zondag 27 november 2011

EuroSTAR 2011 diaries - day one

I arrived in Manchester very late and shared a cab to the hotel with Tim Koomen en Jan Jaap Cannegieter. Well almost, they were at Jury's Inn and I was at Castlefield so I got to go on the Cab a couple of minutes longer. The staff of the hotel was most pleasant, they even opened up the cask of Strongbow's for me so I could relax a bit after my journey. The room was basic and a bit outdated, but it had all I needed and it was clean, so I was happy with it. Besides that I got a good view on the museum of Industry and Science and the possibility to have a swim in the pool or do some exercising in the gym, bot of which I would not get to this week for that matter.

On Tuesday I was planning to go to the conference centre at about eleven, but Geoff Thompson tweeted that I should be at the centre at nine for the dress rehearsal of the Opening and the Good Morning Manchester sessions. I've been involved in this thing since the beginning of this year or actually since Expo:QA in Madrid november 2010. I was sitting next to Geoff at Isabel Evans' keynote where she mentioned a sort of morning show for some fun in testing, like 'Good morning with Geoff and Nathalie' as we were the first two that were in sight. Geoff and me (and Graham Thomas) went a bit further on this concept and it grew to Good Morning Manchester. I got to be the director, which evolved to 'the teacher' role to keep the guys to their time-schedule during the GMM-session, there's a lot more to it then meets they eye at first glance. I also get to do a 'weather report' on Wednesday and Thursday morning to highlight some of the stuff during the conference, but more of that later.

So instead of getting there at eleven I had to be there at nine, which cut my lie-in morning a bit short and I actually had to hurry to get there. And although I was a bit short on my coffee intake (which always makes me bit grumpy) I had a great reception by the Qualtech team and the program team. It was way better than any coffee could accomplish, certainly regarding the coffee they make at the centre, which isn't awful, but isn't great either. We did two full and three half-runs of the opening session, still making some adjustments if they worked better than the original plan, it looked a bit like an agile project.

And then suddenly it was almost half pas one and people started coming in the auditorium. Adrenaline started flowing through my veins, I can only imagine what Derk-Jan, Morton, Graham and Geoff must have felt like standing behind the screen waiting for their grand entrance. It went great! The smokemachine worked perfectly (there were some worries there :-) ) and the lighting was done as it should be. Timing was almost disaster though, the interaction with the audience caused them to run over time almost 20%, despite me waiving my ruler franticly from the front row.

After that there was the first keynote from dr. Richard Sykes. I'm not sure weather I got it all, maybe I should lay off the twittering a bit more and get my attention to the speaker a bit more. On the other hand, when I'm very interested in a topic, I don't get to twittering a lot, so I guess I didn't find it THAT interesting. I catched some phrases about new tech being of influence on our work in testing, but that was about it. Or maybe I was just still 'into' the zone about the opening of the conference itself.

The program I set up for myself today was:
  • Opening and keynote (have to be there for a specific reason...)
  • Acceptance testing at it's best (Erik Boelen)
  • The pursuit of Quality (Paul Gerrard)
  • Keynote and drinks
  • Attending Intechnica drinks? (I know they have the FunTESTic cocktail developed, but am not sure wheater I'm invited actually :-&)
I almost got to keep to that program.
I went to Eric Boelen's track, although I came in a bit late and had to be out of there a bit early because I had to do EuroSTAR TV recordings. I actually forgot a bit about them but luckily my phone reminded me of the event. The Qualtech team asked me to do something spontaneous, so I got in there and planned on doing something on how nostalgia of EuroSTAR in Manchester 2006 still triggered me to stuff now. I didn't expect for me to have an hour slot, I'm not THAT a spontaneous person I could just flick my sleeve and have stuff in there to fill an hour, so I got to a twenty minutes and felt okay about the recording.
Eric Boelen's track was held at one of the 'Exchange' rooms and it was packed full, there were even people sitting on the floor at the back of the room, which seemed odd to me, because you won't be able the slides and speaker from there, but I guess it's the content that counts. What I heard made sense, Eric is a pleasant speaker with an enthusiastic story to tell and this time was no different.

After the recordings I was on time to attend the track by Paul Gerrard. I like his tracks and I don't think I ever missed one whenever he was on a conference to speak and I was there. Last year was about axioms, which was very interesting (and there's also a little book available about this), so I was very curious what this one was about. Pursuing Quality.. chasing tornado's or just hot air. I could relate to the topic, about that same things can be perceived differently by different persons; rain could be a blessing for a farmer but a disaster for a tourist for example. Then there was a whole piece about models and what the impact of that is on testdesign and perception of stakeholders. Not all new, but a good shake-up for the brain. I noticed I didn't twitter that much during the session :-)

The last keynote of the day was that of Gojko Adzic 'Death to the testing phase'. SLIDES HERE. I read Gojko's 'Specification by Example' and liked it, so I was interested in what he had to say. I liked the refreshing style of the slides at first, but after a while I got annoyed with them in a way, it was a bit belittling, like I was in kindergarten and only would understand his story by these simplistic drawings. And then he showed a joke about Berlusconi and women, my first reaction was that I found it funny, but then I actually hated it and then my state of mind was already set in a kind of way and I didn't think it would get better. The main thing I got from it was actually that I should look up my more then ten year old schoolbooks about iterative stuff and I would read the same stuff as I heard in this keynote. So yes, I got SOMETHING out of it, but it was a reminder to browse some old books.

So I was really looking forward to the conference drinks and meet up with people. I felt like I've been doing loads of stuff and actually hadn't had time to do it all satisfactory to my liking. Maybe my head was just buzzing too much with all the impressions from today. I planned going to the Cloud23 party also. But after drinks I had to get back to the auditorium and practice the GMM session for tomorrow, and when that was finished it was already late and on my invite it stated that the drinks in Cloud were till 19.00 and it was already passed that so I left it for what it was and decided to go and have dinner with the program guys. We had a really pleasant evening at a place called OXnoble, which was a gastro-pub and had really good food (2 course meal for 10 pounds). I had sausage and mash and some lovely bread pudding and was happy. Went to my hotel and fell asleep almost immediately.

2 opmerkingen:

Alex zei

Sorry we didn't see you at Cloud 23... and of course you were invited! Maybe next time. Glad to read about all your positive experiences at EuroSTAR!

Nathalie zei

Hi Alex,
Yeah, you did invite me when I was at your booth at the Expo, I think I got the Defectives contest and the drinks mixed-up though regarding timing... I heard on Wednesday people where still going there at 21.30 so the 18.30/19.00 was def. wrong interpretation from my side.
I heard great stuff from the Cloud23 meeting and the Defectives, so must've had a good night!