Nicky Tests Software: My 4 Main Takeaways from Let's Test 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

My 4 Main Takeaways from Let's Test 2016

Last year, I wrote a two-part reflection on my experience at Let's Test, which detailed every session I went to. This year, I've decided to take a different approach. While there's a lot I can say about every session I went to this year - I feel my time would be better spent on focussing on a few things that I took away from Let's Test 2016

1. Context > Process

In his workshop, Patrick Prill had us do a few activities where we discovered that instructions to do the same thing, can lead to wildly different results. One question that was asked was "How do you make good coffee?" - as someone answered the question, all I could think was Aren't you going to ask if they want milk or sugar? Part of me thought, there's no point having "good coffee" if you add condiments where they're not wanted.

Being in his workshop reminded me of the importance of interpretation and that we need to know the context to be better able to interpret information (or instructions).

2. A lot of people agree on what makes a good conference abstract 

I went to Richard Bradshaw's and Martin Hynie's workshop on being a TeSTAR, where we had some discussions around what makes a good conference abstract. 

According to us, characteristics of a good conference abstract include (among others):
  • Clear
  • Takeaways
  • Fits the theme
  • Appealing to the audience
  • Interesting
At the end of the day, knowing what makes a good abstract is one thing, knowing how to apply it - is another.

3. People can talk themselves to a solution

In Lou Perold's session, we did an activity where someone would talk about a problem and the other person would simply listen. No questions; no interrupting; just listen. One thing that stood out to me was the lack of questions, my understanding of this was to avoid the "listener" from steering the conversation - so the "speaker" could let it out.

I enjoyed the concept that people can talk themselves to a solution by talking to someone about it (having an actual person front of you, seems to do the trick). This takeaway is something that'll probably be applied to life both in and out of my work.

4. At the end of the day, it's about the people

I could rave about the keynotes and the sessions but to me, it's the people who make the conference experience great. Last year, I made some amazing connections with people - and was very excited to see some familiar faces when I got to Runö. I'm gutted that it'll probably be a year until I see most of the people again.