Friday, October 21, 2005

Time out for Las Vegas

Work still progressing on the book. I had to take time off from writing earlier this month to attended a work-related conference in Las Vegas.

Where I work I am an administrator and trainer for a testing tool called TestDirector (now called Quality Center). Mercury (the company that sells the product) has a Users conference every year (Mercury World). This year the conference was in Las Vegas. In addition to attending the conference I gave a presentation on how to equip testing resources to be more successful using TestDirector. I created a website at work that helps testers understand the processes that have been created to help them consistently use the testing tool. The focus of the presentation was on the website and other training tools I have created for the teams that I support.

Considering that I have never spoken before more than 20-30 people, it was quite amazing that I pulled off this presentation. Of the 2500 conference attendees, around 400 attended my presentation.

I tried to stay as loose as possible, but it was very difficult (I'm the one on the left).

While I was being introduced I did my best to not shake. Luckily I had a podium to hold onto while I gave my presentation.

The message of the presentation was "People, Process, Product... And in that Order." The idea is that you can have the best product in the world, and you can build great processes to use that product, but if your people are not equipped to use those processes then they can only be so successful at using the product.

Overall the presentation went great. I relaxed after the first five minutes. The presentation lasted 40 minutes and then there was a 15 minute question and answer session. The representatives from Mercury were happy with the presentation as well. It was different than most presentations at the conference, because instead of speaking at a high level about ideas and processes, or digging into the technical elements of the tool that only a percentage of the audience would appreciate, I spoke about how to better enable the people that use the product.

I also had a certification class the day after the conference ended, which meant that instead of going out each night in Vegas I was either preparing for my presentation or studying for my exam (Don't get me wrong; I still had fun losing $200.00 in the casino at Caesar's Palace :) ).

Fantasy Grounds Visual FAQ #2

I completed another visual tutorial for those wishing to learn how to use the virtual gaming table called Fantasy Grounds. This one is on how to work with 'modules' in the app, which can be a little confusing if you are trying to equate an FG 'module' to a D&D 'module'.