Last week I had the pleasure (or displeasure) of presenting my first 60 minute track session at a testing conference. STARwest 2011 was one of the best conferences I’ve attended. My next several posts will focus on what I learned. But first, since several have asked, I’ll share my presentation.

There are two reasons why I submitted my presentation proposal in the first place:

  • REASON #1: Each conference tends to highlight presenters from Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Facebook, and other companies whose main product is software. Myself, and I suspect most of the world’s software testers, do not work for companies whose main product is software. Instead, we work in IT shops of banks, entertainment companies, military branches, schools, etc., where we test custom internal operational software, on a shoestring budget.
  • REASON #2: The conference sessions not presented by software companies are often presented by independent consultants who always try to send us home convinced we need to shake up our IT shops and force our IT shops to use the next big thing (e.g., Acceptance Test Driven Development).

I’ve attended STAR, STPCon, and IIST conferences. I always feel a bit frustrated as a conference attendee due to the above reasons. What I’m really looking for at conferences are skills or tactics I can decide to use myself, immediately, without having to overhaul my entire team, when I return from a conference. I suspect I am not alone.

Thus, I present to you, “Be The Tester Your Dog Thinks You Are”. Lee Copeland, who graciously accepted my proposal for STARwest, pigeon holed my presentation into a category he calls Personal Leadership. I agree with his taxonomy and believe the ideas in my presentation have helped me love my job as a tester, provide additional value to my development team, and help me advance my career forward. That sounds like personal leadership to me.

The slides below may give you the mile high view but they were designed to be coupled with verbal content and exercises. I apologize but there is no easy way to post this presentation online. I’ve also removed the video because apparently, Google docs won’t convert PPTs > 10MBs.

I’ll be happy to blog in detail on any areas of interest, not already covered in prior posts.

Special thanks to all the great testers who attended my session, participated, and provided feedback throughout. Though I have lots to improve upon, your enthusiasm helped make it bearable. I am also forever grateful to Lee Copeland for having faith in me and giving me the opportunity to present at his STARwest conference.


  1. Keith Rozario said...

    Amazing presentation. People who are passionate about testing always intrigue me, especially the ones about programmers being afraid to see you and the t-shirt with the 'I saved users from > 1000 bugs'.

    Wonderful though provoking presentation, although I still don't get the dog part...

  2. Eric Jacobson said...

    Thanks Keith! The dog part only works in person.

    1.) With the first photo, I explain that my dog eagerly awaits my arrival from home, and that I've convinced her I am the best tester there is. With the second photo I explain that I want my development team to await my arrival to work with the same enthusiasm, and that motivates me to come up with better ways of doing my job and helping my team. It has a fun punch when done in person with correct comic timing.

    2.) The second reason for the title is because it sounds more interesting than 10 skills for better testing. Lee Copeland tried to talk me out of the dog title but he finally gave in.

    Of course, my title itself, was inspired by the popular bumper sticker, "Be the person your dog thinks you are", which was inspired by the book.

  3. ncheshire said...

    Now I wish I had gone to your session. I too would like to see a greater representation of those of us testing in-house apps. If you find a way to get the video, I'd love to see it.

    As an aside, I would have been more likely to attend your session if it had Lee's suggested title.

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