Test Practitioner’s Club – 2nd Meetup

It gives me immense pleasure to share this post. For reasons that will unfold in the post.

Our founding objective was – we wanted the local testers to meet more often and find better ways to test and learn testing.With this in mind – we started a linkedin group called Test Practitioner’s Club –  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Test-Practitioners-Club.

We also created a presence on Facebook – our FB page – https://www.facebook.com/TestPractitionersClub. Thereafter, we planned on fulfilling our promise to make test meet ups happen locally (to startwith @NCR region ). Our first meeting happened and it gave us a direction and a core team of superb testers and enthusiastic team players.

As we were going for our 2nd meetup – almost similar questions cropped in (as we had during the 1st one) – how do we get more testers to participate, also – how to get more female testers to join in. Should we make it a paid event ? If yes then how much should we charge – will this impact participation seriously and positively or will it impact us negatively. Are we going to be able to afford it in a way where we don’t need the participants to pay for it. The efforts were being made towards keeping it free – so that no one has to turn it down for the sake of money- worst scenario in our case (money being a roadblock for interested ones). Will come back to this – what worked for us this time.

We first tried for Performance Testing meetup but had to postpone it for multiple reasons. So we moved on to finding next topic. And mobile apps testing was something being discussed at every level in our world. Also, as discussed in our first meet up, Mobile apps Testing was one of our early topics to be taken. So we got our topic finalized.

Thereafter, we looked out for speakers – we got lucky here. We really got very keen and learned folks to speak. Testers who understood modern day challenges of software and software testing – beyond being masters of mobile apps testing.

The first speaker – Bharath, who is a Test manager with Expedia, presented on the essentials of mobile apps testing (which also included mobile devices). Superb set of information collated and we wanted more of it. We may just have one full session with him again to get through all of his content which we could not in this meet up due to lack of time.

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Amitabh, our next speaker, is a Director at Impetus, over QA, and presented on Automation of mobile apps testing – challenges and how various different tools come in picture and how these tools evolved over a period of time. He presented a live demo of a very smart test automation tool for mobile apps testing – mAutomate. He had himself worked on the tool and his passion and pride showed through his presentation. Being the senior most test professional in the room, he also supported Bharath and Kapil well on their respective presentations. Truly a leader.
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Our final speaker for the day were – Kapil and Vaibhav, are Test manager and test engineer – respectively and have tremendous hands on experience as testers. They presented to us the HOWs and WHYs of Calabash – a very simple, effective and powerful test automation tool that takes its input scripts in plain English language (and other 57 languages too).

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They – also showed us a live demo and shared details about the tool that he knew only – out of his experience. Calabash has a very poor documentation available online and a poorer query resolution amongst the user groups. But with sheer grit, personal endurance, innovative approaches and brains of a tester – Kapil could build a good database of information on the tool. Thanks for sharing your details Kapil.

Once we had the speakers and schedule for half day meet up set, we began to look for venue. Something that would not be chargeable or had minimum rates.

Amitabh Srivastava from Impetus rose to our support. And we cant thank him enough for making all arrangements needed – we got a perfect sized room and tea/ coffee and snacks and all the required logistics got set.

We had close to 25 registrations due to facebook and linkedin and emails registrations until about 5 days from the event. This made me comfortable because that was the number I was looking for. We wanted this meet up to have about 20 -25 testers. That would be a gradual scaling up. Amitabh and Kapil asked me about the numbers and on hearing the statistics – both suggested should we move the session further by few more days. I was wondering why would they say this. And Amitabh explained his observation- if you really need a crowd of 25, you need 50 testers to sign up. And at the meetup he told me 50% for live sessions and 60% for webinar is the actual attendance. I still cant digest the accuracy of this prediction in our case.

To double my count – I took advises given by Srinivas Kadiyala and Kapil and others to use “Meetup” (www.meetup.com). I signed up for it and set it up and worked towards making the link known to the testers who follow Test Practitioner’s club. And whoa – registrations begin to flow – I started with 40 seats – increased it to 50 then 60 and then to 70. Final count of members was 61 and RSVP to the event was 58. This is an awesome tool for conducting events – just superb and very economical – I consolidated my list of members and those who RSVPed yes and I could download the list of my attendees in an email sheet directly – how cool is that, now?? Full marks to you Meetup team for your support.

And guess the number of attendees – 30!!! Hats off to you Amitabh!!

But my personal high did not come from just being able to put such an impeccable set of speakers and bring in a very interested and curious and learning audience. My personal high was to see 4 women testers in the crowd. I was so happy to finally move from 1 (just me in the 1st meet up) to 5 in our 2nd meet up. I am so thankful to these young girls for making it and giving us a hope that we could, may be bring some change – though it may be in the form of baby steps.
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We are thankful to our speakers and attendees for putting up such a wonderful show (still cant stop laughing on jokes being cracked by Kapil, Dwarika, Amitabh and a team of 4 testers – there were 4 super testers from Steria and they had great sense of humor and had a fair understanding on mobile apps testing ). A special mention to the hidden star – Rama Kaushik (Tester in blue Indian dress above) – who came out as a hidden talent on Mobile Apps testing. We look forward to her participation as a speaker soon.

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Our next steps :

1. We try out mAutomate and Calabash and share our feedback and queries with respective speakers. All contact coordinates will be shared with attendees in separate mail.

2. We bring in more women testers to the forum.

3. We get more testers to sign up for our linkedin group and facebook page and Meetup.

4. Next event and topic for it to be decided based on the poll sent by me (Smita) to all of those registered at Meetup / Linkedin / Facebook

5.A detailed session to be planned with Bharath, again.

Thats all for now. Please share your feedback in the comments below . Looking forward to hearing more from all of us!! Thanks Speakers.

 

Test Meetup – Test Practitioner’s Club

In the testing world, as I look around, there is so much going on – in terms of trainings , conferences, networking events, blogging , twitter patronizing or debating – many a times meaningful twitter talks and yet it’s always a pleasure to connect with testers in real and not limit our discussions to only virtual world. I guess that’s why we still have people wanting to attend such meets and conferences.

Without making any claims of being a learned one on human behavior and psychology studies, I think I can still safely say – It always feels easier to work with people whom you have met and can relate to them as a face and as the vibes you share with them.
Also in cases – when you are not able to mobilize the volume of folks online that you wish for, it might help to step out and meet some real transformers who could help you build a network. This was my case 🙂

With the thought of building a network of co-learners , we created a linkedin group – Test Practitioner’s Club and planned for its first meet .
We finally met on 1st Feb and though I will accept I expected more people to join in and it disappointed me to see some of the people not turning up after confirming multiple times (and we had limited seats – we could have let waiting list folks attend instead 🙂 ). But it all got compensated –once the core team present there got engrossed in the discussions.

During detailed introduction (since we all were meeting each other for the very 1st time)- I was pleasantly surprised at the profiles of the people there and how much they were already doing to support the test community in their own big and small ways. Truly impressive set of people on the core team. I can’t feel proud enough to be part of such a rocking team!!

Each one who attended, participated 100% in the discussions and contributed their inputs based on their experiences. Participants had mixed backgrounds – testers, non – testers and non- testers turned testers.
Personally for me, it surpassed all my expectations in terms of learnings I received. And I am hoping all the attendees, enjoyed the session and found it as useful as I did if not more.

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It was interesting to see the room make heavy consensus on topics like lack of value that certain popular certifications like ISTQB or even CSTE create, changing roles and needs of testers in modern day projects and the key skills required as testers.

I am amused with the disclosures made at the meetup based on personal experiences – Most of us knew James Bach and wanted to study his RST class (was a happy student moment) ; more girls prefer testing as career than boys at the start of their careers (coming from someone involved in campus recruitments, you have to believe it – But how cool is that ?? – makes me happy atleast 🙂 ) ; development team and test team on the same project are given access to different set of software and testers are not allowed to choose their set (UNBELIEVABLE – ARE YOU SERIOUS…gggrrrrrrr) ; BBST is the only test course that we could get a unanimous consensus on, by testers, to have confidence on its value and relevance to changing needs of testers ( NOT SURPRISED!! ). And then this one too -ISTQB certified testers with 0-2 yrs experience fair well in entry level interviews compared to those not certified (to be precise – certified testers knew the terms and terminologies better). These are all personal experiences shared by members of the core team and should not be taken as a generalist theory for now. However, since these are subjects of our interest, we would like to gather more data on these to make informed conclusions. Please do share your inputs on these topics!!

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As a core team, some of the objectives we have & actions we need to take :

1. First and foremost increasing membership of the group on LinkedIn -targeting 1000 members ( by when??)
2. Offer to provide trainings and activities to develop skills of local testers and to guide them on how to be better at testing.
3. Trying to find Infrastructure and logistics support with organizations within our network for meet ups and training sessions.
4. Online events – meeting on Skype as and when required.
5. All agreed to contribute in terms of time and effort and subject matter to train testers in different fields,based on skill, training and availability mapping.
6. Appealing each one of us to add more women testers to the group and work together to support more women to attend the test events and conferences all across the globe. To start with, it can be our local meet ups. Let’s bring in as many and support them in any which ways we can, to help them grow. Sometimes, even if it means going out of our way, please.

For now – status of the group – and tempo of the members looks promising with huge possibilities of value we could create together.

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Where you can help us and maybe yourself too –
1. Please join the linkedin group – Test Practitioner’s Club and participate. Also joins us on the group’s facebook page. This will help us meet our 1st objective.
2. If you have any stuff on testing that you would like to share with others – online or offline – please post it on the group site.
3. If you need to learn something about testing and you don’t know where to go – whom to learn it from – post your need on the group and surely there will be someone who can help you.
4. If you have Testing related jobs to post – or are looking for jobs in testing – please use the group for posting both.
5. Finally – my personal favorite – If you have any women testers in your network, please please please – ask them to be a part of this initiative. If they are far off and can’t take part in the physical meet- ups – its fair. So many things we will do will be online and we can connect them to test networks closer to them – where they can meet locally too. And we can suggest them online trainings given by folks like James Bach, Ann-Marie, Karen Johnson, Michael Bolton, Paul Holland and many more.
I am unapologetic about my will to have a better gender balance across geographies in testing 🙂

Looking forward to contributing in growth of the test practitioners and building a sustainable community. If you know of a rockstar Test Practitioner, please forward them the link for the blog or our linkedin group – we would like to have them on our team.

Please feel free to add your notes to the comments below or add them to the group.

Many thanks for your time!!