EuroSTAR 2017 Review – From Community Reporter Simina

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Attending testing conferences can be remarkable learning experiences. I said this last year, I’ll say it about EuroSTAR Conference 2017 too.

This is Huddle Forum Reporter’s review, where I look at some needs I feel attending the conference helped me achieve: variety, inspiration, discovery and contribution.

Variety

I like variety in testing because I need to feel challenged, surprised and excited about what I do. With the aim of highlighting or to disproving the magic of testing, the sessions from the 25th EuroSTAR brought me the diversity I was looking for. From illusions, rapping about testing and entertainment to listening about testing medical devices and airports, from attending presentations to meeting old friends, from testing challenges to playing cooperative games, I checked them all and more. I definitely didn’t get bored during my two and a half days at the conference. Au contraire.

Inspiration

One of the main reason I attend testing events is to get mentally invigorated. At EuroSTAR this year, I achieved this within several moments. I’ll share with you two of them.

One of them was during Iris Pinkster‘s opening remarks. Iris enumerated what is magical about testing from her perspective: empowering people (both as individuals and groups or communities), enjoying the bliss of discovering, of learning and of the change that we trigger. Her rhetoric worked for me and anchored me into the conference vibe.

Another inspiring moment was what I called a couch coach session with Isabel Evens organised by the Community Huddle.

During this informal discussion on leadership, I observed Isabel work her magic, coordinating the conversation, collecting and organising the topics from attendees, connecting them and facilitating the communication. We tackled topics like the importance of self confidence for testers getting into coordinating roles, how do people end up micromanaging and what can we deal with someone that does this. Reflecting on how the discussion evolved, I can say that both the takeaways and the process itself were inspiring: I felt connected with the people involved in the conversation, absorbed and curios about the topics, empowered to approach things differently.

I also got to experience the opposite of inspiration. I noticed this before, that sometimes speakers’ messages don’t reach me. Trying too much or overemphasizing somethings alienates the content delivery for me. During the conference I got to think of why this happens and I reached the conclusion I have a need for authenticity and congruence; when these are not met, I find myself blocking the message. That’s also part of the learning experience and a personal discovery, among many others.

Discovery

A significant part of attending EuroSTAR consisted of discoveries and a-ha! moments. I will share with you a couple of them.

Michael Bolton presented the story of a practical, real life immersing training for testers. I have some pages with notes from his talk. One that fits me currently is to perceive as tools the feelings I get when testing. Surprise, frustration, confusion, annoyance they could all convey a message about what am I testing at a giving time.

Another compelling takeaway was about experimenting. Several talks I attended were stories about using an approach or a tool for a trial period to solve a problem, evaluate and decide afterwards if it should be kept in place or discarded. From these I took a note for myself to be more open towards experimenting; and to keep in mind that tools don’t have value per se, whether is test automation, a risk questionnaire or the Spotify model, sometimes the value they bring is by triggering conversations.

Contribution

I look at testing events as both opportunities to learn and to give back. I have been learning from the testing community for several years, I feel it’s important to get more involved as a contributor myself. From this point of view, there have been some dimensions I feel I reached during EuroSTAR 2017.

One was through my Community Reporter assignments. On the Huddle forum I tried to keep the conversation alive about what happened each day. It didn’t have too much success, I feel that the participants preferred to be more engaged within offline interactions; and, of course, on Twitter.

Another one was to contribute with my insights into the social activities from the Community Huddle and Test Lab. For instance, the participants from the early morning lean coffee on Wednesday most likely will remember me as a “test-cases-free-since-2014” gal.

Nevertheless, I didn’t forget about my community at home.

And this, my friends, has been EuroSTAR 2017 for me.

Simina

About the Author

Simina

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

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