Dear testing community, it has been 1 week since EuroSTAR 2020 came to fruition and what a memorable experience that was! I have come out utterly inspired, reinvigorated and rejuvenated. It felt like an emotional and intellectual overhauling that I was badly in need of! For three days, I was constantly interacting with fellow testers, looking at new concepts or perspectives and mulling over the possibility of being able to applying the knowledge. It has been a gush of information but of the kind that spurs better thinking, with a better perspective. In line with my previous blogs after the conference, here are top 10 highlights from the event for me, in no particular order:
1) Inspiration unlimited
Meeting exceptional achievers, speakers, experts is a great highlight of this event. It is always such a humbling feeling to interact with some of the brightest minds in testing sphere. Their depth of knowledge and wisdom leaves me awe stuck and gives me new goals. Their passion and devotion for testing is a huge influence on me. This year’s conference was more so special as I had unexpected opportunities to interact with some of the greatest thinkers of testing during the feedback sessions. I truly cherish these invaluable opportunities.
2) Programme content
The conference programme was of very high quality and kept up the tempo all through the course. This is again a reason why the conference always delivers so brilliantly to the testing community, to ensure the content reflects topics of relevance, in tune with the pulse of the testing sphere. It caters to technical and non-technical requirements of knowledge sharing incredibly well. The sessions were very well balanced in covering some of the state-of-the-art concepts like AI as well as some of the core aspects like test strategy or test design ideas. The current topics like automation and DevOps had unique content on offer as well. There was an excellent mix of seasoned speakers as well as first timers. Kudos to the programme committee (Rik Marselis, Zeger Van Hese, Marta Firlej and Mette Bruhn-Pedersen) to have persevered in making this happen.
3) Thought provoking ideas
Some of the topics dealt with brought out a more human element to our work in technology which to me was highly thought provoking. To quote an example the cognitive biases mentioned by Andrew Brown in his session were an eye opener. Like Anchoring effect is about how an initial understanding of a concept affects our subsequent decisions which has an impact on aspects like estimation. It has made me introspect and dig deeper on what triggers those behaviours. I have been not only reflecting on these at professional but also personal level in terms of what drives decision making.
4) Testing community spirit
This is an aspect I am truly proud of and I believe this aspect stands us out in the technology domain. Testers from around the world made room in their schedules, crossing many a hurdle to attend this conference. Year on year, EuroSTAR conference instils a sense of belonging and it was so amazing to experience is once again. The enthusiasm with which the conversations were happening during all sessions was a proof to how involved and well engaged the participants were. It is a joy to experience this sense of solidarity and comradery, more so in current times!
This is an aspect always very heartening and to me personally a huge highlight of the conference. Diversity could be in terms of where people come from, the kind of role they do, their take on a given problem / aspect of testing, in every which way this conference to me is a snippet of the world we are in and the way it celebrates the presence of so many identities. During the speed meet sessions, the diversity I experienced was of an extraordinary measure. On this topic I would like to mention the analogy presented by Ioana Chiorean in her session. Diversity is being invited to a party, inclusion is being asked to dance and belonging is when we dance like no one is watching. I genuinely believe the conference is very successful in achieving it.
6) Legacy of EuroSTAR 2020
In my opinion one of the biggest legacy of the conference this year is to not only to have delivered the conference completely online but for bringing people together amidst adversities. It is also to mark of the commitment to deliver high quality content irrespective of the circumstances. To honour the contributions of a great leader in testing, Maaret Pyhäjärvi, through the testing excellence award was another high point of the conference. As the programme committee chairman Rik Marselis mentioned the programme in itself has been a huge highlight in what it has delivered to the community. A truly memorable event for many reasons.
7) Programme committee and the conference team
There are event organising challenges and then there is a pandemic – it must have come across as a hurdle of a different order ! The achievement of the programme committee and conference team is extraordinary! The effort over the three days must have felt like a culmination of a roller coaster ride the entire team has had in the year 2020. It has taken a lot of creative and innovative thinking in being able to engage all speakers and participants effectively. I am inspired by their tenacity and determination. Rik Marselis and his team of committee members, the EuroSTAR team of organisers – you all deserve a big round of applause on a terrific outcome!
8) Accessibility of the conference
The online format of the conference was clearly an advantage for many people at the conference. I must admit, this first ever virtual format of the conference was of great advantage for me personally! As a parent of two young children the logistics in attending the event was much easier. Having been accustomed to remote working now, I can’t deny appreciating the privilege of being in the comforts of my home and yet networking with testing professionals from across the world! The replay option of the fantastic sessions will be a plan of my daily routine! I believe this was a message reflected by many people in the conference.
9) Power of technology
In the current circumstances one of the biggest driving forces of society is technology. I carry great pride to be working for a sector which can connect people together in most grim circumstances and has ensured continued service delivery and employment across many sectors. I feel grateful for the countless innovations that have happened over decades to make this a reality. Technology is certainly one aspect which stands out for me as a mark of advancement in 21st century and that we will stand up to many a challenge with this aspect working as the backbone.
10) Tester role
As a follow up to the previous point, I also feel aware how important a job we do as testers to ensure quality in technology. Each one of us is on a task which is incredibly value added and we should be very proud of our contributions. Our role is pivotal in being the voice of sense, reason, protecting the interests of the end users. And as a community, we are there for each other. As Dawn Haynes mentioned in one of the feedback sessions, it is the realisation that we are not the only one which sometimes is very important and reassuring. We might be fighting our own battles but to know that there are others leading a parallel life, who can relate and understand our position is hugely reassuring. Hope the conference has helped all participants carry that feeling of achievement and togetherness.
The last few months have felt like a huge social experiment where people have had to make significant changes to life style. The conference was against such challenges too. But thanks to the sheer determination and hard work of the EuroSTAR team, the enthusiasm of the fantastic testing community, we have well and truly risen up to that challenge and made it a huge success. We can say with pride, that we as a testing community, we have adapted to the times and displayed the undaunted spirit that we are known for! Hope we can keep it forever. I believe the pandemic has united the world in its own strange way. This phase might have, in its own unexpected way, opened up new ways of collaboration – let us make the most of it! On that note, I would like to sign off – wishing everyone the very best of luck, good health and well-being.
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