Live Blog: uTest at #STPCon in Miami (Day 1)

What better way to celebrate our 1000th blog post  - please hold your applause - than to keep a running diary of our time here in Miami for STPCon 2012? I couldn’t think of anything better either. So throughout the week, I’ll be posting recaps of keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops and other events.

As usual, STPCon has a great lineup of testing experts, so there should be no shortage of material. If we missed something big, be sure to Tweet the hashtag #STPCon and we’ll get on it. But enough small talk, let’s get started…

9:11: The first keynote of the day comes courtesy of Lee Henson, known to many as the “Agile Dad.” If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Lee gave us a great Testing the Limits interview last month. Here’s a quick synopsis of his presentation:

It comes as no surprise that with the downfall of the economy in the US, many organizations have made testing an afterthought. Some have scaled testing efforts back so far that the end product has suffered more greatly than one can imagine. This is resulting in major consumer frustration and a great lack of organizational understanding of how best to tackle this issue. Agile does not mean do more with less. As we journey into a new frontier where smaller is better, less is more, and faster is always the right answer, traditional testing efforts have been morphed and picked apart to only include the parts that people want to see and hear. Effective testing can be done in an efficient manner without sacrificing quality at the end of the day.

9:15: Lee stresses that agile is not a solution for everything; it can’t cure cancer or make you more attractive to women. My words, not his.

9:22: “When someone says faster is the only answer, everyone loses.”

9:25: Seeing a bunch of former Testing the Limits guests without even moving from my seat. James Sivak, Matt Huesser, Scott Barber, Seth Eliot, Karen Johnson (to be published on Thursday), Rex Black and of course, Lee Henson. Lots of testing knowledge in the room.

9:31: Good to see uTester Lucas Dargis, who wrote a fantasic post last week on his uTest experience thus far.

9:35: Lee points to a study that says executives care more about time to market than quality. Ouch. I can think of at least one CEO that does not fit into that category.

9:40: “90% of businesses found that improved testing strategies increased the bottom line.”

9:45: “Agile is about making the best choice.”

9:50: Good Q&A session going on right now. Testers are professional skeptics, as James Bach once said, so the questions are tough but fair.

10:00: Tough choice, but I’ll be attending Seth Eliot’s session on Testing in Production. Updates in a few.

10:05: If there were such a thing as agile blogging, this would be it.

10:30: Seth Eliot showing us what a typical testing job looked like in 1985. Quite similiar to present day, sans the jean jackets.

10:35: The “big data” trend is very new….no real search volume until late last year.

10:37: The three V’s of big data: Volume, Velocity and Variety.

10:38: Make that four. Forget about Value.

10:40: TiP is leveraging the diversity of real users in real environments. Why? Because real users are weird (in a good way). “Real environments are messy and hard to simulate.” Well said Seth.

10:50: The most interesting tester in the world: “I don’t always test my code, but when I do, I test in production.”

10:54: Seth explaining how heuristic testing and data mining lead to the elimination of the split screen on Bing search results. Very interesting stuff.

11:04:  Seth gave uTest a nice plug in his presentation. I swear we had nothing to do with it.

 11:21: “If you’re pulling plugs, test it in the lab first.”

11:32: Seth might have more interesting real-world examples for his preso than anyone here. Background at Microsoft (several products), Amazon and other companies.

11:50: Breaking news: It’s disgustingly hot in Miami. Full report tonight at 11.

12:15: Listening to Paul Fratellone talk about a major pain point for QA teams: budgeting. Specifically, how to budget for test cycles and dealing with Agile vs. Waterfall project budgets.

 12:30: The Tweet of the day winner goes to…

12:36:  What is the common denominator for testing? Paul says test cases.

2:33: About the listen to Sherri Sobanski, the Senior Strategic Architect Advisor at Aetna. She’ll be talking about diversity in mobile devices – something we write a lot about at

2:37: Okay, who’s the wise guy who took down the STPcon site? (Update: User error. My apologies for the false accusations)

2:40: Nice to see a section dedicated to in-the-wild testing. Our ears are burning.

2:46: Key point: mobile is always changing. It changed in the time it took you to read this sentence.

2:54: The trend to BYOD is all about security. The benefits are obvious. The big downside is exposing company assets.

3:08: Sherri gave a good overview on the importance of testing on carriers in particular. Will follow up on this topic on in the near future.

3:18: In-the-wild testing is the last – and most important – phase of mobile app testing.

3:20: Just realized that I never gave you all a chance to applaud our 1000th blog post. You may do so now.

3:23: Sherri: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.”

4:05: Setting up the uTest booth for our Sponser Showcase. Stop by at 6:00 to chit-chat about all things testing. Not good enough? What if we gave away a Kindle Fire via raffle? Would that do it? Fine, then that’s what we’ll do.

7:11: Happy hour begins! Urge to blog fading, fading….gone. Thanks for following our live blog today. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Day 2!

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing


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