Schedule and Events

March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Let's call the calling-off off

There's been a fair bit of discussion lately on the test-o-sphere about the status and the future of context-driven testing. I believe Scott Barber has provided the best overview, and I don't have a whole lot to add to the debate, except maybe for this:

Did you know that there is an entire non-profit organization dedicated to context-driven testing? It is the Association for Software Testing, or AST. Here, check out the mission statement:
The Association for Software Testing is dedicated to advancing the understanding of the science and practice of software testing according to Context-Driven principles.
AST is not going away.

The AST also has a professional international conference, the Conference for the Association for Software Testing, or CAST.

CAST is not going away.

AST provides a grant and user group support program, designed to keep context-driven ideas flowing. Over the past four months, we have lent support to a user's group in Hong Kong, a peer workshop in Estonia, another in Calgary, as well as the Grand Rapids Testers User Group.

The Grant Program is not going away; we continue to support events like the Test Coach Camp.

The Folks in the Miagi-Do School of software testing are still going; Weekend Testers is still going strong. If Rosie Sherry shuts down SoftwareTestingClub over this I will eat my hat.

I assure you, I am in no danger of eating said hat; that's just a small listing of the branches, offshoots, and associated groups within the world of context driven.

How do I know? For one thing, it is my pleasure and honor to sit on the board of directors for the Association for Software Testing; I also sit on the leadership team for the Miagi-Do School.

Let me be clear

I am context-driven. I am not going anywhere, and I am not the only person in that position.

See you around.

I'll be here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Your name in print - in STQA Magazine!

Each issue in STQA Magazine we have an interview column that features questions from the readers and the greater intarwebs - it's called "Ask the Test Expert."

This next two issues will feature interviews with Perze Ababa, the test manager for (a division of NBC!) and Michael Larsen - show producer of This Week in Software Testing and lead tester for sidereel.

The subjects will (a) test management in a 24/7/365/worldwide/server-farm/crazy environment, and (b) testing and test coaching, influence and leadership, especially in environments where you are the only tester.

Do you have any questions for Perze or Michael? I'd like to hear them.

Forget that, if you could spend a moment or two coming up with a good question, I would personally appreciate it. Some of the best question-askers come back to be interviewed themselves in the magazine or podcast ...

If you'd like to get your question in without fuss, the best format is to include everything we'll need to publish it. That means list the question, name as you would like it to appear, title (optional), company (optional), city, state/province, country. If your company has a publicity policy requiring approval, it's probably best to leave title/company off.

You can email me: (it's okay, I've got a strong spam filter), or just leave a comment here on the blog.

Thank you! Keep on being awesome!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Matt Is Up To

It's been a busy couple of months.

Test Coach Camp Heats Up

First off, Test Coach Camp has reached it's a viable number of applicants. It is on.

The most interesting thing I've found about test coach camp is it's structure. Unlike most for-profit conferences, TCC is going to be run at zero-profit. There will be no attendance fee, and the Association for Software Testing (AST) is funding the workshop space, food, and camp space, that means that every person accepted costs the organization money -- at least in the short term.

In the long term, we hope the event will benefit the craft.

As a result, we don't have a need for a big PR push. The people who hear about the event because they are plugged in to the community will be the most likely to add the most value, so there is no need to buy Google AdWords, to place ads on Facebook or Linkedin, or even in test magazines.

Plus, we've just hit critical mass, so it is on.

If you are considering coming to the Conference for the AST in San Jose in July, think you might enjoy test coach camp, and would consider coming in two days early for the event, well, the CFP is still up, and slots are filling.

But there's more.

The Grant Program is Kicking!

It's been a month and a half since we announced the AST Grant Program to support local user's groups. Our internal nick-name for the project was "12 in 2012", because we hoped to support roughly one workshop or user's group per month.

To date, we've supported four groups, including a travel funding to send a facilitator to POST, the Calgary-Based "Perspectives on Software Testing" workshop, to support PEST, the workshop on Context-Driven testing in Estonia, the purchase a subscription to for GR-Testers, and to support a Hong Kong area test meetup in March 2012.

That's four grants in a month and a half or so. But we've got plenty of funds. If you want to do a test meetup, user's group, bring in a speaker, whatever, well, that's what the Grant Program is for.

Publications and Podcasting

Meanwhile, I continue to blog weekly for Software Test Professionals, though I did miss January for travel and time off. No worries, we still put up the podcast every single week. (A free registration may be required. Typically, the past four podcasts are free. Before that, you may need to be professional member. The easiest way to be a professional member is to go to the conference!)

Meanwhile, I did manage to get a few articles out - most notably a piece for on reconsidering code review, and two articles for, one describing my learning experiences from three years at Socialtext, another is the Boutique Tester:Revisited. The one talks about what's changed in the couple of years since I published the original Boutique Tester article.

I've also been blogging for IT Knowledge Exchange, about one blog post per week. My most recent series is about technology professionals who left the rat race and went independent, including the traditional independent contractor route, the life of the itinerant trainer/consultant, by creating a community website, or, maybe, just maybe, traveling on a boat around the pacific for a year at a time. (I've also done a few short pieces on how internet myths start and consequences of 'dumb' artificial intelligence.)

If you want more articles from Matt and you like the personal side, there should be plenty of new posts for the foreseeable future on my ITKE blog.

As I see it now, this blog is going to become a bit of an aggregator; what Matt is doing and so on. If you'd like something else, let me know.

Hey, speaking of which ...

Upcoming Events and Writing

During out New York City Trip, Pete Walen and I had the opportunity to tour the corporate offices of, which I will be documenting shortly in a profile piece for Look for it!

Speaking of traveling, I will be at the Agile & Beyond Conference March 10th in Dearborn, Michigan. The event is only a hundred dollars for registration and it's held on a Saturday. If you don't usually go to conferences, and you are in the Midwest ... now's your chance. Later that month I will be the Software Test Professionals Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I'm sure there's more, but if you'll excuse me, I gotta go test ...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meetup in NYC - Next Week!

I'll be in New York City Next week; there is a software testers meetup including a dinner sponsored by the Financial Services Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Association for Software Testing (AST).

Gosh, that's a mouthful. I guess the "Financial Services SIG of the AST" reads easier.

In other news, the first two grants from the AST Grant Program have gone out, to support sending a moderator to the POST 2012 Workshop in Calgary and the PEST 2 Peer Workshop in Estonia.

Between New York City, Test Coach Camp, CAST, and STPCon, 2012 is starting to look like a busy year.

See you around?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Back from Vacation, Plus More Articles!

It's been a little quiet around here at Creative Chaos lately.

Let me tell you a little bit about what's been going on behind the scenes.

First, I just got back from a twelve-day vacation - driving to Galveston, Texas, to take a cruise with the family on Mariner of the Seas. From Galveston to Cozumel Mexico, to Grand Cayman, to Jamaica, then back to Galveston, then another two days in the car back to West Michigan -- all without a laptop, iPad, or wireless connectivity of any kind.

The vacation was great. First of all, Cozumel Mexico has a place called "Paradise Beach." So you can literally walk off the boat, grab a taxi, and say "Take me to Paradise" ... and they will.

Grand Cayman has Paradise Restaurant, but you can walk to that right off the boat; it's about four blocks. No need for a Taxi.

On Jamaica, I bought a Hawaiian Shirt. Don't ask me if that makes it a Jamaican shirt, because I don't know.

Still, while I was away, things kept moving forward. Here are a few of the highlights:

Test Coach Camp Gets Serious!

We've got twenty-four people who have either applied, or been early accepted into Test Coach Camp; the next round of acceptances will be in early February. If you want to go to TCC 2012 in San Jose, now's the time to get your application in.

The Open CAST CFP Process Heats Up!

There are currently 68 pages labelled "proposal" on the CAST 2012 wiki, either track or emerging topics. The track talk deadline has passed, and, as I'm not on the 'classic' program committee, that's about all I know to say -- but you can still submit for emerging topics, a format that will be moderated by Pete Walen and I. If you have questions about ET, feel free to drop us an email or twitter DM - or you can email for a invitation to the CAST wiki.

Articles and Podcasts!

I might not have been around to promote them, but a few articles did come out while I was gone, including the Changing Seasons that explored my learning experiences at Socialtext.

I've also dong a few things in my IT Knowledge Exchange Blog that you might enjoy; both a series on living the independent technologist lifestyle, and a few blog posts about truth, fiction, and science-fiction in technology.

Here are the Posts on Going Independent:

Over the next few weeks there will be a two-part interview with my friend, Corey Haines, who took a journeyman tour and now basically tours full-time, along with possible interviews with Rosie Sherry of SoftwareTestClub and others.

The trends-and-myth posts are a little lighter, but still valuable, include one on Citogenesis -- the process by which myths are created, and a second one examining the logical consequences of Artificial Intelligence, compared to, say, The Singularity.

Plus we have pre-recorded Podcasts, that Michael Larsen has been diligently putting up while I was gone, and as I am about to disappear again, he has offered to fill in during the month of February. (A free registration is required.)

I'm currently working on an article for on inspections/code review, a piece for TechWell that reexamines the Boutique Tester, and I'm about to head off to New York City for a small training engagement.


The best news?

There's more to come.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

... I told you it would get better

The Association for Software Testing recently announced a 2012 Grant Program designed to advance the cause of testing at local user groups and events.

Want to invite a speaker on testing to your local user group - and get some help with providing travel expenses? There's a program for that. What to run a peer workshop but need help with expenses? There's a program for that too.

Maybe you'd just like to ask AST to provide some promotional support and reimburse the cost of drinks and appetizers? You guessed it. AST can do that too.

The program is effective for 2012, but you can apply right now if you have something in mind.

Merry Christmas, everybody -- let's make it a great year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Interview on Craft Academy ... and more!

The folks at recently published my interview with Ken Auer, master instructor at RoleModel Software Craft Academy. We think you'll like it.

Speaking of publishing, I'm in December Issue of the Testing Circus Magazine, on Page 21, Writing about developing greater tester skills.

And there's lots more AST stuff in the hopper.

Keep it here.

It's going to get even better.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The New New Thing

Three weeks ago, I helped break the news that Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012) would be in San Jose, California, July 16-18, and the CAST 2012 Call for Participation was available on the web.

It gets better.

The weekend before CAST, we're running Test Coach Camp, July 14-15, with an optional dinner on the 13th.

Yes, Test Coach Camp. It's finally a real thing.

We're planning on hosting twenty-five to thirty people, enthusiastic about testing, professional growth, motivation, and coaching. Our call for participants is up right now.

No, you don't have to camp. The event will be at the Wyndham Hotel, San Jose, co-located with CAST. We expect most people will get a hotel room, but we can make arrangements for people who want to stay cheap.

You do not need to attend CAST in order to attend Test Coach Camp -- but we sure hope you'll think about it.

More to come.

Oh boy, is there more to come.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

CAST 2012 - Dates, CFP is up!

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you probably know that CAST 2012 is the Conference for the Association for Software Testing.

What you might not know is the exact date, location, and when is the CFP going to be live?

Good news: The Dates for CAST 2012 are public!

CAST 2012 will be a the Wyndham Hotel in San Jose, California, July 16 to 18.

Better yet, the Call for Participation (CFP) is up and active, and yes, Pete Walen and I will be back to help organize emerging topics again.

It seems that people thought Emerging Topics went well in 2011.

So well, in fact, that the entire submission-entry process for this year is going to use Socialtext.

Even if you don't want to submit a talk, you can register and comment on the talks that are submitted, expressing interest, criticism, both, or something else. :-)

So check it out. It's free to try.

See you in the wiki?

DISCLOSURE: Socialtext is donating the wiki to AST in trade for sponsorship. I, Matt Heusser, am a shareholder in Socialtext corporation. I earned those shares through stock options, as an employee, testing the product for three years. I am proud of what we built, but If you struggle to use the wiki, you can contact me with questions, yes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gonna Send Five Copies to my mother!

My article "Ten Thoughts on Technical Debt", is the cover story for this month's Better Software Magazine.

Want to start with the dessert, then decide if it's worth paying for dinner? Why, you can download the article free off my website.

More to come.