My Takeout from TConf 2016


So far, I reckon I’ve taken two weeks and written around 14 reviews for TConf. Each of them were tragic to read and would resemble the equivalent creative stimulation of melatonin and meditation.

Who am I to review a technical conference?

Let me rewind here. TConf is a conference “by testers for testers” brilliantly organised by Scott Clements and Ray Hua and their mission was this:

“To bring industry leaders together, to share the challenges and solutions to complex quality problems in the industry. We have a strong desire to advance the Quality function. We believe in the importance of these fundamentals, a good software tester is also a good engineer, communicator, pragmatic thinker and above all problem solver.”

Having recently joined the team at PRA to service our clients in the Testing and Quality discipline, this just looked too good an opportunity on many levels to turn down.

I didn’t attend the event expecting to win business but of course it was a good opportunity to rub shoulders with some smart people in my sector, being a little disruptive.

If I’d walked away having not embarrassed myself, had some interesting conversations, a couple of face to the name moments (I’d been stalking Scott Clements for weeks, no seriously I had, just ask him) as well as learning more in the industry I service and I’d consider the whole thing a success.

For me, TConf marked the first conference or I’d been to for a while and whilst I recognised the positives, the prospect of being the solo non-techie guy, let alone a bloody recruiter with 200 testers in attendance was a pretty intimidating prospect.

Arriving at Monash University, I think my nerves were more rattled than the speakers combined (I’m a woeful networker, all the small talk is just not my thing. Give me a deep and meaningful and I’m more at home) but with no rum in sight…it was 8am, it was just one of those situations you have to throw yourself in and find out whether you’re out of your depth or not (I was).

The way the guys ran the show was completely relaxed, informative, encouraging and collaborative.

From start to finish, it felt like a bunch of friends getting together to share stuff they knew: ideas, techniques, technology and just make their industry better.

The audience were genuinely passionate, engaged and learning. Many heading back to their respective offices with a newness about them, invigorated and ready to try new things.

I couldn’t help but feel envious as I imagined recruiters collaborating like this under the same roof, all with the sole purpose to create a better experience for the people who mattered. The customer.

From start to finish the tone was massively customer-centric so, for me the key takeout was crystal clear.  Culturally the teams weren’t driven by bugs or even technical know-how, their purpose was to constantly be delivering an improvement to the user experience.

Simple but too often overlooked, right?

Thanks guys. See you next time, I’ll bring the rum.


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