dinsdag 7 december 2010

EurosSTAR 2010 diaries - the conference DAY 3

I can't believe it's already the last day of the conference. Everything went by so fast, and I still want to do so much.

The first track I went to was a request from a colleague of mine. He's very into ubiquitous testing and mobile and everything, so the track of Doron Reuveni about The mobile testing challenge is right up his alley and the fun part is that I get to get involved in his enthusiasm as well and learn about a part of specific testing that I'm not currently heavily involved with (except some multi channel distribution developments). I found it interesting to hear about the different aspects of mobile testing and I got to see a very interesting demo with distance control of a mobile device in an impressive tool. Doron had very clean and clear sheets with nice graphics that illustrated his story well and although I'm not a mobile testing adapt (yet) I could follow the story very well and got really interested. Maybe it's a good tip to 'swap' tracks once in a while with a colleague who is also attending the conference and tell each other about the track you attended; it really focuses you on the subject because you want to tell and summarize everything for you colleague afterwards; a sort of pairwise conferencing :-)

After that I went to Paul Gerrard's track about Advanced Testing using Axioms. I had favorited this track before hand (I always make a top 3 of tracks I must-see and than a top 5 of really-want-to see, this makes flexibility for me and gets me to the tracks I really don't want to miss). Paul didn't disappoint a bit; I liked the content and I liked the way it was presented. Some quotes that I liked best (and also tweeted)
"Test coverage models and goals that generate uniform distributions of test are inefficient and ineffective", "A TestStrategy is not a document.. it is a thought process ", "Intellectual skills and capabilities are more important than clerical skills" , "Test Process Improvement is a waste of time" and "IEEE 829 Plan and Axioms :-) ; a better test strategy and plan, different thinking"
SOme of these quotes are a bit out of context, because Paul told about them with a whole explanation, so taking these quotes by itself might lead to totally different conclusions then originally intended. I also like the 'Quantum Testing' part, because it sounded so futuristic. If you want to know more about the Axioms you can read the booklet: The Tester's Pocketbook by Paul Gerrard (Paul's request is NOT to buy it via Amazon if possible). After his presentation Paul was 'attacked' by people who wanted to have a chat with him, had his booklet signed and ask questions.


After the morning break I went to Markus Gärtner's track on alternatives paths to Self Education. I had originally planned to go to the TMMi session, but I went to *a* TMMi yesterday and figured I would get the info because of the NENwork anyway.
Markus had been very active during the whole conference so I was very curious what he had to say. The opening message: "YOU are responsible for YOUR education" is a strong one and raised my expectations of what to come. The abstract said all kinds of fun stuff so I sat there with anticipation. Alas I was somewhat disappointed, what I saw was sheet after sheet of stuff from other thought leaders which he quoted extensively. The only thing I could think at that moment was: "What a pity that somebody with such strong personality and prospects should rely on others' quotes and thoughts to make a statement. Now YOU have the stage, the time to announce YOUR ideas and you waste it on bringing another ones message". It over shadowed the rest of the messages he had (That there are good ways to educate yourself without having to go to specific courses for example making a personal journal). I also found that a lot of these paths relied on participation of third party stuff; that can be a problem if you are a loner (although weekendtesting is a good alternative then). And if you make a statement for 'alternative paths', you should at least mention the not-alternative paths to relate to (even if you oppose to them). I think the strongest message was at the end slide: "You may have preferences for one or the other, but you should apply as much as possible". And I thought that last statement beheld much more that probably intended by the speaker.

The next tracks I skipped again. I wanted to prepare for the introduction of the final keynote, which was my task and still wanted to go through all the text with the speaker and finding the speaker himself was quite a challenge itself.
I grabbed a small lunch (my stomach too tight to eat much more) and went to the auditorium again. There I met 'my speaker' and we had some time to get acquainted.

After the lunch the auditorium filled up for Dino Patti's talk on 'For the love of the game'. It was all about a game called LIMBO (for XBox) which had really excellent graphics. He had some funny inside information like that they got their first office for free because the smell there was so bad. He also introduced the concept of 'Tissue Testers'; testers that you only use one time and then discard (disposable as a tissue). It apparently 'ticked off' some testers in the audience, which I found funny in my turn. Tissue testers are in my opinion great if you want to test a specific user experience (like surprise), that doesn't mean they are worthless afterwards as testers, but it does mean you can't use thát specific tester for thát specific piece of software again to test that specific requirement. Although Dino was quite nervous he did a fun and entertaining keynote and a trailer of the game LIMBO is seen on the LIMBO site.


Ok, so now it's time for the final keynote and I have to announce it (one of the 'advantages' of being a member of the program committee ;-) ). Nerves really get the best of me and I carefully take place behind the lectern. So, in my best English, I introduced Bob Galen with his track : Moving Beyond The Status Quo – Differentiating Ourselves and Demonstrating Value .

Bob did a fun and - I found- very educational track. I found his presentation style very dynamic and of high energy. I also liked the stuff he told, he has a great sense of humor. There was a small exercise to start with, you had to introduce yourself to an (unknown) neighbor, using three points (name and role, what are your challenges and how to approach them) within a minute. The first one had less than one minute (only half a minute), the second one did better (talking faster) but also couldn't do it in half a minute :-). One of the messages Bob had was to have an elevator pitch 'in your backpocket' and practice it every day, you should even have a couple of versions to use at different circumstances/ peoples. Another message Bob had was to ask for help when needed. One I could take with me to my working space and use immediately: people only read the first 1/3 of a (first) page with interest, the rest is ignored: write your most important message in that first 1/3 of your page. He had some more valuable lessons, but I think it would be too much to put them all here (you just should have visited ;-) )

After Bob had finished there was a (final) coffee break and a final opportunity to have a look at the expo. I got a demo of GUIDancer (a tool for testing GUI's) and I found it very interesting (quite different and very understandable in comparison to winrunner for example). I know I'll look into it when I have a little time left...

After the coffee break it was time to go to the auditorium for the final stuff. The results from the TestLab (rough figures: 180 people visited, worth about 90 hours of testing, 100 bugs found) Bart Knaack, James Lyndsay, Martin Jansson, Henrik Emilsson did a great job and handed over some fun T-shirts for 'Best Bug' (Marcus Gärtner), Most enthusiastic tester (Shmuel Gershon) and most 'Evil' tester (Teemu Vesala) (although I could have accidentally switched best bug and evil tester :-) ). I know Marcus also got the Tube of Gloom (very fun stick which makes a certain noise)

John Fodeh followed next to end the conference and said thanks to all people; attendees, speakers, chairs and the qualtech team.
He also announced next years' details:
Chair: Geoff Thompson
Team: Graham Thomas, Derk-Jan de Grood and Morton Hougaard
Place: Manchester
Date: 21st till 24th of November 2011
Theme: "In pursuit of Quality"

As committee members we all got a beautiful glass 'trophy' and a recognition for our contribution to the EuroSTAR 2010 conference and John got an even bigger one from Geoff.
After all the formalities were done, most people went home but...it wasn't over yet.

I had to run over to auditorium 15 to introduce the PowerHour held by Ruud Teunissen. This powerhour was especially organized to 'get the most out of your EuroSTAR experience' and Ruud had all these tips, tricks and tools to translate all the stuff (of relevance to you) from EuroSTAR to usable and concrete actions.
One is for example to do something with info within 72 hours, after that the most info will be fading away fast.

And after that... well.. it was all over. I stared at people going away, chatting, having 'thinking faces', having smiles or frowns... and it felt a bit sad. At one side I was happy that it went so well and that the hectic was now over, but on the other side; it's like having a great party which HAS to end and HAS ended.
So, I said my goodbyes and left for the hotel... and I thought: "DARN, IT'S STILL COLD!!" :-p


Other blogs and stuff about this third day:
VideoBlog from the TeamSTAR winners
(different) Blog posts from BlogSTAR (Ajay Balamurugadas)
Fast-blogs/live blogs
The Social Tester - Rob Lambert
Markus Gärtner

2 opmerkingen:

Markus Gärtner zei

Thanks for the feedback on my session, Natalie. I really struggled with packing everything into 35 minutes a bit, and I think that reflects your perception as well. I hoped that my opening statement about economic downtimes two years ago, and businesses not spending much on tester's education provided the path for the "alternatives", but seem to have failed at it. Similarly I wanted to show what I have crossed, and what inspired me as well. So, it was more an experience report from myself rather than a list of things others have created.

Hope that my session raised some awareness though. For next year I plan a different talk, of course. :)

Nathalie zei

Hi Markus,

I think people got a good view on what's available on the market; you indeed showed good alternatives, especially for those who can't afford (money wise) an expensive course (or may have issues with 'traditional-school' courses) and you certainly created awareness. You had the proof of that I think because you got some great responses via e-mail.

The thing I missed particularly in the track was your own touch; especially when you want to show what you've crossed. In my opinion you could have said something about what it had done for you, your learnings and the benefits that you had from it, WHY it inspired you. I think you have a good, strong message (although I might personally not agree with the whole message, but luckily we are entitled to have our own opinions :-) ) and I think you could have emphasized it more so that it had your own 'stamp' on it.

During the conference I noticed you had a strong opinion and are very passionate (to use the theme once more ;-) ) about your profession and have fun doing your work. I think your own personal message was overshadowed by the quotes and lines of other thought leaders and I think you are entitled to have your own 'minutes of fame' even though you made use of alternatives developed by others.

Hope to see a lot more of YOU in the future!