I’ve just had the wonderful experience of attending the very first all context-driven full testing conference to be held in Australia, Let’s Test Oz. The three day event was an excellent illustration of what makes this community so special – the spirit of sharing, openness, desire to learn, and – above all – passion is infectious and helps to make the conferences under this banner truly remarkable.
This post is not really a review of Let’s Test, however (even though it was great). The opening keynote of the conference came from James Bach, “How Do I Know I’m Context-driven?”. It was, as always, an enlightening way to spend an hour and I like the way that James genuinely tries to move things forward, there’s always new stuff in his presentations. In the course of an hour, he said several interesting things but I want to focus on an important takeaway for me – how to attract and welcome people into our community.
James pointed out that CDT was originally “conceived to be open”, but that “no-one is entitled to an unchallenged opinion”. This presents us as a community with some challenges and James acknowledged that his personality (and his desire within the community, “I want to push the state of software testing forward”) does not place him as the best person for the job of welcoming people in.
He introduced the idea of “greeters and guides” to bring people in and ‘show them around’ our CDT world – these people need soft skills, such as empathy and politeness, as well as familiarity with CDT and a passion for sharing and learning. These greeters and guides need to clearly communicate the message that everybody is welcome provided you want to do good work and are prepared for constant learning – and that these are ways you will earn respect in this community.
The good news is, I think, that there are lots of greeters and guides already out there, doing great work in publicizing our ideas and building awareness of what CDT is all about. It is the responsibility of all of us with a passion for CDT to act in these roles to nurture the next waves of talent into this already incredibly rich community.
So, to anyone interested in learning more about context-driven testing, I hope the bloggers and twitterers provide you with a welcoming introduction to our community and, most importantly, show you an avenue to get involved in a way that you feel comfortable with. Greetings… and welcome (and hope to see you at a Let’s Test one day!).