My story with conferences and why I consider them very important for my career growth
Four years ago, I embarked on my first conference journey, and since then I have discovered numerous advantages that motivated me to challenge myself and participate in big international conferences such as EuroSTAR – the largest international conference in Europe.
Here are some advantages of attending such conferences:
- Inspiring ideas for my work and career growth
- Fun activities, from critical puzzles to testing-related games
- Meeting passionate testers from around the world and learning from their experiences
Every conference is a moment to recharge and gain a new dose of motivation, allowing me to return to work with fresh insights and new ideas.
About the 31st EuroSTAR conference edition
The focus of this year’s edition was primarily on the aspect of understanding and effective communication in software development inorder to deliver the right value at the right time to our customers. The conference theme was “Software Development is a Social Activity.”
My Learnings and takeaways
A. Isabel Evans delivered an inspiring keynote “It Only Takes One Genius” where she emphasized the importance of naivety, teamwork, and respecting strengths and weaknesses for collective growth
B. Maaret Pyhäjärvi’s keynote “Whose Test is It Anyway?” questioned the importance of testing and testers, shedding light on the significance of involving testers in testing activities to achieve the desired results of the quality of delivery.
C. We had a lean coffee during the conference and the theme was Testing at scale where we had engaging discussions about communities of practice in organizations and how to leverage test automation across various teams for the same product with many teams involved.
D. As a track chair, I hosted 2 sessions, “Spice up your Testing, and Gamify it Out!” by Geosley Andrades. In his presentation, he began with the history of gamification, which dates back to 1896. “Gamification is the act of applying game-like characteristics to a non-game situation in order to increase ‘user’ interaction” He also mentioned that gamification is about engaging and motivating teams. I learned 4Qs Model Gamification Design steps that can be applied to testing:
- WHY are we applying gamification? GOAL
- WHAT do we want people to do? ACTIONS
- WHOM are we designing for? PLAYERS
- HOW can we design it? SYSTEM
And here are some advantages of applying gamification in testing:
- Motivates testers through rewards and recognition.
- Boosts knowledge absorption and retention.
- Provides real time feedback
- Enables Transparency.
- Improves testers’ productivity and morale.
- Builds healthy competition.
E. I also chaired a session “The Lost Art of Taking Good Notes” by Nicole van der Hoeven who introduced the use of Obsidian as a powerful tool for taking notes and enhancing collaborations.
F. Kristel Kruustuk started with a mindful exercise and delivered another insightful keynote and, Testing With Purpose: How Stories, Values & Kindness Make Testing Better
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
G. Thomas Shipley’s session “Moving Cheese: The Art of Persuasion for Testers” offered practical examples and tips for improving quality through persuasion.
H. Lego experimentation was done in the TestLab where I hosted two sessions to demonstrate to participants how we can enhance the use of gamification to explain different test varieties.
I. I attended to my colleague Sanne Visser’s session titled “That Which isn’t Good for the Hive, isn’t Good for the Bee” , where she spoke about the negative impact of high competition and the importance of collaborative success. In the end, success is what we decide it to be. She suggested that the most helpful employees should be rewarded.
J. The New Test Mangaer’s Survival Guide by Kevin Harris emphasized the significance of good communication and continuous improvement in testing.
K. In her keynote, Leadership is Everyone’s Responsibility, Anne-Marie Charrett emphasized that everyone is a leader and for that we need to create spaces for people to grow, change management is an important part of the work and mostly we need to create space for your personal growth within organization.
My session at EuroSTAR conference
It was my second time speaking at EuroSTAR conference. Co-facilitating the workshop “Make Yourself Future Proof While Improving Your Soft Skills” with my co-speaker Ard Kramer was a memorable experience.
During our workshop, we looked at a real-life story of a team facing challenges such as the absence of a product owner, the use of ChatGPT and the problems that can result from it, the switch to DevOps and the need for continuous testing, skills that are not available within the team ….
For every problem, we asked participants to share their tips on how to use of soft skills improve (communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking).
In every round, we guided participants with various questions to help them reflect.
In addition, we shared one story per skills from our book “21st Century Skills For Testers” and we had a debrief after each round, where each group shared their findings.
EuroSTAR 2023 was an unforgettable journey, igniting my passion for testing and driving me towards continuous growth and innovation. Grateful for the memories and knowledge gained!
About Emna Ayadi
Emna is a passionate Tester. She started her career in IT in 2015 with a focus on Quality Assurance, she got the chance to work on multinational projects combined between Testing and Quality Coaching roles. Currently she works at Sogeti France. Emna is an international speaker and workshop facilitator. She has spoken at several Testing and Agile conferences on a variety of topics related to Quality Engineering, she has been to conferences in over 8 countries. She has contributed to 2 books, one as a co-author and one as translator.
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