Conference Presence

Trying to get home after the ASTD Conference in Orlando. (Apparently, the airline had planes in St Louis that got hailed on and needed to be inspected…the ripple effect for me was a very short extra night in Orlando.)


It is weird that all the peripheral stuff consumes so much time and energy that the whole substance and purpose of the trip almost gets lost. Instead of it being an exciting opportunity to check out the state of the industry, you spend a lot of the time checking on the state of your plans. What’s the weather? Is the flight delayed? What should I do? Try to get an earlier flight? And what about that Web meeting in an hour…can’t do it from the shuttle…or can I? And what about that in-person meeting tomorrow?

Even so, I would have to say that this year, both conferences were worth the time, cost, and effort. There was lots of interest in the topic of testing…and in particular, the larger strategy questions like why test? What test approach will be effective in this situation? Which capabilities warrant verification? And so on.


In particular, there was a lot of interest in on-the-job performance testing. There was some well-placed skepticism about an over-reliance on commercial web-based test tools. And it seems that the standard pencil-paper multiple choice test is often the default choice for managers and some professionals…old habits from all those years in school die hard.

So, the question becomes, whether to go next year. Many professionals I work with are unapologetic about not going…they believe they can get the same benefits using other means. Maybe they are right. I need to find out where the conferences are being held next year. And if we do attend next year, note to self: leave more time to enjoy the city beyond the conference hotel. That’ll happen.

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