I had such a great time at CAST 2011 that I just now have had time to process all that went down. First, I gained a new skill, thanks to the risk taking courage of Adam Yuret. I have now presented without slides! I felt great about that since I had planned a slow and careful strategy of steps toward building that skill, starting by ramping down my overall number of slides last year, all the way to planning to present with a few images only. I finished with just 16 seconds left in my time, having hit all of my main points in why I tested (some) anyways when told not to test. Adam did a great job with his perspective on why he didn’t test when asked not to test. The deciding factor for us both way our perspective about which was the ethical thing to do, for the company, for the users, for everyone involved. Our situations were different, our background is different, but we both decided based on some common tester concerns. Who are the stakeholders? What options do we have here? I would also clarify that I did not use any deception with my team about my testing strategy, nor did Adam, and we both feel good about our choices and stand behind them.

Biggest regret: Missing seeing Harry Robinson present. I was co-presenting, helping out, doing a guest costumed appearance, or whatever else you want to call my CAST antics at that time. I’m hoping to catch a demo of his exploratory testing automation soon. I’ve heard about it. I’ve seen some of the early bits, but it just made me interested in learning more.

A Testing Competition is Not a Bug Finding Competition
When I signed up last minute, happy to be upright, for the testing competition, I just knew a few basics about it. There were money prizes, but mostly I was excited that the testers I worked with before were out at CAST! I thought it would be great to test with them again. I expected some sort of browser based product. I’ve never been in a live testing competition before.

You see, there are different testing games. Sometimes, for example, in services like UTest, the first person to file the bug report, regardless of the quality of such report, gets credit for it. Criteria may or may not be outlined in advance.

What I learned in my partial participation was that this was about testing. Finding out about the stakeholders, criteria for winning, and fulfilling the stakeholder needs. I think that is a good lesson about testing in general. Testing is more about asking the right questions based on what is important than it is about finding bugs quickly and reporting them accurately. Not sure that will help you on uTest, but at CAST, it was a good reminder.

We participated a tiny bit, until we realized how late it ended. We all logged out, finished our wine, and headed off to bed. Alas, it was still good to be at CAST this year. I think it went amazingly well, and I feel lucky to have been a part of it.