The main purpose of the Workshop on Regulated Software Testing is to share ideas, generate new techniques, and to provide a forum for people who are interested in improving the testing of regulated systems.
We’re defining regulated software as software that is subject to review by an internal or external regulatory body.
WREST’s primary focus is on better, more efficient ways of testing regulated software systems. This includes considering and discussing any approach or technique to testing regulated software while still ensuring successful completion of audits both internal and external.
Our membership consists of people who are interested in producing better software in a regulated environment. This could include anyone who has helped to create, or is part of an organization that produces regulated software and has a stake in making it better. Membership is open to all. There is no charge for membership. . Members will receive an email announcing workshops and the Call for presentations. We anticipate hosting WREST twice a year. Members can elect to dissociate themselves from WREST at any time.
The heart of each workshop session is a series of experiential presentations and group discussions, which focus on the chosen topic of the particular workshop session. The atmosphere is collaborative, supportive and constructively critical. Each person typically presents his or her findings from a recent and topical project.
WREST sessions engage their participants much more than traditional conferences and seminars. A typical conference allows 35 minutes to present a paper followed by 5 to 10 minutes for audience questions, which means there is little interaction and cross-examination of the ideas. WREST proportions are often the opposite: a 35 minute presentation may be followed by two hours of discussion and detailed critique if the group finds the information exchange meaningful.
Selection of Participants:
We target the attendance for a workshop session at 10 to 20 people. Participants are selected in part to give a well-rounded set of experiences and perspectives. If a particular workshop session is over-subscribed, we will be forced to turn away some qualified people – seats are not guaranteed. A limited number of beginners are welcome in a session, and we accept them based on their expression of enthusiasm and serious interest in the topic under discussion. Our goal is to finalize the list of participants for each workshop and notify each participant at least six weeks before the first day of that workshop.
We select a topical theme to provide a specific focus to each workshop session. Examples of possible themes (one per workshop session) are: (a) factors influencing the success of regulated projects, (b) strategy, approaches and testing techniques for particular types of projects, (c) validation, limitations and common misuses of test tools, and many others. There are dozens of other promising candidates for the theme of a workshop session. The organizers will participate and vote on the selection of the topic for the workshop session.
We require each person attending a session to be prepared to give a presentation, but do not require it. The usual practice is that each presenter informally presents his or her paper to the rest of the participants, and discuss it for as long as there are questions which are pertinent to the majority of the group. Presenters should not assume that the other participants are experienced in the particular technologies they will be addressing: for example, not everyone in the audience will be a system administrator or programmer, or understand every acronym used by the speaker.
Presentations can take anywhere from a half-hour to a half-day depending on the interests of the group, as expressed by the amount of discussion generated. The facilitator allows questions during the presentation itself, but they can be clarifying questions only. After the presentation, it is open season and the moderator allows any comments and questions which are pertinent and not offensive. We do not guarantee that all attendees who want to will necessarily present, because a workshop session may run out of time. In keeping with the informal nature of the proceedings, projectors are only used to display related graphics and data. A flip chart or white board is available if presenters want to use it. If a presenter wishes to demonstrate software or show test results on-line, most participants bring their own laptops.
We also encourage presenters to honor all non-disclosure agreements and be mindful of this in presenting and sharing information.
Facilitator and Scribe:
Each meeting is facilitated by a trained, experienced facilitator who has some familiarity with the subject matter (and usually volunteers his or her services). There is a separate additional role of scribe or note-taker, also a volunteer.
Rules of Engagement:
The LAWST (Los Altos Workshop on Software Testing) rules of engagement are the model for WREST. The rules cover in-session conduct, follow-up publications and intellectual property rights.
There usually are no prerequisites for a session, except to come prepared. Being prepared means you: (a) have your own paper and presentation ready, if you are giving one; (b) have read the papers distributed by others prior to the session; (c) are fresh and well rested; (d) are ready to participate, contribute and learn, with an open attitude; and (e) are ready to make some new friends and have fun.
Organizers and Advisors:
The organizers include several experienced practitioners with specific interest in performance related topics and and/or significant experience in workshops of this style. The current organizers and advisors are Karen N. Johnson, John McConda, Mike Goempel, and Mike Kelly. The organizers have five main responsibilities:
1. Organize workshop sessions and set the theme or topic for each one.
2. Review papers and select participants.
3. Participate in workshop sessions themselves, when feasible.
4. Inform members by periodic communications.
5. Help represent WREST in the broader community.
WREST is sponsored by the Association for Software Testing (AST) as a Special Interest group. For 2010, WREST will be hosted by SQE’s Better Software Conference and Expo.
WREST seeks to form mutually beneficial alliances with other organizations. Suitable candidates will share our interests and have integrity. Suggestions are welcome — please direct us to suitable organization(s).
We plan to hold workshop sessions twice per year and schedule each session for two days starting on a Friday and ending on a Saturday.
The workshop typically runs 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Friday, and 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday.
WREST by design has no corporate sponsors, just friends and partner non-profit organizations who may contribute in monetary or non-monetary ways. We are vendor-neutral. Though if topics like comparative product assessments are of interest to the participants, there are no restrictions in discussing them.
We anticipate that some organizations will express concern that their busy and valued employees will be attending yet another meeting, and have asked what WREST offers that is different from existing classes and conferences.
WREST was created to fill a gap that the organizers perceive in the training of and collaboration between testers and other stakeholders of regulated software. The organizers are not aware of any workshop format dedicated to furthering the practice of testing software in regulated environments. Attendees of a WREST workshop will be getting information and collaboration that they could not find anywhere else.
Intellectual Property Rights and Confidentiality:
All participants in a workshop session will make a verbal but legally binding agreement with their peers at the beginning of that session, and covering only the intellectual content of that particular session.
1. No information is communicated which requires the signing of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
2. We recognize that participants in a particular session will jointly develop common work products. These are owned by everyone but are not exclusively owned by any one individual.
3. Anyone within this group of participants can re-use any of the work products developed in this session without asking further permission than the verbal agreement.
4. One exception to unlimited re-use is plagiarism. For example, one participant cannot re-publish under his or her own name the position paper that another person had distributed prior to the session.
5. Any republishing must not mention actual companies or names without written permission.
Any use of the jointly developed work products requires attribution to the full list of participants in that workshop session.