvelously. By taking the distinction a step further and mixing it up with deliberate and spontaneous checking/testing he explained that checking and testing both happen constantly during testing sessions. Neither are of less importance. They are both inherent to our testing.

He demonstrated this by replaying and commenting on a testing session. He called this phenomena a ‘testopsy’ which in itself was an enlightening way of evaluating/training testing.

The devil’s machinery

I’ve played quite a few “tester’s favorite games” since the day James Bach conjured up his bags of dices. These did not prepare me, however, for puzzle 17. James Lyndsay has, next to a certain rock icon flair, a wicked intelligent mind, which I suspect, he only uses to devious ends.
… and teaching.

I spent 90 minutes on a puzzle with four inputs and two outputs. Later on, it was made clear that the puzzle consists of 3 lines of code. Moreover, some people had solved the puzzle in under 5-ish minutes.
It took me four different models of visualization, five pages of notes and uncountable discarded hypotheses, before I managed to solve it.
“Of course”. After solving a puzzle, everything immediately becomes apparent, simple even.

It is, however, the struggle that teaches us the most. Lyndsay framed this process so well that I didn’t feel too bad about spending as much time on a, in hindsight, easy puzzle.

These are but two experiences from a day filled with pleasant interactions, new people and refreshing stories.
Thank you!

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