EuroSTAR 2014: It’s Almost Here!

Dublin Convention Centre at Night

“You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

If I’m honest, 2014 is not going to close with me achieving a majority of what I planned to achieve at the start of the year.  My new venture into the field of testing has not gone remotely how I anticipated, my near-cyborg status has now left me as it seems I get common illnesses like everyone else now and my left ankle apparently does not enjoy it or stay in one piece when I fall down part of the French Alps at high speed while strapped to a board.  Does this mean 2014 has been a failure?  Hell no!  This year has offered up an incredible number of learning opportunities for me and the quote above from Wayne Gretzky, NHL hall of fame inductee come philosopher embodies how this blog post came to be.

I can’t actually remember how I came across the TEST Huddle competition to become one of their bloggers at the upcoming event, but it became a tab I visited and stared at daily over the period of a week.  I’d targeted the event back in 2013 and made my attendance a goal for 2014, unfortunately my attempts to secure tickets had failed up to the present moment and I thought about the time potentially wasted attempting to win a competition that I had no right to win.  However, I soon reminded myself of the goal I’d set myself nearly a year before, no greater opportunity to attend would cross my path and If I didn’t submit an application, I definitely wouldn’t be attending.  While watching the recorded speeches from home, a few days after EuroSTAR 2014, I’d wonder if I could have submitted an application good enough to be selected.

Fortunately, I did seize the opportunity in front of me and for some bizarre reason the TEST Huddle team decided I would be a worthwhile candidate to represent them as their video blogger this year!  So I must say a huge thank you to Daragh, Ronan and the rest of the TEST Huddle team for placing their faith in me, I intend on re-paying that faith with hard work and enthusiasm.

Dublin Convention Centre from across the river
Hard to beat a venue like this, eh?

THE CONFERENCE

EuroSTAR 2014 will actually be the very first conference I’ll attend in any industry, which so far is resulting in an eclectic mix of excitement, anxiousness and confusion!  I’m intending on becoming a sponge at the event, soaking up as much of the knowledge and wisdom as possible, all while having some fun when I can.  When I first considered attending the event, I was looking at things as what first and foremost  I could take back to my office to benefit my employer as much as possible?  However, I always tend to do things that way, aiming for optimum productivity or takeaway so I’ve decided to attend the presentations I want to attend, for no other reason than I’m curious about the content or feel it would directly benefit me as a tester and as a person.  For those of you stuck deciding between conflicting presentations, an extremely useful feature I found was the option to view the slides and accompanying papers for the presentation via the EuroSTAR dashboard.  This enabled me to gain a greater insight into what certain speakers would be focusing on in their content and allowed me to choose a clear winner for my attention during the competing time slot.  So without further ado, here are the highlights I’m most looking forward to at this year’s conference:

Tuesday

The highlight for me has to be Rob Lambert’s talk on Continuous Delivery.  I’ve been a regular visitor over at the social tester since I made the switch to testing and Remaining Relevant was one of the first books I read, it’s also one I return to regularly to ensure I am moving things in the right direction.  The topic is also of particular interest to me as even in my short time in testing I’ve noticed the build/release cycle can be a real bottleneck in production.  It’s also an area I’m targeting to increase my skillset in as I’ve only tinkered a with TeamCity and Jenkins a few times and I see the line between DevOps and Testers blurring in the future.

Wednesday

Looking at the lineup it would be extremely easy to say Michael Bolton is the clear highlight of the day, his reputation precedes him as one of the best in the field.  However, personally I’m most looking forward to Kasper Amstrup Andersen’s talk on Building a World-Class Test Toolsmiths Team.  I love how certain tools can make gathering data for a test so very simple and increase efficiency of test execution, since my previous life as a developer, I have also missed the process of building software.  I’m looking forward to hearing how Kasper’s team solved the problem of the middle-ground between testing and development where there tends to be a lack ownership.

Thursday

With the rise of Agile across so many organisations, including my own, its not hard to guess who my highlight is.  Janet Gregory feels like the source of Agile Testing to me given the mere seconds it takes for any question relating to agile testing to be followed up with a recommendation to buy her book, co-authored with Lisa Crispin, Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams.  I’m certain my office has fallen into some of the traps Janet will cover in her presentation and I’m eager to find solutions we can implement that all parties can be happy with.

TEST HUDDLE

For those of you new to the TEST Huddle community, only finding out about the EuroSTAR conference or otherwise late to the party, I would recommend having a look at some of the outstanding webinars available via TEST Huddle resources section.  I’m currently playing catch-up on several I missed, one you should be sure not to miss if you’re interested in the impact testing can have on social change is Keith Klein’s Breaking the Poverty Cycle with Software Testing.  I’ve long followed the work of Keith and Per Scholas, his talks on the subject are incredibly inspiring and his delivery so relaxed you could easily mistake yourself for sitting across a coffee table from him.  If they can create the model they’re attempting to and the interested parties in other regions of the world can successfully implement it, it would be a complete game-changer.  On that note, Keith, if you happen to be reading and you’re looking for people to help in your mission, feel free to contact me, I would love to help make Per Scholas and even bigger success story than it already is.

And with that I’m reminded of how this blog post began, “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

Hello World!

Since the age of 13 when I made my first website through to present day when I create any new project, this is how it starts!