Bloggo back to the blog
How Is The EuroSTAR Conference Programme Chosen?-->
This question sometimes raises its head at the annual conference or through online enquiries so here’s an explanation of how the EuroSTAR Conference programme gets selected.
Firstly, talks must have a valuable experiential lesson, a practical application, a visionary idea or some other relevance to the professional day-to-day lives of software testers. Sales pitches for tools or services do not form part of the programme – the independent review panel and Committee are aware of this and as a result they invariably score very low. This is a constant at EuroSTAR Conferences and is an aspect of the conference regular attendees expect.
The goal of the committee is to deliver an independent, balanced and topical set of experiential, technical talks aligned to the theme and particular call for submissions of this year’s Programme Chair.
What’s the Independent Review Panel?
This panel of volunteers is comprised of experienced software testers from throughout Europe who are familiar with the EuroSTAR Conference and the programme. There are currently around 40 software testing professionals that make up this group.
If you would like to apply to be on this panel, please contact email@example.com stating your experience as a software testing professional and why you would like to be a reviewer.
What do these reviewers do?
The review panel conduct the first round of scoring of submissions to speak at the conference. Each proposal is distributed to a number of reviewers and all submissions are then ranked based on aggregated scores.
This initial review process is conducted anonymously with contact details of applicants hidden from reviewers and details redacted from submissions where they might indicate who the applicant is. While this process takes place the Programme Chair and Committee also score all presentations using the same criteria.
In the interest of fairness, we try to ensure that reviewers do not review the submissions of their colleagues or friends. The review panel operates an unofficial ‘honour system’ whereby they decline to score a submission from a colleague or friend and instead that submission gets passed to another reviewer to score.
What happens then?
After submissions scoring is complete the Programme Committee gets together for two days to discuss the submissions, scores, reviewer comments and what they (as Committee members) would like to see on the programme.
In the main, this selection process is carried out from the submitted applications but they can also opt to invite speakers – sometimes including one from outside the sphere of testing to keynote at the conference.
Over these couple of days, they wrestle (not literally) and wrangle (literally) over what they think should be heard by the European testing community and finally create a draft of the programme. The programme is pieced together on paper with post-it notes representing shortlisted talks and colours representing topics to be covered e.g. agile, test automation etc.
After the programme is drafted, the Committee and Chair sit on it (not literally). For a few days, they let the dust settle on the programme before giving it the final seal of approval. Once the Programme Chair and Committee are satisfied with the programme, the next step is to notify speakers.
How do I get notified?
Notification will come from firstname.lastname@example.org in March (exact date to be confirmed) and will be sent to the email you used to submit your application. If you are unsuccessful, you will also be notified in March. A small number of unsuccessful proposals will be kept in reserve for unforeseen drop outs or changes in circumstance for successful speakers – this might result in 1-2 changes per year.
Is that it?
Yes, more or less, that’s how the programme gets put together. Often the most difficult part for the Committee is agreeing which talks to leave out! Unfortunately, some good ideas miss out but we’re confident that the best talks make it to the programme.
In some instances, applicant speakers may be contacted to provide supporting information on their proposed talk or sometimes to verify their standard of English.
Presentation titles and abstracts may be reworded to suit the EuroSTAR website and promotional material – speakers will be contacted when this happens.
Submitting Your Presentation and Paper
Some people don’t submit because they think “I don’t have a presentation ready yet, so I can’t apply!“. Don’t worry – your presentation doesn’t have to be ready when you submit. You just have to have a good idea of what you will speak about – you’ve got several months to prepare and refine the presentation.
Successful speakers will be notified of the deadline for submitting their presentation slide deck – it’s usually during September.
All speakers are given the opportunity and encouraged to submit a technical paper for consideration for the Best Conference Paper Award. For any speaker interested in winning the Award, papers don’t have to be submitted until closer to the conference. A deadline date for paper submissions will be provided when successful speakers are notified that they have made the programme.
All paper submissions are also considered for release as eBooks to the software testing community in the months after the conference.
Got any other questions? Please leave your comments below and we will try to answer them.
Ready to run the gauntlet?
Do you think you have what it takes to make it onto the EuroSTAR Programme and present your ideas to Europe’s most passionate software testers?
We expect close to 500 people to submit a proposal to speak at EuroSTAR. Once the reviews are complete and the Committee has chosen their final programme, roughly 50 speakers will make it. Can you be amongst the best 10%? There’s really only one way to find out.