Lets Test 2014 - Sydney, Australia

The day of the conference had arrived. Dan and myself flew down the Monday morning on a flight from Brisbane, we arrived in Sydney on a somewhat ‘crisp’ morning and met up with Dean at the luggage carousels.

All three of us made a bee line for the hire car (that Dan had organised, thanks Dan!) and made for our escape from airport and up to the Fairmont resort in the Blue Mountains. 
Two hours later we finally made it after some unexpected detours on the way, lets just say I won’t get a job as a navigator anytime soon.

We headed in to the resort a made a hasty check in, the rooms weren’t ready so we headed down to the conference where we found the the opening workshops were about to take place as we had arrived too late for the keynote by James Bach.

I decided to attend the Oliver Erlewein workshop on “Hacking Performance” given this was more in line with my current role.
The first couple of hours were spent setting up Jmeter then we broke for lunch, which was buffet style and there were lunch tables out on the deck over looking the amazing blue mountains. 

On returning from lunch we found ourselves able to start running some web app tests using Jmeter, we ran through a number of load test combinations using thread groups, different HTTP requests, reporting and then monitored the results while we increased the load.

We then covered 90th percentiles, potential system bottlenecks such as throughput, JVM's, memory etc as part of a more open discussion. After the break it was more of an experience report session which many valuable 'tips' were passed across to the class.

I found that not having Scott Barber there made a substantial difference as I believe he would have brought the knowledge factor where Oliver seemed to have more hands on skills, non the less it was still a very good workshop

That was it as far as training for Day1, after some mingling with fellow testers we all retreated to the restaurant for yet some more food as dinner was being served !, conversation was ripe and testing banter was being thrown around in droves with only subtle hints of ISO 29119 conversation in the air :).

Dean and myself decided to attack the Atlassian test lab again as we managed to win a $50 amazon voucher last year at the tasting let's test so we were curious as to what goodies they would have available this time around.

We found they had some new tests to complete this year, some exploratory exploring exercises along with 4 technical challenges, we attempted the technical challenges. 3 hours later we had completed 3 of the exercises and decided to call it a night around 12am and tackle the test lab again tomorrow



A very passionate talk by Keith about how to talk to a CIO in their "language". I was pretty blown away by his experience in the banking sector and having worked in some of the biggest banks in Europe.

Morning Talk
Craig Smith: The Speed to Cool: Agile Testing and Building Quality In (facilitated it)
I was actually lucky enough to facilitate this one and I had actually met Craig at the Brisbane Agile Meetup the week before so at least I "knew of him" prior to facilitating his talk. A good talk on how Agile and testing work well together. With a number of subtle references to the Simpson and Star wars how could a budding (or experienced for that matter) tester not relate.

Afternoon Talk
Anna Royzman: Tester Awareness and Value Assessment Workshop (facilitated it)

Seemed like I managed to draw the "back to back" facilitation card as I has Anna's presentation straight after Craig's, I spent the majority of the time participating rather than facilitating and I'm glad I did as i really enjoyed the workshop which was based around 'what type of tester' you are.

After taking us through the profiling examples where we had to rate the particular category on the scale of 1-5 dependant on how strongly we believed we were aligned to that type of tester, the categories included:

Administrative (no one ended up being in this group)

I found myself in the technical which pretty much aligns to what I have been doing in the testing space for the last few years and I was quite amazing that all of us in the group seemed to be similar in our attitudes towards testing and this was reflected in the answer were gave to the following questions:

Technical testers strengths and Weakness

We then found we all seemed to rely on other testing personalities to preform our roles more effectively and efficiently and that when hiring we could take into account these different personality types to help make the teams more balanced

We then had a number of discussion around whether testing is a procedure or whether it's a professional discipline ( I think we all voted and supported the latter!)

Evening Events

Back into the Atlassian challenge after spending some time toying with the robot activity, however the need to finish the challenge was to strong!. 

After spending an hour or so on the 4th test challenge and completing that it was onto the 5th and final ! another couple of hours down and pushing midnight Pete and myself decided to share some experience to complete the challenge, with a bit of idea swapping we managed to crack it !


Beth Skurrie:Pacts to the Rescue – Making your Microservices play nicely together with Consumer Driven Contracts

Great talk about a tool named "Pact", written in ruby it's a tool used for consumer driven contract testing . It was used in the testing at REA and the tests were written and run by Developers , these tests sit with the unit tests in the code base.

Unfortunately the tool does not support any performance testing but if you are needing something to get you writing tests quickly and you control the consumer and provider development then this tool could be of use to you

Brian Osman: It Takes an entire Village to Raise a Tester

A lot of valuable discussion around starting and maintaining a testing community. I found it particularly relevant as we have been trying to start a Meetup group in Brisbane and this talk provided a many insights into how we can look at expanding, getting better engagement and ways to delegate out the roles at the Meetup to make it more effective to the testing community.

Fiona Charles: The Battle for Our Hearts and Minds

We had just enough time left before heading out to the airport to see the keynote from Fiona, you really could listen to her talk for hours. Her composure and portrayed humility were a pleasure to listen to. We didn't manage to have time for the Q&A session as her talk took up the whole hour.

Atlassian Test Challenge:

After 3 days we up tied in first place with Pete, nice one mate bring it on again next year!
Thanks to Andrew and Mark for putting on such great challenges.

Test Lab Challenge

An amazing conference. Hats off to David Greenlees, Rich Robinson and Anne-Marie Charrett and everyone else involved in organising Let's Test Oz 2014. Hopefully one of many more to come.

Look forward to seeing these views again next year!!


  1. Great wrap-up Scott, and well done on the lab challenges!
    Have you put anything you learned at LTO to use yet, in the Brisbane Testers Meetup or at work?
    Aside from the keynotes I don't think we went to any of the same sessions, so it was great to read about the ones I missed. Thanks!

  2. Thanks CMTech, Appreciate it. I don't do nearly enough blogging or responding to comments ;)

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