Finally, training with James Bach organized!
Finally it has come together. I organized Rapid Software Testing class with James Bach. In total from the moment we have started talking about it it took about two years. First the idea was to organize the training in Poland, but finally the training was organized in the Netherlands.
It was a very successful 3 days training fully booked. I highly recommend that training for experienced testers that want to find new ways of thinking about software testing, strategies for finding bugs quickly and much more. And the training is not only about testing, because you can also learn how to work under high pressure and how to defend your point of view. An interesting addition to the training was Meet UP about Test Reporting where James has presented many different ways of reporting the results and writing documents. It was really intensive training with a lot of knowledge shared. Some of the knowledge will take some time to integrate in attendees heads and implement at work. The way the training is delivered can be called provocative.
The trainging is unique because there are exercises done on real software with real bugs to be found and exercises to be doen in front of the class where James plays Test Manager from hell. All the questions asked and answers give can be wrong, what makes you to keep high attention level all the time. The more sweat and tears on the training the less on the war ;)
There was of course a bunch of pictures taken that you can check on Flickr: pictures from the RST training, pictures from Meet Up. You can also read the interview with James that was recorded right after the training below.
KrystianKaczor (KK): You just have finished the first RST class in the Netherlands. Can you tell us about your experience? How was it?
James Bach (JB): I’m a little surprised. I didn’t expect that there would be so much energy and a creativity and intellect here. Honestly I thought that the Netherlands was a pretty dull place for testing because it’s the home of TMAP. I just wonder what could be true of the people who embrace TMAP. They must be pretty interested in pat answers and not too interested in deep analysis, right? In TMAP I don’t find support for deep analysis of anything. So I was wrong about that. Now I know there are at least 26 people in the Netherlands who wish to look at testing in a deeper way and develop their testing skills. And I am surprised and very gratified and I hope to come back soon.
KK. Great. The event was organized by codecentric. What are your thoughts about this company so far?
JB: From what I’ve heard and the people I’ve seen I’m impressed with codecentric. I feel that you guys have a commitment to agile methods that goes beyond buzz words and posturing and you seem to be developing yourselves into technically excellent people. I want to be around people like that.
KK: We know that you are organizing a totally new event, the Rapid Software Intensive on Orcas Island (north of the city of Seattle).
KK: What’s special about it?
JB: As far as I know it’s the first public testing seminar involving the testing of live software for a real company for five days. And it will result in a professional test report, which will become part of the portfolios of all the participants. My brother, Jon, who works at eBay, has arranged for us to test eBay. He will be handling the communication between us and eBay and will also be an instructor on the course.
It’s a seminar meant to teach the Rapid Testing methodology mainly through coaching on the job. We will be testing, learning and teaching people how Rapid Testing works in a live situation.
Another way it’s unique is that we have both online participants and we have onsite participants. So we have a tight group of people on Orcas (including some very talented testers such as Robert Sabourin who teaches his own testing class called Just-In-Time Testing). We will have fifty or so people online from all over the world in different time zones and we will coordinate everything through Confluence and Jira. It’s a worldwide testing effort, just like people have to deal with all the time in our industry. It’s the most vivid, realistic testing experience that my brother and I could imagine doing in five days.
Pascal Dufour (PD): Is the focus on learning testing, or is it on learning how to make the product better?
JB: The focus is on learning testing. As a side effect this eBay product will get a lot of testing. But we are not doing it to test the product. We are doing it to create a laboratory for test coaching.
KK: Does the Rapid Software Testing go together with agile methods?
JB: Yes. Rapid Testing is a methodology that exists in the minds of individual testers. The idea is to supercharge their effectiveness as testers in any situation they find themselves in. But the mentality of Rapid Testing is people oriented, just as agility is people oriented. It’s a mentality that tries to find the simplest way to solve problems or at least is a reasonably simple way of solving problems.
My method is also irreverent. I reject best practices. Now, of those only the last one conflicts with the agilists in any way. Sometimes agilists have certain practices they are excited about and they don’t consider alternatives. That’s why I don’t consider myself fully a part of the Agile community. I think that I’m agile in a small-“a” sense, but not in a capital-“A” sense. Although I am interested in Agile (notice the capital-“A”) and I can operate in an Agile framework.
I’m not personally as excited by some of the tools and practices, that Agile people like to use. Having said that, the spirit behind the agility is exactly the spirit behind the Rapid Testing. Rapid Testing and Agile grew out of the same impulse: to break away from the limiting, authoritarian forms of software project management that had dominated the industry up until the end of the 80’s. You’ll find the roots of Agile at the end of the 1980’s. That’s when I began developing my approach to testing.
KK: Do you have a general message for the Dutch testing community?
JB: Yes. I would say, look hard at anyone who claims to have best practices of testing and please begin to critically question their claims. Wake up! Begin to use your minds and develop your skills and I think you will find that TMAP is not particularly appealing or useful.
KK: Thank you very much for this interview.
There is already a plan to invite James Bach for the next year together with codecentric again. So perhaps we will see echa other in the RST class next year ;)
From my coaching point of view I can tell you that this is great example to show that it is worth to set challenging goals and achieve them even if eventually they will slightly change like the event location. If gives a lot of satisfaction and great reference point for the future.