Going to CAST

Next week I’ll be at the Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST) in San Jose, CA. The first time I attended CAST in 2009, it quickly became my yearly top priority among conferences to attend. This is a “CONFERence” type conference (high emphasis on community and discussions) which usually produces a lot of blog worthy material for its attendees. I will try to write a couple of brief blog entries while at the conference, but if you want to find out what’s being discussed in “real time”, then tune in to #CAST2012 on Twitter, or check out the live webCAST.

If you’re a regular reader of this (little over a month old) blog, then you know that CAST was one of the inspirations behind the recent Let’s Test conference. CAST has always been a great experience for me and this year’s CAST will be my 4th. So far I have gone home every time with my head filled with new ideas and interesting discussions lingering in my head, waiting to be processed over the following few weeks, and I think this year will be no exception.

This year’s CAST will be the first where I’m taking part in the program committee (together with Anne-Marie Charrett, Sherry Heinze and program chair Fiona Charles) and so I’ve been reading through and evaluating a wide range of great proposals for the workshops and sessions that will make up the first two days of the conference, trying to help put together a really exiting program for this year’s theme, “The Thinking Tester”.

I’ll also be facilitating a few of the workshop and session discussions this year, which will be interesting. In Sweden we’re used to going to conferences to “learn” from the speaker and everybody take turns to ask their questions in a polite (read: timidly) and orderly fashion , much like we do when queuing at the supermarket or movie theater, Swedish style. At CAST on the other hand, it’s not uncommon for the speaker’s message to be challenged and/or questioned thoroughly. Needless to say, to get a discussion of that kind to flow effectively without derailing, good facilitation is key. Facilitation also enables other things, like making sure that more than one or two people get to talk during the Q&A or that discussions stay on topic. I like both that kind of attitude and format, and although I’ve already taken the stage as a speaker at CAST in the past, this will be my first time facilitating “over on that side of the pond”. So yeah, it will be an interesting experience for me for sure.

Looking forward to going there, meeting old friends, listening to interesting talks, facilitating discussions, blogging about it… Looking forward to it all!

Finally, those with a keen eye might have noticed that the headline of this blog has changed recently. The reason is simple… When I resurrected this blog last month, I just put the first thing that came to mind as the headline. Turns out, the first thing that came to mind was the exact same headline as Shmuel Gershon uses on his (well established and well worth reading) testing blog. We can’t have that. Huib Schoots was kind enough to point this out in his most recent blog post, titled “15 test bloggers you haven’t heard about, but you should…“, where incidentally, I’m one of the 15. Most of the other blogs on that list are real gems, by the way. One or two I haven’t heard about myself, so I’ll check them out this summer for sure.

One Response to Going to CAST

  1. Your answer was just what I needed. It’s made my day!

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