Agile Testing Days – Saturday, Sunday & Monday

Agile Testing Days 2018 is upon us. The ten year anniversary of the event and if all the preparations and teasers are any indication, it’ll be a marvellous event. Last year was my first AgileTD and I still cherish the friendships made, the many things I learned and the early beginnings of my sketchnoting adventures. It is one of the most valuable conferences I attended. I debuted my ‘Wearing Hermione’s Hat: Narratology for Testers’ at AgileTD 2017 as I felt the people at this conference were whimsical enough to understand the power and value of looking to fiction literature to analyse software. Subsequently, I have felt so incredibly honoured delivering this talk to conferences around the world this year and humbled by the amazing response from audiences all around. Truly, doors open when you dare yourself to be yourself.

I’m debuting a new talk this year on ‘The Power of “Not Yet”: Improve Your Testing Skills’ on the Thursday morning as well as delivering my sketchnote workshop on the Wednesday afternoon. The Agile Unicorn Talks of the Thursday afternoon are rapidly becoming my favourite. It is thrilling to see so many people taking up the challenge and deliver their six-and-a-half-minute-plus-one-second talk here at AgileTD. Quite a few first time speakers among them and it’ll be my pleasure to introduce them all on stage.

The Woman in Testing group is the most supportive, encouraging and welcoming group I have felt part of and it is a joy to meet, catch up with, talk, cheer and listen to them here in person at AgileTD. I arrived on Saturday evening after a lot of train delays, and the dinner with Lisa Crispin and her partner, Anne-Marie Charrett, Ashley Hunsberger, Hannah Rauschel, Gitte Klitgaard and Dan Billing was simply brilliant.

Anne-Marie Charrett does incredible work on quality and she is one of the founders of the Speak Easy programme that has encouraged so many of us onto stages around the world. At CAST2018 earlier this year, we kayaked together by night – and adventure we still talk about. Thank you Anne-Marie: you’ve been more influential than you know. (Your series on the bus now inspired me to just start typing for this blog – you’re cool!) She’s delivered a tutorial and will deliver her keynote on ‘Is Your Quality on the Road to Nowhere’ on Thursday morning. I can’t wait.

Lisa Crispin together with Janet Gregory literally wrote the books on Agile Testing. I had the fortune to get to know them last year and they’ve been cheerleaders and inspirational role models ever since. Lisa pairs up with a variety of people for her workshops and tutorials, and keeps learning and growing in the process. She cheers us and is sometimes uncomfortable accepting praise, but as Angie Jones wrote elegantly:

I first heard about Ashley Hunsberger when I saw her mention her liberal arts talk. It appeared online and I sketchnoted it in January which got us talking. At CAST2018, we finally met in person and it genuinely did not feel like the first time. I’m thoroughly enjoying my chance to catch up with her during AgileTD. I’m looking forward to her keynote on ‘Transforming Culture with DevOps Principles’ as I’ve been lucky enough to get a teaser preview. She’s going to rock it!

Gitte Klitgaard I first met at TestBash Netherlands 2017. She certifies unicorns (#lifegoals). Gitte is a force of nature: she creates space, safety and challenges all of us to live authentically. She is accepting, a brilliant listener and coach to help you and teams around the world on their journey. Throughout Saturday, Sunday & Monday, we’ve been talking about her keynote on Thursday night: ‘Feeling Safe to be Uncomfortable’ which precedes the ‘Women and Allies Evening Gathering’. Her story and leadership are a part of my journey too – and I feel so privileged to know you all.

At breakfast on Sunday, Lanette Creamer, Gitte Klitgaard and I stayed talking for a long time and Lanette sums it up well:

Thank you for your company ladies.

The afternoon walk to the brewery, getting to know Hannah Rauschel, Raye Anne Hurst and Nicole Errante better as well as catching up further with Lisa, Janet, Susan, Lanette and all, was lovely and wonderful. Last year, I didn’t make time to explore Potsdam properly. It’s a joy to walk around and have our conversations.

At dinner, Jantien van der Meer and I joined some of the organizers, volunteers and other speakers/attendees for a lovely sushi dinner. Crocheting is fun y’all and I finished my scarf for the costume party on Tuesday.

AgileTD is a bit of a marathon. There are 11 different tracks and so many people to meet up with, have conversations with and learn from. The Monday morning, the tutorials were in full swing and the speaker prep sessions as well. Thank you Elizabeth Zagroba for hanging out with me as I added unicorns to the Agile Unicorn slide deck and Mor Korem for working on her slides beside me. Maaike Brinkhof likewise let me work quietly while sitting beside her – I liked your quiet company.

David Evans had the honour of opening Agile Testing Days 2018 with a personal history of 10 year ATD. His keynote was a trip down memory lane, why are unicorns so integral to this conference, why do so many people come back year after year, and what makes it special. Thank you David for a wonderful keynote.

The Speaker’s Dinner on Monday evening was a blast of noise as the speakers converged in the venue. Luxurious food and drink and conversations that filled the hall. Syed Ali – it was a pleasure to meet you. Clair Reckless – congratulations and welcome to your first AgileTD. The conversations at dinner are usually lively and wonderful.

Upon returning to the hotel, I got to catch up briefly with Vincent Wijnen and called for an early night. Time to enjoy the first full conference day today! Let’s have a blast together & learn immensely.


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