Thoughts on Swiss Testing Day

I spent the last few days in Zurich – it was a brief, but nice stay. I left Seattle on Sunday, and arrived in Zurich on Monday – I spent the afternoon touring the city in an attempt to walk off jet lag. On Tuesday, I gave a presentation to a group of customers and had lunch with several of the attendees. During the day, I also met a few of the fine folks from Swiss Q consulting. They’re the one’s who put together Swiss Testing Day (as well as some of the other testing days in Europe). Everyone I talked to from Swiss Q was great – they all seem to be incredibly nice people. I was pretty tired by Tuesday afternoon and was half dreaming of taking a nap or getting to bed early when Adrian Zwingli (the CEO) invited me to a summit meeting he was holding in the afternoon. The attendees were all apparently fairly senior folks in their various companies and I was impressed at the turnout. Not one to avoid talking about testing, I had to tag along. Adrian arranged for one of the breakout groups to discuss our topic in English, and our group had an excellent conversation and shared some good ideas. There was a keynote in German, but the slides were in English, so I was able to follow along. After some closing remarks, we had a few drinks and some great food (and more conversations about testing).

Somehow, I managed to get a second wind and talked some of the folks into taking me some place to watch Champions League matches. Both of the matches were close and I was a little shocked to see Bayern Munich lose to Inter Milan in the 88th minute. I’m looking forward to the next round.

I made it back to the hotel before it was too late and got some rest. Wednesday was Swiss Testing Day. I was blown away by how many people attend the event. They sold out the event at 750. That’s a huge number compared to many US testing conferences. The amazing stat is about 90% of the testers are Swiss, and there are only about 4000 testers in Switzerland. It’s fantastic that so much of potential audience actually attends the conference.

I spent most of the day in the Microsoft booth, talking with testers and signing copies of HWTSAM. I took a brief break from booth duty to give a quick test talk. A bunch of people gave me good feedback on the talk, but from my end, I didn’t do as well as I hoped (or as well as I usually do). I had a huge crowd, and that was nice, and I hope those that attended found some useful information. The next time I come back to Swiss Testing Day, I promise to deliver an A+ performance.

I hung out with the conference staff (and Julian Harty) most of the rest of the night (I left the bar for a few hours to go watch Champions League again). I found some common sense and got back to my hotel before it got too late so I could squeeze in a few hours of sleep before my 7:00am flight back home.

Overall, I’m a huge fan of the conference. The camaraderie and passion reminds me of a much larger PNSQC. There are a lot of testers facing similar problems, and everyone I talked to seemed to want to learn more about testing; and most importantly, there was a good feeling of community among the attendees. I see a bright future of testing in Switzerland, and I was honored to be able to be a part of this year’s session.

I love to travel, but I’m sort of glad that my travel schedule is almost empty (and devoid of international travel) for the next several months. Hopefully, however, Swiss Testing Day 2012 will pop up on my agenda next year.


  1. Hi Alan

    I was attending your speech on March, 15th in Zürich. I had no questions then, as the most of the other «swiss» attendees :-). But I have one now: Do you have any recommendations for automated UI testing tools?


  2. Depends what you’re automating…but actually, no – I don’t actually have any recommendations. I’m not a big fan of automating UI (see, and we use mostly internal only tools at MS, or test at the object model layer rather than manipulating the GUI directly.

    VS 2010 has some gui automation stuff that I *hear* is good, but I haven’t used it first hand.


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