Thursday, May 01, 2008

KWSQA Quality Conference 2008

I had the privilege of going last week to the KWSQA Conference

This was a great conference because it was developed by practitioners for practitioners. The speakers they had lined up were also quite interesting. I tried to pick speakers that met a few criteria:
  1. They spent some time putting themselves on the Internet.
  2. Entertainment value
  3. I have read their work or attended a presentation before and they were worth coming back for.
Michael Bolton is one of these guys who seems to be published everywhere and has a great teaching style. I was very lucky to be able to participate in a open discussion with him and a few people. I brought my performance testing scenario and we debated and discussed in an open forum our issues. It was great to have that level of interaction with people who have far more experience in the field than I do. They gave me insight into things like "am I really done testing?". I said no because testing goes on, but in fact because of the lack of some cohesive interfaces, my answer changed to, "yes, it is done... for now". It gave me a perspective on how to deal with people. Interestingly enough, things you can do to drive performance tests are:
  1. Create interfaces that are scriptable
  2. logging and capturing information from that
  3. training to build up tools to do performance testing
  4. outside consulting
  5. test labs (either external, or internal) for any large system
Also, three major types of sizing:
  • customer sizing so they know what to buy/maintain, etc;
  • development sizing, to see where development should spend the money or time for load, etc;
  • product management sizing, they want to see the product perform at a certain level because the market drives the metric.
Given those criteria and advice, I think I have an excellent way to help manage and consult on my next task. I'm also taking a risk-based approach to this whole problem whereby I'm going to ask the question "I want to know what's important to you" and let them drive the tests. There's a lot more to this point and I'll save that for another day.