TestCon Vilnius 2018


Andrew Brown

Dr Andrew Brown is a principal technical consultant at SQS. Recently, he has developed an independent line of research into understanding why we humans make the mistakes that lead to software defects.
He has 25 years’ experience in the software industry. Previous roles include Head of QA at HMV, Head of QA at a financial software house and a test manager in Japan.
He holds a degree in Physics and Maths, an MBA from Warwick Business School and a doctorate from Imperial College.


How Could I Miss that Defect? Inattentional Blindness

Have you ever wondered – How on earth did I miss that defect? In this session we learn how we notice or pay attention to an event or object. We use a series of videos and in-session experiments to demonstrate that we can pay increased attention to an expected event only by selectively focussing our attention away from events that do not share the characteristics of the attended event. We show that we can miss a highly salient event simply because the event does not share the characteristics of our attentional set. We reveal the counter-intuitive result that attempts to increase the salience if an event or object (by making it brightly coloured), may reduce our ability to detect it, if by making it more salient we also make it less like the event we are actively searching for. Finally, we see how this inattentional blindness can cause use to miss defects that appear blindingly obvious in hindsight, missed simply because they appeared different from what we were looking for.


Improve Planning Estimates Through Cognitive Bias Reduction

Are you puzzled why your estimate turned out wrong, or stressed from working to an impossible deadline? Teams on inaccurately estimated projects suffer stress, burnout, and poor quality, as pressure is applied to recover to an unrealistic schedule. Such project teams also descend into irrational decision-making, with potentially catastrophic consequences. Frustratingly, even if we perform well, we are still judged by our failure to meet an impossible deadline.
In this workshop we learn how estimation errors are caused not just by new technology or intentionally manipulated estimations, but also arise normally from limitations in the way we think. We discover how cognitive biases contribute towards estimation errors, and what we can do to mitigate these biases.
But beware! There are benefits and disadvantages of doing so. Learn how the planning fallacy, anchoring effect, and optimistic bias contribute towards estimation errors and lead to irrational decision-making. Discover the paradox of past experience, where instead of aiding prediction, our experience frequently confounds us. Experience how a planning scenario game and other tools can reduce your estimation errors.
Take away ideas to make your estimates more accurate and less risky by spotting distortions creep into your estimates, then reduce those distortions by addressing the underlying cognitive biases.

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