Testing conferences; bring your Boss

I’ve been meaning to write this for some time now, work, however, has been very busy.

So I went to my very first Testbash in Manchester back in October. I did both the Friday and the open conference on Saturday. Both days were great, the talks on Friday were very enjoyable. My favourite talks were James Bach’s keynote on social and critical distance and Joep and Helena’s 4-hour tester experiment. I won’t go into any detail here on them as they aren’t the focus of my thoughts.

I was lucky enough to be able to take my two full-time staff along to the Friday, and  I had managed to convince my boss to come along as well. Now my boss’s connection to the world of testing is me. At work, he is responsible for the IT systems and applications team which includes testing. So up until the conference what he knew about testing, largely, was as a result of what I had told him. He’d worked with testers earlier in his IT career, he’d not managed them before though. So when I wrote IT’s test strategy what it drew from and the things it talked about were new to him, and he took my word about its suitability. By getting him to go to Testbash Manchester I was able to introduce him to a huge number of testers who spoke the same way I do about testing, have the same challenges and often refer to the same source materials. I am very grateful that the Testbash crowd is so open and friendly  as it made the whole thing so much easier. He took away from the event a much better understanding of the problems I have been talking with him about and a better appreciation of what it is we do. So much so that he’s now working with me on getting the company to think about testing differently, to get us involved earlier in the process, (thank you, Duncan Nisbet, for your talk) as he now gets it.

So next time you are planning on going to a test meet up, or conference, think about if taking you boss along could help you. If like me you’re working for someone who doesn’t know testing, no matter how supportive they are of you, hearing other people talking about the problems you are trying to work around will really help you. It gives a legitimacy that is hard to get any other way. To hear others talk gives a wider perspective and helps bring these things to life.

Thanks again to all the friendly Testbash people.