Two weekends ago the first ever MOIIST (MOntreal Insights Into Software Testing) peer conference & workshop took place in my hometown of Montreal, Canada. Based on the energy in the room, my observations, and the passionate & positive feedback I received from the participants – I’m happy to say that it was a success!
Rob Sabourin, Stephanie Ripeau, and myself worked together to help organize the workshop, getting together throughout the year to help put the bits and pieces together. I put in a good amount of time and effort (as did Rob and Stephanie) and we really had an interest in not only seeing the workshop take place, but having the workshop generate interest and attract intelligent, passionate Software Testers – which I’m happy to say it did!
A few of us got together on the eve of the workshop (Friday evening) to chat and have a bite. It was nice to meet some new Tester’s whom I’ve never met before, as well as catch up and chat with the Testers I had met before.
The official workshop took place Saturday and Sunday. MOIIST2014 was facilitated (as will future iterations ) in the style of LAWST workshops. We had Scott Barber join us from Florida to help facilitate the workshop. Now if you’ve never seen Scott facilitate, or been in a room with Scott facilitating, I’ll say this – he’s an awesome facilitator! There were 12 of us in the room who took part in the workshop. We had participants join us from out of town (Calgary and Portland, plus Scott from Florida) as well as participants from in and around the Montreal area. It was also great to have my team members (from Calgary) Nancy Kelln and Lona Vanberg attend and participate, as well as for their support!
I was the second to present on Saturday. My story was that of my collaboration with the R&D team (a team that I worked with a few years ago). Now I have presented before, at lunch & learn sessions, at tutorials, even in school but it was my first presentation at a Software Testing workshop. It went well, I was confident up there. I knew the theme of the conference, was well aware of the focusing questions and geared my story towards the confines of those focusing questions. I was happy to have some of the participants approach me after my presentation and tell me that they enjoyed hearing my story and could appreciate all the effort put forth, and how I went about collaborating with my team members on the R&D team. It was great to have that type of feedback from peers, and I really did (and still do) appreciate it. After my presentation, I knew ways I wanted to improve it, and also how I wanted to improve my presentation skills overall. In addition to my self realizations, Rob was kind enough to give me a few additional suggestions over breakfast the following day.
The energy in the room was great both days, with everybody participating, asking questions, creating discussions. We went out to lunch together, a few of us went to dinner together where we continued offline testing discussions. Every collaboration story was different (some had a few similarities but in different contexts), and we each focused on collaboration skills that we got out of each person’s story. There were a few group exercises where we split up into groups which was fun and at the same time turned out to be a great learning experience. I find that great learning often happens when working with intelligent, thinking Software Testers in the type of group exercises that Rob had us work on. I’m also happy having had the chance to talk to and hang out with Scott over the course of the 3 days. I have been following Scott’s work and learning from it for many years now. I met Scott before at CAST2013 where we spoke briefly, but it was awesome to spend more time chatting, joking around, and talking about serious testing topics with Scott this time around. He was also kind enough to offer me some great insights before we finished up for the day on Sunday evening, which I greatly appreciate.
So what’s next? We had some great feedback at the end of the workshop from all of the participants with a lot of interest in the next one. I’ve had some of the participants offer their help in setting up the next one. I’ve received some other emails on how we can publicize our group more, to a wider audience. The interest is evident, as is the passion of the Testers who are interested in helping building a community of smart, thinking, skilled, passionate Software Testers. I’d like to thank everybody that helped out with and participated in the first ever MOIIST workshop!
Stay tuned for more information for MOIIST2015!