I’ve wrapped up my first visit to Switzerland!

I came to speak at the Swiss Testing Day, which attracted a lot of testers. 800 of them, I’m told. It was a very professional operation.

For me the highlight of the visit was trading puzzles and working through Socratic examinations with various Swiss testers, principally Ilari Aegerter. Ilari (which I discovered after saying his name wrong 100 times actually rhymes with Hillary) is a man with boundless energy to solve puzzles and meet the challenges of his peers. I spent two days plus several dinners quizzing him, pressing him, sparring with him, and accepting quizzing from him.

Today we worked in the ski and cheese town of Engleberg. After getting my need to learn about Swiss cheese out of the way (what we call Swiss cheese in the USA is really “Emmentaler”), we settled in the lobby of the Terrace Hotel with the majestic Alps hovering over us.

Ilari is serious about becoming a testing expert, as well as an expert testing coach. So, we spent all day combing through transcripts of his test coaching sessions, identifying and naming his coaching patterns. We’ll consult with Anne-Marie Charrett and Michael Bolton next, to see how our patterns square with them.

He’s relatively new to test coaching. We agreed he needs to work on his patience. Coaching is a lot like fishing. In a Socratic dialog, you have to set the hook in the student and patiently reel him in.

Otherwise, the transcripts looked good to me.

Yesterday I accepted a challenge from Ilari to describe a picture as completely as possible. It was a lot of fun, so I passed it on to Anne-Marie today, who used a mind-map strategy. Now we have a new testing challenge we can give to willing students. Ilari seems to have set himself the task of becoming Context-Driven testing’s best expert on observation skills and dynamics. He has a lot more reading to do (Metzger’s Laws of Seeing, for instance; and The Science of Describing), but he’s on his way.

Tonight we worked through key bits of a book about validity and reliability in qualitative research, and closed the the evening with several lateral thinking puzzles and two math puzzles.

We’re both kind of tired now. The good kind of tired.

This is my idea of fun.