CAST 2016 has ended
Testing: Software Development Catalyst

Testing is not an isolated activity. It interacts with and influences other disciplines in software development such as design, coding, release management, and deployment. As testers, our skills and experiences add value far beyond the immediate context of verifying functionality. Threats to value other than software errors exist.

Yet our discussions are often constrained to the testing space, omitting the connections to, and dependencies on, other roles and activities. Testing is an integral discipline of software development, and often plays an active and important role in bridging gaps between technical and business-focused roles, between leaders and engineers, and between makers and users.

How does the testing piece fit into the software development puzzle? How does – and how should – testing interact with other disciplines in software development? How can we most effectively add value to the software development projects we participate in?

Please join us for our 11th annual conference at the Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver, Canada, August 8-10 2016.


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Wednesday, August 10 • 14:30 - 16:45
It's Certainly Uncertain - Fostering Healthy Uncertainty on Software Projects

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Fear of uncertainty is natural and human. Few of us would be happy not knowing when we or our loved ones could eat again, or whether bombs might drop on us tonight.

Yet some people joyously embrace particular uncertain situations, seeing opportunities to exercise and hone their skills. Others detest all uncertainty and seek to deny it or will it away.

Many managers discourage behaviour that exposes uncertainty. They don’t want to hear about risks, and they don’t like people asking too many questions. In their minds, exploration promotes uncertainty because it’s unpredictable and uncontrollable. They prefer absolutes:

• Immovable delivery dates and fixed costs

• Mandated “best practices” and controlled processes that (they believe) produce predictable results

• Hard numbers that purport to tell them exactly what’s going on

Good testers know that uncertainty is inescapable in software development (as in life), and it is better to embrace it on our projects than to run away from it. There are no best practices, and the only responsible answer is usually, “It depends.” It’s our job to expose uncertainty, and to help reduce it when possible.

But testers are not immune to human feelings. We also can fall into denial and too-easy answers.

In this interactive workshop, we’ll do group exercises and debriefs to tackle the questions:

• How can we grow our own tolerance for uncertainty and learn to embrace it?

• How can we promote a healthy attitude to uncertainty on our software projects?

avatar for Fiona Charles

Fiona Charles

Independent Coach, Consultant, and Workshop Facilitator, Quality Intelligence
Fiona Charles is an independent coach, consultant, and workshop facilitator specializing in thehuman side of software development, quality, and testing. She teaches organizations to managetheir software quality risk, and software practitioners human skills “beyond process”—hands-onpractical... Read More →

Wednesday August 10, 2016 14:30 - 16:45 PDT
Canfor Policy Room (1600) Simon Fraser University Vancouver 515 West Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3