10/22/14

Pacific NW Quality Conference 2014 (PNSQC) - Day 1

This year at the Pacific NW Software Quality Conference (PNSQC) the themes that stood out for me were the need to use more engineering principles when developing software, and the continued explosion of mobile and web platforms.

As far as my personal takeaways, I hope to explore more rigorous acceptance tests, and to do more work automating unit tests.

This year I tried something different for note taking: an experiment in sketch notes. The idea of sketch notes is that drawing uses both sides of the brain - artistic and analytic. This helps to make the notes more engaging, and hopefully more memorable. My results were mixed -- some of the notes are more visual than others. My tools were my iPad, an app called Paper by 53, and a cheap stylus. I'm not a trained artist, so I have mixed emotions about sharing my cartoons of the speakers. If I've drawn you here, and you don't like the cartoon, please email me and I can edit the photo.  Click on the images to see a larger version.

Dr. Richard Turner gave the keynote on "Balancing Agility and Discipline: Bridging the Gaps Between Software and Systems Engineering."  He urged software engineers to adopt more aspects of engineering, and for engineers to try a little agility.


In the talk "To Build an Agile Company, Do Not Begin with Agile Development" Phyllis Thompson and Michael Belding from ShiftWise recount their journey in on the path to an agile company.

Hillel Glazer from Entinex explained how "You’re Doing It Wrong: How Your Decision-making Actually Increases Uncertainty and What To Do About It." I only caught the second half of this talk, but I really want to hear more. He had great ideas regarding how, once you focus on a particular path, you are ignoring the rest of the data in your decision process.

In "Bridging to Offshore Testers," Karen Johnson discussed how to make the offshore developers part of the team and the process, and addressed cultural-language gaps.

Robert Zakes and Brendan Beamon from the Oregon Secretary of State showed how they made the "Transition From A Rapid Prototyping To Programmatic Test Framework", by extending their Selenium automated tests.

The title explains it all: "Eliminate Ambiguity with BDD."  Jeana McClure from PGE talked about using rigorous acceptance tests and RSpec to improve their development process.
Their results? A small team worked for a year to deliver a significant web project with zero defects!

Jean Richardson from Azure Gate Consulting examined the barriers that individuals and companies put up to change and learning, and how to address these barriers through "Double-Loop Learning: A Powerful Force for Organizational Excellence."

Click here to continue to the notes for day 2 of PNSQC