Your EuroSTAR 2014 Experience

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    Ronan Healy

    So the EuroSTAR Conference is over for another year. It was my first Conference and I found it really enjoyable. It was great to meet so many people and put voices to avatar’s I’ve only seen on the TEST Huddle Forums.

    We like to reminisce here in TEST Huddle and I would love to hear your three takeaways from EuroSTAR 2014. Did you learn in the sessions? Were the workshops useful? Have you implemented anything of what you have learned anything since you got back?

    Most importantly was the Guinness the nicest you have ever tasted?


    I’ll make this quick for the moment, as I have a lot to do and need time of this week.

    I really enjoyed the conference and have already started bugging my boss to budget fully for me to attend next year in Maastricht.

    My top 3 takeaways? Of the top of my head it would have to be the 3 actions I remember the most without referring to my copious notes.
    1- There are a lot more places to get test requirements from other than a requirements document. This one I need to distil and turn into a lesson for my colleagues; Testing, project management and delivery teams.
    Thanks to Michael Bolton for that one.

    2- Methods to control the priorities in my life and re-focus and control my life better. e.g. define goals, list 4 actions to achieve for each of these, then distil that down to the final real actions. I’ve given that advice out several times since landing back in Blighty. Including to a overwhelmed god-daughter in her first real job that she really wants.
    Thanks to Anna Hoff for that one, and well done for a good talk

    3- Going ‘independent’ – Don’t tell the boss about this one. The discussion session in the hub with Karen Johnson. This was very interesting and helped me to realise I want to break away from the corporate chains and turn my hand to the scary world of ‘independent’ work. It may take a little more time than we expected; I’ll need to sort out my fathers estate before I can upend my world.
    Thanks to Karen Johnson for that discussion, and thanks for your offer of help, and for noticing me in the street.

    I wasn’t lucky enough to attend the workshops, I had to get back home (See above).
    I have not had a chance to implement anything yet; other than informally passing on advice I picked up. But as I regain control of the both my family life and the mess that occurred at work whilst I wasn’t looking, I’ll be formulating ways to make changes and improve my life and my practices work.

    So I said I’d make that quick, but looking back at it……….
    Just shows how enthusiastic I am about my experience.

    As a final note: Yes the Guinness is the best I’ve ever tasted, but not by a huge amount. I guess I know some good Guinness pubs in the UK.
    In Ireland it’s cleaner and ‘purer’ than the UK.

    Thanks to all that arranged, supported and presented at the conference. Without you all it wouldn’t be a conference, just a trip to Dublin.
    Thanks to all the delegates that I met and new friends I made. As a self conscious person I felt at home and welcome.
    Thanks to the CCD staff who made sure everything was smooth.
    Thanks to the companies who had stands, I visited many stands out of a kind of duty to support them as they help make the conference possible, and was surprised to find I have learnt a lot from them and have a number of things to think about and discuss with colleagues and people with budgets I might be able to tap.

    Ronan Healy

    @Stephen That’s a very nice summary of your experience. Good to hear you got a lot out of it. I would love to hear more about Anna Hoff’s talk. Sounds like she dispensed some wisdom that could be very useful.


    @Ronan Anna’s talk hit home on several levels; Work, Rest and Play. Just like the old Mars bar adverts. Or was that just in the UK?

    Anna talked about her experience of becoming lost in her own world, where everything was overwhelming and she couldn’t see a clear path or direction; whilst everyone around her seemed to be forging ahead in the comfort of knowing what they wanted and how to get there. Probably a misconception, I bet everyone else is spinning to, they just look like they know what they are doing. 😆

    She talked about her time with a life coach and some of the exercises Anna was asked to do by the coach to help her get out of the spin and find her compass.

    One such exercise was to pick a goal and identify 40 steps to achieving that goal. There has to be 40, even if they are silly steps like kidnapping someone.
    Once you have that 40, whittle it down to 10 sensible steps,
    Then 5 practical steps
    Then 3 most likely to help you succeed
    Then do them!

    She also talked about managing these steps and goals, in fact everything in her life with lists. Adding an item to the list, prioritising it, categorising it etc so she knows at any time what needs to be done and by when.

    I’ve tried similar before when feeling overwhelmed and it definitely helps. I must admit, I’ve never found 40 steps to a single goal, but it sound’s like a fun way to start focusing.

    I just now need to find time in my day to plan my implementation of this approach.

    Ronan Healy

    @stephen No I remember those Mars adverts too. Sounds very interesting. I live my life on lists. 40 steps does sound like work but I’ll give it a try. I recommend The Checklist Manifesto as a great argument for taking lists.


    Hi guys,

    I was a EuroSTAR and conference virgin in general and must say I wish I’d popped my cherry much sooner! The three biggest takeaways for me were:

    1) Networking – a complete cliché that I really would prefer not to write but its mentioned so much for good reason. You really do just need to put yourself out there, walk up to a few groups and ask if they mind you joining in. The answer will of course be no, especially given the community of people who attend EuroSTAR and you will meet some incredibly interesting people. My only word of warning here is, be genuine. When I was doing this it was with no motive other than meeting new people, wanting to learn about what makes them unique and just enjoying some good company. I had the unfortunate incident of joining a group that included a salesman and his redirection of a discussion on anything to how his product could solve the problem was nothing short of embarrassing, cringe-worthy and at times blatantly rude. I’ve shied away from this kind of stuff as I thought it would just be a business card swapping session and wouldn’t help me grow but on a few occasions I was forced to reconsider my thoughts on a subject due to someone else’s experience or opinion shattering my original thoughts.

    2) Community/Approachability – this was a real surprise for me and not something I expected at all but on a few occasions I chatted to speakers after their presentations at EuroSTAR, quizzing them on some thoughts I had and they were all too happy to engage me, a completely random person on any subject matter. Perhaps its just naive to assume some sort of segregation between speaker and delegate but I found it extremely refreshing and rewarding that I could share a pint with a speaker, for them to show genuine interest in my problems and to offer their wisdom. Since the conference I’ve continued these discussions in different communities or in private which has proved an immense source of knowledge.

    3) Everybody has stories or information I can learn from – I deserved this slap to my ego for sure, I don’t consider myself someone who is overly confident in my abilities but there was one instance where I was listening to a presentation and I was definitely thinking, ‘this person has nothing to teach me.’ Soon after I was put in my place when the person in question shocked me completely with what they said. I won’t go into detail on who it was as I wouldn’t want to offend, but their actions I knew I wouldn’t have the strength of character to do and I have so much respect for them now as a direct result. I personally would have gone the opposite direction and it would have inevitably made the situation potentially irretrievable. They also caused me to stop whining so much or thinking of all the problems I face at work, I hadn’t spent any time thinking about all the achievements we had made in the last twelve months, I always focused on fixing the next thing.

    If anyone is interested, they can find more of my thoughts on the conference as well as some quick video reviews I was doing each day on the following blog post:

    Afraid the best Guinness I’ve ever tasted still belongs to the Maypole Bar in Holywood, Northern Ireland. The Ferryman definitely did a decent one though!

    Ronan Healy

    @Nicholas Glad to see you got so much out of the Conference. The thoughts over where the best pint of Guinness can be found could go on for a long while!

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