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TeamSTAR are getting ready for EuroSTAR

  • 22/10/2014
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Hello EuroSTAR and hello to all the testing community! We are delighted to be the TeamStar in 2014 and we have to admit it is a dream come true for us. Who are we? We are 4 young, enthusiastic testers from Altom Consulting – a company focused on software testing from Cluj – Napoca, Romania. Alexandra, Ramona, Sandra and Rares greet you with excitement! :)

This is our first blog post, describing how we are getting ready for the most important conference in our career so far. We have decided that taking a personal approach to our blog posts is more suitable since each one of us has a unique view of the event. We’re each looking for slightly different experiences which, in the end, will define how much each one of us has managed to gain on a personal level. We hope you can keep up with each one’s adventure as he or she pursues his / her goals for the event.

[Rares]

EuroStar Conference! A dream come true! When the TeamStar contest announcement first appeared, everybody in the Altom office was giggling about teaming up and having a go. So, together with three friends, we decided to let our imagination create a short movie and give it our best. And, after a couple of hours of brainstorming, filming, editing and promoting our video, we made it! What a magnificent feeling: we are TeamStar 2014!

Ideas kept coming through our minds: what talks are we going to see in Dublin? Should we attend tutorials also? Which tutorials? Keynotes, teambuildings, teamwork, leadership talks and many many more. Which to choose?

Personally, my first intention was to see as much as possible. Or even “catch them all”! :) But then I realized I need to focus on what really matters to me and what really is on the top of my interest list. So, after deciding to attend the Monday and Tuesday tutorials too, I faced my first important decision. What tutorials to attend? After analyzing the options, I went for the “Test Strategy – Next Level” tutorial on Monday, which will be held by Rikard Edgren. Maybe I’ve gathered some testing experience in the past years in the Altom office, but I consider I don’t have a clear strategy to follow in various situations. Besides this, I want to maximize my effort in the current project I’m working on and give it my best, because I sometimes feel that the lack of a well-based strategy tends to make me act in a more amateurish mode.

For Tuesday I settled for the “What’s The Problem Delivering Solid Problem Reports” with Michael Bolton because it’s a long-lasting wish to participate actively in a tutorial held by a tester whose videos, lessons and tutorials I’ve watched in the past years. Besides this, the idea that some “defects” may not be considered problems has always challenged my imagination.

On Tuesday evening I would attend the “How to build a virtual Office” conference because I’ve worked on many projects where, as a tester, was separated by the rest of the team and, after the one-hour tutorial, I hope to gather more information about how to communicate more efficiently. The evening will be dedicated to the interesting “QA Cookbook” because, in order to be awesome, testing needs a great recipe :) .

The third day in Dublin means many many presentations from which I can’t miss Jorgen Lund’s “Beacons of the Test Organisation” and Robert Calangiu’s “What is the Testers Role”, which caught my attention with the pretty video teaser :) Of course, Alex Rotaru’s talk about changing mindsets is a must and I will gladly listen to the experience he gathered through the years.

Finally, The “Programming for Testers” workshop in the last day of EuroStar caught my attention because of its Python-based experience – a programming language I’d like to improve my skills at. Last but not least, the test Lab is also a must and will surely be a great experience to interact, explore, learn new things and challenge my imagination.

EuroStar 2014, here we come! It’s going to be…awesome! :)

[Ramona]

37 days left. And I still can’t believe this is happening. Although, I must say, trying to write this piece of blog post has definitely helped make it more real :)

It has taken me back to my notes on this year’s programme, and back to my thoughts on the conference and our being there. What an extraordinary adventure that is going to be! Having the chance to actually meet all those passionate testers that we’ve watched sharing knowledge in online videos and webinars, or read texts and presentations by. (Note to self: Make sure to prepare your list of questions! :P)

So, how will my conference look like?

Let’s see: I will be attending Rikard Edgren’s “Test Strategy” tutorial on Monday, and Karen Johnson’s “Thinking Skills” tutorial on Tuesday. These are both topics that to me are endless, always growing, always sources of growth and wonder.
Also, I plan to listen to Andy Stanford-Clark’s insights on “The Internet of Things”, and to Daniël Maslyn sing about “our shared common knowledge” and his philosophy of testing. I want to learn about Michael Bolton’s PRICE, I am curious how Andrzej Lisowski applies the “wisdom of crowds” concept to testing, and curious to find out more about Seth Okai’s emotion-based testing.
I don’t want to miss the talks of two great testers that I’ve worked with: Alex Rotaru’s story about changing mindsets and Robert Calangiu’s reflection on the tester’s role in light of his Olympics experience.
Assumptions are another topic that fascinates me, so I look forward to embarking on the journey proposed by Jackie Frank and taking a closer look at “the assumption paradox”. And I hope that Ana Moga’s inspiration is infectious, as her talk is also on my list.
One more thing: exploring the Test Lab!!

My scattered notes seem to make quite a dense list, now that I’ve wrote it down. I hope I am able to make the most of all these talks, tutorials, presentations (and encounters, and discussions), and, in my turn, share, pass the knowledge forward. How does one get ready for that? — 37 days left to find out…

[Sandra]

Two cups of tea and tens (maybe hundreds, I didn’t count them though…) of clicks on the EuroSTAR’s webpage for the last 2 hours make me think I really need a plan (I don’t know why, but I’m thinking of the Latin saying “Divide et impera”) to make the most of the conference.

Monday Full Day Tutorials, Tuesday AM Tutorials, followed by Tuesday PM Conference, Wednesday and Thursday Conference are all part of the conference, at a glance. Not to mention the Test Lab, a favorite among the participants and also a “not to miss” on my undefined schedule. With all these popping in my mind, no wonder EuroSTAR is said to be Europe’s No.1 Software Testing Conference! And I’m going to be there, as part of TeamSTAR 2014 – I feel the need of pinching my hand…it this real?- yuuhuuuu!

So what’s on my agenda?

Well, on Monday I plan to attend Rikard’s Edgren tutorial “Test Strategy – Next Level”, because I want to learn more on developing a useful test strategy.
Tuesday will begin, after definitely sipping an Irish coffee (no whiskey, however, it’s still morning), with “What’s The Problem? Delivering Solid Problem Reports”, by Michael Bolton. I’ve heard so much about Michael Bolton that I’m really looking forward to meeting him while participating to his half-day, hands-on workshop. Most probably, I’ll follow a Great Recipe of Alexandra Schladebeck, after which I’ll take back my own reins (Anna’s Hoff talk).
Wednesday I’ll learn that every tester has a price (Michael Bolton) and I’ll join my colleague’s, Alex Rotaru, presentation about his work on changing mindsets. Since I’m currently working on a project that’s focusing on mobile devices, I want to understand the mobile users so I’ll join Stephen Janaway’s talk.
I find it somehow difficult to define wisdom, thus I’m curious what Andrzej Lisowski will present about the wisdom of crowds. “What? Why? Who? How?”…relax, you don’t have to answer all these questions now…it’s about security testing that I’m curios about. Declan O’Riordan will talk about this in his presentation.
Style is something I often see in different things, but I never thought of stylish mobile testing. I want to hear Dan Ashby & Nehir Yelkovan’s talk on this.
“Am I a leader?”…that is the question. I don’t know, but I’m about to find out while playing “Race” and “Smash Them!” games with Kateryna Shevchenko.
“Exercises, games, puzzles, competitions….”. This is Test Lab, where I also plan to go for having fun together with other participants. Did you hear that this year there’s also going to be a lounge area and a Test Lab Bar? Well, it’s Dublin, there has to be one! One more reason to have the Test Lab on my “to dos”.
Heard something about a soap box, round table, or a test clinic? Community Hub is a place I also want to be during the EuroSTAR conference!

I’m aware there are chances to add some more activities to this initial plan of mine, but so far it’s a good start. Let’s see how things will evolve over time as the conference is approaching. I’ll keep you posted.

 

[Alexandra ]

I wanted so badly to attend EuroSTAR and win the TeamSTAR competition that I never truly reflected upon what happens if I get there. I’m not referring to which tutorials I would attend or which talks I would be most eager to see, though I do have a list prepared (work in progress)

What concerns me most NOW is the information intake – I know the days will pass in a bliss and I also know that it will be a big challenge to retain all the knowledge absorbed. I owe it though to my future self and to my colleagues to best preserve the new ideas, the new concepts and visions as well as the faces and names of all of the people I meet. Therefore, I’m currently trying to improve my note-taking skills – whether deciding what is important to write down and I’m even experimenting with sketchnoting. I figured that the best way to practice is by watching the archived EuroSTAR webinars.

So far I believe my ability to quickly summarize and take useful notes could use some brushing up and I’m going to make sure that happens until the conference starts, so that I can also focus on making new connections, learning new things and also have some fun on the side in what I believe to be an amazing city with a rich culture.

When it comes to my schedule during the conference, I just wish I had Hermione`s magic hour glass so that by going back in time I’d have a way to attend every conference event, every tutorial, every keynote, every session, talk to everyone during breaks and spend time in the TestLab. Unfortunately for us muggles, we have to choose. It isn`t easy, and I still don`t know how my final schedule will look like, but there are a few things that I’ve already decided on.

For the tutorials, I’ve chosen the guidance of Rikard Edgren in “Test Strategy – Next Level” and that of Karen Johnson in “Thinking Skills: Bridging Skills from Theory to Practical Use”.
The sessions I wouldn’t miss are held by Anna Hoff – “Taking Back Your Own Reins”, Rikard Edgren – “Trying to Teach Testing Skills and Judgment”, Kristoffer Nordström – “Gamification – How to Engage and Get Help from Users of a Test Framework”, my colleague Alex Rotaru – “Changing Mindsets – Learn, Test, Lead [by Example]”. I’ll use the rest of the time left until the conference to decide upon spending the time left at some of the other interesting talks.
All the Keynotes are a must on my list and the TestLab is up for grabs. Can`t wait to see what Adina and Ruud have prepared for us.

I have to stop here since I caught myself daydreaming of Eurostar …

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