I attended the Rapid Software Testing class at 20-22 of October 2010, in Tartu, Estonia.
In short: It was a loads of fun, studded with pains of humiliation. Well, actually the latter was seldom and even more educating than the fun parts.
Three full days of listening, thinking and talking. To get things rolling he started with the pattern exercise, which was fine by me, as I had already done it with him over Skype. Turned out that they had changed it a bit, so I had hard time figuring out what that was. We, as a group, did fairly well and everyone got the idea that this is not going to be the general boring thing.
James when on with talking and using exercises to illustrate what he was talking about. Or sometimes the other way around – he would describe a situation or ask a question and wanted us to come up with the right answers, or more typically – the right questions.
I had the luck of getting to stand in front of the class for testing the “Mysterious Sphere”. Beforehand I thought Clarksonly- ‘how hard can it be ?‘ – and then walked into most of the traps. I’ll come back to what I learned from there later on.
When we did the ip_address exercise it took me 21 tries to find the bug, which I knew that was in there. To feel good about it, I must say Micheal Bolton needed also 21. And to be honest about it – the average in the class was less than 10. And the best was 1, by a shy girl in the back.
We, as a class, teared through the material and challenges. At one point Ervin (I think it was him) added a 11th reason for the “why repeat tests” question, which had 10 for last 3 years or so. I think we all felt very proud by this, as we had done it ourselves. I know I did.
During the famous “triangle” program testing it turned out I was to only one to check to source code. And another guy, from Bulgaria, found a bug that even James did not know about, regarding copy and paste.
On the last day we played the “Dice Game”. Me and Oliver had already played during some dinners with James, thus we helped him carry it out. Turned out the same shy girl was first to solve it. And i mean fully solve it, with the special dice too.
The last was “Wordpad”. James mentioned several times that it will be the hardest of them all, but I think this was just to build up tension, to pressure us. The corner I was sitting in was the first to ask the right questions. We felt proud until it turned out that we missed some obvious ones. As a whole group, we did a good job with that, I think. At least James did not shout at us.
I liked the very best, how James used his words, intonation and intimidation for fooling, confusing and guiding us to help us learn by ourselves. And i by that I mean that he was not Teaching us, but he was helping us to learn RST by ourselves.
What did I learn ?
Apart from the points that James made in the class I’d like to point of these – I’ll go into them more deeply in later posts:
*) Thoughts in your head are different when spoken out loud.
*) Don’t try to be smart. You most probably are, relax and be yourself.
*) Knowledge degenerates. Experience stays.
*)In the words of Yogi Berra – “In theory, theory and practice are the same, in practice they are not.”
*) Broaden your literature, who knows where you might pick up a good idea.
*) Reputation can be build (and lost) anywhere.
There are probably more, I just have to think them through first.
If you want to be very good at testing (or developing). To be the best. – The class is for you.