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Hi Boys and Girls,

I know you are all here in order to read about my UK adventure at UK Star conference.
It is going to be a loooong post, so grab your coffee/tea , gluten-free food and keep on reading:)

Some time ago, a friend of mine said that if he would speak at the UK Star conference, he would have give up speaking.
Do I feel the same? Was it that exciting? I definitely pushed my limits. I feel satisfaction and I recommend you all to attend next call for papers 🙂

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Let’s go back to square one.
I arrived late at night, as Ryanair decided to postpone my flight for over 2 hours. It may seem weird to you, but before that day, I had an opportunity to be in London just once – approximately 15 years ago (yup, I’m THAT old), so I didn’t know what to expect.
Not surprisingly, modern London is huge, and even more diverse as expected. What is more,  the city looks like an enormous Lego – construction work set 😀 There are cranes and scaffolding everywhere. I felt intimidated and overwhelmed since I arrived. It was raining, of course 🙂

 

 

 

Conference’s location, in The City, was extraordinary. It corresponded strongly with London’s vibe and diversity. Inside and outside the building it felt the same – multiple languages, opposite minds and full of fresh concepts. Beautiful interiors and professional service made it all work. We’ve been kindly hosted and no one from conference attendees felt excluded. Just from the first moment something ‘was going on’ and everybody was engaged.

Before the conference begun I felt nervous and was extremely unsure. Me – a foreign girl – not speaking English English – in the middle of a big city.

After a funny moment during the registration, when a volunteer was not able to find my badge (because my name is pronounced completely different than it is written in English), I’ve decided to start from tasty coffee. Coffee is always good to start with 🙂

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Just after a few seconds a girl approached asking me about my talk and exchanging ideas in the field of accessibility testing. It was probably the first time when somebody knew me from YouTube or my blog and wanted to know me in person. I was honored. It gave me lot of self esteem:) Go Scotland! 🙂

 

 

Before my talk I had a chance to meet a lot of Twitter friends and finally get acquainted with them in person. What a wonderful moment, when you are able to talk to people that you admire for what they do as testers and speakers, who inspire you for a long time and you can just talk to them. This is why you should attend such events. The presentations are important, for sure, but for me, the vibe, spirit, all fantastic opportunities to talk to people were definitely more valuable that day.

 

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I can name a big difference between Polish conferences and UK Star. In most events in Poland, attendees are the people who start their journey with testing, who want to learn anything, something to start with. They look for basic topics and workshops in the area of test automation or manual testing. At the UK Star I had an opportunity to meet testers from different countries, with at least several years of experience within multiple projects, who came there to share their good practices, achievements and just to inspire.

As you are probably interested not only in my feelings about the conferences, but in the presentations as well – I’ll try to give you some main topics and walk you through the talks I will remember.

Let’s start from the best keynote I have ever a chance to participate in – Isabel Evans – ‘Leadership, Fellowship and Followership‘. It was my first opportunity to meet Isabel in person. Her very personal and inspiring talk led the audience among different styles of leadership and peoples’ behaviour.

I’ve acknowledged also that being compassionate to yourself is a key to everything – being a good human, employee and a leader. The rest comes second. We should leave the world better place that we found it. I find this keynote strong and a must to be heared live. If you ever had an opportunity to hear this particular keynote live – do not hesitate and attend!

I’ve also learned that our leadership style is strongly determined by the company and it’s rules. If there is a capacity for playing and making mistakes – there is also a space for team’s evolution and grow.

 

 

Christina Ohanian, the Tester and Agile Coach, performed her opening keynote session – ‘Embracing Change‘ at the very beginning of the conference. I bet my manager – Piotr -probably the biggest fan of Simon Sinek in the world

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would hear this talk with pleasure as I did. There were several referrals to Simon Sinek during the whole talk. To build a good test team in your company – you should definitely start with WHY and define your purpose all the time. All may change, but there should be a purpose always.

As Christina said, change is scary, especially when we are used to a particular way of working. Learning to embrace a change and adapt to the environment around us is both healthy and urgent necessity.

 

 

I need to mention about @thetestdoctos ‘s – Dan Billing – workshop about security testing. Finally I had a chance to meet and hear Dan in person. We had a lot of fun during his presentation, as it was a PROPER WORKSHOP – WiFi was not working, there were no tables for the laptops and time was limited 😀 Dan is sneaky – he wanted us just to feel a little bit of security testing in order to invite him for decent workshop in our companies.  Best PR ever, Dan! 😀

We’ve learned that hacking is illegal. I am disappointed with this fact 😦 I’ve also noticed, that opposing to movie stereotypes – you don’t need to wear a black hoodie (as I had none that day)  and you don’t have to have a wall of GREEN PHP code in front of you displayed in order to perform security testing (aka hacking). Oh maaaan. Such disappointment.

But seriously, you should definitely invite Dan to your company!

 

 

UK Star was not only about presentations and workshops – there was plenty of space to talk and exchange experiences – either within Lean Coffee meeting in the morning, in the Test Huddle area or during conversation tracks such as ‘Ultimate testing Survival / Zero to One : StartUp quality notes‘ prepared by Victor Slavchev and Yann Person. They were able to involve audience into conversation and bring the value to the whole discussion. From Yann’s part – i loved the most a statement saying that startups begin investing in testing just after first production failure. On the other hand, Victor’s crazy slides convinced us that we should emphasize our value as testers within our companies, as quality is an integral part of software development – not just a part after development phase.

 

 

Finally, there was also my talk – ‘Make IT accessible‘ happening that day. I was placed in the agenda within a storytelling track – together with Rick Tracy and Lena Wiberg.

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I had a unique opportunity to speak up about accessibility testing and why it is so important for everybody. People were listening to me, nodding, participating in my short exercise. It was even more that I expected. I had a chance to talk to some individuals from my audience about accessibility, that gave me the feeling that there is a need to talk about it over and over again. As I believe, that no one should be excluded from our society by the software, especially people with certain physical or mental disabilities. This is our responsibility as software developers, testers, UX designers to care and to make our applications accessible.

At the end of the day, after all my preparations, it just felt great to stand there and talk.

 

 

 

UK Star conference was important for me. It brought value. It matters.

The conference has it’s flaws as well, of course it has, but this time I decline to focus on them. It just was great to be there.

In case of any suggestions – stalk me on Twitter or put your comment down below. Cheers!

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UK Star. Checked.

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Shall we begin from one of the best gadgets is conferences’s history – THE SOCKS!
I fell in love at once.

Daria and I (and crowds of testers behind us):

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Test:Fest conference took place today in Wrocław. What a wonderful event – one of my favorite testing conferences in Poland – prepared by the testers for the testers. It is free – the only condition to take part in it – is to get / gain / receive a ticket. You need to be lucky!

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The Organisers are responsible for making things awesome – and I believe that we shall honor them with a round of applause

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and any super-fancy-testing-celebrity-rankings available (apologies for horrible picture quality):
Marta Firlej
Anna Kovalchuk
Tomasz Olszewski
Dariusz Olszewski
Mateusz Holewski.

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They voluntarily work hard to make this event happen – invest their knowledge and experience to improve speaker’s skills – look for sponsors, and prepare low cost – high quality event. And still they keep smiling!

There was a lot to eat, a sea of coffee to drink and plenty to do apart from the presentations.

I also was given a lovely coffee at UBS stand (omnomnomn):

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I would like to tell you about the noise, laughter, friendly small talks, smell of coffee in the air and nice people. It was a great experience, indeed. All talks on time, facilitated by the organizers, with minor technical issues, but without major catastrophes.
What is more, this year IBIS Styles hotel (conference’s location,) felt a bit overcrowded, so next year – the stadium 😉
To give you some background – if you are a tester working in Wrocław or elsewhere in Poland – you would like to be here on Test:Fest – that’s why people came, that’s why it was so hard to get ticket and that’s why each year there is more and more of us.

Let me start from my personal agenda for the event from conference’s application:

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There was lot more going on, but I decide to support my friends and watch their talks during the day. I was more than happy to listen about their experiences and current project work. Test:Fest is a place where you can meet people you know, talk to them, find them available and willing to talk.

As for the 4th time Tomasz Dubikowski was selected as the best speaker, I have to admit that he is one of our best speakers 🙂 But he knows that 😉

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I would like to give my personal Best Speaker award to Joanna Jeziorska – you rock girl!

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It was the first time I had an opportunity to listen to her talk – and I had great fun. This presentation about exploratory testing and being like Bear Grylls contained some fun exercises, gave us opportunity to meet people around and make a bit fun of ourselves. It was light, it was amusing, it was brilliant. Asia was the most cheerful presenter that day as well. She has so much positive energy that I can’t just stop smiling when thinking about her talk. A thought worth to remember:
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This time at the Test:Fest conference I took the opportunity to attend discussion panels and I had a really great time there.

Michał Buczko gathered quite an audience on his panel about opportunities in career development for software testers.

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This is what we came up with during all the discussion. It was involving, I have to admit. People shared their stories and ideas and Michał told us a lot about his personal experiences in the field of recruitment and changing career path.
Our takeaway: take this “map” – think about your needs and abilities, think about your career plans and draw the lines.
Where are you now?
What should you learn to achieve the next level?
Is it possible withing your organisational structures?
It is all personal and depends on your position and your company.

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We had a bit of change this year – some presentations and panels were conducted in English – that gave our local – international community fully attend the event.

Maciej Wyrodek – author of technical blog The Broken Test – was trying to convince us that we should steal from scientists and make our testing more organised, technical, scientific and valuable.

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A lot of good ideas, plenty of candies and his famous bare feet dressed this time in conference’s socks.

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What can I say – I liked it!

Last but not least – Dawid Pacia – the tester that you should be like this year (“People of testing 2018”). I couldn’t miss such talk.

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It was the most technical presentation I attended. Full of examples from daily routine of IoT tester. Interesting, full of funny cats and hardware issues 🙂
A piece of IoT’s tester sense of humor:

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Once again – for all the speakers, volunteers and organizers – a round of applause. You’ve earned it.

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I hope at least some of the presentations will be available online, so you’ll be able to listen all the talks.

See you next year on Test:Fest!

Test:Fest 2018 – the real pearl among #PL #testing #conferences

Posted in conferences

TestWarez 2017 – Complexity

I’m back 🙂

I’ve spent last two days in Toruń getting as much from the best known Polish QA conference – TestWarez – as possible. Each time I take part in such event – I feel like home. People, who have similar mindset, who want to change the world and improve their skills, vivid atmosphere, rush, noise and loads of coffee. All at once and each one separately.

It was my first time at this event, I had some expectations, but the reality was different. Let’s face the truth – TestWarez is great at the point where you can meet people and talk to them, but it has nothing to do with modern worldwide trends in software testing. When, at the same time, at Agile Testing Days in Potsdam speakers talk about exploratory, supporting women (#SupportAfganGirlsRoboticsTeam) and testing web services – TestWarez’es agenda provided us with such innovative ideas like “there are tools more advanced that Excel to report your bugs” (psssst – it is no longer a Stone Age) or “manual tester/automation tester” (15 kittens died during that presentation, if you know what I mean @MichaelBolton).

Don’t get me wrong – it is not about playing down the conference, but maybe it’s time to move on and look around? Maybe, it would be good to see that there is a world out there beyond ISTQB certification – full of fresh ideas how to improve teamwork.

There were some brilliant speeches as well, but they were rather very good talks than innovative ones. Sadly for me, the more I attend conferences – the more I expect – and maybe it’s not the point. I think SJSI – the main organizer – missed the boat in delivering value instead of package. Maybe it’s time to introduce English – only track (if not the whole event) and mark it in the agenda. It’s a shame when foreign guests are not able to benefit from the event as well due to language barrier.

On the other hand – we have such brilliant events in Poland like TestFest or Quality Excites that are alive,  creative and give new energy. In addition,  maybe the events, that don’t cost an arm and a leg, base on true stories and “we can do it” approach, create more value and QA spirit.

Nevertheless, I had great time in unique surrounding of Toruń – old Polish city. I get together with my friends from testing community, talked for hours with testers from all over the country and enjoyed the event a lot.

So – back to square one – my top 5 speeches (and one discussion panel) – from what I’ve selected during the conference. You should definitely look for them, as soon as they emerge on TestWarez YouTube channel.

  1. O sile optymizmu oraz zwinnym rozwoju osobistym – Jędrzej Osiński

It was not exactly about testing, but rather about personal development in general. Light weight presentations, with well-balanced amount of examples made me re-think my life choices any my priorities in life. Very inspiring and pretty fun! My list of books-to-read widened a lot since Friday 😀 Thank you @dr_hawaii

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2. ZEN testów wydajnościowych – Jakub Chabik

There was a lot at TestWarez about performance testing. It seems – this subject is getting trendy nowadays. When our applications run in production quite well – all we have to do is stress them and check how many users can we serve at once. This presentations gave me the receipt how to start, how to manage the environment and which mistakes to avoid since the beginning of my performance testing. Well organized speech – original ZEN- related surrounding – well done!

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3. A proper gun makes testing fun – Tomasz Dubikowski

It may be the first time when Tomek’s speech is not on the top of my list 🙂
The talk was fun as always. Tomek’s jokes, minions and colorful slides shall provide you with all you need from a good speech. He was talking about performance testing as well, gave some epic fails examples and coded live (successfully) using Gatling. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to see it live again on some other event.

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4. What tester can learn in support – Maciej Wyrodek

This talk was a story about Maciek’s journey as a software tester and it was focused on his first job. He had a lot to do with a support of his product – not only with testing. Below slide summaries this job perfectly.
Testing is not the end – support is!
Maciek’s talk was entertaining, as he used (my) trick with candies 😉 He played a game with the audience, so nobody got bored. The talk was in English – so once it’s on YT – all of you can hear the story.

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5. Jak zaplanować testy, żeby nie wylądować w czarnej d…ziurze – Łukasz Pietrucha. – discussion panel

I can remember when Łukasz hosted first WrotQA (local testers meetups in Wrocław – the city I live in) meetings. It was long time ago in a galaxy far far away. It was a time when I wore diapers as a software tester 🙂

Today, he is a storyteller and a professional speaker. As I wrote about the discussion panel itself in my previous post – I have to admit that I’m impressed by the talk itself. We had an opportunity to take part in moderated discussion at professional level. People were truly involved and took some examples fro themselves, I believe.

I’ve enjoyed it a lot 🙂

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6. Przychodzi tester na rozmowę – Patryk Hemperek

The dilemma was big – Patryk and Kamila Mrozek (my ‘homies’ from Worcław) had their presentations at the same time (come oooon TestWarez!). As I saw Kamila in action before – I decided to support Patryk at his speech about evolving as a software tester. He was talking about his journey and experiences as a software tester and focused on gaining new skill to improve test automation in his project. Very instructive talk –
I recommend it especially to all of you who would like to start their journey as a software tester.

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I wish I could see more – but I was the only one among 5 (!!!) tracks at once. There was some about test automation, lot about performance testing and even more about ISTQB – related stuff. I hope I’ll see more online.

… And one more thing – 4 – in my opinion the most tempting presentations – were scheduled during the last slot on Friday. 70% of the conference attendees had left before the speeches started 😦 It made me sad. It is horrible to talk to the empty room. It is also horrible to give a great talk that no one listens to.
Re-think it, please – both organisers and attendees.

What did you like the most about Test Warez?
Was my summary helpful?

As usual – don’t hesitate to comment down below or on Twitter / Facebook.

Cheers!