April 19th - talks

CukenFest Programme - Final draft.png

How to break the rules

We invest so much in technology, so why do we seem to get so little benefit in return? We introduce new processes, tools and methods, but when you stand back and squint the organisation still looks just the same.

Is technology over-hyped and oversold, as many would have us believe, or are we doing something that means we lose out on all those promised benefits? Societies work because we follow the rules, but what if those same rules are holding us back? The problem may not be in the technology, but in us failing to change our habits.

In this talk, Dan introduces some uncomfortable truths from Eliyahu Goldratt, author of “The Goal” and one of the fathers of modern management theory, that may help us to recognise and challenge this behaviour so we can start to get the real benefit from all that technology.

Dan North (@tastapod)


Design through incremental learning

What is the most important activity of Agile software delivery? Is it building the right software or learning what's the right software to build? Experienced BDD teams will say it's both, but why do we separate them? Is it possible to learn everything you need to know about the software by just building it or build working software by a pure act of learning? There is incremental design, but is it possible to design software by incremental learning?

Konstantin Kudryashov (@everzet)


Do Repeat Yourself

How do you communicate with the rest of the team when you're engaged in a long-running technical project like a rewrite or migration? Communication can often become stale and irrelevant to everyone else. Sabrina Leandro will provide tactics for keeping your team in the loop. Sabrina is former Director of Engineering and VP of Tech at Songkick and most recently working with companies to improve their tech and processes. 

Sabrina Leandro (@saleandro)


Example Mapping

In the past couple of years, lots of software teams have been using a simple collaborative technique called Example Mapping to break down user stories. It was conceived co-founder of Cucumber, Matt Wynne, who wrote the seminal post introducing the practice.

As Matt puts it, "Example Mapping helps you zoom in and focus on the smallest pieces of behaviour inside your story. By mapping it out you can tease apart the rules, find the core of the behaviour you want, and defer the rest until later. With this level of scrutiny, example mapping acts like a filter, preventing big fat stories from getting into your sprint and exploding."

Aslak Hellesøy (@aslak_hellesoy)


BDD in an Agency

The client/agency relationship can be challenging if it isn’t built on collaboration, trust and transparency. Toby Dykes, Production Director at Zone, outlines how Agile practices including BDD can form the bedrock of this sometimes tricky dynamic.

Zone is a digital agency with offices in London, Bristol and Cologne.

Toby Dykes (@tobydykes)


The Holy Trinity of Cucumber: Collaborative Cucumber Practices to Increase BDD

We’re just two gals who like to write Gherkin. As quality managers at an agile software agency, we’ve devised and refined a process for collaborative cucumber testing done by the trifecta (3 amigos) involving product managers, developers, and quality managers. Working together, quality managers and product managers can encourage BDD and TDD best practices by throwing out everything they know (and probably hate) about traditional feature story writing, and baking Gherkin scenarios directly into the vegetable pie,  the project tracking tool of choice. From there, pop it into the oven (code repository of choice) and watch your test coverage bake to a golden hue.

Please join us as we talk through our process for writing Gherkin as quality managers and working to increase collaboration between product management and developers, with the cherry on top being the increase of awareness of BDD best practices across Originate projects. 

Kayla Razavi & Katherine Bomkamp


BDD: The Three-Headed Monster

When BDD was originally created by Dan North, he took out the word "test" and replaced it with "should", enabling people to talk through examples of how systems behave more easily than talking through tests. But if BDD's not actually about testing, what is it about?

In this talk we look at the three aspects of BDD, and how to use them to have even more effective conversations, not only writing software that matters, but finding out quickly when it doesn't.


neurodiversity in tech

Victoria Wiggins will be talking about Inclusive Collaboration and looking at her own experiences with ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia and how the natural variances in neurodiversity we see across ourselves and our teams can be understood to make a happier healthier workplace for everyone. 

Victoria Wiggins (@victoriawiggins)


We Are Sinking: Hitting the Testing Iceberg

The concept of the testing pyramid was introduced by Mike Cohn many years ago. Although a lot of people have heard about it, there are not many who are actually implementing it. Maybe one reason for this is that the pyramid helps us to map the tests to the testing technology only (unit, integration, UI), but not to the purpose, the different testing goals.

The concept of testing iceberg helps mapping the business-interesting tests targeted by BDD to the pyramid, but this is just the start. In this session I going to share 9 different, funny test automation shapes that I have seen, to inspire you to find your own, context-driven test automation strategy.

Gaspar Nagy (@gasparnagy)


Empathy-Driven Testing

Wait. I know what you're probably thinking. This is just another rehash of BDD and that you have heard it all before…

But, empathy on its own has a strong, immediate effect.  Put in an agile context, it’s powerful tool that has the ability to change the face of software design.  I’ll talk about why empathy is a gift, that keeps on giving.  How it can be used in not just testing but throughout the whole development cycle.  From drawing up empathic driven design pieces to writing automation code that not only puts the end user at heart, but how the user feels at a particular step. 

But it’s more than this.

Not matter what field you work in, the challenges faced and the obstacles to overcome will be the same.  Whether you’re a scrum master wanting to have constructive retrospectives to a developer thinking about what scenarios to automate.  The use of empathy is translucent, shedding light on areas such as neurodiversity which are often overlooked.

I would like to share my experiences on how using empathy has helped me to overcome challenges in the workplace, be it technical or non-technical.  Along with the stories I’ve heard where empathy has made an impact and as such needs to be passed on.

We have an innate ability within us that requires no programming language to learn or pattern to follow.  This talks aims to unleash this.

Shamyla Sidd (@lifeintest)


Knowledge Sharing with modified mob testing

Traditional knowledge sharing is no longer an effective way to deliver great software. I have modified the mob programming concept to mob testing to improve the way teams communicate. 

This innovative approach allows the whole team to share every piece of information early on. It tightens loopholes in the traditional approach and tackles the painful headaches of environment setup and config issues faced by a new arrival to the team. Think of mob testing as an evaluation process to build trust and understanding. 

Anand Shirkande


BDD in the functional world

By combining Specification by Example, Domain modelling & an algebraic type system you will learn how to create a strongly typed domain model directly from a Gherkin file using F#

Chris Roff 


why software changes, and how that should change what we change, when we change software

I will talk about Lehman’s categories of software system. I find Lehman’s categories a useful tool that helps me understand dynamics of software projects, design software architecture, and guide ways of working. I’ll illustrate with stories from recent projects.

Nat Pryce (@natpryce)


The one with the compiler always wins

The programmer holds the power in the team. The ux designer, the product owner, the manager, the tester, the agile coach and others can try their best to influence outcomes but it doesn’t matter if the programmer is not on board. Only the programmer decides which if-statements get written and how long it will take. Without the programmer, there is no software. Without the software, there is no company. 

But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. One of those responsibilities is to acknowledge this power and use it for good. Good for the human beings working with you, good for the company, good for your own health and good for society. 

Ulrika Malmgren (@ulrikama)

april 20th - open space / unconference


Have you ever been to a conference, and discovered that your most enduring memory was not in one of the timetabled sessions, but in the hallway in between the sessions? You found yourself in a small group, all passionately interested in the topic of your conversation; great insights were shared.

Unconference is a meeting structure designed to deliberately harness this energy. Using a few simple rules, a large group of people self-organises a dynamic, evolving schedule that allows every individual to contribute and learn by following their own enthusiasms and interests.

Matt Wynne, co-founder of Cucumber, will facilitate the day. Read Matt's post describing unconference and why he loves the format. To give you a flavour, here's a video produced by our friends at Liberty IT in Belfast, where we recently ran a two-day unconference for about 120 people.