EuroSTAR 2016: Community Reporter Review

Simina was our Community Reporter at EuroSTAR 2016. Reporting for the Huddle community, Simina attended sessions, the Expo, Huddle Test Lab and more on your behalf. In her final post, she sums up her experience from the Conference in Stockholm.

I have been wearing glasses since kindergarten. I change the lenses or the entire pair every now and then. For some time I had a special set of frames for which I could easily add or remove polarised lenses. Any change that I did regarding the lenses had always amazed me: “I can see clearly!” I would often exclaim. From these, the metaphor or putting on different lenses has become my favorite for looking at things from different perspectives; it is just like the hats one. So bear with me when I say I put on different lenses to look back at the great experience that EuroSTAR 2016 has been for me.

Tester’s glasses

For me the conference as a whole was an eye opener on the need of critical thinking, in general, and questioning skills, in particular, for testers. One or the other was a motif in some talks I attended. Connecting them to examples or specific problems put me through imagination exercises and triggered some reflection on how good am I at this. Presented with a toolbox for testers, I have already started working on sharpening this skill.

Another takeaway that I haven’t mentioned in my previous posts was understanding the implications of testers’ credibility in bug fixing decisions. I was able to connect with this idea and as a consequence I plan to work on shaping my behaviour in my current context, to forge a reputation that could positively influence those that handle my work products. This and the idea that testers’ bug findings can be influenced in a constructive way sparked a legitimate a-ha! moment at Ru Cindrea’s presentation.
RIMGEN cards from Ru's presentation
A scratch of machine learning testing, problem solving approaches depending on the complexity level, some tips on pair testing are other examples of useful things discovered at the conference.

The occasional blogger lenses

The opportunity that got me the community reporter role was a competition launched here, on the Huddle. I applied for the role, describing how would I benefit from this experience, both as a tester and as a facilitator for the local and national testing community from Romania. I am not a constant blogger, but I do occasionally write about the events I take part in.keynote-talk

The moment I found that I received the role, I experienced both excitement and some concerns. Excitement about the amazing learning opportunity and concern about not knowing how would I be able to write daily. The challenge I perceived lay in the fact that I usually take some time to reflect on my experiences before writing about them, then spend some more time arranging the ideas and actually write them and eventually wait for some feedback and review before publishing; but the community reporter role requires to write during each conference day. In order to get acquainted to the alert pace, my colleague Alex proposed to do some writing exercises before the conference: write blog posts in a time boxed manner. These helped me practice finding the ideas, arranging and styling them into a blog post in short time.

Besides time boxed writing exercises, consulting the agenda by going through each presentation, speaker and social event descriptions also prepared me for delivering the daily posts. Moreover, this helped me set realistic expectations for the presentations I would later attend, as most descriptions included the target audience and the main takeaways.

In the long run, preparing for the role a couple of weeks before the event is something that proved helpful and something that I would repeat in a similar situation.

Finally, the event organiser’s perspective

From the beginning of the EuroSTAR 2016 experience I had the goal to learn more about the testing community and organising testing events. Below are some findings from this point of

Testers’ community is a nice, friendly and supportive one. We, its members, have different, various visions on what we do or how we do things, but we share a learning mindset: we learn from each other, we learn from colleagues we interact with, from the mistakes we make, from the challenges we encounter. I knew these about my local community, I was glad I discovered the international one to be as well.

From the organisational perspective of the conference, one important takeaway for me was the importance of balance between presentations and social events and activities. I discovered that the latter are as important as the former; that testers, besides attending talks, equally appreciate a playground, a chillaxation zone or someone to talk to about their problems.

I also acknowledged the effort put in by Ronan, Daragh and the entire team to facilitate the event. They seemed omnipresent throughout the conference and I appreciated them being ready to help.

With the above mentioned and previous lessons learned ([1], [2], [3], [4]) I can conclude that EuroSTAR 2016 was a complex learning experience. If you want to read my previous posts from the conference, here there are:

Thank you!

About the Author


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