The London Exploratory Workshop in Testing

LEWT is an exploratory peer workshop. We take the view that discussions are more interesting than lectures. We enjoy diverse ideas, and limit some activities in order to work with more ideas.

Currently, the workshop is structured as a series of short talks, each followed by a longer discussion. The workshop is one day long. Most participants will make a short presentation, and talks and discussions are time-limited. New talks can be added at any time; participants prioritise the talks as the day goes on.

Attendance is by application and invitation. People who have been to the previous LEWT have first claim on seats. Attendees are expected, but not required, to have a brief talk. We have space for two people with less than two year’s experience – they’re not expected to have a talk, but are otherwise full participants. We share the costs of room and food, and no one charges or is paid for their time or expenses.

LEWT is run along approximately the same lines as LAWST™, particularly regarding intellectual property and publication. However, LEWT is not LAWST™. A number of the ‘basic format’ guidelines in the introduction to the LAWST™ handbook are superseded by LEWT’s local guidelines. The LAWST™ handbook is currently here: http://www.kaner.com/pdfs/lawsthb.pdf. AST have a LAWST™ page.

Major differences between LEWT and LAWST™:

  • LEWT has many talks, and limits discussion in order to move to the next talk.
  • LEWT is an exploratory workshop. We aim to improve our understanding by sharing and discussing our experiences. The workshop does not necessarily share LAWST™’s aim to ‘crystallise conclusions, rules or techniques’.
  • Most LEWT attendees present a talk and answer questions.
  • We don't have a content owner - the group owns the content.
  • Some spaces are reserved for testers with less than two years experience.

What's the process?

LEWT has attracted interest within the testing community. This is a brief summary of the preparation for the workshop, and how the day is run.

Before the workshop:

  • Everyone submits a title for a ten-minute talk.
  • We have a project site, where we can discuss ideas before and after the event.
  • It’s helpful to have abstracts for talks, and a brief biography.

During the workshop:

  • All the talks we haven’t yet heard are stuck on a wall. Participants can add new talks at any time.
  • Everyone gets a limited number of sticky dots. These are votes – you vote for the talks you would most like to hear. Votes may be cast throughout the day.
  • The day is split into 90-minute sessions. Before each session, and with attention to the vote and the flow of the day, the facilitator choses a group of three talks to be covered in the 90 minutes.
  • A talk gets thirty minutes. The speaker present his or her ideas for ten minutes at most, preferably less. The rest of the time is spent on questions. When time is up, we move to the next talk.
  • During the talk, focus any questions on clarification. Leave most questions until the discussion.
  • The facilitator will handle the question queue during discussions, and keep track of time.

After the workshop:

  • We’ll post recordings etc. on the project site.
  • Papers using ideas from the workshop should acknowledge the workshop and list participants.


  • Times may change – typically reducing.
  • We will go to the next item if there are no more questions.
  • On request, we can move to the next item before time, or can add five minutes to the end of the questions. These decisions are taken collectively (action and majority are left to the facilitator’s discretion).
  • You can vote more than once for a talk.
  • You can vote for your own talk.

LEWT 01 - 25 June 2005, on Exploratory Testing

Robert Sabourin: How the EAR model can be used to get testing ideas
Alan Richardson: How to get unstuck and never be stuck again
Jonathan Bach: Open-Book Testing
Antony Marcano: A Test Driven Approach to tracking bugs found in Exploratory Testing
Neil Thompson: Managing Exploratory alongside Scripted: Whether, and How
Marta Gonzalez: Buggy night: an experiment on introducing ET to a test team
Juha Itkonen: Exploratory testing case study
Julian Harty: Exploratory Security Testing
Maaret Pyhajarvi: Experiences in selling ET to project management
James Lyndsay: Creativity and Software Testing
Mitchell Goldman: Hybrid approach: Exploring while checking off Requirements
Richard Durham: The joys and pains of testing network software
Niel vanEeden: Risk Based Testing and the risk associated with applying this in real life

In the room: Alan Richardson, Antony Marcano, Dessislava Stefanova, James Lyndsay, Jonathan Bach, Juha Itkonen, Juha-Matti Parmonen, Julian Harty, Keith Olohan, Maaret Pyhajarvi, Marta Gonzalez, Mitchell Goldman, Neil Thompson, Niel vanEeden, Richard Durham, Robert Sabourin, Steve Green

LEWT 02 - 10 December 2005, on Exploratory Testing

Alan Richardson: Learning how to attack
Juha-Matti Parmonen: Mindmaps in Exploratory Testing
Marta Gonzalez: Pair Exploratory Testing: does the back seat driver cause more crashes?
Neil Thompson: Some personal experience & expl test “structure”
Mitchell Goldman: New ET Metrics and beyond
Robert Sabourin: The Taxonomizer
Scott Barber: Applying Exploratory Testing Techniques to Performance Investigation
Roundtable: Mind Mapping tools roundtable
Wayne Mallinson: Exploratory thinking from Geology + Chemistry
Antony Marcano: XPloratory Testing – XP & ET - natural partners
Jonathan Towler: Using test automation to create useful system state starting points
James Lyndsay: Bug rates

In the room: Alan Richardson, Antony Marcano, Danielle Novak, James Lyndsay, Jonathan Towler, Juha-Matti Parmonen, Julian Harty, Keith Olohan, Marta Gonzalez, Mitchell Goldman, Neil Thompson, Richard Durham, Robert Sabourin, Scott Barber, Wayne Mallinson

LEWT 03 - 24 June 2006, on Bugs

Alan Richardson: Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena
Antony Marcano: To bug, or not to bug, but is that the question?
Jonathan Towler: On ‘The Wisdom Of Crowds’
Elisabeth Hendrickson: Bugs I’ve Known
Alan Richardson: “Bug” – what’s that in your head? – an exercise
Richard Durham: Are all bugs created equal? (aka what is the value of a bug?)
Neil Thompson: Bwg oration factors in Bwg Persistence/procreation Networks
Mitchell Goldman: U-BAD (Universal Bug Analysis Database)
Robert Sabourin: Finding Bugs That Matter: Bug Quadrants, Scenario Testing and Children’s Books
Marta Gonzalez: What d’ya mean ‘Catastrophic’?
Mark Garnett: Compassion Fatigue, Sainsbury’s Patisserie, Constructivism, Bugs and Me…
James Lyndsay: You find more bugs in a dirty lab
Julian Harty: Bug Portrait

In the room: Alan Richardson, Antony Marcano, Elisabeth Hendrickson, James Lyndsay, Jonathan Towler, Juha-Matti Parmonen, Julian Harty, Mark Garnett, Marta Gonzalez, Mitchell Goldman, Neil Thompson, Neill McCarthy, Paul Woolston, Richard Durham, Roy Madron, Robert Sabourin

LEWT 04 - 28 July 2007, on Metrics

Mitchell Goldman: Other Team's Metrics-What To Ask For
Graham Thomas: New ways of Measuring testing
Alan Richardson: Metric Modeling Madness - Memories and Misadventures of an ex-Methodology Monster
Richard Durham: Lessons learned in DDP
James Lyndsay: Experience report: working without metrics or measurement
Neil Thompson: Dashboard, Tachometer & Diagnostics
David Fulcher : Erik Simmons's S Curve Assumptions
Marta Gonzalez: Comparatively speaking…

In the room: Alan Richardson, David Fulcher, Graham Thomas, James Lyndsay, Julian Harty, Marta Gonzalez, Mitchell Goldman, Neil Thompson, Nick Gregory, Richard Durham

LEWT 05 - 15 December 2007, on Diagnosis

Neil Thompson: Knowledge of Body, Body of Knowledge
Alan Richardson: Diagnosis (as a noun) considered dangerous in the testers dictionary
Elisabeth Hendrickson: Diagnosing Intermittent Bugs
Kevin Shannon: Diagnosis and the Inexperienced
Robert Sabourin: Diagnosis - What question should I ask next?
James Lyndsay: Diagnostic Exercise
Marta Gonzalez: Diagnosis and credibility
Mitchell Goldman: Diagnosis for training
Graham Thomas: Diagnosis follows Failure
Alan Richardson: ePrime diagnosis
order / content may not be reliable

In the room: Alan Richardson, Elisabeth Hendrickson, Graham Thomas, James Lyndsay, Juha-Matti Parmonen, Julian Harty, Kevin Shannon, Marta Gonzalez, Mitchell Goldman, Neil Thompson, Robert Sabourin

LEWT 06 - 18 May 2008, open theme

Neil Thompson: The Schools of Testing: Belief systems? and/or Adaptable?
Robert Sabourin: Outside a Tester’s Comfort Zone
Richard Durham: How do testers add value?
Michael Bolton: "Why didn't you find that bug?"
James Lyndsay: Exploring a performance dataset with DataGraph (live demo)
Mitchell Goldman: Endgames and Testing Games
Marta Gonzalez: Treasure Hunt, Connect-4 and Black Monday
Alan Richardson: Why I use the term ‘requisite variety’ and how I teach it to my testers
Robert Sabourin: Sharing Examples of Session-Based Exploratory Testing - a True Story
Neil Thompson: It’s Risk, Jim, but not as we know it: the game theory of software handovers
Scott Barber: Using the Set game to teach people how to illustrate multi-dimensional data

In the room: Alan Richardson, Amal Mohammadi, Dessislava Stefanova, James Lyndsay, Maria Szypluk, Marta Gonzalez, Michael Bolton, Mitchell Goldman, Neil Thompson, Richard Durham, Robert Sabourin, Scott Barber

LEWT 07 - 07 December 2008, on Systems

Gwen Stewart: Is testing an open or closed system (where does the energy come from)? And do we act in a way consistent with the dynamics of the system?
Julian Harty: Possible generic models for testing
Alan Richardson: A Predictive Teleological Weak Signal Processing Ideomoter Feedback Game (Hellstromism for beginners)
Paul Gerrard : Using Soft Systems Methodology as a vehicle for constructing/agreeing test strategies
James Lyndsay: Testing is a “Wicked Problem”
Neil Thompson: Vicious loops, and tipping points to virtue - a case study
Mitchell Goldman: Loop Diagram of Session-Based Exploratory Testing process
Graham Thomas: Viewing Systems as a Whole
Neil Thompson: Promoting Systems Thinking through the ranks: Private, Corporal, kernel to General
Alan Richardson: Cybernetic Test Management

In the room: Adrian Prestidge, Alan Richardson, Graham Thomas, Gwen Stewart, James Lyndsay, Julian Harty, Marta Gonzalez, Mitch Goldman, Neil Thompson, Paul Gerrard

LEWT 08 - 26 June 2010, on Nature

Talks to follow

In the room: Fiona Charles, James Lyndsay, Julian Harty, Marta Gonzalez, Michael Davis, Mitchell Goldman, Neil Thompson, (Noah Goldman), Robert Sabourin, Richard Durham

LEWT 09 - 17 April 2011, on Large

In the room: Adrian Rapan, Alan Richardson, Aliaksandr Ikhelis, Anna Baik, Binayak Prasad Silwal, Gwen Stewart, James Lyndsay, Julian Harty, Maaret Pyhajarvi, Markus Deibel, Mitchell Goldman, Nathan Bain, Neil Thompson, Paul Gerrard, Richard Durham, Tony Bruce, Vernon Richards

Talks to follow


LEWT is currently organised and facilitated by James Lyndsay. We don't lay any claim to originalty in format; if you'd like to organise your own exploratory workshop, you can contact James for advice, but you certainly don't need to ask permission. We'd ask you to call your workshop by a different name. WOPR used the format for three days of pre-WOPR SWOPR events.

LEWTs currently happen once or twice a year, in London.

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