KWST#2 – Day 1 – The beginning of real leadership downunder

KWST#2 started off with an absolute air of anticipation.  I arrived early to make sure the venue was all set up and ready for the intrepid KWST’ers!  KWST is an off shoot of LAWST and is unique in that everyone is able, likely and potentially willing to contribute through questioning or by giving an experience report.


This year’s theme was Ethical Challenges for Testers and it promised to be an intense conference!


This year, 21 test leaders throughout New Zealand Australia were in invited.  There was no magic formula, no *robust estimation tool* used, rather the attendees were invited on what they have done within the testing community (see or ) or could achieve.  In attendance were testers from vendors, consultancies, independents and various companies throughout the country. So…what happened?


Day One

Once assembled, everyone *checked in* (a process whereby we explained where our head space is at and a chance to off load by announcing any distractions that may bother us that day) and James as content owner explained the process and the use of the coloured cards.  Richard Robinson was lead off facilitator and I was supporting him.  James led the way with his first ER and there were a number of questions (threads) which flowed from that.  As is typical of a peer conference, the first ER tends to *flesh* out a lot of questions around the topic (in this case ethics) and was a good jumping point into KWST.  Jeff Bidwell, Geoff Horne and Andrew Robins also gave experience reports on day one with varying degrees of success (i.e. the ability to give an experience report and defend their position).


First of all…


  • When giving an experience report, the deliverer should ensure that they can back up what they say and defend their statements when necessary. This is a credibility issue because if someone can’t defend their work then they could lose credibility with their peers
  • Reputation by attribution was something that James spoke about (and tweeted well by Oliver). Reputation needs to be defended as is your reputation by association.  If for example, you are hired by a consultancy then that consultancy picks up your reputation as a tester and the tester may be tainted (whether it’s good or bad) reputation of that consultancy regardless of work done by the tester.  It’s almost like reputation by diffusion.
  • Counting test cases OR understanding and using meaningful metrics was a hotly debated topic.  It was clear that the room was divided on counting test counts being ethical (of which the discussion itself was taken outside of the conference when it was agreed that we were heading down a rat hole).
  • When is a tester ethically responsible for what he does? Make a clear distinction if you are a tool-tester or are directly responsible (tweet by Oliver) which followed a comment by James that a tool tester may not be responsible ethically because they are directed and told what to do.  However, IF you are directly responsible for what work you do then yes, you have an ethical responsibility to produce good, meaningful testing for your client.

Day one was like the start of a boxing match or sporting contest in which the *contestants* feel each other out, understand expectations and determine limits.  Some didn’t like or understand the process or power of a peer conference.  This power comes from the CONFERing – discussing, challenging, critiquing and attempting to understand a presenter’s point of view. The power comes from dialogue. The power comes from testers grappling with the assertions made and dissecting them. This is how a presenter’s reputation is won (or lost) at a peer conference.

Day one was an opportunity to confer AND to network. KWST was about test leaders coming together. It’s not about business or certification or testing fallacies. Not all invitees will/have stepped up as leaders within the community BUT a number have….

And the testing community in New Zealand and Australia is the better for it…


Next Post – KWST#2 – Day 2***

Attendees for KWST#2

KWST#2 attendees









James Bach (content owner), Richard Robinson (facilitator), Brian Osman (facilitator), Oliver Erlewein, Aaron Hodder, David Greenlees, Mike Talks, Katrina McNicholls, Liz Hutching, Katrina Edgar, Geoff Horne, Andrew Black, Farid Vaswani, Jeff Bidwell, Sheryl Toenders, Chris Stapleton, Donna Chin, Andrew Robins, John Lockhart and Mike Ward.






Countdown – one week to KWST!

Just over one week to go until KWST – a thought leadership peer CONFERence like no other downunder. For those that may want to follow the twitter feedback, the #tag is #KWST2.

The theme is Ethical Challenges for Testers and the conference starts 15/16 June 2012.

There will be 20 test leaders from throughout New Zealand and Australia and really promises to be a special event – so stay posted!

Much thanks for this conference must go to James Bach for his time and willingness to help found KWST and for Software Education for bringing James out to New Zealand and for providing a place for software testing thought leadership to grow!



KWST#2 leadership conference is back!

Reposted from

The second KWST or Kiwi Workshop on Software Testing  with be held on the 15th and 16th of June 2012, Wellington, New Zealand. KWST is modelled on the LAWST style peer conferences and is the only test leadership summit in New Zealand. There are a number of things that make this conference unique:-

  • It is an invite only conference – we are looking for industry thought leaders and hence why you will find few, if any, invites from body shop organisations. While they may have some talented testers, these companies tend to pay lip service to thought leadership
  • James Bach will again be back as content owner and helping grow the core of professional test leadership in New Zealand
  • Some of the brightest, insightful test thinkers down under will be there
  • Unlike any other conference held here, this is a CONFERence where ALL participants participate!
  • The theme is Ethical challenges faced by testers which is relevant considering the overuse of body shop testing companies and certification within the testing industry

The twitter hash tag will be KWST2 and we will be tweeting all of the great thoughts and ideas that will flow from this conference. See and for details of last years event.



The Invasion of the Bodyshoppers – Part II

Here is a list of ideas on overcoming the influence of the bodyshoppers

  • Understand your commitments and ethics – usually bodyshoppers pimp out their *testers* for the sake of profit not skill
  • Look at the reputation of the tester – I mean the real reputation. Look beyond what some so called bodyshop test practice manager thinks. A real reputation means how the tester is viewed by the community and fellow testers
  • Following on from that, what contribution does the tester make to the testing community? Do they blog or do they attend events? On a smaller (but just as important) scale, do they mentor fellow testers?
  • Don’t feel the need to conform to *standards* – ISTQB, ITIL – whatever – most organisations ask for them but don’t really do anything with them making these standards irrelevant. The best standard is your own skill and reputation
  • Confront the bodyshop consultant that begins to use terms such as best practice – there is no such thing! The bodyshop is spews best practice to make like they have the *answer*. Our job as real testers is to challenge such nonsense
  • Bodyshops will say that they support the industry but sponsor nothing events that generate – nothing.  Look for events that are actually worthwhile (KWST in New Zealand or CAST or Rapid Software Intensive in the US for example)
  • Challenge those that see testing as a set process to follow – i.e. join the dots testing – that is the worst kind and must be fought vigorously!
  • If in a bodyshop, leave when you can – come to the light
  • Resist joining the bodyshoppers – consider going out on your own

These are some ideas for now – what other ideas do you have that can help overcome the bodyshoppers?

Invasion of the Bodyshoppers – Part I

They are everywhere.




You can tell them – they are zombies who fill out template laden strategies, plans, and test scripts. They treat testing primarily as a repetitive activity. They usually conform to some sort of standard and most have a certificate to the show to the overseers. It is an invasion – the parasites have overtaken the hosts of once thinking, engaging testers and transform them into…




Beware projects and test teams. Beware of the companies that farm out zombies and call them testers. They have squeezed out of all that which was once good. While they appear as testers, they are devoid of all creativity and thinking. The bodyshoppers are infiltrating the market.


However, there is hope! There is a chance!


There are pockets of testers who are engage and are engaging for I have met them. And it is in these pockets that good work is being done for the craft. They battle for recognition and fight back against those body shop companies who believe that testing is nothing more than picking a technique, applying a standard, using only documents to test against, follow a process and throwing a innumerable company of test shoppers against a project. These companies sell their services to wind in the unwary and uninitiated and talk as if they know testing.

Beware they don’t.

They are selling a commodity, a zombie tester who may do average work, count meaningless metrics, complete mindless reports and documents and declare mission accomplished at the end of the project. They are everywhere.


To those testers who realise they are being fooled. To those managers who see that they are being conned – rise up, strike back and seek out the living amongst the dead. Seek out and engage thinking testers who look outside of the box. Find the pockets of resistance and we shall overcome this invasion.

(An example of fighting back and doing great work can be found here )

[Coming soon – Part II – How to overcome the Invasion of the Bodyshoppers]