20 Lessons Learned/Relearned from KWST3

I just spent two days in Wellington, NZ with 18 inspiring and exceptionally gifted human beings, learning about learning and thinking about thinking. I came into this event with no knowledge or pre-conceptions of what I was going to experience and while this was a pre-conceived strategic decision, it probably wasn’t one of my best over the past 12 months. (NOTE: The coming wasn’t the poor decision, the lack of preparation was!!).

My biggest regret was not preparing for the possibility of presenting my Experience Report before I got here. I think I completely misread the opportunity I was given (to share my learning journey) and my initial feelings (less than 24 hours after the completion of the workshop) are that I got far more from this opportunity than I gave. This feeling goes against one of my major beliefs – that I should always give more than I take from any relationship, situation or circumstance. I know this is probably an unrealistic expectation, but it is one that I have lived by ever since I began my self-awareness journey.

I always strive to be the best that I can be and (if I’m truthful with myself) that didn’t happen over the last two days. So, in some small way, this Blog post is my way of trying to rectifying my misreading of my involvement in KWST3. Here are my initial learnings from KWST3 – I know some of them may not mean much to those who didn’t attend (the workshop), but that’s just the way these things go sometimes….

1) “We don’t do enough to share” – Brian Osman
2) “Managers sometimes rely on false indicators” – Martyn Jones
3) “Testing is about asking questions – what are the questions I need to ask?” – Anne Marie Charrett
4)”Use a belief, don’t be used by it” – Tessa Benzie
5) “You can’t learn Brain Surgery online” – Aaron Hodder
6) “Learning begins with Curiosity” – Alessandra Moreira
7) “You can only be excluded from something once it’s been created” – Aaron Hodder
8) If you’re giving an Experience Report – Make it REAL (a realisation by me after listening to Erin Donnell)
9) Maturity does not need to be predicated on Experience (another realisation of mine while listening to Erin Donnell)
10) “YES doesn’t always mean YES; “It’s difficult” means NO” – Lee Hawkins
11) We need to work out how to harness a sense of community in a way that enlightens people, rather than subverts them (one of my many thoughts during the workshop)
12) The person in the room with (probably) the least hands-on Testing experience taught me the most over the two days – thank you Erin
13) There’s a fine line between describing real-world failures and cynicism (another realisation of mine sometime during Day 2)
14) “Your Dogma just ran over my Karma” – Shirley Tricker
15) Resistance is futile: A golden moment when Katrina Edgar exclaimed – “Oh shit, now I have to join Twitter”
16) A new acronym: JBE = the James Bach Experience (from Andrew Robins)
17) “The is a difference between Wandering and Exploring” – Erin Donnell
18) I still have an major concern when folks use Testing Analogies
19) Too many Testers “feel like frauds” – this makes me sad; far too many Testers obviously have a confidence issue. No wonder we are afraid to Flaunt the Imperfection
20) I forget one of my golden rules preparing/presenting my ER – KISS

Finally, I just want to acknowledge everyone (in no particular order) who made the last two days special:

Aaron Hodder
Katrina Edgar
Oliver Erlewein
Rich Robinson
Brian Osman
Anne Marie Charrett
Jennifer Hurrell
Erin Donnell
Katrina McNicholl
Andrew Robins
Mike Talks
Tessa Benzie
Alesasandra Moreira
James Hailstone
Lee Hawkins
Damian Glenny
Shirley Tricker
Joshua Raine

I also want to thank Janice (for giving up her Saturday) and the rest of the SoftEd team for being great hosts).

I hope to see you all again some time in the not too distant future and if ever you are in Melbourne, don’t be a stranger….

Dateline: Wellington, Sunday July 7, 2013


3 thoughts on “20 Lessons Learned/Relearned from KWST3

  1. I really hope I can talk you around about the use of testing analogies. Some can be seriously lame, and as discussed they can be fallible. But they can be a powerful thought experiment for developing ideas.

    I know you hated the idea of cooking being like software development. But let me turn that around. If you were baking a cake for someone, could you include testing type methods to check what you’re cooking before “sending it out there”. Or would you just cobble together a recipe, send it out, and wait for customer feedback? 😉

    • I’m gonna take a helluva lotta convincing… Of course I understand the concept of testing stuff other than software before we share it, but that doesn’t make it a metaphor, it just shows that you’re a perfectionist (like me).

      • Well yes, there are analogies and there are metaphors.

        When we look at any product development or discovery process that has parallels to software, I think we’re looking at an analogy (rather than a metaphor). When we look at how testing processes work with that analogous instance, it’s a really powerful thing as part of our learning.

        We can really intuitively come out with tangible methods for how we’d tests to see if a recipe tasted nice, if a batch of bread had risen and was good, or indeed how good a shield is.

        For some people though software, esp at concept stage can feel a very ethereal thing, esp for non-testers or junior testers. I would say that the Big Trak exercise by Anne Marie was another way of making testing tangible.

        I think analogies, thought experiments, making testing tangible all help to develop our testing thought processes. Although all can be to some extent fallible.

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