I carry a great deal of excitement so the bad weather, broken umbrella and wet clothes can’t make me gloom! After the first day at the conference I can just say: what an amazing vibe!
The discovery of a friendly and welcoming community
It started for me at noon, after a walk in the expo area. Before the first talk, the ambience was already extremely familiar: I had chatted with some speakers that I met at previous events or that I follow online. I had crossed paths with members from our national community, Tabara de Testare, from Cluj and București. I had also become acquainted with new people: the joyful TeamSTAR, the forum blogger, Magnus Pettersson, then there were Ronan and Daragh and several participants.
Passed through the expo to say hello to @ioana_cis, the #testlab apprentice at @esconfs pic.twitter.com/QGbfStdg8V
— Simina Rendler (@simina_s) November 1, 2016
I joined the 1st timer session where “veterans” of the event advised on how to get the best out of the conference. They emphasized the role of critical thinking, networking and sharing (as opposed to passive listening) for participants. One great advice that I plan to implement was to leave with an action plan of 3 things that I could change back home. I have already started the list.
During one of the breaks I got to talk to a couple of exposants. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I discussed with representatives of two different companies selling testing services, each having a very broad definition for testing. Their perspective of testing was leaning towards using a system by real users, rather than an investigation conducted by professionals to provide information about the quality of the product, as most of us, the participants, try to advocate. I’ll continue the stands tour the next days, to find out more of what else is there on the market and to honor an assignment I received from one of my colleagues from the Iași chapter of our community.
The Talks: Reinvent yourself!
Liz Keogh’s keynote was a great opening for a testers’ conference: a former developer arguing why testing is valuable and why testers are needed was really engaging. My takeaways from her sessions are revolving around Cynefin, a weird Welsh word designating a framework that helps understand the types of problems we are dealing with and how to solve them.
Within Gitte and Christian Ottesen’s session I was witness to the first two generations presentation on a testing conference, as Rik Marse put it. They build their message on the fact that everyone is responsible for their own learning and walked us through some ways of doing it. Some novel activities and some fresh perspectives of older ones are part of the outcome that I have from their presentation.
My #sketchnote of @lunivore‘s #esconfs keynote “How to test the inside of your head” pic.twitter.com/Oka4M6V6Hc
— Zeger Van Hese (@TestSideStory) November 1, 2016
The worst bug found by Ru Cindrea was a great story from the land of bug advocacy. How to perform better investigations and reporting and how to gain a better understanding of the role we have in the bug triage were two leads for the participants to discover and further explore.
Besides these, the day was rich with valuable content that I can’t let go with a couple of paragraphs. I will return with more insightful posts about the presentations during the following days.
Tomorrow morning will start early with a lean coffee session at 7.30. I do enjoy casual conversations over hot beverages, so I plan to make it in time for this noteworthy coffee.
Then there is Ben Simo’s keynote about Healthcare.gov, a story about testing and sharing results in the midst of one of the most political public software release failures ever.
After that, until lunch, there are three series of talks planned. From modelling the learning process and setting learning as a testing objective, to keeping our motivation and skills alive, from security testing to testing machine learning applications, the variety of covered topics is overwhelmingly astonishing. One could not easily choose 3 out of the 13 presentations and a case study; at least I couldn’t.
For the afternoon the decision was simpler to make. I have in mind to enjoy more ludic sessions that are meant to provide a learning experience, thus choosing the workshop Instructional Games for Testers is a natural decision. The opportunity cost for this is not attending a presentation about growing a company community or other experience reports that have appealing descriptions.
Last thing on Wednesdays conference agenda is a panel discussion about diversity in testing. Besides the great opportunity to address questions to 6 of the conference speakers, I think this session will be valuable for me for another reason: it will help me understand how panel discussions are facilitated and organized and eventually I would get a reference for doing one in our community.
That would be all for today from your reporter. I’ll return tomorrow.