The 2nd Birmingham Software Testing Club Meetup took place at the Bacchus Bar in Birmingham and was generally deemed to be a successful event. Having been the organiser of a couple of these events now and with another hot on the heels, it occurred to me to share a few thoughts on the associated benefits, drawbacks and lessons learnt so far.
Firstly I should probably be up-front about what my own aims and objectives for the event are and whether or not they’ve been met:
- I want a community of software testers, test analysts, test engineers, developers in test, test managers, and software testing guru’s to exist in Birmingham. By a community I mean a group of like-minded people who look out for and help each other for the benefit of the community.
- I want to be a part of a regularly scheduled event that enables me/other testers in the community to meet and exchange thoughts and practical solutions that help us perform our jobs better.
- I want to meet new people and make new friends.
- When people in Birmingham think of Software Testing, I want my name to be on (preferably at or near the top of) their list of go-to resources.
Most of these objectives have at least partially been achieved. There is now a group of testers in (and around) Birmingham that want to be a part of the meetup too. Does this constitute a community? Probably…
Is there now a regular event where I can meet, listen to and exchange ideas with similarly minded professionals, hopefully making new friends in the process. Yes. 2 & 3, check. Of course, this does depend on keeping the event regular…
Do people recall my name when they think Birmingham Software Tester(s)? Well, maybe some of them do, but this objective is somewhat self-serving and probably belongs at the bottom of the list. Don’t judge me too harshly though – I am running a business after all! Which brings me to my main point.
I think some of the main benefits of being involved in the organisation and administration of such an event are entreprenurial in nature. You need to be the kind of person that thinks outside of the box and has the confidence to make things happen outside of your comfort zone. One of the main obstacles I’ve had to overcome in order to get the meetups off of the ground is my own lack of confidence in dealing with other people. Trying to organise testers is, to coin a phrase, “like trying to herd cats.” Organising tester meetups is hard work – and it’s not getting any easier.
The 3rd Birmingham Software Testing Club Meetup will include James Bach as a special guest speaker. The last James Bach meetup I attended attracted attendees from Scotland and London. I’m expecting a large turnout! This dials up the pressure on me considerably. I need to find a bigger venue that will hold the anticipated number of not only meetup attendees, but also the class of Rapid Software Testers that will likely want to come along too. I will be hosting an event mostly full of people I don’t know all that well and many of whom I’ve never met before, some of them with international credentials.
This, for me, is scary stuff. But that’s part of the point. Because at the same time as having to deal with all of this stuff, I’m growing in confidence, and in ability, both of which have a direct correlation to my work and probably to my career trajectory. It’s also good to give back, to sow seeds that will hopefully grow into something that benefits many more people in the future.
Scary – but worth it!
P.S. I’ll try and get more pictures of the next event, but in the meantime here’s one of the 2nd (thanks to nFocus).