Talks and presentations (and my MSc dissertation)

This page will carry slide decks for presentations I’ve given at conferences – as I get round to adding them. All the presentations are in PDF format and open in new tabs.

Farewell to “pass or fail”?

I gave this presentation, “Farewell to ‘pass or fail’” at Expo:QA 2014 in Madrid in May 2014. It shows how auditing and software testing have faced similar challenges and how each profession can learn from the other.

Standards – promoting quality or restricting competition?

This presentation is the one that attracted so much attention and controversy at CAST 2014 in New York. It is a critique of software testing standards from the perspective of economics.

The triumph of process over purpose

I gave different versions of this talk in 2014 at Starwest in Los Angeles and Eurostar in Dublin. The slide decks are almost identical, but the Starwest talk lasted an hour whereas the Eurostar version was only 45 minutes. The theme was the unfortunate habit of people in IT trying to gain a sense of comfort by following processes slavishly in complex settings, even when that comes at the expense of the real work.

I wrote two separate blog posts that were related to this talk, “Teddy bear methods” and “The last straw – the project that convinced me to resign”.

Principles for testing

In June 2015 I gave a talk in London to the British Computer Society’s Special Interest Group in Software Testing. I argued that testing lacks guiding principles of the sort that established professions have.

My MSc dissertation

My MSc dissertation was entitled “Incorporating Usability Testing into Formal Software Testing Models”. It was written in 2006, for an award in 2007.

In the introduction I made it clear I thought that the title was misconceived, that there was no such thing as a formal testing model. That is contentious, though it was useful for the purposes of developing my argument and illustrating the problem; usability, and indeed the development of effective, high quality software, had been subordinated to the desire for manageable projects. The result was poor usability, and quality in general, while the projects remained stubbornly unmanageable because of the naive assumptions built into the prevalent techniques. The dissertation was well received, however, and it earned an A grade.