Zombie Slayers

Rise and Fall of Zombie TestersYesterday I presented at the Girl Geek Meetup in Sydney. For the first time Girl Geek Meetup presentations followed ‘Ignite’ format, inspired by Ignite Sydney, where each presentation goes for only 5 minutes. Each presentation contains exactly 20 slides, with the catch of auto-forwarding slides every 15 seconds. It sounded easy enough to come up with a topic and speak for 5 minutes, however the auto-forwarding slides proved to ve a bigger challenge than what I first anticipated!

To me the hardest part was having to keep up with the slides. Often when presenting one draws on the audience response, and tends to spend more time on topics that seems to be interesting to them. With this format of presentation, the presenter cannot afford such luxury. Fifteen seconds is all you have.

What attracted me to this presentation style is that presenters have to go straight to the point, there is no time to beat-around-the-bush or to embellish specific points. And presenters need to be prepared. There is nothing worse than turning up for a presentation just to find the presenter reading through their notes, unprepared. Finally, as slides only show for 15 seconds, slides have at most one phase or paragraph. Most have only pictures and titles. That makes presentations much more interesting and avoids the dreaded “death by powerpoint” syndrome!

Something else that made me chose to present was the opportunity to speak about testing to an audience of mostly developers. In my opinion, testing gets a bad wrap in the industry and I jumped at the opportunity to try to speak to developers that not all testers are zombie testers.

My presentation’s title “Rise and Fall of Zombie Testers” seemed to catch people’s interests, so I was off to a good start. I was a bit worried with the line up, as I was the seventh presenter. I thought by the time I took the stage people would be half asleep. However, thanks to the Ignite style of presentation, everyone was still very awake and interested when I presented.

My main objectives were to explain to the Girl Geeks that not all testers are the same – that some of us are thinking testers. That we take pride in what we do and we approach testing and QA as a craft form, which we are constantly trying to improve and perfect. That we are zombie slayers – in the sense that we try to educate testers everywhere about good testing, hence eliminating zombies, one at a time!

There was a very positive response to the presentation! Some of the developers were very interested about the concept of thinking testers, and many of them had never heard of it.

So, zombie slayers everywhere, unite and get out there!! I am doing my part, educating developers and testers – what are you doing to spread the word?


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