Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Peers Exchanging Ideas

Peers Exchanging Ideas: The AST Peer Conference Guide

The Association for Software Testing is an organisation dedicated to advancing the craft of software testing and one of the ways we do that is by promoting and sponsoring peer conferences.

When we say peer conference we don’t have a particular format in mind. Adrian Segar describes a peer conference as
a conference that is small, attendee-driven, inclusive, structured, safe, supportive, interactive, community-building, and provides opportunities for personal and group reflection and action.
We like that kind of framing as it provides room for many local variants, although we’d add that disseminating the results of the conference could be an important outcome too. If we had to boil down our own perspective, it would be something like this: peers exchanging ideas.

To help the conferences that we sponsor, we decided to write a checklist based on the experiences of the AST Board members and other organisers that we've spoken to or who have published their own reports.

I took the task of writing the first version but, as I collected material and review comments, the checklist grew into a guide, Peers Exchanging Ideas, available now from our Github account.

You can read the guide from start to finish to get an overview of the kinds of things you might want to consider for  a conference. It might seem like there’s a lot! Don’t worry, it’s definitely doable — we know, because we’ve done it! However, if you were just looking for a basic checklist of stuff to remember, the Appendices give that, with links back to details in the main text.

Despite our mission as an organisation, the guide isn't specific to software testing. We took a decision to make it generally applicable and we think it's got real value for those thinking of, or actually running, peer conferences.

We are extremely grateful to the conferences and our reviewers for helping to make this a thing. Please have a look, share it, perhaps try a peer conference for yourself, and let us know how you got on.
Image: https://flic.kr/p/kWMmEM

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