Thoughts on Nordic Testing Days 2014

It took me 11 hours of travel by all transportation means, air, land, water, to get to Tallinn, a medium size city, having aprox 450,000 inhabitants. Nordic Testing Days, is at its 3rd edition, same age as IMG_20140605_072431-MIXRomanian Testing Conference….I guess we kind of started the same time, having similar approaches. It’s great to see testing communities evolving and creating such kind of events where everyone can connect and share experiences.

I attended NTD2014 as a speaker, my 2nd representation as a speaker in front of a testing audience. Event schedule had a very long list of great sessions, making very hard to decide which one to attend. 4 tutorials, plenty of workshops, numerous talks, random discussions over lean coffee….everything packed in 3 full days of testing.

Day 1

Testing in The Automation Age – Jevgeni Kabanov (EST) is the CEO of ZeroTurnaround, a company which offers a variety of software aiding developers and not only, to  develop high quality applications. As mentioned in his initial abstract, Jevgeni talked about “the last 3 years not a single release of our flagship product JRebel contained a critical bug that would impede the use of the product to a significant subset of our users. ” and all this, without having any designated Test Engineers, yet, by only focusing on automated testing defined by developers which spent 30% to 50% of their time for automation effort….He later mentioned that as the company grows, the need of Test Engineers is growing so they reconsidered the need for test engineers and started to hire testing specialists to help with the quality of the applications under construction.

Exploratory Testing Dojo – Huib Schoots (NL) – without further introduction, I present Huib, and the Exploratory Testing Dojo. An interactive session in which we had to form teams of 2 and start learning an application which was given to us. We had to apply ET principles and most important, to take notes which later helped us in tracing back all the steps performed and create a test report of our findings.

Lessons Learned:

* always take notes when ET the app

* when ET try to go more wide and less in-depth.

Drawing to learn – Ruud Cox (NL) – Drawing has never been on my quality lists, but I do appreciate a good artist when I see it, especially if is also a tester. Ruud owns both aspects…he can draw and he’s a tester, and he get the best value out of both by merging the two.

Lessons Learned:

* visually representing your test cases, helps in identifying missing paths

* all visual representations follow 4 or 5 intermediate stages to get from sketch to art


Testing Your Emotions – and how you can apply some personal leadership to keep them under control – Stephen Janaway (UK) – Have you ever thought what emotions do you leave while testing or while working? Stephen approaches this topic by presenting 2 different scales of identifying your emotions and suggestions on how to handle it

Lessons learned:

* when a strong emotion occurs, don’t immediately react. Take a deep breath, wait for the rational part to take over and then act on it.

* Robert Plutchik & Hugo Lovheim – Emotional models & Wheel of motion

* Software failures can reveal various feelings within the end-user.

Mastering complexity:The art of automated testing – Andrei Contan (RO)

I was personally overwhelmed by the number of people joining my session. During my talk, I tried to raise awareness on the approach taken when implementing automated tests. Some of the lessons learned:

* Automated test cases does not inherit the purpose and scope of manual test cases

* Granularity is in the eyes of the beholder

* You can only simplify things you fully understand


On Complete Testing – Matt Heusser & Pete Walen (USA)

Lots of chocolate :)….and lots of questions regarding complete testing.

In the end, it is up to us to determine when we stop testing and when ‘complete’ is really complete.


Afterparty @ Tallinn Old Town


Day 2

Software errors as the founding pillar of the modern society – Anto Veldre (EST)

Great session to start the day with…lots of useful information, delivered in a very entertaining manner.

Lessons learned:

* there are many concurrent truths

* OWASP top 10 project, as a powerful awareness for web application security

* Estonian people go to sauna naked

Proper Unit Tests  – Omer Lachish-Rauchwerger

Good hands-on session on how to challenge and how to define the scope of Unit Tests


Lessons Learned:

* the 5 steps for approaching Unit Tests:

1. Voice your goal

2.. Identify test subject

3. Isolate dependencies

4. Structure test

5. Categorise test

Make your mobile testing strategy successful – Erik Boelen (BE)

Erik’s session was build around a Google product for which they were contracted to deliver testing effort. Building the test strategy around the mobile app, helped them in learning important lessons, the most important one, as stated by him is: “always get familiar with context”

Lessons learned:

* Keep your test strategy under control with Risk Based Testing

* Test Strategy contains list of generic test cases which were defined based on experience

Stepping Up to Leadership: Test Leadership Lessons from Harry – Pete Walen (USA)

Pete walked-us through the wonderful world of motivating people and personal development. The power of a leader is something one earns while making the parallel with Harry Potter! While my favourite leader is Iron-Man, some of the lessons learned are:

* Get involved in discussion groups

* Start writing or start talking

* As a leader, you have the ability to inspire, share experiences, contribute

* Leadership is not a promotion


Overall, I strongly believe it was a great conference with lots of awesome people and wonderful talks. Some thinks I’ll definitely spread the word about, are:

* Tallinn is a great city

* 3 full days of great talks and sessions

* one of the banner was displaying incorrect code :))

* great opportunity to start talking at testing events



Enjoy Testing!

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