Thursday, September 22, 2016

From Not Paying to Speak to Timely Payment

European Testing Conference 2017 takes place in Helsinki, Finland on February 8.-10th 2017. Check also our web pages
 
It's never been as easy to organize a conference as today. Just decide you do it. If you want to start small, try a single track conference. Find a place that has flexible terms on number of participants  and invoices first part just a little before the conference (easy or hard depending on country). Find speakers to fill your day and attract the crowd. Finally, find people who will pay for the tickets. If you hook on to an existing community, that might be also straightforward.

The thing in particular that makes organizing new conferences easy is the fact that the common expectation for speakers still is that they pay their expenses to come and speak, or at minimum, when you promise to pay the expenses they expect that to happen after the conference. Speakers commonly act as a distributed loan office for the conferences.

The usual sums tossed around in conference budgeting is 700 euros within Europe and 1400 euros when from outside Europe. That's a significant amount of money to bind into someone else's conference for up to 6 months in advance. And surely you need to book on time, otherwise that budget won't be enough.  And you would rather see the conference not pay extra just because you, as a speaker, booked late. 

This is one of the many things  we've set out to do differently for European Testing Conference. Just now, 5 months into the conference, we sent out an expense link to all our recently chosen speakers to encourage them to submit their travel expense compensation claims as they incur. We also opt to coordinate the whole travel from our end with some speakers who don't have even momentarily these kind of assets around to move.


Why is this relevant? Why do we care? The reason is to enable voices that are worth hearing and learning from for you, our audience.  The speakers that would have to choose not to do speaking as finances are hard. We want true diversity, and it means for us that we are working actively to bring down blocks that stop people from sharing the great stuff they have.

Most of seasoned speakers (consulting speakers) are past this already. But they are not the only ones we want to hear from, as awesome as they are. And for them, it might be that a significant part of their assets is tied into payments to expect on expenses of various conferences they're doing. 

Not all of us have a company to back us up and we still have things to say. Asking for different (fairer) treatment seems like something that shouldn't need to happen, when it could be built into the system.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Safety at conferences

European Testing Conference 2017 takes place in Helsinki, Finland on February 8.-10th 2017. Check also our web pages

There's an item on the organizers to-do list that did not get done for the 2016 edition a Code of Conduct.

The reason why it is still on the to-do list is twofold. One is that it is easy to believe that this conference will reflect the values of its organizers. Another is that instead of copying a common code of conduct, we feel we have special needs. 

The code of conduct we want could be summed up as Don't be a jerk. We would like everyone to feel safe and included. And we recognize that with a special mix of testers and developers, and our history of separation it is easy to make someone not feel safe. We will have differences of backgrounds and opinions. We hope to work on those in spirit of dialog and aim of understanding the other over winning an argument. 
Testers say things that offend developers. "Developers can't be trusted with testing". "What developers do is only checking". And Developers say things that offend testers "You're not needed unless you become programmers too". "Why didn't you find that bug, testing is your responsibility".
We want to start this conference from the premise that we are all valuable. Testing is too important to be left only for testers - it's everyone's business. We need diverse views to make feedback make more sense in the world of software development. 

When there is any reason to feel unsafe at European Testing Conference, we hope people would approach us and we're committed to take things seriously. And we recognize that even we are not immune to offending people with out actions even with a good intent. 

We have work to do on this one. Creating a safe learning space is something we all do together. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Testing is important is a given

European Testing Conference 2017 takes place in Helsinki, Finland on February 8.-10th 2017. Check also our web pages.

When we started European Testing Conference, two things were very clear to us in the vision:
  • Our focus is practical - "getting experts and practitioners together to talk, learn and practice the art of testing" and "We’re tired of conferences that feel more like sales pitches than practitioners sharing the craft"
  • We're about testing, not testers - "we bring together testing from developer and tester perspectives in a practice-oriented package in a dialog culture, aiming for mutual learning of how testing can be done in practice"
With the collaboration calls with our potential speakers, what this means in practice has been shaped for clarify. We're not selecting talks that explains what testing / tester is and isn't. We're selecting examples of what testing looks like. What would be the practical things people have done and want to teach others. From people in different locations, organizations, and different roles. From voices old and new.

With every collaboration call, we've been looking for the practical core to every view that the amazing potential speakers have proposed us. We've learned that sometimes the practical stories are hidden under abstractions. Sometimes people want to talk about a big thing in a short time, when a subset of the big thing is of the best practical value to us.

In this conference, we take it as a given that testing is important. Testing is needed. And we respect the variety of ways to organize for it, and learn from each other in the spirit of dialog.

Super-Early Bird Tickets are available until end of August (timezone: whole world). And Early Bird Tickets after that. 

Join us to learn on testing from peers. The organizers and speakers are approachable and everyone wants to share both in sessions and on hallways. Be there to take your learnings back to the work we do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's all about people

European Testing Conference 2017 takes place in Helsinki, Finland on February 8.-10th 2017. Check also our web pages

We've had a lovely time setting things up for European Testing Conference 2017. In the spirit of experimenting all kinds of new things that we believe would take things forward, this upcoming year sees two major changes.

Collaboration with speakers has a new meaning

Usually, when you submit to a conference, there's a program committee with a group of reviewers who carefully read what you've written. They ask you to label your proposal, describe it as you'd describe it for people you want to join your session, and describe it as giving a little more detail on understanding what you'll actually do. They ask you about you, your work experience and your speaking experience.

We asked too, but the detail in how you write when you propose a session with us isn't the basis we use on choosing. We talk with every single one of our submitters - as long as they schedule the Skype talk from a vast variety of times we've made available.

Our call for collaboration is still open until August 21st. But we've already started discussions to learn about who these people are and what their topics are about.

For each of the calls, there's a feeling of being honored to meet face-to-face over Skype wonderful testers, developers, analysts and managers all around the world. Each one has unique experiences, and the excitement to their topics shines through. Some receive feedback on trying to fit too much into a talk and we talk about how they feel about adapting the talk. Some receive feedback on the fact that many people talk on similar topics, and the choice of which one will fit is going to be a hard one.

For each of the calls, it's not just the applicability for this conference we're concerned for. We want to help these people find the places that are right for them to share the passion they clearly have. We want to help these people find help to grow as speakers if that is what they need.

Each call emphasizes the belief I couldn't quite phrase earlier: it's all about people. We have the need of connecting, sharing, and building our ideas forward in dialog that crosses borders of roles in software development. We know testing is important, we want to know how to learn to do it better!

The three ways of connecting at the conference

We have created a conference outline, like a budget of time allocated for different kind of sessions. We're in the process of publishing that on our web page.

We loved the people connecting element last year. In one of the collaboration calls, we learned that last years connections taught about what people really know on a topic and how that could be taught better, and created a pairing relationship between a tester and a programmer to bring even more awesome sessions for this next conference or other conferences out there. We want to see people get creative together, to work out together, to cross comfort zones in a safe environment.

Our program will keep the two conference-wide sessions that don't have a prescheduled agenda:

  • Lean Coffee discussion in the middle of the conference allows people to bring out questions, ideas and experiences in a variety that no single presenter is able to do. Lean coffee has little to do with coffee, it's just time-boxed discussion around topics of the group, one topic at a time until the group feels it is time to move on. 
  • Open Space is the possibility to share the stuff you have to share, whether you're a participant, or a speaker-participant. Announce a session in one of our locations, and people who are into your topic will join you. Law of two feet allows people to move where they feel they are learning or contributing. 
We are adding a third session with a social nature. For lack of better word, we call it speed meeting. This is a conference where no one needs to be alone. We start with finding things we connect in, sharing little insights. 

There's still formal contents

If all this social makes you feel awkward, don't worry. Most of our days are still filled with great conference program. We have 30 minute talks from experts around the world. We have 45 minute demo talks, to show applying something in practice. And we have 90 minute workshops for you to get to try stuff. 

Join us, we believe the event that is this much fun to organize will be fun to participate. Learning new things is fun. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Super-Early Bird Tickets for European Testing Conference 2017

European Testing Conference 2017 brings together the software craftmanship and tester viewpoints to testing in lovely Helsinki, Finland 9.-10.2.2017. Super-Early Bird tickets are available for three more weeks for the price of 496 euros (incl. VAT), get yours by end of August!

Tickets available from our web shop, also with an invoice!

With this message, we are proud to announce our keynote speakers:
  • Fiona Charles brings in deep, long-term understanding of testing as testers/test managers know it.
  • Kevlin Henney represents the developer perspective to testing.
  • Gitte Klitgaard is our inspirational speaker, helping us all be brave at work and while learning through practice.
  • Nicola Sedgwick shares from personal experiences with a voice that has not been heard enough yet while should be.  

We’re building the program, and the full program will be available mid September. Personal discussions with everyone who submits are ongoing to select you the best practical contents at delivery, and submissions close on August 21st.

Before the conference, there is a separate training day 8.2.2017 with 5 options, for 496 euros separately, or together with the conference for 930 euros total.

More information on the conference is available on our web site.

This conference is brought to you by the organizers Maaret, Adi, Llewellyn, Aki, Alina and Simon - 3 testers, 3 programmers to build a balanced program worth attending!

Monday, June 13, 2016

ETC 2017 Call for Collaboration

Other conferences call for papers or proposals. We call for collaboration.

TL;DR:  Propose a talk without necessarily finalizing the abstract. Defer event-specific work through collaboration (talk on Skype/Hangouts) to only happen when selected.
Event: ETC 2017 in Helsinki, Finland 9.-10-2-2017.
Compensation: Speaker travel expenses guaranteed by the conference.
Deadline:  Submit by August 21st

Submit

Our conference

European Testing Conference 2017 takes place in Helsinki, Finland February 9-10th 2017. Conference travels annually to different locations in Europe.

We are setting up the best practical testing conference that represents testing as different people know it: testers, developers, business analysts. We recognize that testing is continuous, and we want to learn to do it’s different flavors better through sharing ideas and experiences in spirit of dialog. We seek to understand.

Looking for sessions

To find the right people to share in this conference, we want to collaborate with the existing and emerging speaker communities. We find our professional home communities to be those of agile and context-driven testing, and software craftsmanship, but actively seek to break the walls we’ve built up between the communities.

We want a good balance of European and non-European speakers and a good balance of craftsmanship and (exploratory) testing backgrounds.

We ask you to collaborate on three types of sessions:

  1. Talks of ideas with practical applicability (30 minutes)
  2. Demos of ideas in use – show and tell (45 minutes)
  3. Workshops of hands-on experiences for participants (90 minutes)

We ask you to collaborate, because we believe there are two types of sessions we could get.

“Best of”

The first category is solid sessions that awe people in other conferences already. Our audience has not seen them, and we might not be aware of them. Tell us!

“New Sessions”

The second category is sessions that could emerge when there is the right stage. Most proposals conference speakers work hard on will be in this category. We want you to share your topic and excitement, and collaborate before you invest heavily in making the session final as a proposal.

We acknowledge we can’t fit all the great sessions there are. So we want to make it mutually efficient, yet enabling great content we as organizers would be unaware of. We believe there’s more value out of the collaboration than just our conference talk selection through getting to know one another.

When you respond to the call and we’re considering you, we’ll have a 15-minute Skype/Hangouts session with you to talk about your idea. If you get cut from consideration just for not having space in talk budget for your type of idea, we’ll let you know by email. We expect the finalized abstract from those who we choose, not as criteria of entry. Timeframe for the discussions is August and September, and this call closes on August 21st.

What we have to offer:

  • entry to participate and present at a great conference in Helsinki, Finland 9.-10.2.2017
  • travel expenses and hotel 3 nights reimbursed
  • Profit sharing – we share ½ of the profits with the speakers. You get a share into honorarium pot (1 share for talks/demos, 2 shares for workshops) that translates to money based on the conference’s financial success

What we expect:

  • Speakers who can stay and participate for the duration of the conference. This is very important to having a great learning environment.

Come. Learn. Do. Teach. Test.

Submit now. 


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Calling for a Keynote!

Many (most) conference fill in the keynote slots with regular faces as keynote speakers. As an organizer, who is a speaker and a starting keynoter, Maaret Pyhäjärvi is driving a new style for one of the European Testing Conference 2017 keynotes.

We have invited three of our four keynotes, and the fourth one is now open for a call to keynote for  European Testing Conference 2017 in Helsinki, Finland on Feb 8.-10th 2017.

There are people out there who know they would do great on a keynote. They are strong presenters with experience, and a message that needs to get heard. As conference organizers, we can't know who they are, and without a public call, we will choose only amongst people we know of.

This is a conference on testing as developers and testers and business analysts know it. Your talk could be anything you think is appropriate for this mixed audience with interest in testing.

For selection, the final call is on the organizers. To work on our understanding, however, we team up with our advisors to ask for their perceptions.

In this call, we ask you to announce yourself and your topic(s), provide a video reference if you have one of you speaking. If your don't have one, you can either create one or do a sample piece with us over Skype.

You have until end of June to let us know of your existence, we select the keynoter in July.

If you feel like coaching would help you with final delivery, don't let that stop you. There's people we can direct you to for help.

What we offer:

  • We pay travel + stay for all our speakers for three nights. Conference entry is free. And we have a speaker's dinner on Feb 8th 2017, just before the conference.
  • Keynoters get 5 shares into our speaker profit sharing model. In 2016 it meant being paid 800 euros. 
  • Keynoters get to amp up their income by delivering a one-day training where half of the profit is theirs (that is on Feb 8th)
What we require:
  • You want to stay for the whole conference and not just show up to deliver a talk

We'd love to see a new keynoting voice emerge!

Call for Keynotes is here.


Added note: this is not a women-only call but a new keynoters building up their reputation call. Gender is not a selection criteria in any way here.