Category Archives: Conferences

Update: Short Notes from Test Coach Camp 2012

Role Models
During the Test Coach Camp role models session I made some notes on a flip chart. I tried to add these (in green) to the mind map. I would appreciate comments/additions from other discussion participants.

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Short Notes from Test Coach Camp 2012

It was fantastic, it exceeded my expectations, I learnt how to make a monkey braid and I got to spend time with a bunch of great people.

I had suggested two sessions, and I was fortunate enough to have enough people interested in the proposed topics to make the sessions happen. These are just some brief initial notes for documentation purposes.

Role Models
I wanted to talk about how to be a good role model, not only for testers. I had arranged my thoughts on the topic in a mid map, and I used part of it as a starting point for the discussion.

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We had a great session where amongst other things we talked about (in no particular order):

  • Victim mentality
  • Judgement
  • Getting too personal
  • Dealing with concflict
  • Being a role model from a technical vs human perspective
  • Give and take, or Give and receive
  • Replacing “but” with “and”
  • Admitting to not knowing the answer
  • Asking the right questions
  • Being humble
  • Not making people feel bad

It is all fun and games!
I also wanted to talk about having fun at work and how to engage and motivate testers. We ended up having a session that focused on games and puzzles. I finally got to play the dice game, I am now able to answer the question “Is this a pen?” and I got hooked on The Set Game.

My original thoughts on the topic were:

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Let’s Test 2012

I’m writing this as I’m occupying seat 32C on a flight from London back to Vancouver, 8839 m above ground. My trip started earlier today when I left Stockholm after having attended the first, but surely not last, Let’s Test conference.

Several excellent reviews of the conference have already been posted, so I thought I’d keep this post short and light-weight, but there are a few things that I’d like to comment upon:

Setting: The conference was held at Runö, beautifully located by the water, far away from the city bustle. The spring sun shining, vitsipporna (Google it) in full blossom, sheep grazing the pastures, bird song keeping people awake – the whole package. Semi-secluded venues like these make escape difficult, thereby promoting interaction and socializing, which is what conferences should be about.

Food: Those of us who arrived on Sunday had the pleasure of experiencing the festival of Swedish flavours: salmon, pickled herring, smoked prawns and the Swedish version of cheese cake. There seemed to be some scepticism regarding the pickled herring though. Try it next time, it’s the Swedish sushi!

Mood: So much energy, and so much enthusiasm! I feel invigorated and energized and ready to go out and save the world! Whether it needs saving or not. The mood at the conference was absolutely fantastic – people were friendly, encouraging and the discussions were creative and inspiring. It was an humbling experience, being allowed to meet and talk to all these brilliant testers readily sharing their experiences. Most impressive was how positive everyone was – it was a refreshingly bright picture of the future that was painted.

People: It did feel a little bit like a SWET (Swedish Workshop on Exploratory Testing) reunion, but it was great to also see a lot of new faces. There’s certainly good hope for the future of testing.

Lasting impression: In retrospect, the common thread of the conference seems to have been drawing parallels between testing and other disciplines – covering everything from hypnosis to military service. I like the idea of not looking at testing in isolation, but relating testing to the world in which the testing actually takes place and learning not only from our own community but also from non-testers.

Closing words: A big thank you to the organizers, and also to all the attendees for making it a fantastic conference. I’ll be back next year. Not organizing the conference again is not an option.

How I choose conferences

I love going to conferences. After a good conference I always come back to work full of energy and with a thousand new ideas to try out. Conferences inevitably boost up my enthusiasm a couple of levels. Usually my network has expanded quite a bit too, and I’ve met people that are not only friendly and interesting, but also amazing sources of useful tips, advice and insight.

Even though I’m fortunate enough to work with a great bunch of testers, nothing beats the intensity of the testing conferences where approaches and techniques are scrutinized, refuted and worshipped into the wee hours.

What do I look for in a conference?

  • Enthusiasm: Attandees that are there because they’re passionate about the topic, and not because the conference is at a fancy resort, or because they want to skip work for a couple of days. Judging the level of enthusiasm at a conference is hard to do in advance if it’s a conference you’ve not been to before, but I have faith in my peers and ask around – someone is bound to have been there.
  • Topic: I want to be enthusiastic too, so of course the topic of the conference has to be something I care about strongly.
  • Socialising: The time outside the sessions is usually at least as important. There must be time for just hanging out and talking about testing. That’s one reason why I usually prefer to stay clear of the really huge conferences – there seems to be an inverse relationship between the number of attendees and the number of productive interactions.
  • Price: Yes, the price matters, but I’m also prepared to pay for quality (come on, I’m a tester!).

What’s on my confence schedule for the next couple of months? Well, no less than three conferences I’m very much looking forward to:

  1. Let’s Test, Sweden, May 7-9
  2. CAST 2012, USA, July 16-18
  3. TesTrek Vancouver 2012, Canada, July 25-26

I hope to bump into you!

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