EuroSTAR roundup

It’s been a mad few weeks so I’m looking forward to getting back to normality again, both at work and at home.

Here are some thoughts from EuroSTAR 2011:

I was attending EuroSTAR 2011 with a different lens on my views as I sought out fresh and interesting glimpses at where we are heading as an industry. I was sadly dissapointed. There were some interesting things happening but it was mostly a very common story.

A theme seemed to emerge from the event around the future of testing with both Gojko Adzic and James Whittaker suggesting there would be no testing phase, James even going so far as to say there would be no testers too.

Other than that, it was business as usual. Metrics, certifications, Best Practices, Agile Testing and an interesting “people” theme too. Nothing too controversial and an all round good conference, but very little to really inspire me that our craft is changing.

I mostly agreed with both Gojko and James in their prediction of the demise of Testing. It become so talked about that Paul Gerrard organised an open forum on one evening to discuss where Testing is heading. It seemed though, that all of this talk about the future of testing relied on us all having a unified agreement of what Testing actually was. And you know how hard that is. 

There were a few things though that gave me great insight and hope that we are still changing.

  • Michael Bolton was talking about dashboards and reporting for Exploratory Testing. 
  • People were aware of what Exploratory Testing was and many were practicing it.
  • Agile wasn’t as scary to many as at most Testing conferences.
  • Adam Knight was talking about Specification by Example and people were intrigued.
  • UTest were talking about 10 emerging technologies to change testing. This talk was the only talk that felt like it really shone a light on the future of testing. I mind mapped it here (and below)
  • There were one or two cloud test tool vendors who stood out for pushing the boundaries of tools and their uses. SOASTA and CloudFlex (by Intechnica) were two highlights for me. 
  • There were a growing number of Software Testing Club members at the event.
  • The Testing Planet feedback was immense. Many thanks.
  • The evening socials were busy with people talking about the conference.
  • The Test Lab was there.
  • There was a talk on mind mapping.

I actually walked out of one talk with a number of other people, because of the loose comments being made, the assumptions being driven from some research and because it had a general feeling of us versus them (test v programmer). It felt wrong. But hey, it seemed like a popular session for many.

I actually added some mind maps of the talks here for public consumption:


There was a common thread of being embarrassed about being a Tester and a general need to prove yourself with little consideration for the team. I just wish that we’d stand proud of what we do and show respect for the industry and the teams we work in; it sometimes feels like we just concentrate on the “good old days of Waterfall” and the stereotype we have created for ourselves. There is vastly more going on in the industry than many even realise. Wouldn’t it be great to stand tall and talk about it; share it and learn from it.

One thing became evidently clear from EuroSTAR. The future is mixed and uncertain and unknown – but we knew that already. That’s no different now to 1 year ago or one year from now. But I genuinely believe in the future we will rely more and more on communities of Testers. 


It was a good conference though and it felt more balanced than last year, but it still felt heavy on metrics and best practices. But what an excellent choice for next years Programme Chair – Zeger Van Hese – awesome choice in fact 🙂

7 thoughts to “EuroSTAR roundup”

  1. I attended Eurostar 2006 and found it very old skool, that’s why I haven’t been back. I had hoped, given the people I know who attended, that it might have changed. It sounds like not.I wouldn’t judge the future of testing from this conference. Other conferences such as Agile Testing Days are a better indication of where we’re headed as a profession. More importantly, these more ‘progressive’ conferences show that the software development industry itself is changing, with increased collaboration among various roles.

  2. Thanks for sharing Rob.Good, and yet not so good. Like heading into a movie that you’re really excited about simply to find that all the good bits were in the trailer, which you’ve already seen.I’m getting the feeling that ‘meet-ups’ and smaller conferences are providing more inspiration these days? Maybe they allow for more flexibility to move with the attendees instead of being on a strict schedule with strict content? I find when presenters do this (move with the audience), there is a lot more value added, but when an entire conference can do it, solid gold!Also thanks for the mind maps!

  3. Rob: Many thanks for this – just the kind of overview I wasn’t quite getting from the accumulated tweets of the minority who seemed to be tweeting. Very helpful .

  4. Hi Lisa,Thanks for the comment. I think the future of Testing is certainly being discussed at other conferences and is really where we are heading. I just expected to see some change. :(Rob..

  5. Hi David,I think you are right. The smaller meetups and conferences allow people to be more spontaneous. I think they are also more niche in their content, which means they typically attract people interested in the majority of the talks. But this still doesn’t explain why the mainstream claim to be running agile but are still building the walls between them and us. :(I like the analogy of a movie. Very cool.ThanksRob

  6. Hi Rob,We already talked about the conference, so I knew your points of view on it. Of course, Eurostar typically caters for bigger and broader audiences than e.g. Agile Testing Days. <shameless> I do urge you to come back next year. It will be “specia”l. Come and see :-)</shameless> Kind regards,Zeger

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