Anyone have advice on organizing an internal testing conference?

Howdy folks,

I’m working on organizing an internal testing conference for my team members. I plan to have a group of 50-60 testers, and coordinating the gatherings around chunks of time where the timezones line up (between US / Russia / India). I’m planning on 16hrs or less of total content. If anyone has have organized an event like this and would like to drop any of their best ‘lessons learned’ I’d be grateful.

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I’ve never organised one but have been invited to speak at one at a conference that was similarly sized to yours and can tell you a bit of what I saw?

(this was pre-COVID).

They brought together everyone physically for a few days and brought in some external speakers, as well as organised workshops and some social events.

People I know who’ve organised internal testing conferences, before the conference, have also asked people at the company what they want to learn/how they want to contribute, before they start making a clear plan.

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I organised a physical one 18 months ago. I used it as both a chance to showcase the work the wider teams were doing and also get some engaging external speakers in. I checked with the teams beforehand on what topics would be interesting to them and ended up with talks on Upskilling, mental health, communities of practice and exploratory testing

I also ensured our catering team provided afternoon teas for all!

In the virtual world we now find ourselves, I guess I would limit the content to some kind of timeframe that everyone can access and not require everyone to be online for too long.

Also put some breakout areas and more interactive activities into the schedule too?

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I know that @ugnelit helped to organise a couple where I used to work.

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I had a chance of organizing an internal conference twice now. Physical and a virtual one. I assume with them times we’re in at the moment yours would possibly be virtual?
We opted to do it over 5 days, 2 hour sessions each day. This was mainly to make sure people can have a break between sessions instead of spending all day staring at a screen. I found that it was important to get call for papers out as soon as possible, release schedule with descriptions of each talk fairly early and made sure that all of the talks were recorded so those who experienced clashes between talks could watch back.

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@deament great idea on polling the teams on areas they want to learn/grow in.

@sjprior +1 on checking with teams on their interests, It will be virtual, I like the afternoon teas idea, that gives me the idea of finding a way to send some swag to those participating. | I like the idea of breakout/interactive activities. I started to put together my ideas to pitch this to my leadership on the why do this. and the interactive sessions help meet my goals.

  • Investment in team members careers, giving them a dedicated opportunity to learn and grow
  • Build stronger relationships within the individual testers all over the world
  • Give an opportunity for individuals to present and share ideas with the broader team
  • Have fun through team building activities

@christovskia & @ugnelit (high five on your first post on the club!!!) This one will be virtual, I like the idea of splitting this up over multiple days. I’m targeting 10-16 hours of content/conference time. I’m going to work with our product/engineering managers to get their buy in to block off this time for the testers to be focused at the conference time, so hoping everyone can make it, but plan on recording the sessions as well.

Thanks for the feedback, always open to more. I’m going to be working with my managers next week to nail down the details, and set some deadlines for creating schedule, communicating to team etc.

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Open it up to non-testers too, it may help the appreciation for what the testers do and get more allies in other areas of the business :slight_smile:

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