personal improvement

Conference Presentations

A Manager's Role in Agile Development: The Light Bulb Moment

Many managers have a large part of their personal identities wrapped up in their jobs and company responsibilities. We define who we are by what we do for a living. In agile development, the manager's job is very different from what most have learned and practiced. Managers struggle with what precisely their responsibilities are—and what to do each day. Some try a simple replacement strategy—shift from Gantt charts to burndown charts, from weekly status meetings to daily stand-ups, and from project post-mortems to iteration retrospectives. Because agile teams are supposed to be self-organizing, many of the "classic" management tasks are no longer important or even appropriate. Michele Sliger shares stories about how agile adoption has affected people like you and how it has changed individuals—their perceptions of agile, their leadership styles, and even their personal lives.

Michele Sliger, Sliger Consulting, Inc.
Top Ten Non-Technical Skills of the Better Testing

In the era of SOA and Web 2.0, as it becomes more and more difficult to accomplish comprehensive testing, Krishna Iyer and Mukesh Mulchandani describe ten non-technical skills that will make you a better tester. The first five are qualities we often look for in testers yet seldom practice scientifically and diligently--collaboration, creativity, experimentation, passion, and alertness. The second five are abilities that are seldom mentioned, yet equally important for testers--connect the dots, challenge the orthodox, picture and predict, prioritize, and leave work at work. Drawing from their experiences of building a testing team for their organization and consulting with global firms in building "testing capability," Krishna and Mukesh show how you and your test team can improve each of these ten non-technical skills. Practice these skills during the session and take back techniques you can use to hone your skills at work.

Krishna Iyer, ZenTEST Labs
STARWEST 2008: What Price Truth? When a Tester is Asked to Lie

As testers and test managers, our job is to tell the truth about the current state of the software on our projects. Unfortunately, in the high-stakes business of software development, often there is pressure--subtle or overt-to distort our messages. When projects are late or product reliability is poor, managers' and developers' reputations-and perhaps even their jobs-may be on the line. Fiona Charles discusses the importance to testers of refusing to compromise the truth, recognizing a potential cover-up before it occurs, knowing the legal position around securing project information, and developing a strategy to maintain integrity and still get out alive.

Fiona Charles, Quality Intelligence Inc.
STARWEST 2008: Five Things Every Tester Must Do

Are you a frustrated tester or test manager? Are you questioning whether or not a career in testing is for you? Do you wonder why others in your organization seem unenthusiastic about quality? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, this session is for you. Julie Gardiner explores five directives to help testers make a positive impact within their organization and increase professionalism in testing. Remember quality-it's not just time, it's time and quality; it's date and quality; it's functionality and quality. Learn to enjoy testing and have fun-the closest job to yours is blowing up things for the movies. Relish the testing challenge-it's you against the software and sometimes, it seems, the world. Choose your battles-take a stand on issues that are vital and let the small things go. And most importantly, remember that the only real power we have springs from our integrity-don't sell that at any price.

Julie Gardiner, Grove Consultants
An Alternative to Consensus: Accelerating Effective Decisions

Software development teams don't always need, want, or have time to make decisions via group consensus. And project leaders often already feel over-burdened with the multiple decisions they have to make on their own. But there is a middle path-an alternative to consensus-in which shared responsibility for decision-making provides for input from many and one voice to represent the team and make the final choice. In this decision-making process, a team member volunteers to be the decision-maker on a particular issue with only one mandatory rule-seek guidance. The greater the impact the decision will have on the organization, the wider the quest for advice must be-all the way to the board of directors, if appropriate. Join Michele Sliger to learn how this approach to decision-making might be right for your organization.

Michele Sliger, Sliger Consulting, Inc.
The Leadership Imperative: Creating a Culture of Trust

In our personal and business lives, many of us know leaders who successfully foster environments of incredible creativity, innovation, and ideas-while other leaders try but fail. So, how do the top leaders get it right? Going beyond the basics, Pollyanna Pixton explores with you the ways that the best leaders create "safety nets" that allow people to discover and try new possibilities, fail early, and correct faster. Removing fear and engendering trust make the team and organization more creative and productive as they spend less energy protecting themselves and the status quo. Pollyanna shares the tools you, as a leader, need to develop open environments based on trust-the first step in collaboration across the enterprise. Learn to step forward and do the right thing without breaking trust. Find out when and how to acknowledge and reward trust in your team and organization.

Pollyanna Pixton, Accelinnova
Your Attention Please: Concentration is a Learnable Skill

With the possible exception of the fakir walking barefoot on a bed of nails, no one can focus attention on a single object for more than about fifteen seconds. There's a practice, though, that anyone can learn to accommodate this fact and go on to solve vexing problems quickly and creatively. Lee Devin borrows from the skills that actors develop to direct their attention so their mind and body behave as if the imaginary world they've created is real. Similarly, when you watch a good movie or read a great novel, you direct your attention with single-minded intensity. Using theatre exercises, Lee introduces you to the techniques of warm-up and the skills of concentration. Although simple, they're by no means easy. Learn and practice these mind-bending exercises and take away a powerful tool that can increase your concentration both at work and in your personal life.

Lee Devin, Swarthmore College
A Christmas Carol: The Software Tester's Version

Grab some hot cocoa, sit back, and watch this software tester's take on A Christmas Carol by the Grove Players.

The Grove Players
Free Test Tools are Like a Box of Chocolates

You never know what you are going to get! Until you explore, it can be hard to tell whether a free, shareware, or open source tool is an abandoned and poorly documented research project or a robust powerhouse of a tool. In this information-filled presentation, Danny Faught shows you where open source and freeware tools fit within the overall test tool landscape. During this double session, Danny installs and tries out several tools right on the spot and shares tips on how to evaluate tools you find on the Web. Find out about licensing, maintenance, documentation, Web forums, bugs, and more. Discover the many different types of testing tools that are available for free and where to find them. Danny demonstrates examples of tools that you can put to use as soon as you get back to the office.

Danny Faught, Tejas Software Consulting
Managing User Acceptance Testing in Large Projects

Managing user acceptance testing poses many challenges, especially in large-scale projects. Julie Tarwater explores the issues of planning, coordinating, and executing effective user testing with a large number of end users. Learn strategies for ensuring user acceptance while exploring the pros and cons of each. Discover ways to prioritize issues that arise from user testing.

Julie Tarwater, T. Rowe Price Associates


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