Friday, 17 February 2017

European Testing Conference 2017

I have earlier shared my experiences with conferences (local and others) but being at European Testing Conference was a tad different experience as a speaker and as a participant.

As a participant

What I liked?

Attendees and speakers got to attend the workshops scheduled on pre-conference day.
The workshop that I chose to attend 'Test Leadership' helped me share some of the problems that I have had with my stint as a tester, test manager, and a leader.

Special mention of Speed meet.
  • One goes to conferences to listen and learn about new tools, new features of an existing tool, to learn about techniques first hand from the creator, speakers, and volunteers who have signed up to teach.
  • To find a solution to a problem that they are facing.
  • To discuss problems and meet people who can help them build something together.
  • Speed meet gave such an opportunity for the conference goers to meet a mentor/friend who can help them learn.
  • This meet brought many Twitter friends closer. Mostly the introverts/ambiverts to share about themselves.
  • At conferences, we witness many rushing from one talk to another. If lucky, we get to spend time with a mentor and learn from them during the break/s. At ETC, breaks were scheduled to accommodate such meetings to happen frequently. It was great to see people come out of a talk and share their learning with others who were in a different talk. I listened to three attendees from 'Mob Testing' workshop during such breaks.

What Lessons I Learned?

To take 'me time' to learn lean leadership and to use that time for strategic thinking (that I learned from Johanna Rothman 's blog) even when there are interruptions.
Learning to say no, different ways of handling interruptions.

Many suggestions were shared by the audience and Fiona Charles who ran the workshop, on handling interruptions.
Some suggestions were to use the below methods to let your ad-hoc audience know that you are now available / not.

  • Red / Green flag at the desk.
  • Flag up / down.
  • Headphone on / off.
  • Block your calendar.
Participants from around the world shared book references, articles to read and techniques to learn and use for some of the problems shared in this workshop. Glad to have been a part of this workshop with Fiona and the attendees.

What I liked and learned from?

Fiona and her way of running the workshop.
Listening to your audience and letting them converse and share their experiences is very much needed when we run a day-long workshop.
Providing your feedback when needed and when you have something valuable to add is what I learned from both Fiona and the audience.
Keynotes by Kevlin Henney, Gitte Klitgaard, and Fiona Charles.
And I did love Finnish culture which is different from where I come from and is grand.

As a speaker

Instant feedback on my talk from the organizer Maaret Pyhäjärvi was valuable.
I could with the help of this feedback, convert the talk to an exercise during the Open Space which was held at the end of Conference day 2.
I was introduced to Marketplace for the first time here.
A marketplace is where the willing participants come forward and ask for knowledge on specific topics to be re-shared. Mob testing/programming, Calabash, Creating and using re-usable mind-maps were topics that I recollect were talked about again. 
Thanks to participants few of whose name I recollect Sergey, Evgeny Borisov, Miroslava Nikolova, Vivien Ibiyemi, Ru Cindrea, MaaretP, Kevlin Henney, Bettina Stuhle, who were present at my talk and provided feedback.
Loved speaking to this audience, I just wished they would be a little interactive. Later did I learn from Kevlin Henney that the Finnish audience is a bit different from the US audience where I had earlier spoken at. Lesson learned I have to change my style of delivering the talk differently based on the audience and where they come from.


A nice experience conferring at ETC 2017.
Gained confidence to change the style of the presentation on demand and based on the feedback and deliver at Open Space. 
Met a lot of brave and independent people from the community, learned from them a lot professionally and personally. 
Met leaders from the community and made new friends.
Learned that I can help the community in my own way.

LLewellyn Falco, was a grand host and organizer of the conference. From this experience, I learned to extend my help/support to two leaders who will be conferring in Bangalore, next month.

My thanks to
Mentors Carsten Feilberg, Isabel Evans for their valuable time and guidance. 
All my friends at European Testing Conference who equipped me for Finland. 
The organizers (all involved) who facilitated and provided with timely help. 
My organization who gave me time to be a part of this learning.

European Testing Conference comes to Amsterdam in 2018, stay tuned and to know more:
Follow EuroTestingConf on Twitter and hashtag #ETC2017 #EuroTestingConf #eurotestconf

Image credits:
Photographer, Twitter, Llewellyn Falco.

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