Monthly Archives: July 2015

MEWT4 Call For Papers

We wanted to try something a little different for MEWT4. As with the majority of peer workshops, the organisers invite people they believe will fit the theme, bring some great experiences and generate some great discussions. However this is limiting, as we can only invite people we know, but also people who we think would be interested in the topic. So for MEWT4 we have opened up four places for people to apply to attend. So what would you be applying for? MEWT is an exploratory workshop, a format you can read more about here. The theme of MEWT4 is “Models for Thinking”, you can read more about the theme at the bottom of this post. We are interested in experience based reports (lasting between 15-20 minutes) covering any aspect of Models and Modelling that you believe is applicable to our work as professional testers. We are less interested in talks that simply present a model in isolation but rather your experiences of using such models so a recommendation would be to spend no more than 5 minutes introducing a model and the remaining time presenting your experiences of using the model. We are also interested in talks that discuss the importance of modelling to testing and how we can improve these skills. MEWT4 is taking place on the 10th October 2015 at the stunning Attenborough Nature Reserve, Nottingham, UK. The cost of attending MEWT4 is £30, this covers the cost of the venue, refreshments throughout the day and a buffet lunch. They’re no limitations on who can apply, just please ensure you can make the date and the location, MEWT doesn’t contribute towards any of your travel costs. They’re always people who stay in Nottingham the night before, so if you are travelling from further a field, there is usually some social activities on the friday night and post the workshop. You can read about previous MEWTs on this blog. So if you are interested in attending, please complete this CFP form by giving the title, brief outline and the main points (usually no more than 3) that will be covered in your report by August 9th 2015. Once the CFP has ended, MEWTs will review the submissions and inform applicants of the result. Really looking forward to reading your submissions. If you submit, but later realise you cannot attend please let one of the organisers know.


Richard Bradshaw (Conference Organiser) Simon Knight (Conference Organiser) Bill Matthews (Content Owner) Vernon Richards (Facilitator)

Theme: Models for Thinking. In almost all human endeavours we use mental models to simplify the complex, separate the signals from the noise, organise and classify information, and to act as lenses through which we observe the world. Testing is no exception to this; as testers we are part of a complex adaptive system which is often too complex to comprehend and understand in its entirety so we rely upon different models to better enable us to think and operate within this system. Some examples of modelling within testing are:

  • Designing tests is complex with almost limitless possibilities so we use test design techniques to simplify the task; many of these techniques are based on a models of how and where software fails. This applies to the formal test techniques (e.g. boundary analysis, state transition, domain testing etc.) as well as ideas such as mind-maps and heuristics.
  • In larger projects and organisations, to organise the task of testing a common model for structuring testing is as a series of Test Phases each with a specific focus that builds on the previous phase.
  • The ISO 29119 Standard presents a series of models that omit much of the details, variety and complexity of testing in order to convey and idea of how they believe testing should be structured, organised and flow.
  • A common and pervasive model within testing is that of different test levels (e.g. unit testing, system testing, integration testing etc.) which can act like lenses through which we focus on specific elements of the system without being overwhelmed by the totality of what we may need to test.

To help guide your ideas the following questions may help:

  • Do you think Modelling is a key skill for testers? How did you develop your skills in modelling? How do you teach modelling as a skill to others?
  • Do you have meta-models that help you decide which models are appropriate for your context?
  • How do you make sense of complexity in your context? Are there specific models you’ve found helpful? If so what are they and how do they help?
  • What are the popular/established testing models that you think are no longer applicable and why?
  • Which popular/established models of testing do you find most useful and why?
  • Do you have thoughts for a new model related to testing that you want to share, discuss and expand?
  • Do you think there is a relationship between model thinking and biases?