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When is a Conference More Than a Conference?

  • 09/12/2009
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Over the coming days, we will be adding blog reports specific to EuroSTAR 2009 from a variety of different contributors. The article below is from Eamonn McGuinness of Brightwork, Ireland.

I am sitting at the closing sessions of EuroSTAR 2009 and observing what is going on.  I actually see a community and not just a conference.  I see awards being presented from the community to the community.  I see people saying goodbye to each other as if they were saying goodbye to family members. I see other folks heading to the bar to keep the conversation flowing over a few drinks.  I see new innovations in this years conference that have come from the community – e.g. the Test Lab.  I guess you would expect this after 17 years.

In the new test lab more than 100 people were “actually testing”.  Radical thought – “testing” at a testing conference.  The folks tested two open-source software products – a medical application (OpenEMR) and an open source mind mapping tool (FreeMind) – one multi-user product and one single user product.  The logged 55 pretty serious independent bugs!  I thought there might have been more – but 55 decent bugs is 55 decent bugs.  Some of them were howlers – like the pop-up window that merely said … “Shall I close the pop-up you just opened”!  The bugs are all being logged in the defect logs of the respective tools.  The folks even had awards for best bug found and most creative bug, etc..

The final session included a panel session.  It was moderated by Julian Harty of Google.  Two people were selected for the panel for their prior experience – including John Fodeh from HP who has been consulting and speaking around Europe for years.  The second two people were relatively unknowns (new to the conference) but they were intelligently Tweeting with 140 characters or less (on Twitter of course!) about Testing before they arrived at the conference.  The community grows – in this instance through Twitter.  Julian asked the panelists to make their initial answers be 140 characters or less!  That was fun – to start with!  The audience had different colour cards to vote on each of the topics at the end of each segment.  For example the (largely Testing) audience felt that the role of Tester will become more not less important as we all continue to move to Agile as a development approach.  I wonder what would developers have voted on this question!  The Testers did vote for a greater push to invite Developers to this annual testing conference.  I wonder would they come?!  Probably if the agenda / content was good enough.

The award for best paper went to Zeger van Hese of Belgium for “A Lucky Shot at Agile”.  Apart from being top quality, it was deemed very helpful in the tips given and extremely honest in its story telling.  The extremely popular winner of the annual European Test Excellence Award for 2009 went to Anne Mette Hass of Denmark. Anne Mette is a selfless servant of the Testing community – always bringing new innovations forward – liking teaching testing through board games.  It is hard not to love Anne Mette and the European Testing community said they did.

John Fodeh, a veteran of many EuroSTAR conferences, was announced as Program Chair for the 2010 conference in Copenhagen and John closed the conference and thanked Dot Graham – this years superb conference chair.  The 2009 EuroSTAR conference closed but the EuroSTAR community continues into year 18.

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