TestBash 2015 – Are ye Dancin’?

In years gone by, the culture of Scotland’s dance halls (and in my generation, the discos) involved a time-honoured exchange between a young lad who wanted to dance with a particular young lady. It went something like this:

Him: Are ye dancin’?
Her: Are ye askin’?
Him: I’m askin’!
Her: I’m dancin’!

This was a successful outcome, however, if the young lady in question did not want to dance the initial (blunt) response would be along the lines of Naw, it’s just the way I’m standin’. Ouch!

What does this have to do with TestBash or Testing? Read on….

There’s definitely something to be said for the almost overwhelming feeling of elation coming away from something as inspiring as TestBash. A newly found or renewed sense of irrepressible enthusiasm that provides you with the impetus to own your testing role more than you ever did before. Whatever the catalysts may be for your own personal collection of ‘OMG moments’ – be it the workshops, the speakers, the material, the community, the kick-ass Lego robots, the Desmond Tutu inspired dress-sense, or even simply the alcohol – be sure to embrace this mind-set and carry it with you back into your place of work.

In terms of your place of work and particularly from a software testing perspective, it’s probably fair to say that it can be categorised in one of three distinct ways:

  • It’s progressive and forward thinking
  • It’s stagnant and in dire need of change
  • It’s a bit of both

For those you that work in environments with outmoded attitudes that marginalise software test to some degree, consciously or unconsciously, it’s easy to quickly lose your position on that wave of euphoria you’ve been surfing on for the duration of the post-TestBash weekend, as your work place reality delivers a cold, hard slap in the face with a big wet fish.

If that’s indicative of your situation to some extent, then here’s what you can do to get back on that surfboard and ride that euphoric wave again – watch this video:

Now, you’ve watched it (You have watched it, haven’t you?) – don’t be alarmed – I’m not asking you to start drinking and dancing in the workplace stand-up areas (one could argue, however, doing so could dramatically enrich some agile stand-up meeting experiences)

This video, referred to using a multitude of names such as ‘The Dancing Guy’, ‘The Lone Nutter’, and ‘Crazy Dancing Dude’ has been around for some time and was first used in a TED Talk back in 2010 about how to start a movement, but has since been used in a number of business themed talks regarding leadership, etc.

What I’m suggesting you take from this video (and indeed, blog post) is the commitment to act on the inspiration you took from TestBash, and use it to be an agent of change in your workplace.

Be the dancing guy, the lone nutter, the crazy dancing dude on the hill.

Educate the nay-sayers, give insightful presentations, write blog posts, start discussion forums, utilise social media on your company intranet (if you have such a thing), ambush stand-up meetings, illustrate how testing is not the same as checking, warn about the folly of counting test cases, start internal testing workshops, set tricky testing problems, encourage collaborative debrief to exchange ideas so you can learn from each other, invite developers, engage with them, ask them to explain their unit testing strategy, talk about TDD, consider continuous integration, bridge the gap to your non-technical stakeholders by suggesting BDD as a means of bringing them into the fold, explore options, ask questions, ask LOTS of questions, solicit the opinion of the people who matter, make a difference, have an impact.

Be the dancing guy, the lone nutter, the crazy dancing dude on the hill. You may be on your own to begin with, people may be reluctant to join you at first and simply observe from afar, some may even laugh at you. But slowly and surely, people will begin to come around. Change is difficult and slow for most people, but you’ll eventually reach a point where you’ll achieve critical mass, and suddenly you won’t be the odd ones out any more. All this, fuelled by that post-TestBash euphoria. Get out there and dance!

So, Are ye dancin’?

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