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Tech Develops - A day dedicated to YOU!

Working in Tech, it can be difficult to find the time to further improve yourself, you're focused a lot on delivery, and it can be hard to drag yourself away from it and spend time on delivering an improved you. This is why some companies are starting to have time dedicated to your personal development, where people drop tools and do a personal project or watch some tutorials.

Luckily working at ASOS we get the last Friday of every month to focus on this! Last Friday we held what we call a "Tech Develops" day, where as an employee of ASOS and working in Technology, In the week running up to it we decided it would be a good idea to have a platform where people could stand up and perform a 99 Second Talk about anything they please. We had 12 people sign up to it, and we had talks ranging from the technical (Git-Bisect) to a Conference review (UKStar).

The first talk was an informative talk about Git Bisect and how it's used and why because of it, it's important to perform small commits, as it compares the commits to see what broke where. We had a UKStar conference rap, inspired by The Streets, and one that shocked us all to be honest, the only thing missing was a mic drop a the end (I'm putting this down to a lack of microphone!) We also had a rather appropriate (given we are ASOS) Fasion Testing talk, it spoke about the stages of testing that items go through, and it definitely left me wanting more. We had an informative pitch about  what is being labelled as Guerilla Plus Testing, where UX/UI designers sit with our Testers to understand the sort of things that are performed, we had 4 volunteers to partake in it at the end of it, so it must have been good!

We had one of our QAs who had recently read a book about the 5 Dysfunctions of A Team, and they gave a whistle stop tour of the book, and the five dysfunctions, we had people asking for the book at the end of it, so again, it must have left a positive impression!

We've all been stressed and anxious working in Tech at some point in our careers, which is why it was relieving to see this talk from someone who is referred to as our very own positive ray of sunshine step up and talk about how she deals with it! Definitely one that left us thankful and reassuring that even she deals with it, albeit very well!

Last year we had a new trainee join us from Princes Trust, some of us had already seen the power of his talks from his presentation last year ago about how he had grown into a flower thanks to the support of the people he'd been working with on the Princes Trust course, and he didn't disappoint this time, leaving us with the message that "Try new things, Don't be afraid to fail and to ask questions, people are here to support you", it doesn't get much simpler than that.

There was a talk on how you can use models in Software Testing, and how taking the first thing you think of and applying that can help you better understand what you are testing and be more creative in your testing approach. He used examples of an Airplane, a Garbage Truck and left us thinking how we can use an Octopus to help us drive our QA Community.

As we'd recently sent some QAs to TestBash in Brighton, it was only apt that we had at least 1 talk that had been inspired by TestBash, and in particular a workshop done by the amazing Dan Billing, she spoke about the Juice Shop Project which exposes the OWASP top 10 Security vulnerabilities and gives you awards for finding the said vulnerabilities (available here: It's definitely something that I'm sure people will be trying over the next few months!

I gave a 99 second talk on The Stick Man Tester, based on the Stick Man and how he's just trying to get home to his Stick Family, this is a story about a Tester who is trying to find the right role for him in an Agile Team. The only negative is that I had to cut out some of it to squeeze it in to the 99 seconds! To finish up we had a performance expert from the Performance Team talk about all the work going into get us ready for Peak, it's definitely insightful and good to know that we can go to him if we need any advice on the subject.

That was it for the 99 second talks, it had been clear that a lot of thought had gone into all of them, it showed off the creativeness, the technical ability and the passion of the ASOS QA Community, and definitely was a prime advert for the benefits of such an event. It's definitely something that we'll be doing at the next Tech Develops!

A list of ALL the 99 second talks are here.

We had breakout discussions around things like CI/Performance/Automation happening throughout the day, where people could just drop in and discuss anything with people around the table. It was an open discussion, and you could bring any problems you had in that area, with the hope that other QAs may have experienced the same or someone may have a solution to the problem! Sharing is Caring.

Remember the 99 Second Talk about Guerilla Testing Plus? Well, this was kicked into action in the afternoon, and performed in anger with the volunteers and the UX/UI designers doing pairing and testing out some designs! Feedback was quick and instant! (The best type of feedback!)

We also had TestSphere happening in the afternoon!For those who don't know about TestSphere, it's a card game, where there are 5 "types" of cards, "Quality Aspects", "Techniques", "Heuristics", "Patterns" and "Feelings". We changed the rules slightly, and made it so that you turn over 1-5 cards (maximum of 1 from each deck) and have to tell a testing story that links the cards together, the more cards you choose the harder it is, if you manage to tell the story, you win the cards! If you don't then it goes out to the table to tell the story and win the cards. It's a great way to talk about testing, talk about experiences and get to know other QAs.

It was a productive day, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I enjoyed the TestSphere game even though I lost, it's something I'll look to make a regular thing and make it so people can just drop in and out of. As for the 99 Second Talks, I'll do the same thing next month, though I can't promise another poem!


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