Community Reporter Simina: EuroSTAR 2016 Preview

From Cluj Napoca, Romania, Simina will be the blog Reporter at EuoSTAR 2016. For each day of the Conference Simina will provide a delegates snapshot of the event. With reviews and previews to be published on each day of the Conference, there will be reports, highlights of social events and much more. Here in her own words, Simina delves into what she is looking forward to at EuroSTAR this year.


My name Simina Rendler. I will be your community reporter on the Huddle Blog for the EuroSTAR 2016 event. Needless to say, I am very excited about this role.

Let me give you a bit of information on my context, so you can understand my vision on this event. I am a constant learner and active advocate of interacting with peers for sharing lessons learned and experiences. I took this advocacy role when I enrolled as an organiser for the meetings of Tabăra de Testare (which would translate as The Testing Camp), the Romanian testing community. With each meetup I witness how valuable is the act of sharing experiences and learning from colleagues that are in or interacting with the testing field. Attending the EuroSTAR Conference will be a new experience in which I will observe, give and benefit from the power of the testing community, at a bigger, international level. With its theme of Learning to Test, Testing to Learn, it’s clear for me that this is yet the best edition to participate.

These being said, I will look at the conference from two perspectives: first, as a tester, I expect to be exposed to different mindsets, to learn new things about approaches, techniques and tools. Secondly, I will try to understand what such a big event means for the international testing community, how it enables the peers interaction and commitment. From this I think I will return with valuable takeaways for both the local and national community.

With the above-mentioned ideas in mind, as I skimmed through the programme, I identified some tracks that I would want to explore.


Learn about learning

My agenda will start on Tuesday afternoon, with the welcome message and the first keynote. The latter seems promising: tests, fixes and workarounds for the bugs in … our heads?! Not just in the software?! OK, I definitely don’t want to miss that!

Also in this track is Beren van Daele’s presentation. His pitch about Kolb’s learning cycle brought me back to remember my university studies, where I was introduced to the field of pedagogy. I remember enjoying learning about learning. Now I feel like I could have benefited from looking more thoroughly into that area of studies after starting working as a tester. We are, after all, constant learners, we want to help other testers to be learners as well or we teach other colleagues about testing.

We learn, and learn and then discover something else to learn about. Even a tester with a growing mindset may get anxious about all the changes happening in our industry. It’s not a strange feeling for me, so I was happy to find Marjana Shammi’s talk on keeping motivation alive. I will definitely join her talk.


The Experience Reports

I find experience reports valuable, as they tend to put me through imagination exercises or trigger insightful reflection moments. By listening or reading testing stories I feel like I am preparing myself for … unknown knowns. And that is exciting!

So, for the stories, I will attend Ru’s talk about the worst bug she had found. She constructed her presentation around the Signal Detection Theory, a concept I encountered in the BBST Bug Advocacy course and that troubled me at that time. Now it seems like a good opportunity to follow up on it.

There is also the story of one of the most political public software release failures ever, the infamous Healthcare.Gov. Ben Simo’s will deliver a keynote about testing it and I’ll be there to report about it.

On Thursday, I intend to listen to Zeger van Hese’s talk about how he embraced skepticism. Critical thinking seems to be a skill that is difficult to develop, so hearing and reflecting about a successful story may be encouraging.


Learn to test

Technologies, tools, techniques: there are so many I haven’t explored yet! One example is the artificial intelligence, thus I welcome Harry Collin’s keynote on The Critique of AI in the Age of the Net. After AI, there are robots on my agenda. Not necessarily the metallic men, but the machines that gather information about their environment and change their behavior based on this. Testing a robot and using one for testing are two domains that I will scratch with Rik Marselis.


Learn about running communities

I am happy to also see the topic of development of testing communities in the agenda. One session that I plan to attend for this matter is Gitte and Christian Ottosen’s presentation about Two Generations in Software Testing – the Way We Learn. Another view on creating and running communities of practice as a way of learning, that is something I’ll be looking forward to discover.


Playing to learn

I want to enjoy more the ludic sessions that are meant to facilitate learning, as sometimes I feel like I forgot to how to play. EuroSTAR seems to provide a nice playground, starting with the Test lab. I also plan to attend two playful workshops. One is Graham Thomas’s ludic session that is meant to help us communicate more effectively; this will be on Wednesday afternoon. The next day, Rick Tracy will deliver a session on a relevant question for explorers: is it a puzzle or is it a mystery?


Overall, it looks like there will be some intensive days. I will be your eyes and ears, meaning that I will provide blog posts about the daily events and previews of the next day’s activities. Stay tuned!

About the Author


Inquisitive software tester, facilitator of the local testing community meetings
Find out more about @siminarendler

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