There’s a great #testing conference going on this week, absolutely worth a visit. Follow @AgileTD #AgileTD.— Maaret Pyhäjärvi (@maaretp) November 12, 2018
Here are my experiences of the 2018 edition, the conference's 10th anniversary. Although this post became lengthy it cannot do this week full of inspiration justice in any way; and yet I hope it gives an impression.Departing Potsdam in tears. Love you all. #AgileTD touched my heart. Hands down the best conference I’ve ever been to. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.— Ashley Hunsberger (@aahunsberger) November 15, 2018
Now, on to see my babies!!!! (They will always be my babies, no matter how big they are)
Meeting Friends Old and New
This year I met Maria Kedemo and Tom Roden at the airport so I did not have to go to the venue alone. What luxury to share a taxi along with stories, getting into the conference mood already. Arriving at the hotel we met the next familiar faces and the next stories were shared. It was great spending the first evening with lots of the amazing people from the Women in Testing slack that I am part of.Finally, off to #AgileTD! Super excited to meet all those people I got to know over the last years, and to get to know many new ones as well! A wonderful week of learning is lying ahead 😊 pic.twitter.com/Rye1KBzRjy— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 11, 2018
Seeing my learning partner Toyer Mamoojee again in real life was simply awesome, as always! It's great we have so frequent video calls but they cannot replace meeting in real life. Also, so many people of the power learning group Toyer and I started were around as well! Lovely to meet João Proença, Viktorija Manevska, Lilit Sharkhatunyan, and Pooja Shah in person again. That not being enough, I also had the chance to meet several people I paired with on my testing tour like Thomas Rinke, Guna Petrova, Claire Reckless, and Marianne Duijst. Lisa Crispin, who introduced me to the community in the first place. And Alex Schladebeck, who won this year's MIATPP = Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person award! Congrats Alex, you very well deserved it.
Several of my former and current colleagues attended the conference for their first time. I'm really glad they enjoyed our trip to unicorn land just as much as I did. One of them even won the first price of the costume contest and therefore a free ticket for next year's conference! How awesome is that?The winner of the MIATPP award 2018 is @alex_schl #AgileTD— Huib Schoots (@huibschoots) November 13, 2018
Makes me sooooo happy! 😍 pic.twitter.com/fZ4WiAcHcY
With all those great people I had lots of great conversations and I wished I would have had more time for every single one of them. So many stories shared, lessons learned, a lot of feedback received, and much more inspiration to take home. I said it already so many times, and I'm going to say it again: it's all about the people.
.@lisihocke is fantastic at giving feedback. Her observations are on point, and her style of delivery is neutral and constructive. Thanks! @AgileTD— Alex Schladebeck (@alex_schl) November 15, 2018
What a day! Jam packed with talks, workshops, great conversations and a great party to close of the day. Final pic of the day or first pic of the day, whichever way you want to look at it. With #LearningPartner @lisihocke and the awesome talented @marianneduijst #agileTD pic.twitter.com/Mi9NcSIKm4— Toyer M (@tottiLFC) November 14, 2018
A Theme, and It's PreciousThe program of this conference can only be described as huge. Every year the fear of missing out is gets bigger, and yet we have to decide between 10+ tracks or giving ourselves a bit of rest. This conference goes the whole week from early hours until early hours again, nearly around the clock. Getting rest and sleep is essential and yet there are so many wonderful people to have inspiring and thoughtful conversations with which makes it hard to find a good personal balance. Complaining on a very high level here!
Although the program is huge, there is still a sort of theme each year. João Proença shared in his great blog post that last year it was "What does the future look like for testers?" whereas this year the focus was on "What should we be paying attention to now in ourselves?". I absolutely agree with him. Many sessions addressed diversity, inclusion, mental health, psychological safety, biases, learning, mentoring, teaching as well as our creative, critical, and lateral thinking skills. Yes, it's a testing conference! And all this is what we need to grow as testers and hone our testing skills. So many so much needed messages and exercises.
By the way, when it comes to diversity and representation, these conference organizers really do their homework, and their efforts are reflected in a very diverse speaker lineup and audience.
We're wrapping up day one @AgileTD. I attended 10 presentations and in 7 of them the speakers were female. That's 70%! All other tech conference organizers, take a note from @AgileTD playbook and stop whining about not being able to diversify your speaker lineup #AgileTD— Emanuil Slavov (@EmanuilSlavov) November 13, 2018
What a WeekIn the following are the sessions I've attended, including the sketchnotes I did wherever I had the time and energy to do them. Knowing how overwhelming the 5 days of 10+ tracks of Agile Testing Days can be, I mostly chose workshops this time, adding in only a few talks here and there. Though it's really sad I couldn't hear all those other great talks, this strategy worked out well for me this time to not overload myself, get a lot out of the official program, and get even more out of the informal socializing opportunities and conversations throughout this testing festival. By the way, many speakers shared their slides, several people wrote own blog posts, shared photos and more, it's worth to check them out as well.
- Web Application Security - Tutorial by Daniel Billing. Great hands-on tutorial where we learned about threat risk modeling, did risk storming with TestSphere, and tested our own security testing skills on the OWASP Juice Shop.
The tutorial of @thetestdoctor is all about Web Applications Security. The participants are exploring web security within agile and context driven testing, threat modelling, security heuristics, vulnerabilities, ethical hacking 👨🏻💻👩🏼💻🤓 pic.twitter.com/NnPEJ9qOqN— Agile Testing Days (@AgileTD) November 12, 2018
- Ten Years of Agile Testing Days - Keynote by David Evans. Unfortunately I only managed to attend the second half of this keynote, but looking back at past years was both fun an enlightening.
- Lean Coffee - Bonus session by Lisa Crispin & Janet Gregory. I always attend at least one lean coffee session, traditionally on the first conference day. This time I was again lucky that two of my topics made it into the discussion so I could gain some valuable advice on my challenges.
- From Fairy Tales to Serious Stuff; Two Generations in Tech - Keynote by Susan Bligh & Janet Gregory. Mother and daughter in tech and both on stage, sharing their careers' very personal challenges - simply awesome. They reminded us that we are all role models - while being exactly that on stage! We need diversity on our teams to create innovate solutions, so don't just watch but pay attention, speak up, help people become allies and become agents of change yourself."From Fairy Tales to Serious Stuff: Two Generations in Tech" by @janetgregoryca & @sbligh #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/xh0Dkb6GVd— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
- Boost your creative thinking - Workshop by Maria Kedemo. I loved this hands-on session that triggered us to use our creative skills. Creativity involves variability and constraints; learn which constraints are boosting your creativity, and which are hindering you.
Thank you everyone who attended my workshop on creativity. You were awesome! #agiletd pic.twitter.com/ueEMRFlWTM— Maria Kedemo (@mariakedemo) November 13, 2018
- Transparency: A holistic approach to software quality - Keynote by Trish Koo. There's a disconnect between how testers see their roles and how others see them. We do lots of invisible work and it's hard to get recognition for that. However, we need the skills testers have developed for more than just testing, so get beyond a narrow definition of testing and testers."Transparency: A Holistic Approach to Software Quality" by @hogfish #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/3OR59umgoT— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
- Finding a Learning Partner in the Testing Community - Workshop by Toyer Mamoojee & me. A dream came true! Toyer and I started our public speaking and learning partner journey two years ago, at Agile Testing Days 2016. Last year we returned as speakers, and for the 10th anniversary this year we could share our story, lay the ground for our workshop attendees to experience the same magic, and even inspire three new learning partnerships to arise! We couldn't have wished for more. What a highlight of this year's conference for us.
@tottiLFC and @lisihocke are sharing their story how they found each other at Atd 2016 as learning partners and challenged each other to submit to ATD! Here’re they again! I’m little part of the story as I was inspired by them to apply too! #AgileTD @AgileTD pic.twitter.com/jgLhuOeGBg— Lilit Sharkhatunyan (@lilitshark) November 13, 2018@AgileTD #agileTD #learningPartners the pacts are coming through thick and fast..look what we started @lisihocke https://t.co/rHoBqv1V7t— Toyer M (@tottiLFC) November 13, 2018Apparently you really need Twitter at #AgileTD. So we just made a deal to create Twitter and post for the first time. @tottilfc @lisihocke @AgileTD #learningpartners @urswiki pic.twitter.com/nKjMjSc1lw— Mazin (@MazinInaad) November 13, 2018Circle celebrations at the workshop with @lisihocke - some great pacts and deals being made. #reflections #agileTD #learningPartners pic.twitter.com/F3eMJTaN1I— Toyer M (@tottiLFC) November 13, 2018... and in case you'd like to check out the slides of the talk @tottiLFC and I sneaked in as part of our workshop, here they are 😃 https://t.co/jHvvb8PLLq #AgileTD #LearningPartners https://t.co/ks1KrxXz11— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 13, 2018
- The Heart of Innovation - Keynote by Selena Delesie. Unfortunately I did not manage to join this keynote in time. Luckily Marianne Duijst created a great sketchnote with all the wonderful messages of this truly heartwarming keynote!Selena Delesie's keynote 'The Heart of Innovation' at #AgileTD I was privileged to hang out with @SelenaDelesie last month - she's so inspiring & engaging. Thank you for an inspiring keynote #sketchnote @AgileTD pic.twitter.com/TzPFchnHnD— Marianne Duijst (@marianneduijst) November 14, 2018
- Mind Busters - Test your mind - Workshop by Maaike Brinkhof & Göran Kero. I loved this workshop. Getting aware of our biases is not only helping us testing, observing and learning new things, but sharpen our thinking skills in general; which also will improve our leadership, mentoring and coaching skills. By the way, I can only recommend everyone to give Daniel Kahneman's book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" a read, it's worth it."Mind Busters - Test Your Mind!" workshop by @Maaikees & @ghkero #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/6J75B2Cx4N— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
- Transforming Culture with DevOps Principles - Keynote by Ashley Hunsberger. I have no words when it comes to this wonderful keynote. All my respect goes to Ashley who managed to have the courage to address a lot of deep problems in the world nowadays, and who reminded us that every change starts with awareness and willingness to take action. DevOps principles can help us to achieve change - and we all are encouraged to step up. Now, I normally don't get moved by talks so easily. This time I realized that although I wanted to sketchnote the talk I had a hard time doing so while just listening and fighting my own emotions. Getting called on stage along with all the other great people of the Women in Testing slack who were at the conference was yet another highlight I'll always remember!Oh my God! My heart is in pieces. @aahunsberger speaks so beautifully and with so much heart, it is impossible not to feel teary eyed. #agileTD— Faiza Yousuf (@FaizaYousuf) November 14, 2018"Transforming Culture with DevOps Principles" by @aahunsberger #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/PIGVF2by4l— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018Some amazing #womenintesting on stage with @aahunsberger post her amazing keynote @agiletd #agoletd pic.twitter.com/jkns7ICKHs— Dan Billing (@TheTestDoctor) November 14, 2018
- Sketchnoting Adventures: Improve Your Notetaking Skills - Workshop by Marianne Duijst. I cannot describe how much energy Marianne brought to a full house of people all eager to learn from her and get a boost on their our own sketchnoting journey. I had started my sketchnoting experiment earlier this year already, inspired by Marianne's experience. I did continue the experiment and you might have seen my sketchnotes evolve since then. Still, after this workshop I can definitely say my notes improved even more and the fun involved increased as well!"Sketchnoting Adventures" workshop by @marianneduijst #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/1PTZfnNjxV— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018The "Sketchnoting Adventures" workshop of @marianneduijst was super cool!!! Here's my result, let's dare to share 😊 #sketchnote #AgileTD pic.twitter.com/VcOUuP2Ss7— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 14, 2018
- The Blockchain Paradox - Keynote by Rhian Lewis. This was a great keynote illustrating the challenges we face with blockchain applications, not only when testing - there's also the ethical dimension to consider. Rhian reminded us that software is about people and encouraged us to take our responsibility seriously.
- Exploratory Testing Challenge - Bonus session by Alex Schladebeck. If you've followed my blogs, you might remember that I was in awe of Alex live testing an application on stage at European Testing Conference 2018. In my blog post about the conference, I challenged her to do the same with an unknown product she could not prepare for. The thing is: she accepted the challenge and this session at Agile Testing Days was the result! Now I had to fulfill my part here as well and create a list of potential test targets that she most probably had never seen before and that still would suit her testing session concept. This live testing session of a mystery app was simply awesome. Alex did so very well and even engaged her audience at a late Wednesday evening to fully dive into testing together with her, on the search of discovering new heuristics that help us testing. Congrats Alex!Had such fun at the live mystery exploratory testing session! Thank you to all attendees for their participation and suggestions! And thanks to @huibschoots @maaretp @lisihocke for paving the way to this workshop! @AgileTD— Alex Schladebeck (@alex_schl) November 14, 2018
- Is your Quality on the Road to Nowhere? - Keynote by Anne-Marie Charrett. This keynote provided the most interesting neologism I heard this year, "qualtability", which describes how easy or hard it is to know (and see) the state of quality at any point in time. Alongside speed, feedback and recoverability these are the new quality attributes to look out for. Metrics can help make aspects of quality improvement visible."Is Your Quality on the Road to Nowhere?" by @charrett #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/NIKLlOU1q7— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
- Crossing Over - Talk by Amber Race. This was a great experience report of a tester who suddenly faced the challenge of switching perspectives and being the developer of the feature, realizing which kind of testing she could cover during development and what wasn't as easy. All the while developing more empathy for what developers deal with every day!
- The Power of ‘Not Yet’ – Improve Your Testing Skills - Talk by Marianne Duijst. While it's important to develop a growth mindset, don't push people out of their comfort zone. Rather, entice and encourage them to step into the learning zone. Marianne reminded us to be brave and challenge ourselves and become aware that we're the role models for those coming after us. Wise words."The Power of Not Yet - Improve Your Testing Skills" by @marianneduijst #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/DvBgGEZRhY— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
- Mentoring Result > Power Pairs in Testing - Talk by Kristīne Corbus. Kristīne's definition of mentoring is a learning and development partnership, based on mutual trust. Sounds much like the learning partnership Toyer and I have? You bet! She even named us as example of what she calls a power pair, among so many other great names. What an honor! I hope her great talk inspired many others to be brave, go out there and find their power pair as well..@kriscorbus gave a shout of several great power-pairs in learning @lisacrispin & @janetgregoryca , @Btknaack & @workroomprds , @lisihocke & @tottiLFC , @alex_schl & @huibschoots wow, you can meet them all at #AgileTD— Dragan Spiridonov (@profesor_dragan) November 15, 2018A power pair for 2 years now: @lisihocke & @tottiLFC - learning together and sharing it with all of us! They feel they've been able to learn more by helping each other. @kriscorbus #agiletd— lisacrispin (@lisacrispin) November 15, 2018"Mentoring Results > Power Pairs in Testing" by @kriscorbus #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/NgsaKUM2B3— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
- Agile Transformation with Remote Teams - Keynote by Faiza Yousuf. What a humorous talk! Faiza told her stories in such an entertaining and at the same time enlightening way it's hard to describe. She left us with concrete advice how to lead transformation, while always having our team as our guiding light."Agile Transformation with Remote Teams!" by @FaizaYousuf #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/2Rek5QcTh7— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
- Thinking Outside the Box - Workshop by Stéphanie Desby & Lisa Crispin. This workshop again focused on sharpening our thinking skills and making us aware of our biases. The core message was similar to other sessions this year, but exercises differed and although everyone was already tired on Thursday afternoon, this session kept us engaged and laughing at the tricks our own minds played on us."Thinking Outside the Box" workshop by @StephDesby & @lisacrispin #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/NQEngPn30R— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
- Test Like a Cat - Keynote by Lanette Creamer. I had heard this keynote already at European Testing Conference 2018 so I was curious how it evolved - and if I could manage the sketchnoting challenge of a dense talk with so many noteworthy things. One of the points I took with me for myself this time: consider rest as a treat. I am feeling I do need rest right now indeed. This also explains why I wrote this blog post a lot later than I usually would have; and why this is a good thing.
- Feeling Safe to be Uncomfortable - Keynote by Gitte Klitgaard. Now that was one hell of a keynote. It wasn't about fancy slides. It wasn't about showing off the best "stage performance". In my eyes it was about a human sharing their very own growth story throughout a very difficult life, while being authentic, self-aware, vulnerable, and unbelievably strong on stage. Gitte reminded us to care, to listen, and to help make this world a better place. Safety is necessary and not always comfortable. Gitte moved so many people to tears, and I was once more deeply moved as well. She got standing ovations afterwards; and with standing ovations I mean every single one in the room standing up applauding, as far as I could see. So very well deserved.
- Women and Allies Evening Gathering - Bonus session by Anne-Marie Charrett & Gitte Klitgaard. This year's event offered a low key open space setting, designed to be a safe space to speak up, to listen, to share challenges, to find a sympathetic ear and get support. This time I felt I had so much going on in my mind not related with this conference that I did not want to speak about. Therefore I chose to listen actively to another dear person I got to know, hoping I could provide help this way and therefore do my very own part in making the world a better place. So glad to hear it worked and was well appreciated.
- 2nd Redo of: Be a Detective, use Forensic Sciences, Improve your skills - Bonus session by Viviane Lyrio Vieira, Geoffrey van der Tas & Melissa Pontes. I had already overslept the opening keynote of the day and realized during this session that I could not bring my whole self into it. This session was a great collaborative puzzle game, well designed, with lots of love for detail - and yet I lacked all energy. I realized I had caught a severe cold, I had not slept enough, and I could not focus anymore. Note to myself: lack of energy does not help anyone.
- Quality Transformation - Keynote by Peter Caron. The keynote discussed the challenges we're facing when transforming our quality concept while evolving to more modern organizational models.
- A guide to finding quality testers - Talk by Toyer Mamoojee & Blanché Carstens. In this talk Toyer and Blanché shared the story of transforming their company's recruiting process, providing lots of insights and lessons learned. The point that stood out for me: give people a chance to tell their story. Don't focus on certification but on the hunger to learn!
"A Guide to Finding Quality Testers" by @tottiLFC & @BlancheCarstens #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/5aaPyUn8I8— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
- Get off the Hamster Wheel and Start Adding Value! - Keynote by Alex Schladebeck & Huib Schoots. The very final keynote closing the conference once again hit home for me. Alex and Huib opened up on stage as well, sharing their personal stories of burnout or dancing dangerously on the sword's edge to it. Frighteningly, I related to so many of the indicators they shared. The problem: we can only add value by valuing ourselves, managing our time and our contributions; everywhere and in the long term. Another (needed) reminder to slow down. No really, slow down.
"Get Off the Hamster Wheel and Start Adding Value" by @alex_schl & @huibschoots #AgileTD #sketchnote pic.twitter.com/ggTOnnP692— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 17, 2018
The conclusion is clear: see you next year!Yes, this conference is expensive, and yes, it's absolutely worth it. So it really does make sense to apply as speaker or volunteer or use the conference budget in case you have one. I know one thing for sure: I am going to find a way to get to the 2019 edition as well. So see you next year back in unicorn land!
#AgileTD is over, and once more I had a blast. Again, the people are the most important to me. All these deep conversations. All these moving stories shared on stage and off stage. All these inspiring, supporting, encouraging, listening and in general wonderful people. THANK YOU.— Elisabeth Hocke (@lisihocke) November 16, 2018
The unicorn crew with @lisihocke and @jrosaproenca and the #AgileTD unicorn ! pic.twitter.com/LjWy3OzXGs— Toyer M (@tottiLFC) November 13, 2018
Could not leave #AgileTD without a pic with me and my personal unicorns of the conference. Thank you, @alex_schl, @lisihocke and @marianneduijst for your inspiration, support and hugs.— Thomas Rinke (@thomrinke) November 16, 2018
I am in tears of joy tweeting this. pic.twitter.com/dyUhHM8bp8
"Thank you!" to the persons that supported me in creating my Agile Unicorn Talk on the Agile Testing Days 2018 #AgileTD: https://t.co/io1nE2Cbcb @AgileTD @marianneduijst @klaartjejulia @kriscorbus @Btknaack @alex_schl— Thomas Rinke (@thomrinke) November 30, 2018