Blog: An Emerging Testing Community in Bengalooru
I was back in Bengalooru (formerly Bangalore) during the week of January 30-February 3, 2007. I was doing training for a corporate client. Outside of the training (which I enjoyed and the students did too, I believe) one really positive thing happened while I was there: Pradeep Soundararajan helped me to organize a meeting of some of the people in Bengalooru who are interested in establishing a community of skilled testers. NDS graciously hosted the evening. I hadn’t had a whole lot of time to prepare–I essentially scribbled down a few talking points just before I started. I spoke for about half an hour on some ideas about how to create the community–meetings every month or so, including one or more of the following: one- to two-hour presentations; panel discussions; lighting talks; free-form, problem-solving sessions, based on questions from the community and spontaneous you-join-the-panel answers. There are plenty of models for creating interesting events; the idea is just to do it. I’m confident that Pradeep and some of the people that I met that evening–and others that I’ve met on previous trips to India–can make this happen. Pradeep is co-ordinating the effort; you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A testing community like this has lots of potential benefits for its members. Presentations and networking foster opportunities for skills exchange, both within the community and from outside guest speakers. Testers get a chance to share problems and solutions, and to recognize that they’re not alone in dealing with some of the challenges of testing. Independent consultants have a place to network and market their services; those seeking advice have a place to find it. Organizations seeking skilled, motivated testers have an opportunity to find them; testers looking for work have a venue to find it. Companies can contribute to the wider testing community through sponsorship. Those testers who wish to develop their speaking and presentation skills for larger conferences have a venue to do it with a safe and supportive audience. Disagreements and consensus on the merits of various approaches in various contexts can be discussed and debated. Members of the community can establish peer conferences based on the LAWST model–the list goes on and on.
The idea isn’t restricted to Bengalooru, either. I suggest to testers all over India and all over the world, if you don’t have a local testing community, start one. It doesn’t have to be big or formal. Start in a local pub or restaurant, or in a conference room at some generous company like NDS. Call a few colleagues, and ask them each to bring along two people, ideally from other companies, who might be interested and who are unlikely to have met you. Spread the word by having those people invite two more each, and repeat the cycle. Identify people who are willing to help organize meetings; keep membership lists; produce newsletters, Web sites, or Wikis; obtain sponsorship in the form of space, resources, or cash; and give presentations to the group. The real trick to getting started and keeping it up is Just Do It.
If you’d like help, I’m happy to provide it; drop me a line at email@example.com.
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