Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thoughts About EuroStar 2008

I thought EuroStar 2008 was a great conference. The tutorials, keynotes and tracks were strong in my opinion (I must also say I want to give my perspective as an attendee as well as a speaker. It's hard sometimes to step back and be objective, but I'll try.).

One of my tests of a good conference is whether I'm torn between attending track sessions - and I was. I also spent a fair amount of my time in the interactive sessions, such as the ones on the testing manifesto and testing standards. It was nice to be working on things to advance our testing profession. I'm not sure where the whole testing manifesto thing will wind up. I hope it is someplace similar to the agile manifesto - something simple, meaningful and easy to read and remember.

James Whittaker was his insightful and entertaining self (that video he shows about the future of medical software is amazing and shows we're going to need better testing). His talk was "The End of Testing as we Know it", and I felt all the keynote speakers made me think. James Lyndsay spoke on "Becoming Agile - Reshaping Testing for an Agile Team." He had great points and I'm always impressed by the simplicity and impact of his slides!

The expo was amazing. In the U.S., the exhibits tend to be rather bland. In this show there were two coffee bars, a cocktail bar (I had a smoothie), a chess match, a bicycling competition, etc.

They had a contest where if you got all the exhibitors to stamp your card, you could enter the drawing. So, I computed my odds (about 1 in 30, I figured) and went for it. The grand prizes were two free passes for next year's conference and eight Nintendo Wiis. All I wanted was a Wii. Guess what? I won a conference pass. I didn't factor that in my odds! Oh well, I don't have the luggage space or weight anyway.

The gala was also fantatstic. It was held in the Grote Kerk, which is a former cathedral. It was big night for me, winning the best tutorial award. Thanks so much to the 60 or so people in my "Becoming an Influential Test Team Leader" tutorial that made that happen. It was totally unexpected! Much more important than the award was that we experienced and learned things together that will help us be better in our leadership roles.

My prize was a beautiful 9 pound Waterford crystal vase which I will find a great place for at home. Thankfully, security in the U.K. has relaxed security rules to allow two carry-on pieces of luggage!

One other thought concerns model-based testing and how it differs in Europe than in the U.S. - At U.S. conferences, model-based testing is often presented as a manual process. In Europe, they talk about the tools that can make model-based test design happen faster and more completely than using manual methods. I just thought that was interesting.

Dot Graham will be the chair for next year's conference in Stockholm, Sweden. I wish her all the best!

I would like to thank all the kind people who helped me feel right at home. Many thanks to the Qualtech Conference team - Tracy, Siobhan, Lorraine and others. Also, thanks for the conference committee for selecting my talks and to John Fodeh for my keynote introduction and to Bob van de Burgt as conference chair. You all did a great job!

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