As promised, more words about what I learned from the class.
James did not teach us how to test per se, but showed us how difficult it is and what we skills we need (to develop) in order to get really good at testing.
It was not that during the class something entirely new was said. But the points were made in such a way it was impossible to miss them. True to the old saying – “You will not learn that the fire is hot until you burn your fingers.” – James gave us exercises and showed how easy it is to fall into the traps. When we were trying to struggle out he would ask – what testing method are you using right now ?! Which heuristic are You using ?! What Oracle are you using ?! Are you sure ?!
All in all, what he was doing – in my view at least – was to show us, that we actually are using all the fancy-named testing skills and methods. We just did not know them by that name, or did not do it consciously. Especially when under pressure.
What i came to realise was that knowing the skills (or heuristics) is not enough. You have to consciously use the skills, to know it’s strengths and weaknesses. In order to mix them up and get the best possible result. You have to train yourself so you would not forget to think about them (mnemonics!).
I learned that in order to get better I have to know what I’m doing, so I could analyze it and improve. And best way to do that is to explain my train of thought while doing anything. (If you have no-one around to listen to your rabble – blog it. )
That is why the challenges are handy, and puzzles. It helps us get better at testing.