Reflections on Let’s Test

While I’ve already written about my Expectations and Realities of Let’s Test in Testing Trapeze magazine, it’s now been more than a month since this incredible event finished up and I’ve had more time for the experience to sink in and reflect on what happened there.

I’ve been asked several times at work since my return from Europe about takeaways from Let’s Test. Most people seem to expect me to mention some revolutionary new testing technique or approach, but my takeaways are more people-y.

One of the most noticeable things at Let’s Test – in contrast to pretty much every other testing conference I’ve ever been to – was the positivity of the participants. There was none of the “woe is me” tester whining, but rather a genuine positive attitude towards the role  we’re lucky enough to have. This positivity was complimented by enthusiasm too and it was great to see a conference where people were not only willing but actively seeking out opportunities to help each other and share stories and ideas. This is exactly what a conference should deliver, yet it is so seldom the case it seems. What’s Let’s Test somehow manages to do is bring the right group of people together in the right environment for genuine conferring to happen – and that’s simply a joy to behold and be part of.

If I had to mention a specific, more concrete, takeaway then it would be around the questioning of best practices – I had a great day in a peer conference style workshop with Jon Bach on this topic and it hammered home to me the need to question any mention of best practices – not to be an obstructive, annoying smarty pants but to help others realise that such talk of best practices doesn’t help and in fact probably hinders critical thinking. We shouldn’t be afraid of saying that there are no best practices, only good practices in context. It’s not just semantics or context-driven testing arrogance, it’s an important distinction and a way to start conversations about the good practices you might already have in place that also allows for critical analysis of how they could become even better.

Thinking about the very positive attitudes experienced at the conference, it concerns me that the wider perception of the context-driven community isn’t so positive and I wonder how we as a community can address this and share our positivity in ways that pull people in rather than pushing them away? This is probably fertile ground for another blog post or two!

It will be really interesting to see how Let’s Test Oz goes in September – I’m hoping for a similar feel to the Stockholm event, so let’s all go there with the same positive, enthusiastic, supportive attitude that was so prevalent in Sweden and we should be in for a truly great conference.

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