This year I had the opportunity to attend the Let’s Test testing conference in a location not too far from Stockholm in Sweden. The idyllic Scandinavian backdrop for this conference assisted with creating the kind of environment that other testers have told me is unique to Let’s Test, one in which there seems to be a conspicuous absence of cliques and ego that I had been told is often quite present at some of the other bigger test conferences throughout the globe, resultantly creating an environment that seemed both friendly and laid back.
This friendly environment that I experienced definitely provided the event with more of a community-driven feel, with many a tester that I encountered more than happy to just have a chat or just hang out. This same more inclusive nature is reflected in the talks themselves, where every talk included the requirement for an ‘open’ part. These open sessions required the presenters for each talk to put aside a specific period of time with each talk that invited an open discussion from those attending, but they also often contained friendly banter and related conversations which sprung up from these open sessions too.
This more open environment though was hardly the only merit of this conference, more importantly, and what brought many of the people (and even speakers) there was the more progressive nature of the talks themselves. Rather than just having talks that got lost in academics, technicalities or discussions about specific practices there were a significant number of talks that focused on ideas and perspectives. More specifically, and where I felt there was the greatest value to be found, was the re-framing of specific ideas and perspectives.
Various of the talks that I attended brought up subjects that reflected ideas of my own but presented those ideas in a new light, re-framing those same ideas. The power of re-framing is a skill that has great value to the craft of testing (but is also a skill that has value that extends way beyond the craft too). The reason for this is that the ability to appropriately frame an idea or perspective can be the distinctions between the ability to successfully advocate / sell an idea or have it fall on deaf ears.
So much of the effectiveness of the testing craft can be measured by our ability to communicate ideas and have those ideas understood. Given this, having a new way to frame an existing idea provides the tester with another potential approach for sharing the idea with others. In addition to this, an idea that has been re-framed in a way that connects with other testers has a greater potential to spread and be adopted by those testers.
Whilst the conference did have a focus on the ideas from the Context Driven Community, I found that numerous of the ideas aligned with my own ideas or presented variations of my own ideas, ideas that I had independently developed, yet I still found common grounds here.
The conference also held Test Labs sessions run by James Lyndsay that provided a fun hands on way to do some actual testing, without any real formalities and in an environment that was not too serious, but gave testers an opportunity to flex their skill without having to burn too many brain cells in the process!
For any tester looking for a conference with some progressive ideas on testing, an opportunity for an honest and open dialogue on the subject and a pretty sweet location I’d definitely recommend checking it out next year either in Australia (for the first time) or back over in Europe.