Tuesday: 

  • Key-note: Alan Page: Test innovation for everyone
  • Rikard Edgren - Curing our binary disease
  • Michael Bolton - Testing Through the Qualitative Lens
  • Key-note: Alan Richardson: Unconventional influences

Wednesday:

  • Key-note: John Seddon: Changing management thinking
  • Graham Thomas: 10 Great but now overlooked tools
  • Graham Freeburn: Map your way to better testing
  • Inspiration talk: Sky is not the limit: Copenhagen suborbitals

Thursday:

  • Track chair: Julian Harty: Open source testing
  • Track chair: Marc van 't Veer: Testing the API behind a mobile App
  • Key-note: Michael D Kelly: Lessons learned from Software Testing at Startups


It's now Monday and I have arrived at the fourth and final part in my blog posts from Eurostar.
And it's a good thing since I'm doing it now, since I can't wait any longer putting down my thought about the sessions at Eurostar unless I want to start forgetting to much.

This year you could really notice the shift in focus in this years programme, in large parts I believe because of the gang in the programme committee (Zeger Van Hese, Julian Harty, Shmuel Gershon, and James Lyndsay) something which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that knows them and in which circles they like to hang.
My personal impression of this years programme and the speakers could be summarized as "The thinking tester that takes responsibility for her own testing", but that can also be a bias based on the sessions that I choose to attend.

Tuesday:

After having slept in at Tuesday (didn't attend any workshops), the day started with the opening remarks by Zeger Van Hese, to which he arrived in the auditorium on a bright yellow Dutch bike :-D
Quite frankly I can't remember much from the opening, but he was then followed by the first key note speaker Alan Page from Microsoft who talked about "Test innovation for everyone".

Alan's talk was really good and he talked how everyone can be an innovator, and how testers in our work are very well suited for this, only that few testers actually take the chance to innovate.
One thing that he mentioned that I like was how we need more ideas to have many to choose from, and how overproducing ideas helps in getting those innovation breakthroughs.

Next up was a fellow Swedish tester that I know and respect, it was Rikard Edgren (programme committee 2013) who talked about "Curing our binary disease".
A talk which built heavily on Gerd Gigerenzer and his heuristic "tools-to-theories".
Rikard made the case that we are way to influenced as testers and an industry as whole by the binary nature in which computers operate, and that we base to much of our testing on binary values, for instance our obsession with pass/fail.
When was the last time that you worked with a commercial test tool that supported something other than pass/fail, and worked on a sliding scale instead?
When doing performance testing one would think that the results would be a sliding scale even without considering our tools. But no, most of the time we introduce thresholds instead (more than X = fail, less than X = pass).
It was a great talk and an eye opener in many cases.

Mr. Edgren was followed by Mr. Bolton.
Now for those of you who have seen Michael before you know what expect, apart from great things and always oh-so interesting new ideas.
And Mr. Bolton did not disappoint this time either with "Testing Through the Qualitative Lens".
It was a talk mainly about how "anthropology guides us in observing and describing cultures and artifacts".
There was the expected bashing towards the certification-industry as well (as I said you got what you expected, and you didn't get disappointed).

As with so many other great presenters at this Eurostar and if you would say one thing that was less good, then that would be that there was so much fascinating stuff that at times it was to much candy, and you had to have a bit of previous knowledge to build on, and I suspect a lot of first timers at Eurostar had a hard time keeping up.
One of Michaels slides could have easily been a 40 minute talk in itself.
There is so much fascinating stuff that the man knows about.

The ending key note on tuesday was Alan Richardson (aka. @eviltester), and he talked about "Unconventional Influences".
He talked a lot about how testers need to start taking responsibility for their own testing, and how you need to stop relying so heavily on authorities.Create your own way of testing, and then take responsibility for it.
I loved how he wove together testing and a lot of Chtulhu, Loch Ness, and monster references.

Wednesday:

Wednesday morning started with the talk that I think has to be "The session" that I really take home with me.
John Seddon from Vanguard talked about "Changing management thinking" and Systems Thinking.
I have been a long and heavy agile advocate, having worked with scrum the last 6 years.
I still think agile methodologies and values have profoundly changed the way we work in the industry, but John has managed to introduce cracks into how I view it, and I am now even more convinced I need to deepen my studies into Systems Thinking even more.
I wont try to re-cap this brilliant presentation, simply because I am still trying to digest it and how it changes a lot of perceptive.
But I would highly recommend anyone to look at this video from Oredev 2010 where he did basically the same key-note, it is brilliant.

I skipped the next three sessions because I needed to do some last minute preparations for my own session later that day, and thus I only attended the next session after lunch.

I had a really hard time choosing between going to the fellow Swedish tester Henrik Emilsson and Graham Thomas.
In the end Graham won that, and as I suspected his talk on "10 Great but now overlooked tools" included us in the audience building interactive mind-maps together with him.
It was a lovely presentation, and a lot of good tips on tools that should not be overlooked (mind-maps, flowcharts, prototypes and much more).
But the thing that stood out of this presentation the most to me was that he was running it all from his very own RaspberryPi.
Having two RaspberryPi:s of my own, I have nothing but respect from Graham for having the courage and running not only the slides from that computer (800Mhz, 256Mb RAM), but also the mind map tool that he worked with.
It takes certain nerves to have the courage and present from such a device knowing that anything could go wrong at any moment.

Next up I attended a mind-mapping session by Graham Freeburn, that talked about using mind-maps when going over how the testing is done in an organization and also how to improve upon it.
"Map your way to better testing".
It was really good, and the session ended with a top-3 list of Grahams favourite whiskeys as a bonus (after a question from the audience).

The day ended with an inspirational talk by Peter Madsen from Copenhagen Suborbital.
I'm only going to say that the talk described his and his friends (successful) attempt to not only build a fully functioning submarine, but also how they then went on to build a space rocket!
It was a truly inspirational and fascinating talk, and every little child in the audience must have at one point or another thought:
"I want to build a rocket too!!!"
He is now planted in the back of my mind if I ever need a key-note speaker for an event I will be involved in organising.

Thursday:

On Thursday I track chaired for first Julian Harty who had to fill in for a last minute drop-out from the program  and after that for Marc van 't Veer.

Julian talked about "Open Sourcing Testing", and he talked a lot about how we should publish more of our testing, test data, results, and the way we work so that others in the industry could benefit from it as well.
I also got a pang of guilty conscience that I and most of us don't help out more with testing the open source tools that we love and use sometimes on a daily basis.

Marc's session "Testing the API Behind a Mobile App" was based on his experiences on how he had been involved in and tested an API for a service that would be primarily used in mobile devices.
Interesting live demo of a service, and interesting to see how they went about it.

The ending key note was brought by Michael D Kelly on "Lessons learned from Software Testing at Startups"
I had met Michael earlier that week on Monday evenings drink for the presenters, and his talk about what we can learn from testing at a start-up was a great reminder of how we must always consider:

A: The context we work in
B: What is the value that we need to deliver in this context

It was really interesting to see what CEO:s from start-ups value from testers, and the big divide that exists in what testers think is the best value from their testing.

The greatest (and best) surprise to me was in the closing talk before the conference closed, and it was the announcement of next years programme chair (and committee) for Eurostar 2013 in Gothenburg.
I was really glad to see that Michael Bolton had been chosen as chair.
He will have Rikard Edgren as part of the programme committee  the rest of the members of the programme committee I can unfortunately not remember (or find information about) at this point.

Finally I'm really happy that I work for a company (Electric Cloud) that didn't hesitate one second in sending me when I said that I had been accepted as a speaker at Eurostar, fantastic company!

I hope I'll see you at Eurostar 2013 in Gothenburg!