Everyone is already busy with a new year resolution, but I am finally having time to write my retrospective and say “Thank you!” to 2017 for being an awesome year!
It all started in January – I gave my first self-created full day (8h) workshop about test automation for a customer – the team of five and half of them were new to testing. What a challenge! I was super nervous before the workshop and super tired afterwards. But the thing I took with me – I want to do it again and again and again!
And I did. Already in February, I gave the next workshop, this time about exploratory testing and it was not created by me. I adapted several ideas and methods, which I learned from Jean-Paul. It turned out very well and I keep using elements of that workshop in ISTQB trainings I give now.
Starting March most of my free time went for preparing TestBash Germany. In March I went to Munich to check location together with Patrick, we screened proposals, had some trouble with tax stuff, worked on strategies for sponsors and attendees and so on. I remember as we worked on shortlist for speakers, I asked Rosie how many we should keep back up. She said: none. In all those years never ever they missed the speaker. Well… we broke that and lost one speaker two weeks, second – three days before the conference. Things happen, that’s life, but we as a team, we did the best we could do – we asked some very special attendee to jump in and they said yes!
Before the conference, I offered a free ticket, paid from my own pocket, to anyone who could write me few sentences why she or he should get the ticket. No strings attached. I wrote the offer in German, because I wanted to support testers in Germany and to show what words “testing community” really means. This is Carolina, the lucky winner, but just like me she is not a German :)
TestBash Germany was a huge success, but few episodes of the conference I do not remember. My nerves were trembling, the pressure to make first TBG perfect (whatever it means) was high and at the same time, it was my good-bye. After years of dreaming, doubting, daring and convincing, I made my dream come true, I brought TestBash and MinistryOfTesting to Germany. Thank you to everyone who supported me in this time. During the conference, we asked to raise a hand, to whom this is the first testing conference. To our surprise circa 50% attendees raised it!!! Amazing! I could not wish more… I leave satisfied. Since I work for trendig, which is the organiser for ATD, even if I am not part of event team, sooner or later there would be a conflict of interest. But do not worry – the world keeps spinning and TestBash Germany 2018 is happening – our helpers Vera and Marcel are taking over.
My two pieces of wisdom to anyone who thinks about organising a conference:
I was not so lucky as Patrick and now I can share that sometimes it was very hard to balance. I had to cut my working hours and huge thanks goes to my husband. Without his full support, I would not make it.
TestParadies is a meet-up I founded and solo organize since 2015. The local community is still inert and I still need to put a lot of effort to convince people to give a short talk, but so slowly progress is visible. In 2017 I organised nine (9!) meet-ups and covered pretty good topics:
As mentioned earlier in May I left the company, where I was working for two years. My current employer is trendig and I am happy to work with mind-opened people and evolute my skills. In second part of the year I wrote less blog posts, but spent more time with reading, taking care of my health and my family. We also moved in new home and the day when I will empty the last box will be my lucky day!
Besides workshops, meet-ups and TestBash Germany, I attended four other testing events – two local, where I gave a talks, and two conferences. First one was TestBash in The Netherlands. Went down there to help Huib and Rosie, met a lot of new testers and put faces and voices to several digital friends and role models.
In November it was Agile Testing Days. This time I was not giving a talk and could enjoy it fully. Had a lot of time for long discussions with like-minded people. To every picture I could tell you a story, but to keep it short, will stick to one. I come from a small country and many even does not know that it is one of EU countries, so small it is. So it was special highlight to meet four other testing Latvians at the conference!
2017 was really an amazing year for me. Beside topics above I also participated in #30DaysOfSecurityTesting and started to reorganise my (testing) knowledge. I still cannot say I could do security testing, but I definitely learned a lot. I spent some time to investigate how to work better, how to motivate a team better, how to see, what I do not want to see and what makes a good leader. Those are topics I am very passionate about, will write and talk about them in the future.
Year ago I changed the name of my blog to TestRetreat. Now I can say it was right thing to do. I wanted to reduce the tense I had around the testing and it worked! The positive atmosphere and the right tune is very important. But it is also very important to take time off, not just from the work, but from all job-related free time activities :)
Ich bin sehr stolz darauf zu sehen, wie meine Idee “Lass uns die Testbash nach Deutschland bringen” Wirklichkeit geworden ist. Diese Idee hätte ich niemals alleine umsetzen können. Erstmal Rosie hat mir ihr Vertrauen geschenkt, dann Patrick. Vielmehr haben Patrick und ich ein super Team bestehend aus Marcel, Vera und Daniel, die wie ein eingetaktetes Uhrwerk funktionieren. Das Gefühl mit dem Team zusammenzuarbeiten ist wunderschön!
Ministry Of Testing und TestBash haben einen besonderen Platz in meinem Herzen. Ich habe besondere Leute kennen gelernt und mich als Tester weiterentwickelt. Eine Lernkurve ist abgeschlossen. Aus diesem Grund habe ich ein TestBash München Ticket gekauft und suche nun jemanden der das Ticket geschenkt haben möchte. Es ist mein Weg von PayItForward und jeder ist eingeladen das zu nutzen.
Ich möchte jemandem die Möglichkeit geben in einem Raum voll mit lernhungrigen Testern zu stehen und das Beste für sich mitzunehmen. Sich über Testing Themen auszutauschen und ein Gefühl für die tolle Testing Community zu bekommen.
Wie kommst du an das Ticket?
Hier sind die Regeln:
Schreib mir einfach bis 24.9.2017 auf firstname.lastname@example.org warum gerade Du das Ticket haben sollst.
Das ist die einzige Regel, es spielt dabei keine Rolle ob du Erfahrung im Testing, Support, Entwicklung oder Hauskeeping hast oder wie dein Jobtitel ist. Ich möchte nur sicherstellen, dass auch der oder die Richtige das Ticket bekommt und es auch einen Nutzen hat.
On January I was on a trip to the Netherlands. I had an honour to support Rosie and Huib – people, who made another incredible Test Bash event.
I had much, much fun to run registration both days. I love to see new faces, to see the expectations in their eyes, I love to be the first one who meets, greets and guides them into TestBash world. I am kind of staying in the gates to the new knowledge and encouraging people to come forward. I met a lot of new people, had very interesting discussions and good laugh. But let’s start from the beginning.
In good old TestBash tradition there were a pre-TB event and pre-pre-TB event, a game night!
If you do not know what is TestBash meetup, then imagine crazy loud tester gatherings in some local bar, where over a drink you have a chance to have a word with a speaker or another cool testing personality. Sooner or later you will realise that all TestBash talks are keynotes and all testers who attend TestBashes are really cool testing personalities. Even yourself! Another very cool thing about TestBash meet-up is, that if you are in the area and can not make to attend the conference, you still have a chance to meet the test people.
Huib picked some very good workshops for the first TestBash Utrecht conference. I heard only good or excellent references.
After registration was done (and it took some time…) I participate in the afternoon workshop about exploratory testing by Jean-Paul. As a person, I am quite impulsive, but since I live in Germany and work as a tester, I work really hard to make me more organised to not to fall out too much. That is why I was expecting to get some practical tools how to do my exploratory testing. And I got them. Thank you, Jean-Paul!
Besides that, Jean-Paul gave me permission to think. This was so unusual, I am too much used to deliver, that I forget how it is to take a time and think. Explore slowly, for example, the room where you are sitting. In fact, everything in the workshop was a little bit like Zen. We tested applications, wrote test cases, documented our findings and let them go. No one wanted to know what exactly we found, what we thought. Very confusing and in the same time healing, because the process was the thing, not the result. Inspired by all that, in February I run my very first exploratory testing mini workshop.
The day ended up with setting registration area and desks with swag. We learned from mistakes and rearranged place that people move faster to the rooms and do not stay in cold. It worked out good and in the next day there was no jam.
The conference day
My day started after 5 am. Very first thing was to move the car. Then I headed to the old church – TestBash Utrecht location. Punctuality is not my thing, that is why for important stuff I work hard to break my habits. As the result I was the very first one, the church was locked, no lights to see, freezing cold. Ha ha, next time I will take it easier on myself.
The conference started with Alans talk about misuse and fun, which unfortunately I did not hear it in Utrecht because people were coming in late for registration. Luckily my boss got for us Dojo access, talks are now uploaded and available for watching. Jipī!
The second highlight of the conference for me was Gitte talk about courage to be yourself. I met Gitte shortly during ATD and she heard pieces of my trust talk, we share similar values and some of experiences as well. I was thrilled to hear her talk. I can imagine that some felt uncomfortable and some could think that it is not a proper talk in tech conference. But it is proper and it is important! It is the blessing that we have people among us, who dare to remind us – we are humans, we are different and it is OK.
All other speakers were amazing too, but I will highlight only one more – Mary. Her talk about “Just enough security” had huge amount of information and I will rewatch it on Dojo to make some notes. Mary, you gave me the push to participate in #30daysofsecuritytesting. Thank you!
I like to talk to speakers after their presentations and take photos of them. The atmosphere of sharing is amazing!
I also like to take group photo of all lady speakers to show role models and inspire more women submit their stories, but in Utrecht they were too many to organise in one photo. Good job, Huib!
99 sec talks
Another tradition of TestBash is 99sec talks. Never participate? You should! That was first stage experience for several presenters, me including. The idea is to give a 99 seconds long (short) talk about testing related subject. As I first stand on the TestBash Brighton stage, I was surprised that the lights are not so bright as they seem to be and I could see all attendees. Before that, in my imagination, I thought it will be like a crowd of wolfs starring on me from the darkness. But instead of that I saw bunch of friendly faces, some carefully listening, other checking or typing something in their digital devices.
Usually, I do not have a lot of time to see a place where a conference is happening. This time I came by car and had no time pressure for leaving.
At the end…
In few days TestBash Brighton will start. If you are going – I wish you joyful learning journey! If you just got to know about TestBashes – I guess there are still some tickets left – invest in your future, you can afford it yourself, if your boss does not see value in sending you to the conference. I fund most of my activities myself and look where it brought me!
Today I did something fun!
Already some time my colleagues &co were asking about an exploratory testing workshop. I did not say yes or no. I wanted to do it, but did not have clear idea how?
Then I went to TestBash Utrecht and had a chance to take a part in Jean-Paul Varwijk‘s exploratory workshop. That was mind blowing!!! There is generally this thing about TestBash workshops – they accelerate my skills and boom my motivation. In this one Jean-Paul literally several times said that I have no idea how to explore. Important was that when he said it, it was not like shaming but like exposing one of my unknown unknowns and that’s up to me what I will do with it. Plus, in case I wanted to do something about it, he gave practical tools for it. LOVE IT!
So today, thanks to Jean-Paul, I gave my very first mini exploratory testing workshop. My task was easier, because I work together with my workshop team, and harder, because I realised, it is part of the workshop to expose unknown unknowns.
It turned out to work out very well. We had AHA moments, fun and bonding.
And we ended with de-briefing strategy: PROOF (stands for Past, Results, Obstacles, Outlook, Feelings)
P.S. if you can, go and take a workshop by Jean-Paul. I recommend it. And do not forget to tell me afterwards how did you liked it.
My dear friends,
Today I’m announcing something I’ve worked on for almost a year – we are bringing TestBash to Germany!
I hope you share my excitement and will consider participating in the event as either an attendee or as a speaker. If you have any questions or suggestions for myself or Patrick we would love to hear it!
Meine Kollegen und Freunde,
Heute ich habe eine ganz besondere Nachricht für euch: Patrick und ich – wir haben fleißig gearbeitet mit dem Ziel die einzigartige TestBash Konferenz nach Deutschland zu bringen.
Jetzt ist es so weit – am 6. Oktober 2017 in München werden wir die allererste TestBash Germany feiern! Bitte nehmt das in euren Kalender und Jahresplanung auf und ich hoffe euch persönlich begrüßen zu dürfen als Besucher oder vielleicht auch Redner.
Für Fragen stehen Patrick und ich sehr gern zur Verfügung.
Imagine a conference. What do you see? Expensive hotel… companies with big names… people, who all pretend to be extremely successfully… small talks about titles and budgets? Yes, there are many conferences of this kind. Test Bash is different. Test Bash is all about people, about testers, gate keepers, working in pairs or solo, trying to understand customer needs and to build the right thing. Being human and accepting ignorance. Working with smart algorithms, web applications, or taking care of security tests. Manual or automation. Everyone is welcomed!
This is a place where you can stand on the stage and share your story how you failed… and audience will understand you and support. Because we all failed once. No need to pretend. Together we are stronger!
You don’t believe me that such conference is possible? Only chance to verify it – buy a ticket to the next Test Bash conference and see it yourself!
Note 1: Wanz is a software tester. Cool, right?!
Note 2: I cried in the conference. I heard stories similar mine. I was not alone any more.
This week is TestBash week. I know about the conference since its beginning, but until now did not managed to go there. This year is different! I bought the ticket as present to my birthday, company where I work offered to pay hotel and travel expenses. So here I am – with empty suitcase and head full of thoughts and heart full of expectations.
My TestBash schedule looks like this:
I installed slack and twitter on my android. Will try to reflect for my dear colleagues. Let’s see how I will do it :)
Blog post from another TestBash newbie.