EuroSTAR 2020 has begun and how! Day one of the conference was phenomenal and proved to be a great start for the event. The day commenced with a motivational welcome message from programme committee chairman Rik Marselis who opened the conference and called out for the people to come together. Tutorial day, as it is often referred, it was all about soaking in knowledge from the industry experts. These sessions have an easier pace and help one truly analyse and absorb the nuances of a topic. This format could be compared to a long distance run, while the track sessions are more like short sprints. This was my first time attending the tutorials at the conference and I gained a lot from both the sessions I attended. I have been in deep admiration of the research, thought and preparation the two distinguished speakers had invested in their talks – goes to show why they are considered undisputed champions in their areas of expertise!
Thinking Like A Tester
Rikard Edgren’s session on ‘Thinking Like a Tester’ was terrific! His book ‘The Little Black Book on Test Design’ has been my go-to resource for many years now it was great to experience Rikard elaborating many of those concepts. He took excellent examples to establish the many ways to explore ways to test and come up with test ideas. There were some really interesting ideas he recommended for example, ‘Free-Brolin approach’ inspired by a Swedish footballer’s strategy, where one member of the team is allowed to be given a free hand at testing any aspect of a system. By providing references to some excellent books and reading material, Rikard skilfully conducted a session with great impact on the various ways to approach testing. With some amazingly insightful suggestions and inputs on test analysis, it was a highly thought provoking presentation. What was really interesting to observe was the audience participation, as some of the contributions from the chat window were brilliant! Also it was really surprising to see how the same testing problem can invoke different analytical view across a group of testers!
Answering Hard Questions
Testing Guru Michael Bolton’s session on ‘Answering hard questions: A tester’s communication clinic’ had a very interesting format. As against using a presentation to walk through the ideas, he split the massive group of audience into breakout groups, gathering the perceived hard questions from the participants. He then went on to address the idea of hard question, the premise, factors that make a question difficult like trust and safety issues, uncertainty about interpretation etc. He explained how it is important to start from a position of security and self-esteem in any conversation, which he went on to elaborate with the importance of having clarity on the role of a tester. By underpinning the idea of how testers should be treated as investigators rather than a role of giving judgement or policing quality, he elaborated on how to maintain safety in conversation. Michael further went into the details of the components of communication. To put it in his words “Communication is a fractal”- It is incredibly complex and leads to more details as a conversation progresses. Accompanied by some excellent tips and analysis methods, he provided many practical ways to approach difficult conversations. As always, Michael’s engaging way of presentation was a key highlight of the session.
On the networking front, I had a really good time on Speed Meet forum which was a great way to establishing a quick conversation with a fellow tester. I spoke to professionals of incredibly varied experience level – on one hand I met someone who has been a test consultant for 20 years and also someone who has been in a testing role for a month! It just goes to show the diverse nature of the conference participants which will never cease to amaze me! There was an excellent Lean Coffee session held by fellow volunteer Chris Armstrong using a tool called with ‘MetroRetro’ which brought out good discussions – the most popular one being around managing exploratory testing around automated test suites. The day ended with a Huddle Mixer session which was of social nature. Lead by Huddle volunteers Chris Armstrong, Gosia Piekarska, Dorota Koczar and Russell Craxford, the session involved fun interactive game called ‘Drawful’ with participants getting to have a laugh using an online tool called ‘jockbox’ which enabled easy online participation. A relaxed, casual banter helped the participants unwind from the day’s intense sessions!
Tomorrow holds a lot of excitement as the session tracks and numerous Huddle sessions get underway. It is going to be buzzing with activity with presentations, workshops, demos, opportunities to meet people and much more! Personally I am thrilled about the two AMA sessions that I will be holding – DevOps expert Szilard Szell and legendary testing professional Dot Graham. A glorious start for a fabulous event and looking forward to the Day two eagerly!