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Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae

  • 25/05/2011
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Take 1

I’m pondering the 2011 EuroSTAR programme as I’m flying high above the snowy Rocky Mountain range. The downloaded program that is – no wireless up here. My means of transport: a flying coffin that I suspect has served for transporting Hobbits to and from the Shire. The native American gentleman next to me decided to fall asleep in an awkwardly obstructing manner. The relentless optimist in me is doing his best to think happy thoughts, especially about the aircraft quality. Oh yes, the pursuit of quality has many faces. On a side note – I do hope that aircraft quality isn’t dead.

But I digress – back to the 2011 program. What immediately struck me in the program was the fact that – apparently – Belgians are hot again: four sessions by fellow compatriots, two of those by close CTG colleagues. We might not be able to form a decent government (almost a year and counting), but some of us do know how to write a convincing abstract.

You just gotta love short plane rides. The stewardess motions me to shut off my laptop as we started our descent to Durango. Oh well. No one said the pursuit of quality is supposed to be a smooth and swift process.

Take 2

Now that I’m back home, I find some time to return to those Belgian EuroSTAR tracks. I was lucky enough to review the contents of my colleagues’ sessions, and they do look promising. So, who are these new kids on the testing block?

Michael Pilaeten and Wim Decoutere will present a double track session on “Situational Leadership Styles On Test Approaches” (W1). They will explain David Kolb’s different experiential learning styles and link these to different test approaches. They will explore why certain test approaches can and will not work for all of us, and what might be the best test management approach per test style.

Jurgen Cleuren is an avid poker player, and in his session (“Playing Around With Risks”, Th3) he will try to map his game strategies to testing. Does this mean that testers are pure (semi-)bluffing blind studs that will have to bottom-pair, do checking and raise defects? I suspect that Jurgen “The riddler” will reveal all on Wednesday morning.

Erik Boelen (one of my favourite ex-colleagues, by the way) is one of the older kids on that same block, with a proven EuroSTAR track record – this year will mark his sixth (!) Eurostar appearance. He’s a great presenter, and his talks are always thoughtful and fun. I’m sure that “Acceptance Testing at its Best” (T4) will be no different.

I remember encountering Jeroen De Cock somewhere in an early European weekend testing session. That – and the fact that I’m generally quite an upbeat and happy person – makes me pretty curious about his “Happiness as quality measurement” (W8B) mini-track. My life must be full of quality.

The track session “About Testers And Garbage Men” (Th8) by Stefaan Luckermans and Dominic Maes intrigues me as well. Will they focus on the similarities between the two? Or the differences? Will it feature testers as waste removers, or as people nosing around in other people’s dirt? Maybe they’ll convey the results of a market study that offers undeniable proof that testers are smelly? There’s only one way to find out, I guess…

Take three

All this reminds me of that very convenient thing Julius Caesar said after he crushed the Belgae in 52 BC : “Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae” – “Of all these, the Belgians are the strongest (or the bravest)”. Apart from it being a great example of how to disguise self-praise as a compliment to others, this is also a great quote to use out of context (I use it all the time, especially when interacting with my Dutch friends). In this case it sure puts the pressure on some of my compatriots. But I’m sure they’ll do fine. We always do.

See you in Manchester!

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