Hello everyone, here I am finally at the UK Star Conference 2018 and what a day it has been! I have had the privilege of experiencing the buzzing atmosphere, the fabulous sessions and the terrific conversations! Here’s a brief report on my perspective of the day 1 in UK Star 2018.
The event kicked off to a start with the key notes session from Christina Ohanian, who delivered an utterly inspirational talk about the importance of building a community of testers in our delivery environments. Her story and her journey resonated with the entire audience and charged us up, which set an excellent tone for the day. I then attended a workshop again run by Christina and her team member Nicola Sedgwick, which drew excellent participation from the audience. Through some very interesting games they established the importance of key aspects of agile methodology like effective communication within the team and engaging better with product owner. A crazy moment for me was during the ice breaker part of the session when I ended up being the runner up in a rock-scissor-paper competition in a group of about 60 people. As part of that exercise half the participants in the room were asked to loudly chant my name which was quite amusing for me!
Utterly spoilt for choice, I went about choosing further sessions through the day. Jitesh Gosai from BBC delivered an excellent session on DevOps giving a simplified summary about this upcoming area of specialisation. He demonstrated the core idea of flow – feedback – continuous learning model, which was quite effective. Following this session there was a talk by Rhian Lewis about testing Blockchain applications and she gave a well rounded coverage of this topic. She also drew our attention to some very interesting aspects like the ethical issues in this area – for example, the nature of block chain applications being data immutable has raised concerns with some testers and how it can contradict with regulations like GDPR. What was interesting to note in the talk is the kind of investment companies are making across various industries and business domains to make the most of this lucrative idea.
The hospitality extended by the UKSTAR team throughout the day is worth a mention. Also during the lunch break I had a chance to try some fun games at the huddle along with the incredibly friendly UK Star team.
In the second half of the day, Fran O’ Hara delivered an insightful session on the shortcomings of a scrum based agile implementation. I could relate to many pitfalls that he highlighted which would prove to be hurdles in progress. Struggling with a serious dilemma between Dorothy Graham’s session on the three Cs in testing and Ali Hill’s talk on conversion from manual to automation testing, I chose to attend the former. Dorothy’s talk addressed some of most practical issues we face as testers involving criticism, communication and confidence – some of which I could relate to in my personal life situations as well. She proved why she is a hugely respected speaker by talking with great ease on the matter and finishing it with a marvellous song about her topic – she happens to be a brilliant singer too!
The finale for the day was absolutely spellbinding (pun unintended!). Delivered by Gustav Kuhn, a cognitive psychologist, this session was quite thought provoking. Through his research in magic, or rather illusion, Gustav has made fascinating studies about the abilities of human mind (or even the lack of it!). He demonstrated how magic uses the idea of misdirection by exploiting the discrepancies in human cognition and how this limitation should be taken into account in our work as testers. Gustav made it an incredibly engaging session and hence gave a splendid finish to the day.
My top 3 highlights of the today are:
1) The truly magical session by Gustav Kuhn which left me awe stuck about the complexities of the human mind
2) Dorothy Graham’s amazingly creative touch to her session by coming up with a song for her topic
3) The networking opportunities throughout the day with fellow delegates
Tomorrow’s schedule promises to be equally interesting and I am really looking forward to many more such experiences. I am signing off on that note for the day but please do look out for my blog tomorrow about day 2 UK Star 2018!