Had a blast at CAST, from keynotes to talks

Posted by Albert Gareev on Oct 08, 2015 | Categories: CommunityNotesWTToronto



Running Context Driven Testing Meetup In Your City

Lightning Talks is a very fast paced method of conferring. To make sure I get the most of 5 minutes time frame I put together main points in my tester’s notebook. By the way, it turned out a very handy way to publish the contents into the Twitterverse.

// By the way, you can read more stories in my Toronto Meetup category!


Here are the key points.


  • I wanted to join a hands-on meetup in Toronto for years
  • Couldn’t find one, got tired of waiting
  • Started one myself

It’s a commitment!

  • Make sure to keep a sustainable pace
  • Plan your bandwidth

It’s not about you

  • You might be a cool Context Driven tester but if you’re an organizer it’s not about your interests
  • It is about community interests if you want people to come
  • Many – or most of them – will likely be not advanced testers
  • Many will be interested in basic job skills or getting a job in testing
  • If you want to have a growing group and good attendance you should aim at interests of your audience

How addressed it

  • Groups of interests with “mix and match” approach
    • Job Finding Club
    • Extreme Testing
    • Automation Club

    Job Finding Club

  • How to present yourself professionally and what is the profession of testing
  • Community services
    • Resume review
    • Practice Interviews
    • Job search discussions

    Extreme Testing

  • A hands-on experience
  • Testing challenges
  • Testing Games
  • Live and online testing sessions in Weekend Testing format


  • Recruiters are your friends
  • They can be a venue sponsor or an event sponsor
  • Startups are your friends
  • Hiring managers – they are always on a lookout for a good talent

Organizational Tools

  • – register an account
    • Membership
    • Advertisement
    • Scheduling and tracking events
    • Community boards
    • Polls, discussions
  • Have a good place for workshops
    • Find a venue sponsor
    • Inexpensive alternatives: Starbucks and other coffee shops with meeting rooms, schools, community centers
  • Gather feedback and plan an agenda accordingly

Exploratory Testing in the Cloud Foundry by Jesse Alford


  • Cloud Foundry is an extremely complex software on the inside but easy and user-friendly on the outside
  • Main roles: Product Management, Product Design, Product Engineering. Everyone tests.
  • Exploratory charters.
    • Explore [target] With [resources] To Discover [information]
    • Read more: “Explore It!” by Elisabeth Hendrickson
    • Sometimes used as a “general purpose scaffold”
      • Developers started using them as well for trials and experiments
    • Some training was required to give understanding and basic terminology
  • Emotion-driven Focusing/De-focusing criteria for charter based testing
    • Feeling: Confused -> Focus
    • Feelings: Frustrated, Overwhelmed -> De-focus
  • Product Managers need to learn value of good (enough) charter reports to accept the good ones (and reject not good enough)
  • Teaching through pairing; gradual improvement


  • I liked the contents, interactive presentation format, and performance of the speaker
  • Worth special note: most of those tests were non-GUI very technical tests – and yet exploratory testing approach is very fitting
  • The [information] might be specific (known unknown) and not specific (unknown unknown). This should spawn other charters.

Experiences From Asking Outsource Partners To Shift To Context Driven Testing by Phil McNeely and Carl Shaulis

I liked the content and the presentation. This is very appealing topic.

However, my impression was very mixed and I couldn’t help but question the value of outsourced testing based on the story.

  • It took them a few years to achieve only moderate results. Was it worth it business wise then??
  • They experienced a lot of frustrations dealing with the people from the other side.
  • Since they were not in control of resourcing people were moved around without their consideration.
  • A lot of efforts were lost due to turnover. Trained testers leave for better jobs.

The Future of Testing Is Here by Ajay Balamurugadas

Since there’s a video available you can enjoy it yourself. I want to write about the author.

Ajay is a quiet hero. He is an avid learner, writer, and supporter of the community. He is the father of Weekend Testing, now international movement. He is author of testing articles. He also wrote 5 books on testing. He is a living example of self-learning and professional success.

Moving Testing Forward by Karen Johnson

I first got to know about Karen Johnson thanks to her RCRCRC mnemonic for Regression Testing. Can’t remember the original article now but here’s a good presentation.

My advice – watch the video. It’s really worth it. I put some points below as I captured it at the conference.


  • CAST is one of the most influential software conferences across the globe.
  • It’s a drag to read a linear resume. I care who you are and what you’re doing.
  • Software testing is a high stress job. Especially if you take it seriously.
  • Networking – you have to build it before you use it.
  • Business – take a look at financial health.
    • Company has to make money or you lose your job.
    • Do you pay attention to corp reports and town halls?
  • You’re geek? – Cool. Don’t care about business? – Uncool. Understand why you’re at this job.
  • Community – helps you to grow. Through feedback and questioning. Are you going to give back at some point?
  • Technology – changes very fast. Core testing skills stay the same. Work to get better at testing.
  • If you don’t like continuous learning then software testing may not be the right field for you.
  • It is entirely possible no one will ever tell you: you did a good job. So learn to tell it yourself.
  • You can’t fake an expertise at the really deep level.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work by Albert Gareev is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.