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. 

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