A student of the craft

I recently had a Skype session with James Bach. One of the topics we discussed was around guru’s. I said to James that I tell my classes that I am not a guru, I’m the dude at the front.

James said …

[22/06/2010 2:20:51 p.m.] James Bach: I have a name for that
[22/06/2010 2:20:58 p.m.] Brian Osman: whats that?
[22/06/2010 2:21:43 p.m.] James Bach: I say I’m a “student of the craft” and I want to connect with other students. I may be a more advanced student in some ways, and sure, I have a lot of opinions, but I’m still a student. That’s the attitude.
[22/06/2010 2:22:47 p.m.] Brian Osman: I like that – actually i remember you asking Lee Copeland something similar at STANZs last year. Do you mind if I share that title also?
[22/06/2010 2:23:10 p.m.] James Bach: no problem

So its *official* – I am a student of the craft – constantly learning in some way.

STANZ 2009 Wellington New Zealand

STANZ (Software Testing Australia New Zealand) is the premier Software Testing conference this side of the equator! The conference kick off in Wellington New Zealand with Lee Copeland , James Bach, Karen N Johnson, Julian Harty and Brian Bryson forming the international cast of speakers along with a  host of talented local speakers.

Monday started with a keynote from Lee Copeland from which in outlined the innovations he sees coming. I found him warm, engaging and very humble.

James Bach was next and what impressed me the most was the way he *prowled* the side of the conference room before being introduced and then ran and jumped on stage! I was wondering a whole bunch of “what if’s” then! His talk Becoming a Software Testing Expert was vintage James Bach in which he discussed the plays of Euripides and other Greek tragedians and related them back to software testing. The point from my perspective is that testing is neither purely technical or engineering but that we can learn from all multple areas and disciplines (history, philosophy, pyschology etc). James also discussed his Huh-Really-So heuristic which he uses when someone makes a claim about something. Huh means i don’t understand, please explain what you mean. Really is what other approaches are there, what else could happen, what other tools could we use and So is to dismantle the argument or to determine whether or not the idea is worth pursuing (I hope i got this right! :))

Unfortunately i didn’t get to speak to either Lee or James one on one but i did manage to talk to Karen N Johnson and Julian Harty. Karen’s workshop on test pairing was very interesting but more so the discussion we had (myself, Karen and Sharon Robson) after. Karen also gave a wonderful keynote on story telling which i think as testers, is an area on which we can improved. We may test but how do we say what we see? How do we know who to talk to and how to talk to them?

The last highlight for me from a presentation point of view was Julian Harty’s presentation on security testing which i found extremely interesting. I came away from the talk with the ideas of :-

*Finding a mentor

*Use tools

*Threat modelling

*and continuous learning (including self study or self learning).

I managed to talk to Julian afterwards and what surprised me was that security testing is about 1% of what he does as a tester. However when he did do security testing, he taught himself/found ways to make himself knowledgeable and very effective.

STANZ was a blast! Great speakers, great conference and more importantly great people. I managed to catch up with a host of new/old friends and its was awesome to share STANZ with them!