What is IWST
The Indianapolis Workshops on Software Testing (IWST) are an ongoing series of no-cost workshops for experienced software testers and related professionals. IWST strives to build skills in software testing and allows people who are interested in topics in software testing to network with their peers. The emphasis is on mutual learning, sharing hands-on experiences and solving practical problems. In these meetings, experienced working practitioners discuss pertinent state-of-the-art topics. IWST has been organized by a small team of local practitioners in the field of software testing.
Each workshop will focus on one topic in software testing. We will try to select a topic that is narrow enough in scope that we can reasonably cover it in the limited amount of time we have. In the weeks/months following the workshop session, more discussion can take place on the topic via the IWST mailing list and discussion forum.
There is no fee to attend any workshop. (No really, they are free. Ask anyone listed under past workshops.) Presentations are typically on advanced topics in software testing or on topics that we feel need to be discussed in the Indianapolis area. We strive to give every serious inquirer a fair chance to attend at least one of the year's workshops and we encourage newcomers who have a passion for the field to attend.
You can also check out our Meetup group.
Peer Workshop Format Overview
The primary IWST workshop format is the five-hour peer workshop that occurs on a Saturday. Each workshop includes regular breaks for networking and refreshments. Each workshop is limited to 15 to 25 people. Each meeting will have a facilitator who manages discussion and presentation questions. Each meeting will have a content owner who determines the topic and the speakers for that topic. These two roles will serve to guide the discussion and format, but it is the attendees who ultimately determine what we focus on and what is interesting to them.
The primary building block of the workshop format is the experience report (see Speak for more details). In an ER someone stands up and tells a story (very informal). While they share their experience, we encourage attendees to only ask clarifying questions. Once they are done, we have a facilitated discussion based on the experience report where attendees can dig deeper into something said, present counter experiences, or can share affirmations about something experienced by the speaker.
Some workshops also have activities (brainstorms, pair code/test sessions, lightning talks, etc...). If an activity is planned by the organizers, it will be announced ahead of time. If an attendee wants to suggest an activity, that's encouraged as well. We try to make the workshops as content rich as we can.
Attendees get regular opportunities to network (breaks on the hour) and we perform a check-in and check-out at every meeting where you get a chance to learn about each attendee. We think building the community is just as important as talking about the content. Sometimes, after a workshop we grab lunch; but nothing is formally planned and attendance isn't required.