Time To Start Speaking In Public

Yesterday I attended the Next Generation Testing Conference in London. Whilst on the face of it this is nothing new, I’ve been to conferences before, this time I was presenting and also took part in a panel session. This was something new for me; I’ve often presented within Nokia, and have run a number of training courses internally, but never to paying public so the pressure was on to make sure that things went well.

The Next Generation Testing Conference is not one that I had been to before, and this time the organisers UNICOM were also trying out a new format, with more emphasis on expert panel sessions, all focused around three main topics:

  • Testing Today – What are the main challenges?
  • New Tools and Techniques
  • All about Agile

The day started with coffee, introduction and some brief networking; there were people from many different areas of testing in attendance, ranging from finance to TV, all with testing and Agile as the common denominator. Then it was straight into a case study presentation about automated testing from Bertrand Meyer. He made some interesting points, some I agreed with and some I did not, and my reaction seemed to mirror the general reaction from others in the audience, as we spoke more about what we’d seen in the first coffee break.

Then it was over to my part. Dr Richard Sykes was doing a great job as facilitator and the first panel session, “Testing Today – What are the main challenges?”, with myself, Tony Bruce and Chris Ambler started. We got some good questions from the audience and some good discussions going, both with the audience and also between ourselves. The panel format worked well and made the event seem less formal than others that I have attended.

Panel session over then it was straight into my keynote “Mobile Testing, That’s Just a Smaller Screen, Right?” I spoke for about 40 minutes about mobile testing, giving the audience an overview of the mobile world as it stands today, pointing out the main challenges and areas to focus upon. This was followed by a quick overview of tools and techniques to use, and answers to questions such as “Which devices should I test on?” and “Where do I get all my devices from?” The time went quickly, it was good fun to get back to doing some presenting, and my part seemed to be well received from the feedback I got during the lunch interval. Plus some inevitable requests to help fix people’s phones 🙂

After lunch it was then time to relax and enjoy the rest of the conference. Two more panel sessions, “New Tools and Techniques” and “All about Agile” were well received and the participants were well versed in their subject areas, and able to give some great examples and tips. Sandwiched between the two panels was a bold, and very good, presentation from Colin Weaver at DB Consulting, on “10 Key Behaviours for a Successful Agile Tester”. This prompted a lot of debate in the room, regarding which behaviours were and were not applicable or specific to Agile, and which were in fact not needed at all. Healthy debate continued for the rest of the afternoon until wrap-up.

Overall it was great to be involved in a conference like this one, and I think the panel format worked very well. Thanks to UNICOM for inviting me to speak, and to all those who spoke as well. I hope this can be the start of more experience like this and I’m certainly now on the look out for more opportunities to present or run tutorials and workshops.

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