Schedule and Events

March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email:

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

CASTing a Wide Net

So CAST 2011 - the Conference for the Association for Software Testing, is going to be August 8-10 in Seattle, Washington.

A fair amount of the program is up, including tutorials and the track sessions.

Yet I know a few people who didn't get a chance to apply - or didn't know how to apply. I know others with strong feelings about who should or should not speak.

Historically CAST has had an emergent session - lightning talks or something like it - that is decided just-in-time, sometimes during the conference. Some events like CAST have a voting mechanism on flip-charts. Wouldn't it be neat if CAST had some sort of 'other' loosely structured format?

It turns out the conference principals had this plan all along -- they just needed someone to run it. (More than that: I recently proposed to co-moderate a track at CAST 2011 called "emerging topics", along with my colleague Pete Walen. This afternoon, that proposal was accepted!)

What this means for you

If you would like to speak at CAST 2011, you still have the option of proposing a twenty-minute emerging topics session. (Emerging topics are anything you feel like talking about after the more formal conference program was decided.) Talks should generally be twenty minutes in length, with at least five minutes planned for discussion. If you want more time, please make your case and reasons clear, as that means other peopledon't get to speak and we would need to make a special exception.

To propose a session, you'll join the CAST 2011 Socialtext group and create a wiki page using the proposal template.

If you would like to evaluate emerging topics proposals, you can also join the group and comment on pages - voting topics up, down, or neutral - or giving plain-text feedback. You do not have to plan to attend the conference to give feedback.

Speakers are welcome to come back, look at notes, and change their proposals - and evaluators can return and change their scores!

Pete and I will cut off voting a little early (around July 15th) in order to create and post a coherent program prior to conference - at least for the first day. This program will take the feedback from votes in serious consideration - along with conference theme and reputation of the speakers.

We think you'll like it.

In order to apply email myself ( or Pete Walen ( and asked to be invited to the CAST 2011 Emerging Topics Group on Socialtext. You'll get an email about the group and a link to follow; form there you can follow the instructions to add a talk or comment on a talk.

We also may need some help - one or two people to manage the rooms. Depending on how things go, that role might be expanded to include some wiki gardening and possibly help creating the schedule. You could be an ombudsman, sergeant-at-arms, or whatever other title you'd like.

I'm afraid we can not offer any compensation for helping out, nor for giving a talk. If you give a talk or help out, I can tell you I expect that the conference will have more value for you -- you'll be more engaged, build deeper relationships, and I expect you'll learn more.

One thing I can promise if you give a talk or help out with emerging topics: At CAST two thousand and eleven, at least ... you'll never had to eat a bagel alone.


TestyRedhead said...

I'll be there! I have a topic idea as well. I'd like to show 2 demos and share on the topic of "New Uses for Old Tools". On my last project I used a basic boring schedule to get testing done on time, but I did the schedule in a way that worked for our very "Agile" and iterative project. The other old tool used in a new way was Snagit, which is 20 years old, but saved us a week. 10 minutes on each, both with a demo. I think it would help other people solve common problems.

James Marcus Bach said...

Actually, we didn't plan this all along-- although that's a nice sentiment. No, we intended to construct a great program and do an open call for presentations only if we couldn't fill the slots through direct recruitment. Direct recruitment worked great, so we didn't do an open call.

To our (my brother's and mine) surprise, there are people who feel strongly about the traditional call for papers thing, and they made their feelings known. So, together with the AST board, we brainstormed on this and hatched an idea for this new track.

After that, it was just a matter of getting someone flamboyant, energetic, and leaderly to take on the responsibility. There are about three people in the industry like that who I know. Since you said yes, I didn't have to try the other two.

-- James

Matthew said...

Thanks man. I did have the impression that there would be some sort of emergent lightning talks like that all along (the website says "lightning talks"), but I appreciate the correction.

Eric Jacobson said...

Hi Matt, this sounds exciting. I love the evaluation process with the voting. I think I'll throw some ideas out there and see what kind of feedback I get. I'm 75% sure I can make it out there. I hear this conference is not one to miss.

Can't wait to see all of you again and get some fresh ideas.