Its official, the Local Interest Chapter implementation is under way. Yesterday I had the pleasure and privilege to host the first official Local Interest Group meeting for Software Test Professionals. It was held at Robert Half Technology on 245 Park Street in downtown NY. Our very own Strategic Advisory Board member Bala Muller was the guest presenter and he generated a number of excellent discussions around a host of issues, including a very engaging discussion about automation.
I opened the meeting with an introduction of who we are at STP, our mission and vision for the local chapters, and it seemed to be well received. It was great to have Paul Flaharty Regional VP for Robert Half, who is also a chapter officer for HDI, there to explain and share his knowledge of what they are seeing in the job market for software test and quality professionals. He shared some encouraging numbers and also had firsthand knowledge to share with the group on how valuable the local chapter model is to the professionals that attend the meetings.
Bala Mullur’s presentation generated exactly what I was hoping for which was an engaging dialogue on the specific interests within the group of attendees. The presentation ended up being a facilitated discussion and took many tangents which are exactly what makes these local meeting so valuable. The group was very engaged and willing to share. They agreed, disagreed, and offered offer a host of opinions but more importantly they were sharing their real life experiences with the group. There were also a few questions posed by group members for the group to give input and opinions on. Two topics offered some very good discussion, metrics, and automation. We also had a good discussion around the “cloud” and as expected, security was definitely a concern for the financial folks in the room.
It was a varied group and included a developer/tester team from the same organization who utilized the meeting it seemed to build a stronger professional relationship. It was encouraging to see an example of teamwork between developer and tester. We talked about the importance of teamwork in the meeting, as well as the importance of speaking a common language in IT, and specifically how to communicate more effectively with upper and executive management.
There was a very passionate discussion around automation, and the final outcome was an agreement that we need to really be clear about what we mean when we talk about automation and testing. The group had great feedback and Bala had some interesting examples of what he is doing at his organization with automation, and I am encouraging him to write about the examples he used at our meeting for the website or an upcoming newsletter.
Overall, it was a great meeting that went beyond the 2 ½ hours we scheduled. I even received feedback that the meeting could have been longer. The time flew, and even after we ended the formal meetings, attendees were passing cards and making local connections with the others at the meeting. I will continue to nurture NY and a couple of folks were interested about volunteering for future meetings but concerned about the time commitments. Time is a valid concern but based on the survey I handed out, this meeting was time well spent!