About WOPR

WOPR workshops share experiences in system performance and reliability, and allow people interested in these topics to network with their peers. WOPR is not vendor-centric, consultant-centric, or end-user-centric. We try to create a mix of viewpoints and experiences.

WOPR’s primary focus is on evaluating system performance and reliability. This includes performance measurement, load and stress testing, scalability testing, reliability measurement and evaluation, and system and product certification.

Important but secondary areas of interest include:
– Performance and reliability engineering: system design, network design, database design, self-tuning systems, and self-healing systems.
– System functional testing: test tools and automation frameworks, test planning, data visualization and analysis, test results evaluation, software fault injection, failure analysis, and test lab versus live field testing.
– Operational management: capacity planning, disaster recovery planning, performance tuning, bottleneck identification, troubleshooting, debugging, service level agreements (SLAs) and quality of service (QoS), and managing vendor relationships.
– Management: managing teams who work in the areas above.

The heart of each workshop session is a series of experiential presentations and group discussions, which focus on the chosen topic for the particular workshop. The atmosphere is collaborative, supportive and constructively critical.

WOPR sessions engage their participants much more than traditional conferences and seminars. A typical conference has a presentation followed by a few minutes for audience questions, meaning little interaction and cross-examination of ideas. WOPR proportions are often the opposite: a short presentation may be followed by hours of discussion and detailed critique if the group finds the information exchange fruitful. Some conventional conferences are marred by fiction and fantasy which are presented as facts, sales pitches, and self-aggrandizement. At WOPR, the friendly but challenging questioning curbs this.

What a WOPR Meeting Looks Like

A content owner works with the organizer to create a topical theme to provide a starting point for each workshop. The organizers participate and vote on the selection of the topic for the workshop session. We are always looking for theme proposals.

We target the attendance for a workshop session at 10 to 20 people. Participants are selected in part to give a well-rounded set of experiences and perspectives. If a particular workshop session is over-subscribed, we will be forced to turn away some qualified people – seats are not guaranteed. We reserve space for beginners in each session, and accept them based on enthusiasm and serious interest in the topic under discussion. Our goal is to finalize the list of participants for each workshop and notify each participant at least six weeks before the first day of that workshop.

Each meeting is facilitated by a trained, experienced facilitator who has some familiarity with the subject matter and implements the meeting rules of engagement. The LAWST (Los Altos Workshop on Software Testing) rules of engagement are the model for WOPR, which is a LAWST-inspired Workshop. The rules cover in-session conduct, follow-up publications and intellectual property rights.

There usually are no prerequisites for a session, except to come prepared. Being prepared means you: (a) have your own paper and presentation ready, if you are giving one; (b) are fresh and well rested; (c) are ready to participate, contribute and learn, with an open attitude; (d) are ready to invest your full attention and intellect to the conversation; and (e) are ready to make some new friends and have fun.

These two blog posts describe how the meeting runs, from the perspective of the most experienced Facilitator of this kind of meeting:

A Guide to Peer Conference Facilitation

The History of K-Cards

Invitations to WOPR Conferences

We limit the size of each WOPR conference to 20-25 seats, based on the facility, theme, and participants. WOPR conferences are often oversubscribed. We are not able to invite everyone that applies.

We try to give every serious inquirer a chance to attend, and we reserve a few seats for newcomers who have a passion for the field.

Intellectual Property and Confidentiality

All participants in a workshop session will make a verbal but legally binding agreement with their peers at the beginning of that session, and covering only the intellectual content of that particular session.

No information is communicated which requires the signing of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

We recognize that participants in a particular session will jointly develop common work products. These are owned by everyone, not by any one individual.

Anyone within this group of participants can re-use any of the work products developed in this session with proper attribution for publication.

Participants publishing work from the workshop is encouraged. Any use of the jointly developed work products requires attribution to the full list of participants in that workshop session.

Costs

There is a variable per person fee for attending a WOPR workshop ($300 for last few WOPRs), and you or your firm has to pay your travel expenses. At the discretion of the Organizers, the fee will be waived.

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