Agile Testing Days 2013

As those of you who follow us more closely know we are not just a software development shop. We cover anything from design through development to testing and if you need a helping hand with shaping your product, we can do that too.

One of the tricky parts of running such an organization is how broad range of stuff we want to learn. While there are plenty of software development-focused events and it’s pretty easy to find an Agile or Lean conference around it gets more difficult with designers and testers.

This is why we couldn’t miss the opportunity to send our representation to Agile Testing Days (AgileTD), which is the biggest event focused on testing in Europe.

Pawel’s Story

For me AgileTD, as pretty much any other conference, was mainly an opportunity to network with people. This is why the fact I had to leave early was a bummer. Nevertheless, I finally met face to face some of the most awesome people in the testing community, like Lisa Crispin, Janet Gregory or Dan North. If nothing else this would make a trip to Potsdam worthwhile.

Not only that. Hallway and evening chats with fellow speakers and attendees were, as always, opportunities to challenge my thinking. I especially liked Lean Coffees that were held by Lisa and Janet early in the morning every day. Want to discuss the real problems and get the insight from practitioners? There’s no better opportunity.

The sessions, as usual, were mixed. There were these that I loved, there were those which I didn’t learn that much from. I’m happy that my presentation on effective teams seemed to stir the discussions and bring some controversy. The worst case scenario would be when the only reaction was “meh…”

The interesting, yet sad, observation is that improvements that are happening in the testing domain seem to slower and less common that those happening around software development. From the patriot’s point of view I’m also sad that only few Poles showed up. If we want to make a difference in software development world our presence there should be more significant.

All in all, an awesome event, with enough great discussions, opportunities to learn and hugs to remember it for a long time. As always it’s all about people and Agile Testing Days brought the right people to one place.

Grzester’s Story

Two months ago I was asked by Paweł, if I want to participate in a agile conference which mainly focuses on testing content. I couldn’t believe in what he said.

Agile-testing conference? I thought that something like this doesn’t exist., I replied. I was convinced that testing on conferences is treated as something peripheral. I typed fast Agile Testing Days 2013 in Google. I was in heaven. Three day conference about testing, three days of exchanging experience with other QA, testers and other people related with testing and agile environment. My answer for Pawel’s question was quick:

Of course I want to go there. 2 months passed really fast….

29 X 2013

After a brilliant weekend in Berlin, at really morning I arrived at venue.  During day one I attended many good talks, but two of them really stand out. The first one, prepared by Tony Bruce “Be a real team Member”. The presentation started out with a small discussion about what it means to be a good team member, then Tony moved very smoothly to Belbin’s study about team members models. But the most important thing for me was the discussion about things which we should do ‘day to day’ to become a good team member: reciprocations, ‘breaking bread’ (e.g: lunch with other employees), asking questions, feedback, listening to others, so obvious but so enlightening.

Sometimes there are conversations around that you’d like to be part of. Listen to what’s happening around”

T.B

Second talk prepared by Peter Saddington charmed the listeners. Peter asked few simple questions during his talk e.g.:

Are you having fun?” [in your team, at work]. If not - why the hell you are doing this?

These answered for many of my questions related to: team composition, behaviour, effectiveness. Elements of psychology interleaved with reasonable approach made this talk really inspiring.

Effective leaders should see themselves not as “managers” or even “problem solvers” but as “lovers of people” and “inspiration starters”

P.S.

Day finished with lovely ‘MIATPP Halloween Award Night’ party.

30 X 2013

The organisers scheduled for the second day four keynotes. For me the most interesting was the third one prepared by Dan North: “Accelerating Agile Testing”. At beginning of talk Dan asked two questions:

  • “How Agile teams do testing?”_
  • “How does testing happen?”_

During the whole talk Dan prepared nice background to answer the questions above. He very nicely defined: user experience: “User Experience is the Experience a user has.” . Fresh look at _test automation “Don’t automate things until they are boring.” He created a picture of a very interesting look at Agile Testing yet again.

Dan North's wrap-up presentation slide

It was time for Testing Dojo! I had no idea what was going on, so I went to Dojo a bit scared- unnecessarily. Testing Dojo is a place where you can learn from other participants new testing practices, new techniques, discuss with people and give and receive constructive feedback about your skills. During my session we had an opportunity to test in pairs a small ‘Parking Calculator’. You can’t imagine how fun it is to build a communication channel with a stranger in a few minutes and probably you can’t imagine how valuable the received feedback is.

31 X 2013

Day 3rd was marked by me as the FUN DAY! After two days of pure methodology I decided to check out the lighter talks. Therefore my day started with “Natural Born Tester. Are you one?” by Graham Thomas. Great talk about a tester’s nature and predispositions.

I have few questions for you:

  • are you always in the wrong queue?
  • are you a fool for the promise of the new thing?
  • are you challenged by an unused feature?
  • and do you like to play “Lemmings” or “Angry Birds?”

If so, maybe you should consider changing your profession to… tester :)

Later I decided to become a Lab Rat at Test Lab. Try imagine up a situation small, dark room hidden at the end of  the venue, you are open a door and what you see?! LEGO Mindstorms robots with RGB sensors. I was feeling like a kid. You play with LEGO, you log issues in the robot’s behaviour and you get badges.

Test Lab pins

Time and space in Test Lab are totally wrapped. Day 3 ended with nice keynote preceded by Lisa’s and Janet‘s performance telling us a story about the ‘dark times’ before Agile was introduced.

Agile Testing Days 2013 was great experience. A very nicely organised conference with wide range of topics and opportunities to meet people from the agile community. If you are thinking about going there next year STOP thinking and just DO IT !

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