For the opening keynote on the second day, Rex Black not only spoke about "Stupid Metrics Tricks – and How to Avoid Them" but decided to stage a live recreation of Dr. Edward Deming's Red Bead Experiment. If you have never heard of this experiment in tracking quality metrics, check out the video of Rex's presentation. The participants failed to manage quality, which meant the experiment had some interesting outcomes. Then he attempted to answer the questions "What are the most common metrics mistakes? Why are they mistakes? Why do people make these mistakes?"
After the keynote, I switched over to the Developer track to catch Justin Wolf from Cisco systems talking about "Automated Testing for Continuous Delivery Pipelines." As the blurb said, "In our product, we use Gerrit, Jenkins, Gulp, Protractor, Jasmine, Docker, and Kubernetes...to perform automated testing on every release, execute long running soak tests, and support rapid iterations on deep performance tuning activities with complex cluster configurations." Justin's presentation was a little daunting, but mostly inspiring: His team is showing the direction for managing automated regression testing during releases in an Agile environment.
I also wanted to catch "Don’t Forget Security When Delivering Software," presented by Kiriakos Kontostathis from the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). "We are starting to see a new set of security testing tools that offer easy integration into existing delivery optimization tools." I had helped review the presentation, and was eager to see how the audience received it. Kirie did a great job, and covered all aspects of security in the software development pipeline.
The closing keynote was delivered by Darlene Bennett Greene, a retired US Navy Commander and former VP at McAffee. Similar to Peter Khoury's opening keynote, her presentation emphasized communication and leadership as key skills for anyone who works developing software systems. Because the talk was so broad, I found it difficult to fully sketchnote "Cultivating a Champion Mindset and Skills to Dramatically Improve Your Life." Instead I let myself listen to her words, and then captured a few key points. The most surprising? Only about 20% of US workers are engaged in their daily work. She urged leaders in companies to open two-way communication with employees and really learn to listen to their needs. As she said, "the top factors that bring success to people and companies are rooted in communication and leadership."
The theme of the 2016 PNSQC was "Cultivating Quality Software," so did I have any inspiration during the conference to cultivate anything? Yes.
I resolve to to read or listen to at least one of the speakers that I don't recognize _before_ the conference starts. This year I managed to read one of Rex Black's books conference. He is such a prolific author I was surprised I had not ever read a single of his books. Reading is a good way to get to know the speaker and have some relevant questions, or at least, have something to discuss during coffee breaks.
If you don't have time for reading, try a podcast. I only got a couple chances to speak with Brian Okken, but he was interesting enough that I decided to check out his podcast on Python Testing.
By engaging with authors and speakers before meeting them, I will have the chance to cultivate my ideas and also create better connections. Personally, during the year, my resolution is to also work on growing my communication skills: written, verbal and drawn (mostly verbal).
Thanks again PNSQC for an energizing and inspiring conference.