I love lightning talks, especially the 99 second talks that Ministry of Testing have traditionally included as part of their TestBash conferences. They are all free to watch, all you have to do is create a free Ministry of Testing Club account.

TestBash Home, which took place earlier this year, was a 24 hour online testing conference created to replace all the TestBash events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As per tradition, a 99 second talk round was included in the line up and I recorded notes for every single talk that was given

One thing I did last week was review my notes from TestBash Home including the 99 second notes. I have used these to create some mini-sketchnotes.

First, some events…

During this Power Hour event I answered questions on sketchnoting. This originally took place on the 25th August 2020, however I am still happy to answer any other questions that you might have. Click here to submit your questions.

I also ran my first sketch-noting workshop this week. If you were unable to attend, I will be running this workshop again. Next event will be on the 4th November 2020 at 1pm (New York Time). This will take place online, so you can attend from anywhere in the world.

I’ve got some different exercises planned for the next workshop, so looking forward to seeing you there. To sign up to the next workshop, click here.

Click here to see some of the creations that were created during the last workshop.

Guna – Mental Self Care

Published Monday 24th August 2020

The first talk of the first 99 second talk round was delivered by Guna. The topic: Mental Self Care!

Mental health is something that is now more important than ever. Lockdown and social distancing will have had a dramatic effect on our mental health.

TestBash Home was a 24 hour conference, and there were several people attempting to stay awake for the full 24 hours (I think I had about 3 hours sleep in total during the whole conference, missing out on just 2 talks). This is fun, but we can’t ignore the importance of sleep. Staying up for 24 hours at a time is ill-advised. Ensuring we get plenty of sleep each night can do wonders for our mental health.

Mental health must be recognized as being just as important as physical health.

To watch this talk, watch the recording of the first round of 99 second talks from TestBash Home.

Emna – 21st Century Skills For Testers

Published Tuesday 25th August 2020

The next 99 second sketchnote is based on the talk by Emna who shared her thoughts on 21st century skills for testers. These were:

  • Critical Thinking – the ability to look at things from different perspectives
  • Communication – the ability to ask questions
  • Collaboration – the ability to work well with other team members (including developers)
  • Creativity – the ability to identify new ideas

To watch this talk, watch the first 99 second talk video from TestBash Home. Start the video from 5:06.

Jacqueline – Self Confidence In Testing

Published Wednesday 26th August 2020

Next we have a talk by Jacqueline who discussed the importance of self confidence in testers.

Testers need to be able to ask questions. They need to understand how something is supposed to work, understand how they can test something, and identify any potential issues in the design or architecture of an application. They cannot get this information if they do not ask questions.

Testers need to be able to stand up for themselves. If they find an issue or bug, they need to be able to communicate the issue and why it needs to be sorted. Without the confidence to stand up for themselves, these issues might get missed or fall through the cracks.

Finally, asking (sometimes annoying) questions and standing up for themselves, can seem negative to some people. However, all this helps improve the overall quality of an application. The tester must recognize that they are making a positive contribution to the project.

To watch this talk, watch the first 99 second talk video from TestBash Home. Start the video from 18:28.

Veerle – Find Best Learning Technique For You

Published Thursday 27th August 2020

I had the benefit of studying programming very early on while at school. I don’t think I would have been successful at learning to code without such a good teacher, whose teaching style suited the way I learnt best.

The next talk I want to share is about the importance of finding the best learning technique for you. If you are attempting to learn to code by yourself, rather than in a classroom, then you have the freedom to pick and choose how you want to learn. If you fail to learn to code after trying one method, don’t give up! Instead try a different method of learning. Eventually you will find the best way. Veerle found that completing Angie Jones programming course was the best way for her.

I watched this talk live, and recorded the name Veerle against my notes, however her name is not included in the recording. To watch this 99 second talk, watch the first 99 second talk video from TestBash Home. Watch the video from 23:56.

Lee (The Pirate Tester) – 3 Reasons Testers Shouldn’t Learn To Code

Published Friday 28th August 2020

There has been an increase in the number of test teams wishing to include Test Automation in their testing strategy. This has resulted in testers often feeling pressured to learn to code. In his 99 second talk, Lee challenges the desire to learn to code by presenting 3 reasons why testers shouldn’t learn to code:

  1. There are many programming languages. There is a good chance you will learn 1 language and then be asked to develop in a completely different one.
  2. Automation isn’t the only skill to learn. Lee himself is running a 99 minute workshop on learning SQL, an alternative skill that a tester could focus on.
  3. If you do learn to code, and start programming as part of your job, are you even a tester anymore?

Some interesting points, and I’m sure many in the testing community will have their own ideas about this talk.

To watch this talk, you will need to watch the 2nd round of 99 second talks from Test Bash Home. Lee gave the first talk in this round.

Jen – Optimism and Testing

Do testers do nothing but critisise and report bad things? Are testers pessimists? Of course we’re not! How horrible would it be if we only noticed bad things?

Testers find ways to make things better. Identifying the bad, is not a bad thing. We are identifying ways to improve the application. These are not criticisms, these are opportunities.

A wonderful 99 second talk with such a positive message. Well done Jen!

To watch this talk, you’ll need to watch the second 99 second talk video from TestBash Home, starting the video at 2:36.

Karlo – Rules Of Three

During his 99 second talk, Karlo talked us through some rules of 3.

Some of these included:

  • Bug Investigation – we should find 3 ways the bug will fail
  • Software Development – if using the same bit of code 3 times, then we should create a method
  • BDD testing – Any more than 3 lines could be considered clutter

Three is a very common number when setting tasks or creating rules. These are not going to be the only examples.

To watch this talk, you’ll need to watch the second 99 second talk video from TestBash Home, starting the video at 13:23.

Beth – Hacks To Protect Your Testing Career

For this 99 second talk, Beth provided some great tips for protecting your career.

  1. Like your boss – this should be obvious. It really helps to have a good professional relationship with your boss. I don’t think this should mean you need to be best friends, but a little understanding and respect (from both sides) can go a long way.
  2. Reach out on social media – there is a world of software testers out there. Speaking to them and sharing ideas can help improve your own testing skills. Taking these ideas into the work place can also benefit your career.
  3. Be a person that you like – no matter how good you are at your job, people remember the person not the work. There is only so much you can achieve if people don’t like you.

To watch this talk, you’ll need to watch the second 99 second talk video from TestBash Home, starting the video at 4:40.

Guna (Take 2) – Philosophical Look At Testing

Guna enjoyed giving her 99 second talk so much, that she decided to give another talk during the same session (awesome work!)

During her second talk, she discussed the philosophical side of testing. Testing involves looking at something from a different perspective, looking at the bigger picture when analyzing a piece of software. Testers might also opt to try out alternative techniques and approaches to software testing, in an attempt to improve the current testing strategy.

It is the testing mindset that really makes the testers contribution to the team valuable.

When re-listening this talk, I noticed there were many points that I failed to take notes of. I really encourage you to listen to the actual talk. To watch this talk, watch the first round of 99 second talks from Test Bash home. Start the video at 15:20.

Caleb – STOP scripted menial testing

For this 99 second talk, Caleb discussed a brilliant analogy that perfectly explains the benefits of Exploratory Testing. If we imagine an overgrown forest, scripted testing is like clearing a path through that forest. If we keep following the same path, then we will never discover anything new. Instead, we should explore alternative routes, take notes about what we see and learn new things about the forest. You never know, we may discover something completely new like an undiscovered plant or tree.

To watch this talk, you’ll need to watch the second 99 second talk video from TestBash Home, starting the video at 11:05.

Additional Resources

99 Second Talks
TestBash 99 Second talks
More pre-recorded 99 second talks

TestBash Home Talks (including the 99 second talks)

TestBash Home Sketchnotes (including the original notes from the 99 second talks)
TestBash Home Part 1
TestBash Home Part 2