Experiences at EuroSTAR 2012 (part 1)

Weblog-EuroSTAR 2012Since Kees Blokland and I got selected for EuroSTAR 2012 with our presentation on Cloutest by Polteq, this was my second EuroSTAR and it was a nice experience. Next to the presentations I met a lot of friends and other interesting people. Since I seem to be unable to read all my notes, not all presentations I visited will have a substantive report.

Test innovation for Everyone – Alan Page

The first keynote! Since innovation starts with generating ideas and combining these ideas to make something new, testers are really fit for this job. So why do we start to innovate… mostly to solve a problem.  You usually start to think about how to solve the problem, but are we solving the right problem? Make sure to try a lot, but keep realizing if you are doing the right thing.

Testing Spreadsheets – Felienne Hermans

Since I know Felienne, but hadn’t seen her in years I really enjoyed seeing her as a speaker at the conference. She started of by giving us some facts on spreadsheets:

  • 95% of all U.S. firms use spreadsheets for financial reporting
  • 90% of all analysts in industry perform calculations in spreadsheets
  • 50% of the spreadsheets is used to make important decisions

After knowing these facts, start realizing that spreadsheets are almost never tested… Looking at some spreadsheets, you can notice that testing spreadsheets can prove to be quite difficult. Lots of the formulas in the sheets are too complex to evaluate, some contain fixed number that can mean anything and of course a lot of assumptions exist in the formulas. So when we test spreadsheets we should focus on these risks! Testing the functions can visualized by using guards and/or conditional formatting. When doing this, make sure you know what you are doing and that you use the right visualization.

Unconventional influences – Alan Richardson

My notes on this presentation seem to be a bit blurry, but that might be my conventional way to capture the unconventional influences. Two statements in my notes are ghosthunting and e-prime. Okay, that unconventional indeed… The influence of ghosthunting (as I recall it) was the use of several independent observers. These observers need to match their observations with each other and in this process they can find either explanations for their observations or anomalies. E-prime is helpful when we need to report on our observations.  It makes the observations less biased, by not using the verb are. The statement might become harder to read, but at least we will have to think a lot about what we really mean to say. This encourages not to use definitions, but always provide the context. Make it simple and explain what you mean.