All posts by Mindful tester

Find The Button In The Room

Introduction

This is my second blog post in the Find In The Room blog post serie. In order to avoid any legal issues I sanitised my story. It is about software testing and IT: test automation.

For this story I will use the Cinema Hype VIP website.

Voice commercial:
“Are you tired to buy drinks and snacks for a child birthday party in a cinema?
Cinema Hype VIP website is here to rescue you.”
Author – that’s me: “Let me turn down the volume.”
[Presses a button]
Commercial [Loud voice] “Now you can order everything before setting a foot in the cinema.”
Me: “Excuse me. Let me mute the volume.”
[Presses a button]
Commercial: [Loud voice] “What are you waiting for?”

Me: [Surprised]
[Presses a button]
Commercial: [Silent]
Me: [Silently smiling]
[Presses a button]
Commercial: [Silent]
Me: “Test. 1 2 3. ”

Commercial: [Silent]
Me [Remains a few seconds silent.]
Commercial: [Silent]
Me [Looks a few lines up and down.]
Me [Remains a few seconds silent.]
Commercial: [Silent]
Me: “Ahum.”
Commercial: [Silent]
Me: “Someone is watching me from a few lines above.
Oh, I watched myself.”

The moment of approval

In my introduction I wrote several times about the button. It took me some effort to find the right button.

Now it is time for a real world test automation example. For my first big test automation experience I programmed the steps in Java. Selenium was used for the interaction with the website.

One of the most important steps of a website is pushing a button. These days a lot of deals are closed with a press of a button. Also online transactions need some key presses to pay. So I must be able to find a button on the web page.

Let me return to the Cinema hype VIP website.
My kid has a birthday party and all tickets, snacks, and drinks are listed. The only thing I have to do is to press a button.

The quickest way

Years ago I thought that there was one way to find a button.

  • Right click the button and select Inspect in the Option menu.
    An option  menu is shown above the OK button. The last menu option is Inspecteren or inspect in English!
  • Select the HTML code of the button and copy XPath.
    In DevTools  menu is shown above the HTML text for the OK button. This menu contains the sub menu Copy containing the option Copy XPath!
  • Give XPath to Selenium to find the button.
  • Pat myself on my shoulder.

Then my attention was drawn to the free online course of Andrew Knight, Web Element Locator Strategies, on Test Automation University.
So what did I actually use?

An XPath is basically a route description through the web page. And it can look a bit scary:
/html/body/div[2]/div/div[2]/button
This is of course automatically followed by Selenium. That is something programs tend to do. There is 1 huge problem. If signs change, then Selenium cannot find its way.

Let me use an arbitrary text on a letter and transform it to a more computer notation.

/Surrey / Little Whinging / Privet Drive 4 \/The Cupboard under the Stairs / Mr. H. Potter.

If his uncle would move Mr. Potter to a bed room, then the postman had still no problem with delivery. Same address and a decent room this time.

Would it a bit more convenient to address the letter to a mister called H. Potter? A muggle postman would have serious problems, if this Mr. is evacuated to an island before his 12th anniversary. But finding him is a Half Giant job for a bloke like Hagrid.

This would lead to:
//Mr. H. Potter

But computers need more details:
//Human[contains(text() = 'Mr. H. Potter`]

Find a button with text OK.In that case I would get something like
//button[text()='OK']

The HTML code of the OK is hightlighted, while the search bar contains the text “//button[text()='OK']” followed by the text “1 of 1”!

Let me give you a more precise translation:

  • “//” means “Find somewhere on the page”
  • “button” means “the first button you encounter”
  • “[text()= ‘OK’]” means with the condition, that the text is equal to ‘OK’

No idea

But this does not completely explains:
/html/body/div[2]/div/div[2]/button

  • “/” means “search directly under”
    “body/div” means “search the first div under the body”
  • “[2]” means the second, so
    “div[2]” is the second div.
  • The rectangular brackes, “[” and “]”, are useful, if I do not need the first , but another one in the row.

The website I was testing was created with a low code tool. This tool can be compared with an advanced presentation tool, which also builds a fully functional website.

With great power comes great creativity. This basically means, that certain things were not fully under control of the developers. As a tester I had to solve these problems.

Placing a button on a web page led to an explosion of actions. Lots of code were automatically added, but this led to names like 1_saveFiles.

So I used ‘1_saveFiles’. A fellow tester pointed out, that the low code tool could change the button name to ‘2_saveFiles’ at will.

So I focused on the last part of the string.
//Button[contains(@name, 'saveFiles')]
This means such much as
“Search a button with the name containing saveFiles”
Of course there is a faster way to address an element using the attribute id. There is no magic needed to find Mr. Potter, if we were on the same page.
//Human[contains(@id, 'Mr. H. Potter`]

By the way id is pronounced as at Eye Dee instead of it. If you want to surprise your big sister or brother test automator, then use a sentence like “That element had probably no id.” Don’t forget a little sigh.

TODO add picture.

In my case id was not always set. To make things a little more challenging for me a single condition was not enough.

This is an exaggerated situation:
//input[contains(@name, 'drink')]
This might lead to some drink

//input[@value = 'two')]
could lead to the second drink, second size of the drink, or second snack.

So I chose for two conditions:
//input[contains(@name, 'drink')][@value = 'two']

There were other cool tricks in the course of Andrew Knight. The described ones in this blog post were big time savers.

To be extended

Find The Monster In The Room

One evening in the winter I was having a dinner. People enjoyed their meal and there was a lot of talk.

The mood
was good.

Then the youngest child shrieked of panic. All talk stopped.

The first steps would be like: go to the bedroom and put on the light.

Everyone at the dinner table looked at the kid a few meters away. The kid was in the same room.

The mother said that the kid had seen something. She went to the little child and tried to talk about it. This was difficult, because the kid knew only a few words.

The mother looked in the direction of the fearful eyes and saw nothing strange.

Back at the dinner table she told a story about curtains with triangles which looked like eyes to another little kid.

The second shriek was handled in the same way. The mother went to comfort the child. While looking for the source of fear.

The 3rd time an adult was with the frightened child within a second. The person lowered the head to the same height of the kid and looked carefully.

A machine showed some scrolling text. It was like the pupil of an eye looking for …

One of my kids asked: “Can I draw out the power cord?”
My answer was: “Yes.”
This was immediately followed by a familiar sound.
The display went blank.

Earlier that evening there was a power outage. The machine was switched on and had no current time. So it politely asked to set the proper time and scared a little child.

Some readers might remark, that this blog is about IT and  testing.
My answer is: “Yes”.

My New Year’s resolution is to Find The Monster In The Room.

Now I gave it a name.

My Workshop At Agile Testing Days 2019

Preparation costs energy

After all the last weeks’ changes I could finally start my actual workshop.

I felt an energy drop and watched an expectant audience from a far distance. I used my automatic pilot for the intro.

While nobody moved, my distance to the audience became closer while I was talking.

Boom.
I was back in the room.

First test session

For me the most elementary things of Exploratory Testing are

  • Charter
  • Test idea
  • Explore
  • Debrief

For this I created a heuristic. CTED is pronounced as See TED. If I need some inspirational talks, then I go to Ted.com.

A charter is a short instruction for a test session.

Explore < target >
with < resources >
to discover < information>

This template of Elisabeth Hendrickson is compact and informative. As mentioned in Explore it.

For the interested people test charter is not found in the index, charter is.

In my workshop the Target was a website. But it is still quite big. Resources is often a web browser.

Information was focused on privacy. General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, an European privacy law, is still quite huge, so the next step was to select some articles of GDPR.

Ik picked 2. 1 lead to the following question:
Does the website ask consent to gather information?

A charter can be quite abstract. A test idea can be used to focus on a feature, window, or term used in the website to explore.

Consent is not frequently used, but which words are used in a web site?
Privacy, cookies, permission, private data, etcetera.

Using the charter and test ideas it is possible to explore the web site, whether consent is actually asked from the user.

During the debrief the attendees shared their information, which could be used for the following test session.

Background information first test session

For the basic structure of the test session I used the heuristic DiSSS from Tim Ferriss. This stands for Deconstruction Selection Sequence Stakes.
I assume that i was added for pronounciation reasons.

I looked to all the steps I took during Exploratory testing.
Are detailed test cases needed? Not in every case. Most of the times a good description of the precondition is good enough.

What I noticed during Deconstruction was that certain steps always came back. These steps I used for the Selection for CTED. This also led to a logical Sequence. The Stakes were twofold: people had to tell whether the workshop is worthwhile. Also the fines for privacy could be quite high.

Second test session

One test session done.
Another one to do.

At the beginning of the session I enhanced the resources with personas. For me a persona is a person with a need, who interacts with the system.

Examples for a need are: acceptance, cooperation , safety, purpose, learning, support, inclusion, etc.

E.g. a known persona is a marketeer. The more she or he knows about a website visitor, the more she or he will sell.
For this purpose I had made a set of persona cards.

I also handed out an one pager to the attendees with articles and test techniques which could be used for testing websites on GDPR compliancy.

The test techniques were selected using DiSSS.

After the Explore phase more issues were mentioned during the Debrief phase.

Background information second test session

Once again I used a heuristic of Tim Feriss, CaFE. This is an abbreviation for Compression Frequency Encryption. Once again I assume that ‘a’ was added for pronunciation.

Was it possible to compress information for testing GDPR? Yes, by making an one pager.

I tried to make to Frequency high, so attendees had to go through Charter – Test idea – Explore – Debrief cycle multiple times.
I used Encryption by using CTED.

In case you need more background information, please have a mind map.

What went wrong

The time to explore was quite short. I did this on purpose. For beginners it can be terrible to click through a site for 10 minutes on your own without finding anything.

In hindsight a group activity was better suited to explore the website.

While I tried to keep the introvert involved, it was a challenge to give them enough speaking time. I really liked the sticky notes for found bugs in the workshop of Lisa Crispin and Lena Pejgan.

My prerequisite for the workshop for a laptop was not needed. I could demo certain tools using my own laptop. Luckily there was an Open Space to demonstrate GDPR and Exploratory Testing.

What went right

The demo was a great way to change the pace of the workshop. I had good feedback during the repetitions

My impression was, that most attendees were hesitant to test their own websites or websites of their employers. My test website provided a safe environment to explore.

During the preparations I learned a lot about websites and tools.

Thank you José Diaz and your team for this wonderful journey.

Tweaking My Workshop Accessibility

During the Speakers Dinner of Agile Testing Days 2019 I told Abby Bangser about my attempts to make my workshop accessible.
“It is even possible to add alternative text to images in PowerPoint. If you click on the image, there are several tabs. One tab contains Alternative text. [ … ]

Don’t forget the exclamation mark (!). The screen reader will read it differently.”

Tobias Geyer, another speaker, was confused. I saw him thinking: “Alternative to what?”
I told him about a screen reader which could read information aloud to people. This is handy for people with a visual impairment. Alternative text is used on web sites to add more information to pictures.

If the presentation would be downloadable at the beginning of the presentation, then attendees would be able to hear the information on the slides.

Blind review

Some people state that a blind review is the best one. The reviewer is not distracted by the looks of the speaker or the beauty of the pictures.

One of my reviewers was blind, so I really needed to speak well. Without the use of my slides it was difficult to tell a story. The main feedback was no clear structure.

So I added a mind map which gave a proper view of the workshop. This was really appreciated by the next reviewer.

For the exercises I had already tested the website with a screen reader. Once again it was time for the real thing.

My blind reviewer went through the website without any delay. The reading speed was so high, that it looked like a normal person was skimming the webpages. The feedback was almost instantaneous.

It was strange for me to hear, that bugs were found by clicking around. Navigation was on hearing. My test website passed the accessibility test.

Sound advice

The Friday before Agile Testing Days I had a talk with someone with a bad hearing. I told about my workshop. How should I speak to people who cannot hear well?

“What would be your best advice?”
“Ask whether people can hear you.
It is a professional thing you can do:
“Can you hear me?”

What also helpful is, are pictures. Next to key words on the slides.” This way a talk could be reconstructed, if words would be missed.

Somehow I lost sight on my slides.

I told about the handheld microphones seen on one of the pictures. Most of the time I put it in front of my mouth.
“It can be lowered. The quality will not decrease much, but people are able to see your mouth.” Lip reading for the win.

In the days before the workshop I focused on big fonts on my slides and my cards. I increased the contrast between the text and the background.

What could go wrong?

What went wrong?

I completely forgot to ask the audience whether they could hear me. Where was my checklist?
I had none.
Oh.

The most embarrassing part of the downloadable stuff was, that there were no files on the promised location at the start of my workshop.
Big oops from my side.

After this painful discovery I repeated all the steps: I went to my github and uploaded my presentation. This time I scrolled down. A commit button?! I forgot to press it.

Github is git in the cloud. It can be used to store different versions of files. I still wrestle with it. As Janet Gregory stated in her talk it is about deliberate practice. I had only practiced once. In my case I had cut one corner too many.

Days after my workshop I checked the alternative text in the pdf file of my presentation on my laptop. I double clicked the file and the file was opened in my browser.

The text of the slide was told aloud by the screen reader. I hovered above a picture. Not a sound. I was also silent.

Last weekend I did another attempt to get some sound of a picture. I double clicked the file on my PC and Acrobat reader opened the file.

I searched a picture and placed my mouse pointer on it. A hover text was shown and read aloud. That’s what I liked to hear.

So Acrobat reader can handle alternative text of pictures, but my favourite browser not. And I had not made Acrobat reader a requisite for the workshop. A bit late, but alternative text can be used.

What went right?

I maximised pictures. Leaving out irrelevant parts from the slides.

In the right top corner of the slides I used small pictures to show the state of the test session.

During my preparation I looked at the presentation. There were no spots shining on the screen, so the contrast was good.

During the demo part I used a headset microphone. Attendees could hear me and I could talk at a normal volume. Most important is the fact, that the small microphone did not hide my mouth.

Warning: Code of Conduct ahead

On November 5th I gave a workshop about Exploratory Testing and General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR is an European privacy law.

Need

In the past I wrote about the Code of Conduct. A good set of rules will ensure the safety of the delegates, the speakers, and the organisers of a conference. When enforced.

Therefore I was keen to adhere to this Code. The more diverse people at a conference, the more perspectives being shared. A new perspective is not always out of the box thinking, but natural for some people.

A woman looks different to privacy than a man.

Now I had a dilemma: I had a workshop about privacy. If a name and address would become public, then unpleasant things could happen to certain people.

I remembered a conversation with a white man not realising the consequences of a data breach. So I shared a story with him. It had some impact on him.

But this same trick would have a bad impact on women present in my workshop. So I would not stick to the Code of Conduct.

Imagine being removed from the conference as a speaker. Not good. At all.

Contact

It was time for me to mail to Uwe Gelfrich, my contact at the conference. I made a brutal honest warning like:
the workshop contains situations about violence and harassment.

In this way I could still talk about certain situations. Because people were warned in advance.

Uwe replied thoughtfully: violence and harassment would not be used in the workshop. And he proposed a warning along the following lines:
the workshop may contain situations about violence and harassment.

I agreed.
The warning was set on my abstract on the website.

And I would not use a rant.

Attention

During the preparation of my workshop I read a tweet about an anxiety attack of a delegate on a conference. According to me this person was angered about the vague content warning.

I reacted with the following tweet:
“During Global Diversity CFP Day this year I heard about trigger warnings for the first time.

So I did my homework.

I contacted the conference about a suitable and specific warning. It is on my abstract. It will be shown before and right after the start. I will tell it.”

Start

On the day of my workshop I tweeted about the warning. It was retweeted by Agile Testing Days.

During the arrival of the delegates I regularly switched between the workshop title slide and the warning slide.

After the opening I gave a warning and an explicit permission to leave the room. I would not be offended. Then I waited about 20 seconds before continuing.

So this looked like an inclusive opening of my workshop.

Actually no.
I missed some accessibility items which will be covered in the next blog post. Reads like a pretty cliff-hanger.

Change

On the Women and Allies evening a delegate told about a talk with HR. If colleagues would not behave themselves, then they would probably be removed from conferences because of the Code of Conduct.

Bonus Workshop Preparation Stage

Some thoughts:
“Are you really ready for your Agile Testing Days workshop?”
“No. Slides need to be updated. There are concept handouts. I still need to tweak.”
“So what is that bonus stage?”

Dreadful stage

The Bonus Workshop Preparation sSage starts after the dreadful stage, the stage without progress.

Progress can be measured in number of sheets or number of the exercises. I prefer the number of usable ideas for attendees. Customer centric. Sounds Agile to me.

2 weeks before my holiday I was in the dreadful stage. One of my website exercises became smaller instead of bigger. I used all tricks to get a baseline, but I failed.

I realised that I had to step back. The only solution I had was to fall back on an older version of the software. Within a few days I had a better solution.

Bonus stage

Another way to determine the bonus stage is the feedback of my reviewers.

My basic question: were they engaged?
My observation: yes.

I paid attention to words and the way they were pronounced. I looked at the body language. Most important: did they learn something?

What would I more include in my workshop?

  • an one pager
  • list of extra resources
  • a mind map
  • visual clues for exercises

“You can always change your workshop.”
My wife

Proper stage name

Last weekend I talked about my workshop with one of my kids. I told that one reviewer and I missed an obvious bug in the website. I was amused.

I told about some jokes how to illustrate my points. We had a good laugh about it.

The bonus part is also the fun part. The part which will make a workshop good or great.

Workshop Mind Maps

Can I make a mind map for a 2  hour workshop?
Nope.

First set

Over a few months I have to give a long workshop about European privacy laws and Exploratory Testing. Sometimes it is tempting to put all the information in one extra extra extra large mind map.

Giving me a disappointing delay in processing information.
Forget it.

Wait. I use several mind maps.

Yes. That is more comfortable.

In this blog post I will show titles of mind maps to prepare myself for my workshop at Agile Testing Days.

It took me months to make these mind maps. This is my way to collect more information than I would be able to share.

This gives me enough space to tailor the workshop on the spot.
Did you ever tried to entertain people for 20 minutes?
I will have to teach people for 2 hours.
Good luck. To me.

Why do I share information about my mind maps?
It will give the delegates some hints what I will tell.
I also want to share my preparation with newbie speakers.

Another reason is to attract more diverse speakers on stage. Preparations is like taking small steps.

There are even sessions for speaking at the same conference.

So what are you waiting for?

In order to avoid boredom I just select a few mind maps for a small introduction.

T
There is no way to predict the people in my audience. So I made a lot of categories. Next to the beginners, I have exercises for experienced testers, testers using tools, and managers.

An experienced tester knows what a dataflow test is. Now I also have to explain this to a manager. But I come back later to DiSSS.

Second set

The framework of my workshop is in the  file ‘Talk Lawful Thing to test 1c’. If this sounds strange to you, I completely understand you. It started as a talk and grew to a workshop.

After a while I could not add new perspectives. So I made some other mind maps.

Resources are things you can use after my workshop. This part seems relatively simple. I only had to put in some good resources in it. I made this exercise challenging for myself by adding information written by women.

A good opening or intro of the workshop sets the atmosphere for the coming hours. If I will casually tell something to complete strangers at the beginning of the workshop, it is because I rehearsed it more than 100 times.

Up till now I could not find a shortcut.
Rinse and repeat.

Third set

Tim Ferris has a never ending serie of experiments.

Yes, I made a typo in the file name. And for me it is about speed.

A mind map with central object Lawful thing – Ferris which has branches DiSSS, Jokes, and CaFE. The branch DiSSS has sub branches Deconstruct, Selection, Sequence, and Stakes. The sub branch café has sub branches  Compression, Frequency, and Encoding.

Tim developed some acronyms like DiSSS.

  • Deconstruction is the first action to understand how people perform tasks.
  • Selection is the second task to select which techniques have the most impact.
  • Sequence: what is the best order of actions?
  • Stakes: what’s in it for me?

CaFE

  • Compression: how can I compress the information on 1 page?
  • Frequency: how often should I do it to become good?
  • Encoding: what is a good way to encode the information? Like CaFE.

Is it possible to use these acronyms for GDPR testing?
I think so.
The dataflow test is a good candidate for Selection.
I wrote you I would come back to DiSSS.

The first test session needs extra attention from my side.
During my workshop there are several sessions during which delegates are going to test. Hands on is different from watching. It is like a tennis game with everyone on the tennis court.
And I am the referee.

The mind map ‘20190528 add Lawful thing’ contains information I still need to process.

A workshop is like work.

Speaking matters

In this blog post I share my latest progress on my speaking.
One of my reasons is to get more diverse speakers on stage.

The making and the scale of my mind maps might intimidate newbie speakers.

What I left out, is my adding of nodes in the mind maps over time. This could be days apart.

What I left out, is the long study.
If I add 1 branch to a mind map every day, I have a mind map of 365 branches after a year. I started in the summer of 2018.

If I go in more details, the more branches I will add on a single day.

A talk takes time.

The Clokie Project

In December 2018 Katherina Clokie, a known speaker, announced to look more outside the Tester community.

My reaction

Amazement, grief.

After a few months I realised that it was not a bad idea.

My change of heart

My wife has some really tough questions I have to answer. The biggest one is:
“What did you learn?”
Right behind each test conference.

So I reduced my number of test conferences and number of hours at the conferences. There are still some really good conferences like TestBash, Agile Testing Days, and European Testing Conference with plenty of awesome few insights.

I attended a lot of other conferences and after a while I would be just happy to pick up something new.

There is more to gain at a conference if you only know the basics. With more than 20 years of experience it is a way less.

It was time for my Clokie project.


Time for a small flashback to October and November 2018. I already had looked outside the Test Community.

Here are some notes from Infosecurity 2018:
In case of doubt treat data as personal data. Zip code and house number are personal data.

In EU there are several privacy government organisations, but they have different focus on privacy issues.

Steps in case of data breach:
Secure proof
Look in the logging
Determine scope
Communicate
Remediate
Learn

A change of behaviour can indicate an identity theft.

The way of accessing data in the cloud is the weakest link.

In GDPR, the European Privacy Law, a penalty is used to let the company feel the pain instead of putting a company out of business.

GDPR is not applicable for dead persons. But there can be other laws which are applicable for dead persons.

Meet the expos

How to attract people to an expo? Goodies, free access, and talks.

Some Healthcare and ICT notes of me in random order
Anonymize pictures, determine objects of interest, and annotate them using smart software.

First step is vision and then involve stakeholders like care providers, health insurers, and suppliers.

Patient panel discovered that 60 % of the patients want a personal health environment.

Care providers like hospitals and doctors are stimulated. They get money on basis of results and not on actions taken.

Law of customer’s rights. E.g. A care provider should only get information which is needed for the care to be provided.

Misconfiguration is becoming the weakest point in defense.

Meet the meetups

010dev is a small meetup in Rotterdam. It has Dutch characteristics like gezellig (cosy) and Buy Own Drink. It is in a pub after all. Once in a whole while it is in a company.

During my meetups there are no lectures, but I still listened a lot. As a tester was I am able to follow the small talk and tech talk?

In a few hours a lot of subjects passed. Programming languages, projects, and new trends were discussed. Somehow I could understand bits and pieces.

Developers.nl had a more traditional format for the meetup: free drinks, free meals, and free lectures.

I went to two meetups. The first one was abstract. It was about architecture. What are good guiding principles to set up a complex environment?

The second meetup was about vue.js. This was a challenging one. I had only basic knowledge about JavaScript and HTML. So I read some ebooks about vue.js which are based on these languages.

This talk was more understandable for me. The speaker shared some tips about vue.js.

How to speed up the performance by loading the needed content in 2 stages? First the necessary stuff was loaded for the web page. The rest followed while the user had a first impression of the page.

Looking under the hood

My blog has been made with WordPress. One day I was blogging and a conference in Rotterdam was announced in the dashboard.

There were some particular benefits: 25 Euro for a ticket including lunch, an environment friendly environment, meeting other WordPress users, short traveling distance.

As a tester I had not had a chance to attend a talk about accessibility. I honestly don’t understand this.

This conference offered more talks about this subject than I could process. I skipped the last ones.

Another interesting subject was security headers. It is possible to make WordPress secure. I was thinking that a header only contained some information.

For the interested reader have a look at my conference digest mind map.

Finishing thoughts

Retro: did I learn more than previous years?
Yes.

But what did I pick up in those previous years?
Mostly subjects related to programming and law. Less about testing.

Just made me think.


On Twitter Trish Koo placed a thought provoking tweet. In order to become better in software development  you have to learn both testing and programming.

Continuous Pitch Of Proposals

During the break I asked Mykola Gurov:
“Do you speak at Agile Testing Days?”
Yes.”
Me too.
“What are you talking about?”
“Exploratory Testing and GDPR.”
“That is hot.”

That thing called feedback

If I want to talk on a conference, then I have to submit a summary of my talk with other relevant information like email address and name.

An important thing for making a good proposal is feedback. For my first pitch of my workshop I got a clear mail. No clarification or feedback would be given on my failed attempt.

I was not really interested in a discussion, but only in some points to improve.

Mail me more.
(On the notes of “Tell me more” of Summer Nights)

One conference gave me a ray of hope for a related talk:
GDPR is important.
Bless you.

Another conference gave me specific feedback:
what are you exactly going to do during the workshop?
That is rather useful.

Feedback on diverse proposals

This year the Global Diversity Call for Papers Day held a workshop in Amsterdam. And there were many other places all over the world. This organisation really wanted to increase the number of diverse speakers.

During the workshop I gave my smartphone to one of the workshop leaders. She read my proposal and I started to talk.

Her response was: “I thought it was only about accessibility law.”

My initial plan was to talk about accessibility law and privacy law.
My workshop missed focus, so I dropped the accessibility law.

Another exercise was writing a profile. If a speaker has no interesting profile, delegates might skip his or her session. Or worse the proposal is not accepted at all.

The structure of the exercise was:

  • Tell about myself to 2 other people.
  • Write a profile including myself.
  • Listen to all profiles.
  • Collect the profiles for later use.

Feedback on structure

Within a month I spoke two men who had experience with teaching. I told about Stephen Covey who wrote several books about leadership.

He was able to convey his ideas to a lot of people at the same time. Above all he kept them involved.

Then I described the structure of my workshop and they loved it.

Feedback by rehearsals

Pitching is fine, catching is great.

When I needed people to practice my workshop, I said:
“It is about GDPR and testing.”

Map Your Audience

On Twitter I saw the doubts about giving a talk about basic stuff. A person reacted that beginners need this information.

I agreed.
My reaction was that you need to pay attention to the  Zone of Proximity.

Rejected and reinvigorated

In the summer 2018 my proposal for a talk about testing and General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR was rejected by a test conference. A bit more tweaking.

This did not stop me to take this talk to the same conference. No speaker dropped out, so I turned it into a blog post serie.

Another opportunity opened for me. In the meantime I had gathered enough material for a workshop. My proposals for a workshop and a talk for the subject were turned down again. A little more patience.

It was April 2019. In Rotterdam a WordCamp was organised. This is a 1 day conference for WordPress users. There was a contest for an open slot, which I lost. Close, but honoured to lose.

In May 2019, I was notified that my workshop “A Lawful Thing To Test” was accepted by Agile Testing Days. Only 1 year to get my proposal right.

Lined and dotted

My reason for picking the beginner level was that I had studied GDPR for 1 and a half year. Another reason was that laws are uncommon ground for many testers.

A workshop or talk is great, if I do some practice rehearsals. So how did I find audience in the past?

For my rehearsals of a talk about a performance test I had 2 persons. That is not a lot.

Looking back a simple scale from unfamiliar with the project to familiar with the project might give enough feedback. This way
I got two dots at the end of the scale.
Scale from 'unfamiliar with project' to 'familiar with project' and two dots on the ends!
Another way to map these persons was looking at the experience with performance test. This results in the following graph.
Graph with a scale for 'experience performance test’, one dot at the beginning, and one dot at the middle!

For my rehearsals for my workshop about juggling and testing I had 5 people. Nowadays I would use a 2 dimensional mapping with two axes for juggling and testing.
A two dimensional graph with a horizontal axis ‘juggling’ and the vertical axis ‘testing’ with two dots in the left bottom, and three dots in the right bottom!

For my workshop about testing and GDPR a 2 dimensional map is enough.
A two dimensional graph with a horizontal axis ‘GDPR’ and the vertical axis ‘testing’ with one dot in the left bottom, one dot at the middle of the botton, and one dot in the middle!
I might add a 3rd axis with security testing.
A three dimensional graph with an axis ‘security testing’, an axis ‘GDPR’ and an axis ‘testing’!

But why should I ask experienced persons to test my workshop for beginners?

Told and sold

Suppose I would direct the movie Monsters Unlimited. Kids want to go and adults have to join. If there are only kids’ jokes, then parents would say:
“It takes 2 hours, but your kids have a great time.”

If I am smart, I would put in some jokes for grown-ups.
Advice could change to:
“This is a family movie.”

KYA or Know Your Audience is not difficult for a speaker.  My target audience for 1 talk was people unfamiliar with this subject. I asked, how many people had experience with performance testing.
I could not count the number of raised hands.

Brief panic.
Desperate joke:
“What are you doing here?”
I relaxed myself and continued.
I had intensively prepared myself for this.

This experience shaped my rehearsals.
My hands on workshop about testing and law is for beginner level and still experienced people might attend it. For all kinds of reasons.

  • Would you please accompany me to this workshop? You know about Exploratory Testing, so I can whisper some questions.
  • It is good for the group that we attend the same workshop. I know your expertise. Sorry, group first.
  • I have 3 years of experience with testing and GDPR. I might have missed something.
  • He writes good blog posts. I want to see him in real life.
  • He’s on Twitter.
  • He juggles.
  • Catan.

My challenge as a workshop leader is to provide information on 3 different levels:

  • If you see this, then you should do that.
  • If you use these patterns, you will find similar problems.
  • If you use this approach, then you can learn a lot more than now.

Finishing note

The Zone of Proximity is useful to let people grow in new jobs.