WOTBLACK 2 – Draft Call for Participation



We invite to the second WOTBLACK, a two-day intensive LAWST-style context driven workshop on testing in complex and ”Black Swan” domains. The goal of the workshop is to facilitate knowledge sharing in the testing community.

Hosts: Anna Royzman and Anders Dinsen

Where: New York City
Address: TBA
When: Saturday and Sunday December 2nd-3rd, 2017


Testing informs about quality and qualifies risk. Some risks are obvious: Devs failing to properly implement those new, important features and the bugfixes. Others are complicated: Hidden bugs, usability issues, accessibility, and performance.

But there are also complex risks in most projects: Safety and security are becoming classic examples, but there are examples of legal issues threatening the business as a result of complex combinations of data, system functionality, and users’ actions.

Such risks are not easy to wrap your head around. In hindsight they are a failure, which seemed unlikely before it was understood, but which had unacceptable consequences. Such a failure is what we call “a black swan”.

In testing, where the black swan are only an idea and a possibility, the problem of testing to qualify risks of black swans are far from simple. Failures in IT demonstrates risks beyond the obvious should be considered more in testing.

At the first WOTBLACK in April 2017, a group of eight testers discussed cases of IT-failures and learnings from that. (We are still working on a write-up and a video from the event.)

At this second WOTBLACK in New York, we will focus more generally on complexity in testing, investigating cases and testing problems and challenges, and discussing strategies, techniques, methodologies and tools for dealing with complexity in practice. E.g.:

  • Can exploratory testing help discover complex patterns in software?
  • How can automated testing help discover complexity?
  • Can Cynefin help us with better, risk focused testing strategies?
  • Testing tools that support complex testing?
  • Taking usability, performance testing beyond the obvious
  • Tools for security testing
  • Etc

We are open to what participants find interesting.


The meeting will be in New York City. Final arrangements are being prepared and will be announced before the meeting.

Saturday and Sunday, we will start informally at 8.30 (breakfast and chat), starting the meeting at 9.30 We will finish Saturday at 5pm, Sunday at 4pm.

Participants and guest(s) are welcome to join us for (pay-for-your-own) dinner on Saturday, and Sunday nights.

Invitation and application

We invite people with interest in testing and the subject of testing, managing and qualifying risks. Participants could be:

  1. Consultants and senior thinkers in the field
  2. Agile leaders and coaches who have experience with complicated systems
  3. Business analysts
  4. Test managers
  5. Automated testing specialists
  6. Individual testers with interest and experience in the area

The number of participants will be limited to 10. Participants will need to pay for their own lunch, coffee, and drinks, but first and foremost we expect people to pay for attendance by offering valuable experiences and insights at the meeting, in a collegial and supportive way.

If you want to attend the meeting, please send an e-mail to Anders Dinsen <ad@asym.dk> that briefly describes your software testing background, your experience with or knowledge of testing, why you want to attend this meeting, and what you think you can offer to it.


This is a meeting in the LAWST (Los Altos Workshops in Software Testing) tradition. Discussions will be facilitated and the sequence of presentations will evolve as the meeting progresses, our emphasis will be application and we will particularly value detailed reports of actual experiences. Presentations are subject to discussion, which might be very brief or very long. A presenter who captures the imagination of the meeting in a 45-minute presentation might face as much as a day of questions, arguments, counter-examples, supporting examples and demonstrations, and other comments on the ideas raised in that presentation. Discussions rarely last this long, but we don’t shift topic while there is still strong group energy with the current topic. We would rather spend enough time on a few things to learn their lessons well than to cover a broad agenda at the expense of useful depth.

Intellectual Property Agreement

We expect to be able to share the work developed for and in this meeting. Material that we create at the meeting or that was created in preparation for the meeting will be reusable by all participants in the meeting. Explicitly excluded from this will be actual experience reports where personal information and information about causes of actual system accidents should not be shared outside of the meeting. For a fuller description of the IP agreement, see http://www.wtst.org/WTST5.html.


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