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It is All About People! Post Conference Review-->
In my role as a community reporter of EuroSTAR, the aspect I enjoy the most is interacting with people. I truly enjoy witnessing testing community’s rich tapestry in terms of diversity which this event reflects spectacularly. My experience this time has been very interesting with some of the most unexpected responses from the delegates and most extraordinary stories coming out from what seemed like an ordinary conversation. Every person I met had a unique perspective to share. It was really difficult choosing but here are the top 10 highlights of my interactions with people in the conference:
- ‘World star’: As one of the participants rightly said this conference should perhaps be renamed to reflect its global appeal! With participants coming from Japan in East to Canada in west, the reach of this conference is immense, opening up amazing avenues for collaboration and perspectives. For example, the Japanese delegates had their observation about the difference in approach to testing in Japan and the European counties. They thought that in Europe concepts are worked upon first before embarking on implementation while they felt Japanese culture was more detail oriented and they found a lot of value in this new understanding. Such exchanges are very important for technology sector.
- Humility personified: Talking to a person who started the conversation by saying she didn’t quite enjoy the day long tutorial on Test Automation, that it could have been better and to find out that she was the one who delivered it was truly surprising! Seretta Gamba, an immensely experienced automation expert is incredibly humble and clearly self critical – a quality to be applauded, more so for someone who is a great achiever in her area of work. She in fact recently published a book on automation patters along with Dot Graham. While the participants spoke highly of her session, she has set herself a higher bar, which I really admire.
- Senior management: There was a senior director of a massive American hardware company who attended the conference with his team. His view was that it is important to stay close to the community and influence, energise the team with that perspective. He felt there should be more representation from senior management in such events which I thought was an excellent thought. People in key positions from organisations should consider participating to understand the pain points for testers and also to recognise where the investment is needed within testing function.
- Quality catalyst: A young testing professional who is driving a key transformation initiative in her organisation who has the job title of a Quality Catalyst, a title which I feel should be more commonly used. The role she plays made me wonder how in our work environment we can be the catalyst to testing being done more creatively, inventively and engagingly.
- Conversations with my role models: I had the privilege of speaking to people I look up to, like Isabel Evans, Dot Graham and Graham Freeburn. Speaking to them is a humbling experience and a learning opportunity in itself. I believe this conference gives you an opportunity to interact with people who are immensely knowledgeable and to draw inspiration from them.
- Champion of diversity: Sallyann Freudenberg’s key note session resonated with me so much that it is on the top of the list in the conference for me. An extraordinary person and professional, she touched upon topics of inclusion, accessibility and diversity which need to be given much more focus, taking it as seriously as the technical progression aspects like innovation.
- Shining future: Senne Visser, a young person is the winner of 2018 RisingSTAR award and a conversation with her left a great impression in me. A test coach in her company, she won the award for her efforts in raising awareness about Blockchain. The technical community behind Blockchain is known to be lacking in diversity and Senne called for women to not feel that they are alone. She encouraged them to reach out for help as there are many people in the technical community who would be willing to share knowledge and experiences.
- Programme chair: Rikard Edgren came across as a very earnest, humble and dedicated person – he was very involved in every aspect of the event. All through the conference, he was round talking to delegates / speakers, facilitating and reaching out to everyone. His sense of humour and approachable nature was a highlight of this event. His faith in developing community spirit was very uplifting and came across with a lot of conviction. We need more people in the world today with that outlook!
- Dream team: Whenever I see a team that works together in perfect harmony, the emotion I feel is that of pure joy! This is exactly how I find myself thinking every time I see the team behind the EuroSTAR core team. This bunch of incredibly hardworking, talented and composed professionals demonstrated how to pull off a mammoth of an event with extraordinary efficiency. Over time I have come to know this team a bit more and seen them operate under extreme pressure. They work as one unit maintaining consistency in dedication across the team. Their composure and humility is outstanding. Kudos to them!
- Legendary person: The experience that tops this list for me is speaking to the legendary Michael Bolton and attending his session – this was one opportunity I wouldn’t have missed for the world! Michael is incredibly unassuming and approachable. His enthusiasm, energy and way of engaging with the audience – it is a phenomenon to watch and I hope everyone in the testing community gets to experience. His infectious passion for testing, his depth of knowledge and his zeal to share it with the testers – it will all remain unforgettable to me!
The conference did not cease to amaze me for a moment with the conversations that I was witnessing on and off stage. Every single person made me see a different point of view and that experience is invaluable to me. Thank you EuroSTAR for bringing the vibrant testing community together year on year!