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Return of the North West Tester Gathering

The North West Tester Gathering returned on Tuesday night, with Simon Reekie giving an entertaining presentation about agile and context driven testing and Bruce Lee…

Wait a minute, Bruce Lee? One of the hardest men in the world, he could do some serious damage to you with one glance. We know he’s an expert in martial arts and specialises in kicking butt, but what does he have to do with testing? Well, quite a lot actually and Simon was able to give thirty-odd testers an insight into the intertwining world of Bruce Lee and agile test practices.

North West Tester Gathering returns

Simon, together with Ken Fulton and Stuart Taylor, just restarted the North West Test Gathering (NWTG) after a two year hiatus. NWTG is a meet up group for testers of all backgrounds, levels and abilities. The vision for the group is simple. A social meet up for testers to talk and share ideas, methods and expertise. The ‘Gathering was a relaxed affair. It was the first time either Richard or I had been to the one of their events and we both felt the casual atmosphere helped differentiate this meet up from others we’ve attended. 

But where does Bruce Lee fit in?

The main presentation of the evening was Simon Reekie’s discussion on different schools of testing. Simon gave an insight into agile and exploratory testing. His presentation was full of movie references and animated gifs, and I’d advise you to have a look at his slides. Simon’s topics are popular within the testing community at the moment. I’ve recently listened to a podcast by Steve Janaway and Dan Ashby with a similar theme.

To summarise, Simon talked about how testing was changing and described how testers are now challenging traditional ways of testing and learning. This is where the Bruce Lee element comes in. Lee is considered the greatest martial artist ever. To become this legend he often challenged the teaching and practices of his masters. Simon argued that testers today in the agile space are learning more flexible approaches to testing and moving away from rigid learning forms of the past. 

As a marketer and someone not on the front line of testing, I often read about different approaches to testing but sometimes don’t fully understand them. Quite frankly I don’t have the technical expertise to relate to some of the stuff I read. Despite this, I found Simon’s presentation easy to understand. The discussions he had with the audience during the presentation helped to elaborate certain points. I found this a great help to fill in gaps in my knowledge. 

Three Amigos…Isn’t that a film with Steve Martin? 

The lighting talks, led by Stuart Taylor, were really good discussions about topics the audience wanted to talk about. Like most lightning talks, it opened up ideas and concepts amongst the audience, with one in particular idea interesting me.

The “three amigos” is a working practice where a BA, developer and tester all work together in the design, development and test stages of a project. I have often heard and read about the battles between developers and tester; could this practice help improve those lines of communications between the two departments? The related discussion about ‘shift left’ and testing earlier in the application lifecycle are common themes in the current testing market. Perhaps “the three amigos” is a good way to implement this?


Overall a good evening was had by all. For me the ‘Gathering is going the right way about building a community to help testers (and those involved with testing) share ideas and knowledge. For someone not directly involved with testing like me, I found the presentation and discussions a great help. I would advise others in my position to give it a go.

A big thanks should be made to the organisers and the evening sponsors/host The next meet up has been scheduled for some time in September. When we get a confirmation date, we’ll advertise it on Twitter. We’ll definitely be going and would advise testers from the North West region to get involved. Coupled with some beer and pizza, I think you’ll find their events quite interesting. For more information about the North West Test Gathering, check out their ‘Meet Up’ page.

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