TestingCup 2019 – my biased summary

The best gift ever!

Last two days I’ve spent on a Polish testing championship and conference – TestingCup 2019 in PoznaΕ„. This event is one of it’s kind and gathers a lot of testing enthusiasts, who take part in the competition to prove themselves and be announced the Testing Champion. I took part in the competionion in 2016 as a member of a fantastic team, so I still remenber the pressure and emotions connected with the competition and results announcement. It was an amazing event for me.

I’m selfish, so about me at the beginning

Surprisingly, this year I was offered to be a keynote speaker on the conference. I had never been a keynote before, so I was extremely insecure and hesitated a bit if the opportunity is for me. Nevertheless, I took the challenge, and since January I was preparing myself to give THE presentation.

I was terrified by the size of the room

I was not alone, I got strong support and mentoring from this year’s TestingCup program chairman – James Lyndsay – who was a receiver of my moaning that I was gonna faint on the stage or just run away. Thank you James for being there for me. πŸ™‚

I felt a huge pressure and expectations. “This is a keynote speaker”. It was not helping, but still we are the hardest judges for ourselves. Fortunately, I had a group of supporting people around me, something that is unique for the Polish testing community. I received a lot of support and friendly cheering, from people who know me for some time and from the testers, I’ve just met during the conference.

In the end, I did not faint, I was talking in the room filled with people and just few of them left during my presentation or were dramatically jawing πŸ™‚ Some of them could even have fun during the talk, I guess πŸ™‚

What about the conference?

460 people. This many participants, can you believe it? Most of them took part in the competition! Kudos to you guys, great job – not only for this year winners – DirectPL Continuation and Jakub Konieczka. One of the Capgemini teams – with a graceful name die Plausibilisierungen (#Capgemini #GermanForLife) :D:D:D – got their own victory as well! I am so proud of my folks!

It is not surprising, that most of the people go to TestingCup just for the competition – not the conference. It was visible during the talks. Rooms were not filled with people, who preferred to chill after the bug hunting, not to listen. On the other hand, some of the talks were great and worth mentioning, especially that they were given with hard technical conditions – e.g. with broken projectors and not working microphones πŸ™‚

I’ve found people who found bugs

One of my favorite, and assuming basing on rating in the conference’s application, one of the best during the conference, was “House made of glass – how to live in the IoT era of wiretapping” by Marcin Sikorski. The subject is great and there is a lot to say about our reality filled with IoT devices. Marcin is also very passionate speaker, so it was a pleasure to be there and listen.

Conference speaker in his natural environment

We had also a privilege to hear a keynote talk by Maaret PyhΓ€jΓ€rvi – “Testing in the intersection between Automation and Exploration”. We’ve learned that exploratory testing is not only a part of manual testing, but could be a must in test automation as well. It is always great to listen to Maaret, her incredible knowledge and experience in software testing is something unique.

Maaret on the stage

I need to mention unexpected keynote presentation at the end of day 1 – “Improv(e) your testing” by Piotr Gasik and Agnieszka Matan. OMG it was great. We – the audience – felt like little children and had a lot of fun. It was a fantastic idea to invite people, who have nothing to do with testing and who just can cheer you up and improve your communication skills during just one talk. Amazing and inspiring.

Piotr Gasik on the stage

Less Waste

My talk was about zero waste in software testing. I am really concerned about how do people destroy our planet. I need to say kudos to the organizers, because there was no plastic during coffee brakes. There were bins for waste segregation and there was vegan food available. It is still not so obvious at various events I am taking part in, so I do really appreciate it.

Summary

I do realize that my summary is biased and written not from the perspective of competition participant. I’ve heard some rumors that the requirements were too hard and the organisation was not perfect, but still I think that TestingCup is a unique event and I think that every tester should try at least once take pert in the competition and fill it.

Please do share your experiences in the comment section below or stalk me on Twitter @KingaTest

UK Star. Checked.

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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 given 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 πŸ™‚

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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,Β  the city looks like an enormous Lego – construction work set πŸ˜€ There are cranes and scaffolding everywhere. I felt intimidated and overwhelmed since I arrived. It was raining, of course πŸ™‚

 

 

 

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 πŸ™‚

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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 a lot of self-esteem πŸ™‚ Go Scotland! πŸ™‚

 

 

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’ behavior.

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 a better place than we found it. I find this keynote strong and a must to be heard 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 its rules. If there is a capacity for playing and making mistakes – there is also a space for the team’s evolution and growth.

 

 

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 @thetestdoctos ‘s – Dan Billing – the 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 πŸ˜€ Dan is sneaky – he wanted us just to feel a little bit of security testing in order to invite him for a decent workshop in our companies.Β  Best PR ever, Dan! πŸ˜€

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)Β  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 the audience into the 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 than 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 flawed 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!