Public Speaking


When it comes to public speaking, I am open and eager to talk about most topics connected to building good software. My specialities are related to testing and leadership but I also talk about ethics and  visual models.

Below is a list of talks I have prepared that can be booked. They can easily be adapted to a shorter or longer format but I prefer no less than 25 min and no more than 60.


If you want to talk about any of these, or have other requests, please reach out for further discussion.

Delivering fast and Slow

Delivering something new, better, faster than our competition can mean incredible payoff and we are constantly being asked to cut costs and deliver more, faster, cheaper. But then suddenly, you fall off the other side of the edge and wake up to 189 dead in a plane crash or having to take down and redesign your entire banking service because the architecture didn’t hold up to the load. It probably wasn’t your decision to push that to production but one can imagine that a long chain of people have to have made a number of small (or huge) decisions that led up to that result.

So, where do we draw the line? Do we let that potential risk slip by even if we know it might potentially cause someone to lose time, money, or even health? What are we, as individuals, responsible for and how much can we hide behind the chain of command?


We will explore the ethics of software development, focusing on quality in general and testing in particular. We will look at what costs the context switching between solving a problem and finding the gaps in the solution will add to software development and why testing is so much more than automation and scripts.


We will talk about the relationship between tester and developer, how delivering feedback and embracing critique can strengthen that bond and how the right question in the right room at the right time might save you from drowning in angry customer calls further down the line.

We will delve into a number of interesting bugs and loopholes to discuss what can be learned from them and how to make sure that at the end of the day, we will sleep soundly, knowing we made our choices not because they were easy but because we believe them to be right.


Takeaways:

  • Ethical considerations when balancing speed & cost vs. quality and traceability
  • Potential legal implications to consider in choosing what corners to cut
  • Showcases of spectacular bugs

My journey from developer to tester

About 10 years ago I decided to move from my role as developer to work full time with testing and test management. Eager to learn how to do it right - I read everything I came across about test methods, test techniques, test management and "Best practices" for testing.


Cconfident in knowing my stuff, I took on my first project as tester / test lead. And then reality hit. During these ten years, I have made almost every mistake you can make in collaboration and communicating.


This talks covers a number of different personas I have identified in myself during my journey. Through the besserwisser, the stickler for rules, the "must I do everything myself"and the helicopter parent to becoming an advocate for quality throughout the development chain.


Among other things, it will be about Cem Kaner's principles of Bug Advocacy, the power of asking the right questions in the right way, differences in mindset and how much more fun working can be if you stop swimming against the current.

This is a fun, easy-going story about my switch from developer to tester. I talk about lessons learned, mistakes made and the importance of story telling



Takeaways:

  • Developers are people too
  • Context is king
  • Importance of bug advocacy
  • Understanding people's motivations

Would Heu-risk it?

Experiences and lessons learned from working with developing software since 1999 resulted in the “Would Heu-risk it?” concept. It all started with a workshop with Lisa Crispin but has since evolved into a card deck, blog posts, articles and a book draft in 2020.


“Would Heu-risk it?” is centered around risk analysis, heuristics, patterns/anti-patterns that affect us in designing, building, testing and running software. They are grouped into three distinct categories: Traps I see testers fall into, Tools I see testers use as super-powers and weapons testers could use to focus their work (also known as common weak-spots in building software).


This talk is a compilation of my main learnings from 20+ years of building software, seeing the complexity from a developer, a tester, a test lead and a manager perspective.


We will use the 30 cards as a focal point to try and focus on what I believe are my most important learnings.


Takeaways:

  • Testing heuristics as super-powers
  • The importance of bug advocacy
  • Up-skilling yourself
  • Involving yourself in the entire process to shift left, right, up and down
  • Different perspectives to software quality

Career Crafting

Growing up, I believed I could become, and do anything. 

As the years passed, hitting walls and obstacles, something happened to that ability to look to the stars. I started hiding my dreams, partly because I didn’t want to look like a failure when they didn’t come through and partly because I stopped believing I could achieve them.  I stopped dreaming and I fiercely told myself, and people around me, I did not want certain things.

As luck would have it, that view was unexpectedly challenged by an innocent comment made by my boss at that point in time. First, it made me laugh out loud. But honestly, even I could hear the hurt hiding behind the laugh and it made me start on the journey that has taken me where I am today. 

Admitting my first goal, to myself and others, was incredibly hard, but once spoken out loud - I reached it in half the time I thought possible with the help of people around me. After that, it has been a weird chain of events taking me through public speaking, collaborating with people I admire, being elected into boards and other positions, creating a card deck, writing a book and even singing on stage!

What this journey has taught me is that I do indeed have dreams, aspirations. They might be incredibly hard to find after years of oppressing them, but once you start looking - they start appearing everywhere!


And speaking them out loud - you will find that people everywhere will go out of their way to help you achieve them!

So, don’t be careful what you wish for!
Wish for the moon and the stars and be prepared to reach them, and so much more. 

    

Takeaways:

  • Making dreams explicit is the first step to reaching them
  • Telling others of your dreams allows them to help you
  • People want to help you, they want you to succeed!
  • Taking actions on your dreams changes you into the person you need to become
  • Learning how to define your goal helps you teach others, making you a better coach and/or mentor

Testing 101 / Testing fundamentals

Are you a dev who is as tired of saying “That’s not in the requirements”, “Works on my machine” or “Huh. It’s never done that before” as I am of hearing it? Or are you a junior tester looking to hone your bug hunting skills?


I worked as a developer for 11 years before switching to testing. I’ve seen the pendulum swing from “everyone’s a dev” to “test needs to be independent” and back, but some things don’t seem to change.


We still keep doing producing the same bugs, no matter the technology, no matter how experienced we get we seem to have a few blind spots. We can’t test everything but knowing where we usually err should make it easier for junior testers and/or developers to focus their early testing efforts and save some time.


In this talk we will take a tour of ten areas where teams and individuals struggle. Some are very technical while others apply more to the softer skills but they all are important to releasing good quality software.


We will cover where in the development process bugs are introduced, look at some interesting bugs and the reason behind them and talk about concurrency, threading and why users never act the way you expect them to.


Takeaways:

  • Some examples of “human blind spots”
  • A reminder of the importance of communication
  • How communication could have saved Mars Climate orbiter
  • Why you should care about cat-videos on youtube

Listen beyond the pass and fail

I started a new job a number of years back, with one of my responsibilities stated as “Move the existing automation to the next level”.


They had a lot of automated tests in place already and had gotten automation to be a normal part of team delivery. Great! I've worked with a lot of problematic automation and I know a thing or two about what not to do. So, it sounded like a dream! In my vision, I saw a nice, smooth pipeline where tests pass or are fixed ASAP.In reality however, most days at least something had failed. And it felt like no one was worried about it. I worried. And I could smell a pattern. Armed with a mountain of data, my ancient statistics minor and a lot of curiosity I set off to figure out how to move from fire fighting to long-term and continuous improvement.


In this talk we I look at a number of perspectives to can explore and how they might give you important insights. I look at how to use trends, categorisation and how to embrace responsibility instead of making it someone else's problem.


Takeaways:

  • Looking at your test results over a longer time period will give you additional insights
  • Categories and traps to look out for
  • How to use trends for continuous improvemen

How mind-mapping kept me sane

Thankfully today most people agree that old step-by-step test cases and gigantic requirement specifications are outdated and that an exploratory approach to testing is something to take seriously. Unfortunately many people think testing is simple and that you can put anyone in front of a computer and have them test. The end result is rarely great of efficient.

There are tons of methods and techniques to use to better your exploration effort and this talk covers one of the loves of my life: Mind Mapping. I want to show you how you can gather information, structure it in a good way to help you visualise and aim your effort in the righ places. With this you will be able to cover the most important things fast and give you confidence you covered the biggest risks. 


Let me take you on a journey through one of my biggest challenges as a tester and how an impossible task ended up a success.

Takeaways: 

  • The importance of visual
  • Why models matter
  • How to bring structure into exporation
  • Risk management

Recruiting for potential

In early 2017 I was promoted to QA manager and right off the bat thrown into two recruitment processes. I was terrified. I knew from previous experiences that I am really bad at traditional interviewing techniques and suddenly I could not even hide behind someone else making the decisions. During my career I've interviewed potential colleagues, team members and interns and I've always felt the outcome depended heavily on the candidate’s confidence rather than my questions.


Our recruitment process included three interviews and three online tests. I felt it tended to favor glossy resumes and interview-trained professionals as well as being biased towards whatever personality type the recruiting manager had.


I wanted to do something different. Something that used my testing and programming background and that could be used to assess both juniors and seniors on an even playing field.


I started out looking for available exercises but the things I found were limited, generic and all focused on testing in front of other people. This also favors a particular type of person and in addition it wouldn’t give me all the answers I wanted.


• How well do they read instructions?
• Do they have the guts to question?
• Can they make reasonable assumptions?
• How do they adapt to something unexpected?
• Can they document and communicate their findings?
• Can they answer questions about their work?

In this experience report I’ll share my thoughts on why traditional interview processes are outdated and I’ll show you an alternative way or doing it. I’ll talk about successes, setbacks and how we plan to improve the exercise moving forward.

It's about figuring out what makes a tester, how to compare apples to biscuits and how you should always expect the unexpected.

In short: I will talk about putting candidates to the test.


Takeaways:

  • Why standard recruitment processes are biased and focus too much on history
  • Ideas on how to improve recruitment processes for testers or other roles
  • How to design a scope small enough to handle but with enough challenge

What I thought I knew about the status of testing

The year 2010, after ten years of coding, I was more than ready to step into my new shiny career as Test Lead. In my mind this was a smart career move, where I would be able to influence more, be involved in the decisions earlier, and have a million new opportunities to grow my career. To my big surprise, I quickly realised that other people, outside of my little box, saw testing as the complete opposite.


Although I have been blessed with working with some amazing teams and organisations, over the years I have come to meet many misconceptions of testing, like “Testers are failed Developers” and “Your salary increase will drop as a tester” . I will share how I have approached them and how I have worked to change the view of skilled testing, one team at a time. And mine as well, though I only realised it once I took a break and reflected on it.


Weaved into this will also be how my developer background has helped (or not) with credibility, how my naive view of testing as a status role helped me through some rough patches, how working in a startup made me accept “Good Enough”, and how writing a book made me realise how much my own belief system has shifted over the years.


Takeaways: 

  • How I saw the testing role from a developer perspective.

  • How my own view has shifted with experience and time.

  • How I used my background to shift the power balance.

  • How to influence people.

Living Fearlessly - While living with fear

On the outside, some of us seem to walk with more confidence in our steps. We do things other people are terrified of, often without hesitation. We stand up for things, we take risks, we take on challenging tasks, we throw ourselves out there. If someone asks us to do something scary, we smile and ask for more. Some people call it being fearless, others being brave.


I say us, because a lot of people have told me over the years this is how they see me. And in some respects, they are completely true. I do all of those things with a calm demeanour. I regularly joke about not having impostor syndrome. I gladly embrace the adrenaline rush of public speaking. I do not worry when trying my hands at complex, hard and high-stake work tasks.


At the same time: I am living with a constant low level of fear, with medium to high peaks on a regular basis. Why do I do this, and can other people do the same?


Let's talk about how to live a full life with few limitations without having to be free of fear. Let's explore how to push through being scared to be able to do things anyway. Let’s also talk about the fact that this is no silver bullet, and when I have learned to use it and when I have (so far) failed to.


This talk will cover the difference between being scared and acting on the fear, different types of reaction to change (and how to use it to your advantage) and how to get to the core of the fear to help you overcome it.


It is possible to live a full life without limitations without being free of fear. Let's explore how to push through being scared and do things anyway (and when you shouldn't)


Takeaways:

  • Key differences between being brave and fearless

  • We all react differently to change, we can use that!

  • Overcoming fear by identifying it and accepting it

  • Impostor syndrome, Fear of Failing - differences and similarities

Workshops


When it comes to workshops and/or tutorials, I focus mostly on testing fundamentals, risk management and leadership. I am open to other topics but that would add a lot of calendar time since I have limited time to design new workshops at the moment. 

Below is a list of workshops I have prepated that can be booked. Most can be adapted from a shorter to a longer format but most are at their best around a few hours.

If you want to talk about any of these, or have other requests, please reach out for further discussion.

Structure and speed using Mind Maps

In contrast to ad hoc or “intuitive” testing, Exploratory Testing expects us as professionals to have a systematic approach to testing. Structure and processes tend to be regarded as impediments to momentum, and when time is limited we start cutting corners. Cutting corners risks leaving us with a feeling of not being in control and bugs start slipping through cracks. We say this need not be the case.


You can learn how to plan, test, adapt and report with minimal time by using visual models. We would like to invite you to a hands-on Exploratory Testing session, using mind mapping techniques for planning, executing and reporting our results.


· Reviewing requirements (provided as a fictional business scenario)
· Planning, prioritizing and re-prioritizing your work
· Hands-on testing the actual web application and drawing conclusions
· Adapting to the unexpected
· Summarizing your findings and recommendations for further work in a concise and useful manner


You will be working individually or in pairs, and are required to bring a laptop. It is highly suggested that you download and install xMind (Freeware) and our Exploratory Testing template before the workshop. No previous experience with mind mapping is required. Having some familiarity with Exploratory Testing is helpful, but not a necessity.

Takeaways:                         

  •   How mind mapping can boost creativity and drive durint Exploratory testing
  •   Ideas and a template for planning small test sessions
  •   A chance to find bugs!

Hacking the Juice Shop

Security testing seems to be viewed as an extremely complicated area where only experts can contribute. In this workshop, we’ll demonstrate that in truth, there’s plenty of things you can do being an expert in security testing.


We have worked in a number of teams where security testing was only seen as something you buy as a service from an external vendor and then you try to make sense of the report and hopefully you figure out what to change. After reading a number of those reports, we realized that not only did the same issues keep coming back; they were also things we should be able to check for ourselves on a regular basis. By introducing a few new checks into the regular testing of most web applications, we can gain confidence in ourselves and the basic security of our systems and make security a part of our regular development cycle.


The OWASP Juice Shop is an intentionally insecure web application, as an exercise and training environment for quality engineers and developers of all skill levels. In this workshop, we will use it as our lab environment as we go over the current OWASP Top 10 list of web application risks. We’ll guide you through some handy tricks and tools for solving some of the Juice Shop challenges and reflect on how this can be used in your everyday situations. The focus will be on “low-hanging fruit”, i.e. things that can be done quickly and are easily applied regardless of the situation. Hopefully this will leave you with a lot of new ideas, a hunger for learning more and an itch to solve all the challenges of the Juice Shop!


The format is aimed at beginners, requires little to no previous experience and will guide participants through a number of practices as we go through the concepts.


Takeaways:

  • Things you can introduce into you regular testing process
  • Introduction to some security testing tools
  • You don’t have to be an expert to start!
  • Ideas on how to delve deeper once you get comfortable with the basics

Proactive Self-Care

We made it through a pandemic! This would not have been possible without self care. As leaders, we need to set an example by putting our oxygen masks on first. You can’t care for others if you are drowning yourself. But we also need to make space for, and look out for signs of lacking, self care in the people we are leading.


Self care can be described as conscious acts to boost your physical and mental health. There are some parts that are generic, we all need to breathe, sleep and eat, but there are other things that are individual and that we each need to figure out for ourselves.


How early we spot the need for self-care differs a lot as well. In the best of worlds we will set aside time and space for it to work proactively, but a lot of us wait until we notice we need it. And some crash and burn before they see it coming. Again, some signs are almost universal while others are very personal and can be hard to logically connect to the need for self-care.


Let’s have some reflection time together, learn some techniques not just in self care, but also when to recognize you might need it. We will blend reflection, discussions with practical exercises that hopefully leave you better prepared for a balanced life and with your own personal self-care plan.


Among other things, we’ll cover what happens when you are stressed, what gives/takes energy, how to find your signs and even learn how to hijack out amygdala, to get us to a state when we are able to think rationally and deal effectively with change.

How to make meetings not suck

Do you look forward to your regular team meetings? Or are you just enduring it by doing “real work” at the same time and silently thinking “This could have been an email or a Slack thread”?

What if you could join a meeting that energizes you, because it clarifies and aligns the goals with your teammates. A meeting that encourages you, because what is talked about matters for your daily work. A meeting that even satisfies you, because it has an impact and deepens the relationship to your coworkers?

While we can all agree most of us are in too many meetings, there are times when a meeting is the right choice. Unfortunately, so many meetings are done so badly that they lose all, or most, value. We would like to help you change that, one meeting at a time, making them valuable and even enjoyable for the participants.

As a meeting facilitator - do you make sure to adapt so your meeting fits the objectives and attendees? As a meeting participant - do you take responsibility to do what you can, and need, to make the meeting valuable to yourself and others? In this workshop we will mix theory with discussions and practical exercises as we dive into things like: why communication is hard but important, how to make all people talk and be heard, the importance of time boxing and agendas, different meeting formats, and finding a common language. In the process we might even be able to answer the age old question of Why Do You Agile Folks Always Have To Pull Off These Childish Games!


WARNING! This will be a high participation experience!


- We will iterate over 5 meetings
- You will get instructions, individually or as a group
- You will change groups between meetings

Would Heu-risk it?

Experiences and lessons learned from working with developing software since 1999 resulted in the “Would Heu-risk it?” concept. It all started with a workshop with Lisa Crispin but has since evolved into a card deck, blog posts, articles and a book draft in 2020.


“Would Heu-risk it?” is centered around risk analysis, heuristics, patterns/anti-patterns that affect us in designing, building, testing and running software. They are grouped into three distinct categories: Traps I see testers fall into, Tools I see testers use as super-powers and weapons testers could use to focus their work (also known as common weak spots in building software).


In this workshop we will combine classic risk analysis with gamification, using the “Would Heu-risk it?”card deck. Gamifying your classic risk analysis helps us overcome unconscious biases and think laterally as we plan our testing. Playing may also entice non-testers to join the party and learn exploratory testing skills. Tried-and-true techniques combined with a new approach mean better outcomes for our customers!


Takeaways

  • How thinking about the three categories can bring new risks to light
  • Techniques to uncover hidden risks while focusing on value for customers
  • How to uncover blind spots in design, solution and testing
  • How you could use games to come up with fresh testing ideas

Testing techniques & Heuristics in practice

In this workshop, we will get our hands dirty learning and practicing testing techniques, heuristics, and look at some code complexities to level up our testing skills.


We will be covering breaking down assumptions, test design techniques and heuristics and exciting coding complexities and weak spots that we can use to our advantage to find cracks in solutions.


Our objectives are:

  • Understanding the impact of assumptions and how to make them explicit.
  • Some basic testing techniques and how to apply them.
  • Some coding complexities and how to test their limits.



Takeaways:

  • Participants are better armed to identify and break assumptions (own and other’s).
  • Participants are comfortable applying testing techniques to their test design and execution.
  • Participants understand more about how to test for general code complexity.

The art of Communication

“But we agreed on X! Why can’t you ever deliver what you committed to?!”


Ugh! Why are other people so BAD at saying what they mean? Right?!


Communication is, next to breathing, something we do constantly - whether with our words or our body language. As team members or leaders, we need to be experts at it - and yet communciation remains one of the most difficult skills out there. Why is that?


How come - even though we try to be clear, try to be explicit, try to give information - we are often misunderstood, or we misunderstand others? We need to consider that what we say, what we mean, what someone hears, and what they interpret can be four totally different things.


In this very hands on workshop, we will dive into communication models, the difference between observations and judgements, how to cut away interpretations to get to behaviours, and how being silent can be your best super weapon in conversations. Let’s learn together to level up our communication skills!