EuroSTAR Day 3 Review – from the heart

Today I spent most of my time either thanking people or apologising to them and then somewhere in the middle of it all (during our lunch break) I took to the TESTHuddle Soapbox to present Not so much a TESTHuddle, more a TESTCuddle. A rather twee title, but that’s what you get on 5 minutes prep!

As I reflect on my last day at EuroSTAR 2015, I feel like I have made a personal breakthrough, in that I finally (after 16 years and 7 EuroSTAR’s) feel truly part of this wonderfully diverse and energetic community. My context for this achievement is probably quite unique in that I have lived in Australia for the entire time I have been coming to EuroSTAR. However, in an age where my fellow Aussies can embrace the Twittersphere and be part of that community too, I am perhaps not as unique as I may believe I am.

The main reason I did my Soapbox session today was that I wanted to give something back (albeit something quite small, in the overall scheme of things). Giving something back is a major focus for me as I embrace the autumn of my life and here was a small opening on a day of farewells and promises to stay in touch. I wanted to share my feelings (more than my thoughts) on what it meant to be part of a community and how powerful (and empowering) that can be. I shared 3 stories – two sad and one happy. The sad ones focused on ostracising and exclusion, while the happy one focused on embracing diversity and inclusion.

I subscribe to the flaunt the imperfection mantra (on several levels) and therefore I am seen as a dreamer and a romantic. This has never bothered me and, as my experiences grow, it bothers me even less. I am also, fundamentally, a pragmatist and an introvert and therefore my reality can be far less exciting than many of yours. However, this doesn’t stop me from searching for new and innovative ways in which (as Julie Gardiner has encouraged us, several times this week) to make a difference. I believe a strong and committed community can embrace diversity to meet the challenges that we will all face as we are propelled with increasing velocity into a technology-driven future.

I had the subtext to my Soapbox session Inspired by Technology, Delivered by Humans and this was my link to the conference theme this year. We are all inspired by technology, otherwise we wouldn’t be software testers. We are also, all humans, and we do (regardless of what some have glibly stated in the past) deliver stuff. How we deliver this stuff is the crux for me, though. We heard many stories of our struggles to describe what we are delivering (or even doing). Today this came via our first keynote, Rikard Edgren, when he described how delivering (what his team thought was a stunning Testing outcome, overflowing with in depth bug insights) made no impact on his client. We also heard from Michael Bolton during No more Exploratory Testing how he and his CDT colleagues have struggled to clearly define the benefits of their labours to both clients and the broader testing community.

We are all human and therefore we shouldn’t be surprised by these failures; however, what makes us different is that we (as thinking testers) then learn to adapt and move from failure to success.

Success is a hugely important factor to most of us, but because we fail to define our success criteria clearly, we all too often feel like we have failed. This is not helped by the fact that we work in a discipline where failure can be an expected result!!

As the core of the Conference Program wound down today we had the opportunity to attend the do over session – an initiative where we, the delegates, vote for our favourite Track session in the belief that those who missed it first time around missed something special. Today Julie Gardiner had the honour of reprising her 2015 Survival Guide: Lessons for Testing in the Wild and, as ever, her audience left happy and contented as @cheekytester provided sustenance for our brains and our bellies!

This is my final Daily Review as the official TESTHuddle Community Blogger for EuroSTAR 2015 and so I would like to thank you, my readers, for your valuable time. I will be publishing a “Final Thoughts and Learnings” Blog within the next few days, if your interest can be stretched a little further. I will also be providing extracts from my one-on-one interviews with several EuroSTAR luminaries over the coming weeks.

Oh, oh, oh, just before I go…. If you haven’t already heard EuroSTAR 2016 will take place in Stockholm (my fave European city) from October 31 to November 3 AND the Program Chair will be
Shmuel Gershon – my new best friend.

Until next time: Ciao, au revoir, adios, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen and of course shalom

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