Adam asked me to elaborate a bit on the test talk series that I host and coordinate for Microsoft. There's not too much to it, so this should be a short post. YMMV.
If you have ever attended a test conference, the analogy is easy. Take any conference session, pluck it out of the conference, and present it to an internal audience of about 150 people (live attendees - the talks are also available for remote, and on-demand viewing). In fact, if you've ever seen a Microsoft presenter at a test conference, that talk has probably already been delivered to an internal audience. I try to coordinate with the various conference chairs and make sure that external presenters do a dry run for an internal audience (it's a win-win proposition - conferences get better prepared speakers, and I fill up my talk series queue with quality talks).
If you're not familiar with the test conference circuit (or, if you're merely curious), here are a smattering of the topics over the past few months (titles partially sanitized just-to-be-safe):
- A tool for model based testing
- Bug patterns
- Test engineering innovations in (a particular MS product)
- Automated test results analysis
- Test Architect panel discussion
- UI automation challenges and solutions
- Creating models for a software system
I also invite external speakers from time to time (depending on availability, need, and schedule). I typically invite speakers I'm familiar with rather than take solicitations, so please stop emailing me your talk ideas (unless, of course, you're already a member of the borg, then please email away).
I record all test talks, but so far the recordings are available for full time employees only. However - I have been actively pursuing making some of the talks available to external audiences. Although I have navigated the appropriate bureaucracy for approval, I still have few logistical things to work out before making any major announcements in this area. I guarantee to tell you here first when any of these talks are available.
I try to do 20-24 talks a year. Two talks a month seems to be about the max I can do without over saturating people with talks (people have to work sometime). In a company of this size, sharing information between teams can be difficult, and test talks are one of the solutions we use to share information between teams and disciplines.