If you only attend one conference on testing, I recommend STAR (East or West). It remains the biggest conference and trade show in the industry and all the best speakers are on their keynote circuit. Unfortunately, I am going to miss next week’s event in California. Fortunately, the empire will be well represented in both keynotes and track talks.

Tara Roth is giving a keynote on her experiences as a test executive with Office. Tara and I serve together on Microsoft’s Test Leadership Team and I have a lot of respect for the work she does on Office. Tara is a Partner here (which means she’s a big shot, makes big decisions and big bucks too) proving that Test is a discipline with no career ceiling. If you want to talk to one of the most successful career testers on the planet … she’s one of them.

David Gorena Elizondo is speaking on exploratory testing. He gave the talk two days ago here on campus and it got great reviews. The bugs he shows and the next generation test methods he details are getting a lot of usage around the company and are finding important bugs. Don’t miss his session. You can also visit David in the Microsoft booth in the expo.

Keith Stobie needs no introduction. He’s a staple on the circuit and one of our most well known test personalities. Whenever I am feeling overly smart, I like to strike up a conversation with Keith to bring me back to earth. This guy knows his testing. Theory, practice, manual, automated, interface, protocol, API … it doesn’t matter. He’s ten testers in one. Do yourself a favor and talk testing with this guy. You’ll walk away better off for the experience. Keith’s talk is about model-based testing.

Grigori Melnik is speaking alongside Jon Bach (one of our favorite consultants) on acceptance testing. These guys ran a project to define acceptance testing and included many of the best test thinkers in the company. I’ve read their report and my expectations for this talk are high.  

Enjoy the conference and please send along any information about good sessions.