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


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. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Our 2016 compensation model

We're happy to announce that we have finalized the details of our Speaker compensation model 2016 edition. That is, we know we made some profit. We have shared the rules of how we share the profit with our speakers. And we're organizing for the details of the compensation to take place.

Our model is based on shares. As a speaker of European Testing Conference, you get shares. If we barely break through or even end up on the negative, all the speaker gets is their expenses paid - that is the minimum. But if we make a profit, we share it according to the shares.

A keynote speaker gets five shares. A regular session speaker gets one share. A workshop session gets 2 shares. And organizing for the whole year gets you four shares. In 2016, a share was worth 160 euros.

We offer our speakers three ways to take the money:

  1. Invoice it
  2. Take a ticket for 2017. Use self, or pass on. 
  3. Leave it for our secondary idealistic goal: scholarships for new speakers for conferences that don't pay the travel costs. 
We already know that from the support of our speakers, we will be launching an experiment with SpeakEasy and a conference to enable a new speaker traveling to conference to speak without paying for the travel costs themselves. 

We do this to change the world of conferences.

Stay tuned for early June for our Call for Collaboration on how you could become part of the 2017 experience! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Search for people of 2017 begins!

European Testing Conference 2016 was a blast, and we'll get back to sharing the feedback, the financial report and video content as those come together. But we already have a new year in the making as our thoughts are on European Testing Conference 2017 in Helsinki, Finland.

As before, we will be looking for you to join in various roles: we'd love to see you become a participant and create the wonderful atmosphere we could enjoy in 2016. We welcome you as an organizer joining our ranks and taking the conference to new heights. If organizing is a little too much, become an advisor and have discussions with us on what the content should be and how we should approach the conference in general. And we're right about now starting the search for speakers. There will be a call for co-creation to ask for you to get in touch, but co-creation is really an ongoing process. Get in touch so that we know of you.

There was a great blog post in synch with this conferences values  today. We picked up a few ideas from it:

  • We need to do Lift Pitch Online - the 5 minute pitch for your practical sessions to make selection more interactive. And true to Maaret's Speak Easy appreciation, this is not a one-off, but should you feel you want to improve on feedback, you'll get to try again. Skype is great for this. 
  • We need to assess if we could introduce a model of free tickets for upcoming year for conference speakers, at least ones that identify as new to sharing in public. I know I hear nothing until I've delivered my talk, and would love to enable the year of full participation. 
We also know better than before how we'd describe what we seek in sessions: 
  • We seek focused ideas that inspire to action
  • We seek practical sessions that show how things are done. A demo or an experience over a talk. 
  • We seek people who speak to meet people and want to be around the whole conference. 
There was one particular discussion I had with many of our 2016 speakers on the conference working towards not paying to speak. When I shared the news that we will be paying honorariums already this year, every speaker said they don't do this for money. They are happy with the expenses covered. Sometimes they even feel they would pay to meet the other speakers and get in the in-circle, and to get the stage to meet all the wonderful participants. My point is only: this is work, even if it is fun work. Opportunity cost matters: with all time you could be doing something else. If you can be paid, wouldn't that be great even if not a must-have? If you would choose over two otherwise similar audiences but one pays and the other doesn't, wouldn't that matter to you in your selection? 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Let's talk about t-shirts

There's probably very few topics while organizing this conference we've had as much discussion and wonder as on a seemingly simple task of t-shirts. Since we use this blog to share stuff conference organizing around European Testing Conference teaches us, this a must share lesson.

Have you even been to a conference that hands out shirts, where all the shirts are same model but just different sizes? There's a concept of "unisex" shirt, which basically means that everyone gets to wear a t-shirt designed for men.

I've received during my career probably about 100 conference / event shirts, and very few of them stick. The fact that they are men's shirts has always meant that I pick up one, and give it as a souvenir to one of my relatives, or enjoy the cleaning opportunities with a new rag. Out of these shirts, there's two I have used at or after the conference: the TestBash t-shirt (fitted for women!) and the fitted long-sleeved shirt one of my employers got me that was my absolute favorite for a long time.

Think of it this way. If you are a man and arrive at European Testing Conference next week, how happy you'd be when we hand you a women's fitted model? We thought you wouldn't be, so we've been using a lot of time on back and forth on trying to think what we'd like to give as choice for people.

Last year at Agile 2016, this whole issue of t-shirts became very clear to me. I was given a "women's shirt", that was that only by a name. The poor conference organizers were puzzled on the discussion, after all their t-shirt vendor had told them the model they had was women's. It was only smaller in sizing, not fitted as a women's shirt would be. With European Testing Conference, we heard exactly the same with t-shirt vendors, and going around to find just the right model is actually a lot of work.  It's so easy to get the wrong one even if you tried.

Not everyone, regardless of gender will ever care about the t-shirt. We ended up with different image designs for the men's and women's, and some feel strongly that wouldn't be right either. But let's say it this way: I'd rather not have a graphic element on both sides of my chest, that works in men's but not so much on women's version.

Conference t-shirt is a successful investment if people wear it after the conference, and it starts good discussions that perhaps lead to people discovering the conference. We'll see how this works out, but it surely is an experiment that takes a bit of effort where everyone is an expert on people they've been in touch with. Now, fingers crossed our shirts arrive in time, and we don't have to ship them around after the conference.