Dawie Greyling, a principal consultant at Inspired Testing with more than 18 years of experience in the industry, recently attended the Eurostar 2021 event and shares with us his key learnings and observations. Of course, unlike previous years of handshakes and in-person catch-ups, this year’s event was conducted all online. It’s been almost two years since the Covid-19 pandemic digitised our existence faster and further than ever before and many of us are yearning for less on-screen engagement. Nonetheless, Dawie was incredibly impressed at how well the Eurostar organisers, attendees and speakers made (yet another) online event stand out from the rest and provide incredible value to all who were ‘there’.
Zooming into the Covid era of software testing
As Europe’s largest testing conference, the event pulls some heavy-hitter speakers, including our very own Mihai Grigorescu. Mihai’s talk was titled: Breaking Down Barriers for Managed Testing Services. It emphasised the good and not so good impact of the Covid era on team engagement. Mihai provided some interesting learnings with regards to improved communication and knowledge sharing processes - particularly where teams are distributed and not working on location together.
Another great moment was Steve Beck, Automation Architect at Inspired Testing’s, demo around the automation framework. Steve showcased the enormous value he and his team have provided to the Thomson Reuters 3E automation process, a great benefit to any firm in the legal industry. The implementation of open source libraries into a single framework that allows for mobile, web and desktop automation in both C# and Java was incredible. Steve was impressively clear as he walked the audience through the concepts and requirements vital to automation implementation within an organisation. Even in an online environment, a well-orchestrated and well-delivered demo created memorable learnings.
Networking and nosing about
I attended a talk by Gáspár Nagy of Spec Solutions titled: Living Documentation with BDD: Structure, Consistency, Traceability. Gáspár provided some incredible insights into the implementation and maintenance of BDD frameworks for automation. I loved his honesty about the downfalls of BDD frameworks such as trying to manage it to scale with your feature files. I also gained great perspective around the organisation and planning of BDD automation testing and the importance and value of developing the infrastructure or foundation correctly.
Michael Bolton from DevelopSense amazed me with his deep knowledge of testing and his profound ability to explain complex concepts of testing understandably and entertainingly. His ‘automation checking’ principles were enlightening. An important learning was Michael’s conviction that the quality world is focusing so much on automation for productivity increase that it has slowed us down. We are missing 80% of the quality spectrum that is important to our customers and users which can not be checked by automation.
Michiel Boreel from Sogeti gave an eye-opening talk about the incoming generation Z titled: Digital Happiness in the Age of Customer Obsession. I’m not sure if the concepts and findings Michiel presented scare me or give me hope for the future. But I do agree with him that as our organisations swell with this next generation of workers, we need to adapt and learn from them. Whether they like it or not, businesses will have to find a way to relate to Gen Z.
Lee Barnes from Utopia Solution spoke about Continuous Performance Testing in DevOps. It was a great talk that covered all the essentials of performance testing and the value you gain throughout the SDLC. I especially enjoyed Lee’s explanations of the levels of performance testing within an organisation’s development cycles - they were on point, clear and very memorable for anyone new to the subject.
Standing out from the crowd
Overall, Eurostar 2021 was engaging and inspiring, delivering an online event that encouraged and enabled conversations and learnings.
A standout experience for me was the lean coffee session on ‘Testing the tester’ that turned into one of the best talks and experiences for everyone there.
The topic was suggested by one of the attendees and the conversation started with people asking about assessments and tests that are required before an interview is even conducted. Of enormous value to me was getting the view from interviewers and interviewees alike: interviewees spoke up about how they are not getting paid for the work they do in assessments and tests and interviewers said that it’s crucial for them to see if the candidate is able to do the basics and assess their conceptual understanding. Something for us to think about perhaps.
I want to thank Eurostar and Inspired Testing for the opportunity to attend a great event delivered during difficult circumstances. And I am very much looking forward to Eurostar 2022 in Copenhagen which promises to be in-person! In my experience, gathering around a beer or coffee after a session or event with peers is priceless.