Starting a Testing Meet-up - the first few steps
A few months ago I started a testing meet-up in Stockholm. There have only been two meet-ups so far - but I thought it\’d be a good idea to share my experiences because:
- I hope to inspire others to start a testing meet-up in their local area (especially if there isn’t an active one yet)
- If you have been to a testing meet-up, you may be curious as to what it’s like “behind the scenes”
A few things to keep in mind when you read this:
- I work remotely - so didn’t really have a community or a network here in Stockholm
- I was a co-founder for a testing meet-up in Auckland alongside Shirley Tricker, Erin Donnell and Jen Hurrell and helped run that meet-up for just under two years.
Why start a Testing Meet-up in Stockholm?
There weren’t any active testing meet-ups at the time (around mid March 2016). While there were a few testing Meet-up groups there hadn’t been any Meet-ups for 6 months (according to Meetup.com - and I really wanted to meet some people from testing in Stockholm).
What did I do first?
I created a group on Meetup called Stockholm Software Testing Talks. Below is an excerpt of the group description as per the site:
This is a group for anyone interested in software testing…..I started this group because I thought it’d be great to have a regular meet-up where we can meet other testing professionals …__Someone will give a 20min Experience Report regarding some aspect of software testing and then after the presentation we enter “Open Season” and attendees are encouraged to discuss…..Participation is strongly encouraged…….Structure and facilitation will follow the same format as KWST and is best described in the following link -http://adam.goucher.ca/?p=234
My initial idea was to start a lean coffee where 10(ish) people gather to discuss software testing (because I wasn’t sure how to find a venue given my lack of network in Stockholm). Luckily someone from Omegapoint said that they could sponsor a meet-up. I then met up with Örjan from to discuss details and the first meet-up was set. Set-up for the first meet-up There was a bit of back and forth between Örjan and a few others at Omegapoint to settle on a date - but once we had one, I asked Örjan if he could arrange a speaker (as I didn’t know anyone in testing in Stockholm at that point in time). I said I would take care of the promotion, keeping the meet-up group and the event itself updated, making the coloured cards and name labels for the meet-up and the facilitation. Soon, Örjan confirmed we had a speaker for the first meet-up and it then became a waiting game for a few weeks. In the meantime, I kept the lines of communication open by messaging Örjan and Sandra (the speaker) about once a week asking if there’s anything I can do and keeping them updated with things happening on my end. The First Meet-up I was told that a few people at Omegapoint would already help set-up the chairs etc. so when I arrived 30min early - there wasn’t too much for me to do. I helped welcome people as they arrived and handed out the coloured cards and name labels. We had about 15-20min to just relax for a bit and eat some pizza. Örjan opened up the meet-up then I said a few words about how the evening would work (i.e. Sandra will give a talk, then there’ll be a facilitated discussion - I would explain how to use the coloured cards after Sandra’s talk) Sandra gave an interesting talk on her experience with Exploratory Testing in an Agile team, which was followed by a great discussion. It made me very happy to see people writing notes based on what others said and also actively engaging in the discussion (if I remember correctly only 1/17 attendees did not participate). When the evening wrapped up, I was happy. All in all, everything went well. I was also encouraged with the great feedback I received after the meet-up. I was (and am) grateful that Örjan had enough faith in me to agree to sponsor the meet-up. I was (and am) grateful that the meet-up attendees chose to give up their Wednesday evening to attend a brand new meet-up.