Last week I got back from the QA&Test 2017 conference in Bilbao.
When I attend a conference, I always get back to the office with a new pack of energy and ready to take on The World with my work, knowing that we are all part of a bigger group of testing professionals, with shared goals, challenges and dreams 🙂
The difference of a conference like QA&Test
Not sure how many of you have attended or heard about QA&Test. It is a testing conference focused on embedded systems but at the same time, the event organizers always manage to touch a number of other more general and interesting aspects of testing.
The thing I like most about this conference is that you are able to really interact with the people attending it. Maybe because it is so specific, you have a smaller audience of very interesting and professional testers, and this way you are able to intereact with most of the people taking part of the sessions.
As a presenter it also give you a chance to get better feedback from your audience, asking questions and getting answers from the people attending your talk.
On the other hand, the Organization and the Program committees of QA&Test always do a great job of bring a great mix of very seasoned testers and young and rising stars that come together to share their ideas.
This way you get to learn from the projects, the experience, and also the questions of a large number of really good testers.
What I took with me this time around…
There were some pretty amazing sessions this time around.
It would be really hard to talk about all the things that I learned during the sessions and the surrounding talks, but I’d want to mention some of the things I liked best:
There was a great session by Derk-Jan de Grood where he talked about the concept of Ambition Charts, and how to use (a diagram that looks like) subway maps to coordinate the maturity levels of your teams working in Agile environments, or in any environment for that matter.
I also liked a talk by Vivianne Lyrio from Brazil, who talked about application performance as a user experience factor, and brought some great ideas on how to test this with your UI/UX team.
Nancy Van Schooenderwoert gave a great talk about the ways in which Hardware and Software teams can collaborate. This session gave me some ideas on how software-only teams working on complex projects can also collaborate in order to increase their shared productivity.
And there were many more sessions, ideas and great chats that took place during the conference itself.
The sidelines of the conference
If you’ve had the opportunity to attend a conference you will know that many of the greatest conversations happen on the sidelines.
I remember that one of the best chats I’ve ever had around testing started after I finished one of my presentations and someone came to ask a question she did not want to ask out loud. We kept talking for about an hour, and even met the next day as I had come to a deeper understanding of the issues she was having with her team, and wanted to share this with her.
This conference was no an exception, and we had some great chats during the session breaks and also during the lunch, dinners and drinks we shared together with the rest of the testers attending.
You need to look for a conference to attend. Better yet look for one to talk at!
I’ve been testing for a long time (maybe even too long 🙂 ), and a personal development tip I give to many testers is to look for the opportunity to attend a testing conference. The energy you get from being in an event focused on testing, and from sharing with peers for a number of days is really amazing.
Lately there are a number of local conference taking place, organized by local testers or coordinated by global teams such as the Test Bashes done by the Ministry of Testing or many local testing Meetups, so it should be easier for you to attend a conference today than it was “back in the day”.
If you cannot attend a live session there are still online conferences such as the OnlineTestConf that you can still attend and get both the frontal presentations as well as the opportunity to talk and interact directly in parallel to the sessions themselves. If you are curious on how this is done you can simply attend the next one on Nov 28 and 29.
Finally, as much as attending a conference is an invigorating activity, speaking in one is even better! It may seem frightening at first, but remember that everyone you are seeing on the stage today also had a first time…
In short, if you can take the time to attend a conference, go ahead and do it! And if you cannot attend a physical conference look for a virtual one!