It’s that time of year again. The time when the #CAST2015 hash tag starts to get a lot of play. For those who stumbled here from another location, #CAST2015 refers to the Conference for the Association for Software Testing, which has been an event that, for my not being directly involved in its planning or execution, has taken up a fair number of cycles of my reality. 

The full program was announced today, and it is available to view here.

To paraphrase the Conference Committee (or more accurately, just steal it whole cloth):

The Association for Software Testing is pleased to announce its tenth annual conference, CAST 2015 “Moving Testing Forward,”to be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, August 3-5.Since our first CAST we  have seen dramatic changes in the nature of communications and the nature of delivery, from PC to client/server to the web and web services. Deployment is different; monitoring is different, builds and test tooling are different. We have a variety of new models and methods for our testing. CAST is where we talk about how they actually work out in practice, based on experience. At our tenth CAST, in 2015 speakers will be presenting stories, workshops and tutorials regarding their experiences surrounding how to advance software testing.
Join us this summer for our tenth annual conference in downtown Grand Rapids at the beautiful Grand Plaza Hotel August 3-5, as we explore “Moving Testing Forward.”
As President of the Association for Software Testing, you can bet I will be addressing a whole lot of CAST stuff over that the official web site, but right now, I’m actually stepping back a little bit and I’m talking totally off the cuff, not as the President of AST (though this will certainly be seen by some as “official pronouncements” anyway, so whatever).
First, I want to say that I am impressed with the variety and variation we have in the program this year. CAST is a diverse conference to begin with, but we made a specific focus this year to invite people who had not presented before to really give it a go this year. I am happy to say that there are several speakers who will be giving their first conference talks at CAST this year. I’m also proud that AST partnered with Speak Easy and arranged to work with them to help develop talks for the conference. Speak Easy has made it its mission to help encourage women to speak at conferences, and we are delighted to say that four talks that were mentored by SpeakEasy were picked for the conference.  CAST has prided itself on being a place where different voices get heard, and not specifically catering to the “rock stars” of our industry. We’ve had a good balance, I think between male and female speakers, male and female keynotes, and a diverse group of participants from different countries and backgrounds. Compared to many conferences I’ve been to, I’ll dare say I think CAST really is one that deserves high marks for diversity. Can we do better? Most certainly, but this year’s lineup makes me feel like we are in the vanguard. 
I’ll borrow a couple of posts from Lisa Crispin to help make this point even more ;):

Another area I want to talk about is the two hour workshop that will be offered on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 called “Black Box Accessibility Testing: A Heuristic Approach“. This workshop will be given by Albert Gareev, with some solid peanut gallery support from yours truly. I’m sure some of you are looking at the title and thinking to yourself “Wait a minute, that sounds a lot like the talks Michael has been delivering this year. Are they at all related?” The answer is, of course, yes. Albert and I have been working for quite some time to help develop both design and testing approaches that help bring Accessibility to light and get some focus and attention. We’ve both written and presented extensively on these topics, and this year, we have melded minds to help present and deliver a solid workshop of testing skills and techniques that anyone can walk away with and be effective. So why is Albert listed as the speaker and not me? First and foremost reason, the workshop is primarily Albert’s research, practice and learnings, so he very much deserves the credit for presenting the workshop. Do I have a hand in what’s being presented? Sure, and I’ll be spending a fair amount of time helping hammer out the paper that will be available at the conference (yes, we are writing the paper together 🙂 ).
For those who want to attend a conference that will be first rate with regard to content, diverse speakers, unique and original voices, and talk about topics that are relevant to your everyday work, and not retreads of stuff you’ve heard many times before, I want to personally encourage you to sign up and attend #CAST2015 with us in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s going to be a great time, and I hope to see you there as we work to “Move Testing Forward”!