Submitted by: Rajesh Mathur
On December 13, 2012 a few like minded people met at Hong Kong Polytechnic University to discuss testing practices. The event was the second AS
T supported testing meet up for Hong Kong’s software testing community to further advance the Context Driven testing in Hong Kong and the Greater China region.
We had a very successful event in March 2012 and that it was the second event of Hong Kong, I wanted to introduce the LAWST format. However, due to the diversity of attendee’s backgrounds, it was worthwhile keeping it as a brainstorming session to discuss Testing Best Practices v/s Context-Driven practices.
The event saw an impressive presence from many influential people who can not only support Context Driven Testing in Hong Kong, but also help spread the awareness of testing within the IT community and as a career for young Hong Kong graduates. Apart from me, the other attendees were:
- Dr. Hareton Leung: Director of Software Development Lab at HK PolyU. He is also Chairperson of Quality Management SIG of Hong Kong Computer Society.
- Nick Beswick: A strong follower of Context Driven testing. Nick is a test consultant for Finance projects of Cathay Pacific Airways.
- Venky: Practice Lead at Cognizant, ASEAN & Japan.
- Simon Zheng: Practice Lead at Cognizant, Greater China
- Jefferson Wat: Public Services. Jeff is also a CMMi consultant and a senior member of many IT groups of Hong Kong.
- Karl Farrelly: Performance Testing Lead at Cathay Pacific Airways
- Antony Ma: Security consultant. Chairman at Cloud Security Alliance Hong Kong & Macau Chapter
All attendees, no matter what they work upon in their day to day life, were highly interested in understanding the concept of Context-Driven testing. It is important to know that testing in Hong Kong & China regions is mostly based on so called best practices and rigid processes.
It takes a lot of effort to implement a practical & pragmatic approach, which does not produce heaps of paperwork and to convince management for usage of these practices. This was one of the reasons that many of attendees got interested in this event when I first posted the details of this event on various websites & forums including Hong Kong Computer Society’s LinkedIn group.
I began the event proceeding with an overview of AST & its mission as a non-profit organization. I could see that most of the attendees were amazed to know what AST does even though most of its members are simply volunteers.
I talked the attendees through the history of AST, how it provides value to software testing community and what courses are available. I gave few examples from Black Box Software Testing (BBST) Course (as I am a graduate of BBST, it was fun sharing the knowledge and explaining the value that these courses add). It was also vital to mention the grant program and the not-for-profit nature of this group to attendees. I also mentioned further AST initiatives like various SIGs, SummerQAmp and also the latest testing events in Australia & Singapore that AST supported.
The next item on the agenda was introducing people to Context-Driven approach. I opened the website of Context-Driven-Testing and read through the principles of the approach. There were questions around application of this approach in real life and I gave few examples from my previous projects.
I also mentioned the approaches that are being used by context-driven testers worldwide including session-based tests, use of oracles & heuristics and about mind maps.
At one point there was a good discussion regarding context-driven approach being one of the ‘best practices’. When we discussed all the aspects of so-called best practices and why there cannot be more than one ‘best’, people started laughing as the environment became lively again. It was surprising to see how quickly the concept was understood by most that were new to context-driven approach, possibly because Nick shared his experience report. Even though most attendees were new to the approach, there were many questions which were answered promptly.
Then we asked Karl whether he sees any value of context-driven testing in his performance testing projects. Karl then shared his experience report with us by giving few examples from the projects he is managing and how he & his team follow the principles of context-driven approach. He called it a practical & fit-for-purpose approach. However, he decided to learn more of context driven approach and share knowledge with his team too.
It seemed like an achievement to me when Dr. Leung told me that he was interested in introducing AST courses to his computer science students of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It is vital to know that HK PolyU ranks among best 100 universities of the world. Dr. Leung also suggested that we plan to get other trainers to Hong Kong to give lessons on context-driven approach. What great use of the AST grant!
The event was concluded with thanking the AST for the support they provided for this event. I also thanked Dr. Hareton Leung for arranging a high-tech conference room for the event and to all attendees who were glad to attend and ready to support our mission of advancement of testing as a scientific practice.
We promised to meet again and arrange a bigger event for software testing community of Hong Kong.