CASTx18 – Keynotes

Keynote 1

James Christie
“Embrace bullshit? Or embrace complexity?”

Large organizations are so complex no-one really understands them. Bosses have no more idea what is out there than Burke and Wills did. To maintain an illusion of control they create process-driven, “bullshit” jobs, irrelevant to the organization’s real needs. Testers must be flexible and brave to confront and explore complex reality, however scary. Do complex systems in an unpredictable, unknowable world fail inevitably? Should we concentrate on learning how they respond to failure, or should we focus on how things go right? I will contrast Cynefin with the approach being taken by builders of complex, safety critical systems. Whatever approach we choose we must remain relevant; embrace complexity, ditch the bullshit!

Self-employed testing consultant with 35 years IT experience. Before moving into testing I spent six years as an IT auditor. I have has also worked in information security management, project management, business analysis and development. My experience helps me understand the relationships between different specialisms. I am particularly interested in links between testing, auditing, governance and compliance. I spent 14 years working for one of the UK’s biggest insurance companies, then nine years with a large IT services company, working with clients in the UK and Finland. I have been self-employed for the last 12 years.

Keynote 2

Katrina Clokie
“Broken axles: A tale of test environments”

I have childhood memories of a computer game titled ‘The Oregon Trail’ that chronicled the adventures of a group of settlers traveling from Missouri to Oregon via a covered wagon. I rarely made it far along the journey and often my setbacks were due to my equipment. “Broken wagon axle. Would you like to try to repair it?”

As a Test Practice Manager, I see explorers around me who are hindered by similar limitations. Just as one broken axle can stop a wagon train, one broken test environment can stop a tribe of development teams. When we spend our time fixing problems, we lose opportunities to innovate elsewhere.

Working alongside 115 testers, most in different wagons, I know that there will always be axles that break. Yet there are many opportunities to improve the management and maintenance of test environments in our organisations. How can we quickly determine what has failed and who it will block? How can we improve our skills and processes so that failures are resolved quickly?

Join a battle-worn mechanic on a journey in test environment improvement. Katrina will talk about data collection, visualisation, advocacy, and dashboards. Be prompted to think about who keeps your wheels spinning and how you can help them.