preparing for #AgileTD and already getting excited! Looking forward to getting to know new people, meeting old friends, learning and growing in so many ways; and to my two sessions - see you there? :) pic.twitter.com/FMVXYD3LY8— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) 11. November 2017
Finally Back in Unicorn LandWhen I arrived in Potsdam, it really felt like coming home. I had this kind of feeling already last year; and it only had increased since then. And the best part: A dear colleague came with me and I could introduce her to the whole conference family.
But why unicorn land? In case you are not familiar with the Agile Testing Days, or you've been there but still wonder why you will find lots and lots of unicorns at this conference, here's your answer.
This tweet influenced #agileTD more than any other that I can remember or have heard of.— Meike Mertsch (@MeikeMertsch) 18. November 2017
*This* is the reason for people taking toilet paper with them as souvenir this year.
Thank you Gojko for giving birth to the land where I happily reside, since. 🦄 https://t.co/zU0N78uijs
That was my first ever keynote and my first ever conference in 2012, my first #agiletd and it blew my mind. I remember the unicorn thing well and how every speaker after that were challenged to have a unicorn in their deck. :-)— Chris George (@chrisg0911) 18. November 2017
My Personal Highlights This Year
There's so much to share from this conference, but I'll try to limit the following to the best of content and interactions.
- My colleague and I arrived Sunday evening at the conference hotel and headed to the bar to grab something to eat. And minutes after we settled, very kind people asked us if we wanted to join them. One of the reasons I love to be there! Thank you Dragan Spiridonov and Meike Mertsch for inviting us in! Thank you Huib Schoots, Joep Schuurkes, Santhosh Tuppad, Maaret Pyhäjärvi and others for welcoming us and great conversations.
Had a great social first evening at #AgileTD - thanks to everyone making it easy to not only attend but be a part of it!— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) 12. November 2017
- Monday was tutorial day. The last years the tutorials were invaluable learning opportunities. Therefore I was really looking forward to the tutorial I've chosen this year: "Mob Testing" with Maaret Pyhäjärvi. And it even surpassed my highest expectations! First of all: We were a small learning group - only six participants including myself. Second: We had not only Maaret as facilitator (which was awesome by itself), but Llewellyn Falco as well. This way we even learned from two experts sharing their different perspectives. And last but not least: I already knew what a great learning experience mobbing can be, but this group made it even better. Thank you Gert-Jan Bartelds, Gabe Newcomb, Lars Kjølholm, Hasina, and Katrin. Overall: This tutorial was perfect to get to know mobbing, practice it in a group of people who did not know each other in the beginning but did quite well in the end, and improve our skills in different facets of testing. Thank you all for this opportunity! I will definitely bring this to my company and do a mob testing workshop with our testing community.
The #MobTesting tutorial by @maaretp & @LlewellynFalco was simply awesome!! What a wonderful valuable safe learning experience. TU! #AgileTD— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) 13. November 2017
Enjoying @lisihocke and the mob finding the second bug in my test app other teams and me before missed. #agiletd pic.twitter.com/7CBdeEO0Yq— Maaret Pyhäjärvi (@maaretp) 13. November 2017
- Tuesday started (traditionally) with a lean coffee session, and ended (traditionally) with a big costume party. Both were awesome, but my highlight of this first conference day was Angie Jones' keynote "Owning Our Narrative". Brilliant talk comparing the automation of musical entertainment with the automation of "testing". She encouraged us to not resist change as it's inevitable, but to write our own story instead. If you have the chance to listen to her - please do so. Highly recommended!
- Wednesday's Agile Games night was great! I had the chance to test George Dinwiddie's new story telling game together with a nice group - really fun. But the best was that I happened to have a prolonged talk with Thorsten Dobelmann whom I met on last year's Agile Testing Days. We both wanted to go to bed early, but then found ourselves standing in front of the stairs for about... two hours? This is what makes this conference so special: the people. We enjoyed our conversation last year, and meeting him again felt like we could just pick it up where we left it and continue. Thank you!
- Thursday morning was all reserved to support two of the dearest persons I got to know at Agile Testing Days: Toyer Mamoojee and Viki Manevska, both having their talks this morning. And they were awesome! For Toyer, it was even his very own birthday and the conference organizers surprised him with a birthday cake just before his talk.
Best birthday yet!! I'm so overwhelmed. Thank you for your amazing gesture @AgileTD #AgileTD #agiletdfamily https://t.co/7oH0Ni2UhW— Toyer M (@tottiLFC) 16. November 2017
The late-night keynote about culture and diversity by Ash Coleman and Keith Klain was brilliant. It triggered a lot of thoughts and provided a great transition to the Women and Allies Evening Gathering. My highlight here was the unique chance to discuss a very personal and important topic with a diverse group of open-minded people: how to respond to bad talk in a good way. As this is a huge topic on its own, I plan to blog about it separately, so watch out for the post.
A bonus Sketchnote for a bonus Keynote. Culture is more than a Mindset by @AshColeman30 & @KeithKlain. This talk was a great lead in to the #womenInAgile session at @AgileTD @RADTACLtd #AgileTD #diversity #equality #awareness pic.twitter.com/YpFVnxqkX6— stuart (@Stuartliveart) 20. November 2017
What made my Thursday evening even more special was a very long and deep talk with Maaret. I really enjoyed the conversation and it was simply great to receive feedback and exchange our ideas regarding personal development. Thank you! Here's a glimpse of something to look out for.
I’ve been wishing for an #exploratorytesting peer conference and it just struck me - let’s do an online mastermind instead. Geographical distance is excuse not blocker. How about it @lisihocke?— Maaret Pyhäjärvi (@maaretp) 17. November 2017
- Friday came - the last day of this full week testing festival. I was really looking forward to the keynote that should open this day: the Afghan Girls' Robotic Team telling their story on stage. And then it happened: The sleep deprivation throughout the week exacted its toll - and I overslept. What a pity!! Many people expressed how this keynote moved them to tears, but also inspired them deeply. I can only hope that the recording will be made available soon; but watching a video is simply not the same as experiencing it live.
- Overall, if you'd like to see a short version of all keynotes, check out the awesome sketchnotes of Stuart Young.
A South African sitting next to a Swiss based German, watching Afghan girls team present on a stage together with tons of other nationalities. #Diversity ? That's #Diversity defined right here @AgileTD #AgileTD pic.twitter.com/rs3iIWWDte— Toyer M (@tottiLFC) 17. November 2017
Fortunately, there were two more keynotes this day which turned out to be personal highlights as well. Maaret shared how she discovered mobbing for herself as a very safe way of "Learning through Osmosis", encouraging everyone to give it a try. And Janet Gregory shared the "Pivotal Moments" of her life, asking everyone to watch out for them to be ready to take them when they come. Both told very personal stories and left me so inspired! Thank you!The next time someone says to be bold & brave with tech, are you or them as brave as these girls? pic.twitter.com/qsUNXWiYbI— Pete Walen (@PeteWalen) 17. November 2017
...and to think this is just the keynotes from @AgileTD #AgileTD @RADTACLtd so much learning :) pic.twitter.com/0uq2Nhia4j— stuart (@Stuartliveart) 20. November 2017
I'm speechless... I'm a speaker!
Not only that I could attend this year's Agile Testing Days again, not only that I met wonderful old and new people, not only that I gained new insights and got inspired; but this year I also had the opportunity to join as a speaker and host two sessions myself.
First, I gave my talk "'I am Groot' - Learning Agile Testing". It was awesome to see so many people being in the room who supported and encouraged me on my way! Among them Lisa, Toyer, Viki, and John my former manager - just to name a few. Thank you; I owe you a lot. Furthermore, thank you Llewellyn for providing detailed and constructive feedback on my talk, helping me improve and grow - heavily appreciated! And last but not least: I was blown away as I saw that someone did the very first sketchnote of one of my talks - thank you so much Marianne Duijst!
Together, We are Groot - @lisihocke at #AgileTD 20 lessons learned in her testing journey so far! Nicely done, Lisi! pic.twitter.com/HhxRMGQ9wt— Marianne Duijst (@marianneduijst) 14. November 2017
Second, I absolutely enjoyed to host the workshop "Testing in a Continuous World" together with the most awesome Lisa Crispin, one of the kindest and most supportive persons I know. It was great to see so many participants heavily focused and contributing! Also, I'd like to give a big shout-out to Dragan, who volunteered to help with our workshop and supported us perfectly - on his very birthday!Attending the conference as a speaker changed my personal experience as well.
Wow. This workshop room is packed. @lisacrispin and @lisihocke having a great time at their workshop with very interested and engaged attendees. #AgileTD #testing pic.twitter.com/hi1VOB6VHD— Agile Testing Days (@AgileTD) 15. November 2017
This is how engaged crowd in workshop looks like, working on a challenge, giving hypothesis, experiment, measure, @lisacrispin @lisihocke @AgileTD pic.twitter.com/eZcp2rzd1r— Dragan Spiridonov (@profesor_dragan) 15. November 2017
- First of all, I had the opportunity to join the speaker's dinner for the very first time. Absolutely great and inspiring to talk and listen to all those awesome people!
- Furthermore, I already knew from the last conferences I've spoken at that I won't be able to focus just before and after my session; so I definitely missed out on awesome talks taking place around mine. However, knowing about that fact in advance helped me this time, telling myself to be kind to myself and that's it's okay as it is.
- When moving around the conference, I suddenly got recognized and addressed without me doing anything. I already saw this at TestBash Germany this year where I hardly found the time to eat, but due to the very positive reason of many great conversations with many new people. At Agile Testing Days it was sometimes hard to just cross the room to go to the toilet. I don't want to have it sound as cocky as it obviously does, but I was honestly surprised by the amount of people addressing me. As I rather identify as an introvert this helped me a lot as I did not have to start the conversation myself, so thanks to everybody coming up!
- It is always hard to find a good balance between meeting people you know from last years, and getting to know new people. I think getting recognized as speaker added to finding the right balance, but still it's a tough question how to celebrate the reunion with the ones you know and still be open and inclusive for newcomers. Pete Walen wrote about this before the conference, and Lisa Crispin shared her thoughts just afterwards, as well as further ideas how to make conferences more inclusive.
- It seems I could trigger some people to start sharing with the community as well; or at least I hope I did. In any case, I will continue to try doing so.
All in all, I am quite relieved that my journey to get on stage and all the effort I've made to make it real paid out in the end.My thoughts after three days at the Agile Testing Days | @AgileTD #AgileTD “I am a #Tester and I want to talk about it” https://t.co/alp85pYkos— Rose (@Mmallow91) 17. November 2017
Now the time has come for me to celebrate: I've never spoken at a conference before September - and just delivered 4 sessions at 3 conferences within 2 months 😁🎉— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) 15. November 2017
A New Pact to Come
With both of us getting on stage, Toyer and I fulfilled the deal we made on last year's Agile Testing Days to return as speakers; the very thing that scared us the most.
The moment I have been waiting for since the past year. The pact about to becoming a reality. Goodluck @lisihocke #AgileTD pic.twitter.com/T1FVlGQOic— Toyer M (@tottiLFC) 14. November 2017
Just met the public speaking challenge accepted at #AgileTD 2016 and grew with it: gave my conference talk "'I Am Groot' - Learning Agile Testing" at #AgileTD 2017! What an amazing experience. Thank you @tottiLFC again for our lunch deal last year :D— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) 14. November 2017
Not only that we found ourselves as lifelong learning partners supporting each other to reach our goal; we could also inspire others to start a pact themselves, or join us for our next one! This feels just great.@lisihocke our pact made at last year's @AgileTD is now complete!! Congrats and thank you for being there. Now for a new pact??? #AgileTD 2017— Toyer M (@tottiLFC) 16. November 2017
We could do a pact, like @lisihocke & @tottiLFC did last year: The three of us commit to submit a paper for next year's #agileTD What do you guys think?— Christian Baumann (@chrissbaumann) 21. November 2017
But what next? How will our next pact look like? Currently I'm pondering on what scares me the most nowadays. I'd like to make use of this special learning relationship this year as well, so it has to be something scary but helping my career. I have some ideas in mind but need to give them more thoughts before making a new pact public.A new pact made!!! This is becoming a thing! This time @lisihocke and myself roped in @LuethiPhil - all will be revealed in due course #AgileTD 2017 #pactSequel pic.twitter.com/df2jei6f6a— Toyer M (@tottiLFC) 17. November 2017
Whatever it will be, I know I have to find a better balance with my private life as it suffered quite a bit. I invested a lot of free time to make this challenge work out for me. Don't get me wrong, it was definitely worth the learning experience - but for instance I just discovered today that I have postponed to continue playing my latest computer game for exactly six months! :-o So, this year was special and it sort of kick-started everything, but now I have to find a better balance between learning and enjoying other things I love. Time is flying and will not come back, so I will try to make the best out of it.
Why I Go to Conferences, Or: Why I Go to This ConferenceA few weeks ago, Maaret reflected on why going to conferences at all. Here's Guna Petrova's response:
And here you'll find the reasons of Heather Reid:"On a spot" - I go to conferences to get encouraged to learn more, get exposed/get used to different ideas, to get inspired to try things out - most of these I get from conversations outside the talks. There I also go for friends, hugs, smiles and more hugs xD— alt (Guna) (@alt_lv) 12. November 2017
But why do I go to conferences?
- Quite obvious: To learn about certain topics. To gain new insights, hear different perspectives, try things out.
- Even more important: To meet awesome people! People I already met but also new people. People I can exchange experience with, ask for support, learn from.
- And in the end, to return full of ideas and inspiration. If you could see me now, over one week after coming home, I'm still beaming. I've seen it last year: this kind of experience will guide and help me until the next conference.
I can't express it better. Go read this awesome post why #AgileTD is such a special conference in general, and such a dear conference to me personally. In the end, it's all about the people. See you next year! https://t.co/9vizkc4TmK— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) 22. November 2017
Happy to see that last week’s @AgileTD helped getting Linnea’s Christmas Fundraiser over the halfway point. More is still needed! @kristoffer_nord https://t.co/VsNA1hbZCV— Göran Kero (@ghkero) 21. November 2017
My favorite insight from #AgileTD Lean Coffee- @StephDesby said her big conference takeaway is that we aren’t alone - we’re a community 💜🦄 pic.twitter.com/tkaz8Cdh9t— lisacrispin (@lisacrispin) 17. November 2017
I found some testers at #AgileTD @lisihocke @punkmik @alt_lv @stephenjanaway @testsheepnz @maaretp pic.twitter.com/6hfIIzI5Dk— Anne-Marie Charrett (@charrett) 17. November 2017
To all you camera shy people that visited #AgileTD; YOU LOOK AWESOME! Check out my shots here https://t.co/puBdcVA2pn Please share the link and feel free to copy for personal use, but don't forget to credit me! Thanks to all, I couldn't have done it without you and the @AgileTD— cirilo wortel (@sietstweets) 18. November 2017
If you made it to the end of this (indeed quite long) post, you might have seen a pattern. I have a lot of people to thank - and I did not nearly mention them all. But I know I'll see a lot of them again at next year's Agile Testing Days and that makes me very happy.
Leaving #AgileTD is always its hardest part... Again an amazing, enlightening, eye-opening, goal-setting, inspiring experience; helping me grow as speaker & as attendee. Hope I could trigger some thoughts as well. Goodbye my old & new friends, hope to see you next year again! :-)— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) 17. November 2017