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The Community Hub 2012 – Brett would have been pleased

  • 03/12/2012
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After being talked about for some time, The Community Hub finally arrived at EuroSTAR. Reputedly suggested by Brett Gonzales in the late 1990’s during a previous conference panel discussion, this was another concept from this thought leader, showing once again that he was way ahead of his time and further evidence that his best thoughts are only now beginning to come to the fore.

No-one can vouch for the original idea, but only what was present at EuroSTAR 2012. A room off the main exhibition hall had a variety of activities planned, and thankfully some spontaneous discussions. One of the key-note speakers provoked heated debate with the assertion that all testers should be able to ‘program’ – whatever that means, a discussion that was carried over into The Hub. There was a book signing during one lunch-time, and another that was planned – unfortunately both authors thought the other was bringing the books. The one thing that a book signing needs is books……………………

The aim was to get testers talking together, meeting together and dining together, and the Tuesday evening testers’ dinner was part of that. The guest list opened at 12:30 on the Tuesday, with 20 places booked at a local Indian restaurant for 20:15 that day. At 16:00 with 6 people signed up, I thought “This could be embarrassing” – and as 26 of us strolled into the eatery later on I thought “This could be embarrassing”. Nine nationalities were round the table, several speakers from this year’s conference, 4 former conference Program Chairs and most importantly a number of first time delegates. I have had the privilege of dining with the about-to-be announced European Tester of Excellence on the Tuesday of the conference for the last two years. Any thought that the Tuesday Dining Club was part of the nomination and selection process for the award to Bob van de Burgh this year is both fictitious, and one way to boost the number of people for the Tuesday Dining Club at EuroSTAR 2013. This would be those aspiring to the award, and those wishing to see the nominations short-list!!!!!!!

A key part of The Community Hub for 2012 was the soap-box sessions, where 10 speakers had 5 minutes on their choice of testing topic; witty, amusing and in some cases bending the guidelines, but great fun, thought provoking and challenging. One of the topics was “All Testing is Exploratory”. Now THAT is controversial. As a guide to any potential soap-box speakers for another year, many of the participants want to return for another session, so competition for these coveted slots may be intense. There was also a running daily total of country-participants to The Community Hub, with 16, 17 and 20 countries on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Perhaps those numbers will increase in future years.

The overall opinion was that The Community Hub had a good beginning, and that it should be part of the conference proceedings next year. As Hub Host, I have fed back to the EuroSTAR team my “Post Hub Review” comments:

What went well?

What went badly (and maybe should be excluded?

What could we do better?

(Now where have I heard those three questions before?)

Some even wrote in The Community Hub visitors’ book that the Hub was one of the best bits of the conference for them (and that was a totally unsolicited comment. Yes, really!!) So the hope is that there will be The Community Hub at EuroSTAR 2013 and into the future. No doubt there will be changes, but good things often start small, and we only have to see the prominence that The Test Lab had this year, compared to its smaller profile its early years.

It looks like The Community Hub is here to stay. Brett would have been please – it is what he wanted, no doubt very eloquently put in that panel discussions all those years go.

Peter Morgan, host of The Community Hub, 2012

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