Alt.net – the day after

Back home now after a excellent two days at Alt.Net in London. As with the spring conference this was a thought provoking event. I really like the whole open space format, though there were four 'main sessions' the event started the night before in the planning session and the bar and carried on without a pause, including the train trip home.

The main sessions can be excellent; but it is usually the chat walking to get a coffee or over lunch was where you get a nugget of information that completes a picture for you. It is great to find out you are not alone in the problems you have and refreshing to hear people speak so openly over the challenges and successes they have had.

The main take away for me were ideas on acceptance testing:

  • The gathering of the tests can be improved by using a three pronged attack using the client (or Business Analyst), the developers and the tester/QA team. It is three pronged as each group has their own view of what the product should do. The client want tests that prove a product meets a business need, the developer will test some edge cases around the business tests and the tester will add tests that just try to break the product. Together this group should provide a reasonable test coverage, not perfect but better than the view of any single group.
  • I also got a number of ideas on techniques for writing the acceptance tests. The most immediately interesting was the idea of using log files via a product such as TestTest. My first thought is that this provides an interesting way to tackle automated testing of Sharepoint Workflows – a current issue for me.

At the event I mention that we at Black Marble were considering hosting a similar event, but I had been worried that there would not be the interest as I perceived the attendees of the London event were fairly London based. I am pleased to say that this does not seem to be the case. And true to the principles of an open spaces event we have to recognise that 'whoever comes are the right people'. Keep an eye of for announcements of an event in the new year.

So thanks again to Ian Cooper, Alan Dean and Ben Hall for organising the event, I look forward to the next one.

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