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:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

2007 Idea list

Every now and again I come up with a list of ideas that I am excited about, that are potential ideas for an article or talk. While I have no gift for the witty abstract, I do have a bunch of ideas that I would like to develop. If you would like to hear any of these (or think any of these stink), please drop a comment or email. Then check the blog; I will tell you if anything develops.

Economics for Software Testers
Alt Title: “The State of the Yard-Stick”
Alt Title II: “My next thirty years
Falling into software testing is easy. The next question “where do I go next?” is a little bit harder. In this fast-paced talk, Matt Heusser covers three hundred years of economic development - from Adam Smith to offshore testing. Including economic models and real data, Matt will use existing trends to discuss where software testing could be heading, and how to profit from it.

The one-eyed man in the land of the blind:
Negotiation skills for software testers
Like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, the “Software Tester who knows how to negotiate” may seem like a fairy tale. The sad reality is that negotiation is everywhere, from scope to schedule to salary, yet few software testers practice this art … or even understand it. In this talk, Matt Heusser discusses who a negotiation is, introduces goals and strategy in negotiation, then goes on to cover tactics and skills. Finally, Matt provides opportunities and examples for participants to practice the skills in an environment without career-limiting consequences.

‘Agile’ Testing: Demystified
Alt Title: Introduction to Agile Testing
Alt Title 2: Introduction to Agile Testing Practices
A 1 to 2 hour presentation

This talk intends to answer the following questions:

What the heck is this agile thing?
Would this agile thing be helpful to my organization?
If yes, how much?
How can I influence my organization to be more agile?
After all, “I am just a
How does the tester role fit into this agile thing?
What should I do on Monday?

Individuals and Interactions
… over processes and tools, reads the agile manifesto. Yet XP, Scrum, Crystal, ANT, Cruise Control – typical things to talk about in a discussion of agile practices – are all processes and tools! It turns out that focusing on individuals and interactions can often be hard to do and harder to define. Matt Heusser suggests the focusing on process at the expense of people creates opportunity cost, which could mean that real, working features are cut or late because of the wrong focus. He goes on to provides specific examples of how to shift your focus, practical exercises to help you stay there, and draws a picture of a few alternate ways that an organization might embrace individuals and interactions without giving up accountability.

A few of my favorite things:
30 Years of the best innovations in software engineering
One of the main causes of struggle in the technology industry is its perpetual youth - one generation is burning out while a new one is just starting. This means that each new group needs to learn the mistakes of the past, most often by doing them! In this brief tutorial Matt Heusser covers the landscape of thirty years of professional software engineering – where we came from, what we’ve learned, and how we can apply it. Matt suggests that each team needs to customize its development processes with an eye on the past, in a way that is, in his words, “Often right, occasionally wrong, but never boring.”

My paints and brush:
A testing artisan’s toolkit
Many software testers expect the employer to provide the paints and brushes for our artistic work. When the result is of limited quality, we complain about the lack time; not the paint-by-number set we were handed. Matt Heusser suggests that testing craftspeople need to take our tools seriously – to the point of owning tools that we personally carry from job to job. In this talk he covers a few of his favorites, including electronics, simple supplies, and software; many of it free, and all of it combined cheaper than a typical conference registration. Finally, Matt covers a few of the consequences of viewing ourselves as independent craftspeople with our own tool set, and makes some recommendations for Monday.

Presentation Zen
Zen (zn) n. (Dictionary.Com)
A school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion …

Giving talks is hard. Giving talks can be scary. This presentation won’t make you a master of ceremonies or a professional comedian, but it might just help you increase you effectiveness as a speaker and build a little confidence along the way.

Context-Driven Software Engineering
Matt Heusser suggests that focusing on individual and interactions over processes and tools means just that. In this talk, he will discuss techniques to build skills and flex the process in the moment; to determine the best thing to do right now instead of consulting a manual. Matt will discuss the concept of Context-Driven Software Testing and introduce it’s twin in development – Context-Driven SE.

Keeping your gumption
The true variance in software development isn’t the hourly rate; it’s the amount of work that you can get done within that hour. Inspired and based on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, this talk discusses real, practical techniques to keep going despite adversity – and how to avoid that adversity in the first place.

Effective Bug Reporting
If you’re sick and tired of “It works on my machine”, “Unable to reproduce”, “Referred back to the testing group for research” and “This is not a bug”, you’ll want to attend this session. Matt Heusser discusses how to write bug reports that get noticed, communicate better with developers and managers, and improve your written communication skills – all at the same time. Along the way he’ll uncover a few reporting tips, tricks, and tools you can start using tomorrow.

Why Agile Principles Work
Agile principles aren’t “magic” and can’t create something from nothing. In this talk Matthew Heusser, a classically-trained mathematician, will weave together examples from physics, operations research, control theory, general business, math and software to help move the “why” of agile development away from alchemy and toward science and logical thought.
[Indirectly inspired by my talk “Magic Pixie Dust” which was a keynote at the Indiana QA Conference in 2005.]

Lightning Talks
Lightning Talks are fifteen five-minute talks in a ninety-minute time period. Come here a series of ideas all in a row - without the bluster, opening-joke, intro/body/conclusion, or Q&A session that doesn't really answer your questions. With Lightning Talks, the speakers have just enough time to make one point, make it well, and get off the stage. Leave with a half dozen new ideas to implement on Monday ... and if a speaker is bad, don't worry, he'll be off stage quickly.

Rethinking Process Improvement
Weaving together examples from general business, operations research, control theory and systems thinking, Matt Heusser suggests two areas of innovation: Process and Product. According to Heusser, companies can choose which, and how much, of these two to focus on, and he provides success and failure examples of both. Finally, Matt provides a new way to think about process improvement, grounded in the context of your company, its products and competitive environment.

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