Friday, October 19, 2012

STPCon Fall 2012 - Day Zero

This past week, I attended the Software Test Professional Conference in Miami, Florida; an amazing event with some truly talented people in the field of Software Testing.  Arriving Sunday afternoon from a cold and wet New York to a hot and sunny Ft Lauderdale, I drove down to Miami and checked into the Downtown Hilton.  After grabbing some snack foods to stock up my room from the Publix across the street, I spent the evening relaxing and reviewing the presentation I would be giving Tuesday afternoon.  Unfortunately, AMC was not one of the channels on my hotel television so the Season Three premiere of The Walking Dead would go unwatched, for now.

Bright and early Monday morning and what I call Day Zero began with an 8:00am breakfast.  Today was the pre-conference workshops and I attended Mark Tomlinson’s talk on New World Performance.  Mark and I had previously only met in the virtual world, on twitter and a TWiST podcast we did with Matt Heusser.  A seasoned tester and presenter, Mark’s workshop centered on exploring the balance of the new and the old technologies and techniques we as software testers use specifically with Performance Testing.  The details of the workshop were so dense that, to do it justice, I’ll be writing about it in a separate blog post.

One of the best things about the workshop was the attendees.  I was lucky to sit alongside and partner up with several testers and a developer from Sandia National Laboratories.  STPCon is an excellent place to meet and learn from testers with diverse backgrounds; Tina Newlander, Shavawn Bell and Lupe Massoth contributed great insight and questions to our conversations.  Our team re-wrote the Test Approach, using the information Mark reviewed and presented, to incorporate a more robust view on testing.

This document identifies <your company> attitude towards continuous performance, functional, and integration testing throughout the project lifecycle.  This test approach utilizes real-world and production level test data to allow for various development methodologies to be implemented and adapted across various product teams.

The conversation and ideas presented was so vast that Mark took an extra hour and half to finish his talk.  Despite the time, most of the attendees remained and gave Mark the attention and applause his talk deserved.

Throughout the day, the entire conference actually, the tweets were flying.  Using hastag #STPCon, I was able to follow along with other testers in other workshops as well as share what we were talking about.

On Monday evening, an impromptu dinner outing was planned by Matt Heusser which I was both happy and honored to attend.  The eight testers seated around the table must have easily represented well over 100 years of software testing experience. JeanAnn Harrison, Andy Tinkham, Todd Schultz, Seth Eliot, Karen Johnson, Matt Heusser, and Mike Lyles provided great conversation over a fantastic dinner at Gauchitos Steakhouse.  The testing talk continued as we made our way back to the Hilton’s lobby bar.  After a couple of Irish Coffee’s I excused myself and returned to my room.  I was presenting the next day, the first time I ever presented at a conference, so I wanted an early night and another chance to review my slides.

Before falling off to sleep, I of course watched the season three premiere of The Walking Dead that I downloaded on my iPad.
  ….to be continued

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