Conference Trip Report Test 2008 – New Delhi, India

On Oct 15th and 16th, I attended the Test 2008 conference in New Delhi, India. Test2008 is the first international test conference being organized by Pure Conferences in India. It had speakers from around 10 countries and the theme of the conference was “agility in testing”. Conference was primary organized by Vipul Koacher who is the head of Indian Testing Board and also the founder of Pure Conferences.

IMO, the key take away from the conference were the two animated panel discussions on “Agile Testing– Support Vs Against” and “Schools of Testing – Good or Bad”. In first panel discussion, the distinguished panel members had mixed reaction to the question “Is the agile development the way to go in future?” . William Rollison (BJ) gave a great example of successful agile testing happening at Microsoft in OfficeLab team

But the key message is that Agile testing is a great thing but it can’t replace other approaches and techniques especially in life and mission critical applications like aviation. When one panel member asked “How many of us would want to travel by an aircraft which is agile tested? ”, everybody got the point made.

Another panel discussion on much blogged and talked about various “Schools of Testing” like Context-Driven school of testing, Analytic School, Standard School, Quality School & Agile School, promoted by many leading test practitioners like James Bach and Michael Bolton became quite intense. Famous test practitioner Rex Black and BJ made it very clear that they don’t support any such schools of testing and it is really unfair to create a rift in the testing industry by creating these mutually exclusive buckets and emphasized that the software testers should continue to use whichever good test techniques and approaches are available irrespective of which school they belong to.

Like most of the conferences there were three parallel tracks for audiences to choose from. “Interactive Bug Hunt” by Klaus Olsen was very popular among the attendees as it had 20 minutes hands on to find maximum bugs by forming small teams and ringing bell every time a new bug is discovered. “Building a fuzzing framework for software testers” by Rahul Verma from McAfee was a technical presentation on various security testing techniques and approaches.

There were couple on presentations made by Microsoft India products team on the role of “Virtualization” for agile development (Vinod Malhotra) and “Breaking the dev/test barrier” using Visual Studio Team System 2010 by Tanuj Vohra, Partners Director PM, Visual Studio Team, which were very well taken by the audience. This is the first test conference I have attended where Microsoft’s presence and dominance in software test industry was clearly visible.

I had the opportunity to present a paper with my co-speaker Bhoomika Goyal on “Resurrecting the Prodigal Son – Data Quality” which went quite well. We have received compliments from many attendees for choosing this relatively newer topic at the software test conference. Many participants agreed that Data Quality testing is an industry wide problem with very high impact but it has still remained ignored for a very long time and now the trends (investment made in Data Profiling, Data governance by industry leaders) show that having good data quality is extremely important for making accurate and timely decisions which is the most critical factor for the success of our customers. We presented a case study on DQ Test Automation Framework from our actual learning at Microsoft Business Intelligence COE, India.

Finally, this conference had quite a few sessions on Agile testing which gave me a new insight on how it is practiced industry-wide and how we can leverage that better at work.