Specialized or mixed conferences?

Specialized or mixed conferences?

I was at the MiXiT conference in Lyon last week to co-host a workshop/game with Ard and François using TestSphere that the community of testers (at least those who follow the Ministry Of Testing news) can not ignore.

The workshop is structured around the card deck which has several categories (techniques, heuristics, feelings, quality aspects and patterns) and each card describes an idea that helps the participants to think about a story they have to tell.

During this workshop, we were given a variety of stories on subjects as diverse as UX, hardware, testability, etc.

But this is not the subject of this blog post.

MiXiT is a conference whose main word is the mix: mix of subjects, mix of technologies but also mix of participants. It is therefore accessible to all thanks to a fairly low entrance fee (60€ for 2 days with keynotes, talks, workshops, meal and evening), and subjects that may interest everyone.

Basically, the conference was created 7 years ago by 2 Lyon-based groups which are the JUG (Java User Group) and the CARA (Club Agile Rhône-Alpes ), mainly talking about Java ecosystem and agility in the IT field.

Then little by little new subjects appeared, the conference became ethically engaged and this year we had a very varied range of subjects. Organizers invite speakers on topics called Aliens that do not necessarily have a direct link with IT. For example:

  • How to breastfeed in a business?
  • Universal income
  • The alternative vote called “Majority judgment”
  • Cosmic ride around the black holes

Other non-technical topics related to IT are also addressed:

  • What ethics for developers?
  • How to hack your neighbor’s webcam?
  • Can free software and their communities contribute to a better world?
  • Atelier Design thinking
  • Ergonomics, WireSketching

And finally, of course, more technical subjects:

  • Program a blockchain with Ethereum and Docker
  • Rust for Java developers
  • And WebAssembly, Angular, JS, Amber, Electron …

And agility:

  • Agility, an anarchism incompatible with the company?
  • Discover Kanban with Kanbanzine!
  • NoEstimates Game

There was even a keynote orchestra, the chief explaining that the synergy of the musicians’ team is paramount so that the assembly of the various instruments gives a harmonious result.

Orchestra

I have never been to a conference entirely dedicated to testing; If not the JFTL which is very Franco-French and far too business-driven for my taste, even in the subjects tackled. There is, however, a plethora:

There are also many conferences specific to programming languages…:

…or about products (or suite of products) such as:

You may also find conferences about other roles than the tester:

One realizes that there is a multitude of conferences very targeted and little tempting to mix the subjects and participants, or only between 2 types of public. In our time when silos are avoided and where we speak of an agile team mixing the roles (devs, testers, DevOps, Product Owners …), should we not see more general conferences regrouping several trades and more open minded?

Those are my feelings every time I come back from MiXiT, because we can not manufacture quality software products useful for users without opening ourselves to the world. Developers should not only gather with their own peers and testers should not be restricting their network to the sole testing world, specifically in conferences. What do you think?

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