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AgileTD Online 2020

AgileTD Online 2020

It's true, I have never attended Agile Testings Days before. I was never lucky enough to get the chance to speak at this world famous testing festival. I have tried it four times (which means 4 years) in a row to get onto its big stages by sending in a few proposals, alone and as a pair with a friend, but no, it should not have been me. Somehow I also never considered joining as a participant, but don’t ask me why - I don’t know.

This year was different, in all the ways I could ever have imagined. From the highest mountains to the bottom of the seven seas and up again - an emotional rollercoaster. Well, all ended up with getting invited by Lisi Hocke to create a workshop with her and then also having the chance to facilitate two other workshops at the Agile Testing Days Online Edition 2020. Here is what I have experienced form the 9th to the 12th November.

Monday 09/11

My personal Pre-Conference Day started out with doing some final preparations for the three workshops (Git Foundations on Tuesday, Ensemble Session on Wednesday and Extreme Pairing on Thursday) gave. I checked my infrastructure, especially audio output/input, video and the wifi setup - you never know. I went step by step through each workshop setup again to check if I have a clean setup on my machine. Prepared my sketchnote book, despite the fact that I actually still don’t like sketchnoting that much but I still want to learn and get better at it. Selected my want to go to sessions from the conference schedule. Prepared the Session Schedule for the Ensemble Session which Elizabeth Zagroba and I did together on Wednesday. Went once more through all the material which Lisi and I have prepared for rocking our workshop Extreme Pairing. Do we have everything in place? Will our Jitsi conference room hold up with the yet unknown amount of participants when they switch on mic and cam? Then as the final step of the day, I checked the AgileTD Zone slack team. Looks like as there will be quite a few people online 🙂

Getting nervous but I am ready, let’s take off and dive in!

Tuesday 10/11

The first day started off with lots of tweets already @AgileTD #agileTD and a Yoga session by Ina Hoelzel.

Then at 9am, José Díaz started his welcome not in unicorn 🦄 style. I like his accent, his love and Spanish happiness for this conference - a very likeable person 🤗 I am already looking forward to the day where I can meet him in person! I just say: 💃🏽

It is always about you!

As the first keynote speaker Daniël Maslyn had obviously some technical issues on his side, José had to be creative and come up with a keynote replacement. But what is probably the most straight forward way to find such a replacement? Well he just did it himself at his very own conference by telling us his personal journey: It is always about you.

My Journey of Pairing and Learning

After the keynote, I tuned into the talk of my learning partner Parveen Khan. A great talk where she reflected on her first learning tour around the globe focusing on challenges all around testing. And yes, after a long time I started with sketchnoting again, will see how this goes. 😉

Parveen Khan

Code review is (not) for testers?

Is code review something for testers? Can they even contribute to it? Of course we can! Watch out and learn by having a look at comments, size, structure, content, timing of PRs. Large PRs are often suspects. So have a close and careful look at them. And good code reviews enables a team to go faster, so true. Thanks Uros Stanisic for this interesting talk 👏🏼 

Uros Stanisci

Being a tester after trying almost everything else

Then I sneaked in to the talk by our #PLG fellow and friend João Proença. What a fabulous speaker he is. Well prepared and super entertaining! We all can learn heaps from him 😎 Unfortunately I jump in to his session at a very late state, so I did not start sketchnoting.

AMA Lisa and Janet

Then AMA with Lisa and Janet Gregory on Donkeys and Dragons. But what in the name of heaven could I asked them? Any ideas? Want to give it a try? I came up with the following:

When we look at a movie like Shrek, then there we find the three common animals: donkey, horse and the dragon. The donkey and also the horse are most often seen as the funny animals. They are the happy ones which make us laugh. Dragons on the other side, are often seen as the monsters, the evil creatures which want to hurt us. So from where do you think comes this perceptions of dragons especially in books and movies? And how about Donkeys?

Keynote: Automation Addiction

Automation? Well, we all have probably already heard of it enough right? But once again and for all: we do not need to automate every thing! We need to have good test strategies which takes care of every aspects of testing and especially finding the balance of exploration and automation. Great keynote by Huib Shoots and Paul Holland 👏🏼

Paul Holland, Huib Shoots

Workshop #1: Git Foundations

After that it was my turn with my first workshop a this conference: Git Foundations. The workshop was super exhausting, but a lot of fun and some great questions from the participants. Once more I realised that doing the basic setup in Git is not that quickly done by first timers. So I really have to take this more into account next time. The following feedback from Mariia made my day and was one of the personal highlights I had at the conference. Thank you so much Mariia!

Lean Coffee

After that, for a tiny bit relaxation, I went to my first online Lean Coffee with the all famous Lisa Crispin as facilitator! This was a nice session with some interesting topics: Here the things we talked about:

Lisa Crispin

The main thing I took away from this coffee break is, to immediately get the book The remote facilitators Pocket Guide as I am wondering how one can engage people even more for and in remote meetings and workshops. And I also already know who I am going to surprise with that book 🙂 Looking forward to learn tons of stuff about in-person and remote facilitation.

Wednesday 11/11

As I already noticed on Tuesday, as much as I wished for, but it was (and is) just not possible to join every possible session from early mornings till late in the evening, inclusive social activities - this is so exhausting. Already after one day of online conferencing, I was getting so tired, I tell you 🥱

I started the day with a private session on Git push with Steffen Bromet. I love doing such sessions as it connects me even more with the conference and its people. The last time I did such a similar session was at Let’s Test SA last year and this was such an energising experience.

Then to start the day, a retweet from yesterday:

After that I made up my go to session schedule for the next few hours. Besides the keynotes it was workshop day for me (I can watch the recordings of the talks later on 😉).

Keynote: Testing is not the goal!

I have heard a lot about Rob Meaney in the past. Especially all around the different models he came up with - impressive work. So I was keen listening to him. There was so much great stuff packed into one single talk, just amazing 👏🏼

Life is too short to build software that does not matter

Rob Meaney

Draw to remember: Make Your Own Sketchnotes

As I am a person who can better remember stuff when taking notes and drawings while listening to a talk/presentation, I was highly curious to join the workshop about sketchnoting by EvelineMoolena1 and Vincent Wijnen. I did not get disappointed and we participants could, after couple of minutes of intro, start right away with drawing some basic shapes. This was a great workshop and motivated me to use sketchnoting as a remembering tool again more often in the future to record what I see and hear. Thanks Eveline and Vincent for the tips and tricks you showed us!


Keynote: 8 Bit Pro - A gamer's guide to testing

Then a keynote (especially) for Gamers by Dan Billing. This was a super interesting talk which gave an nice overview on how the gaming industry has evolved over the last past decades. Due to all this home office thingy and spending more time at home, I just recently started playing computer games more frequently again 🕹👾.

Dan Billing

Mental skills training for testers

Andrei Contan from Romania is a crazy guy. He is a co-organizer of the Romanian Testing Conference and a triathlet. He travels to the deepest and darkest oceans of this world to live his passion for the sport. He talked about his incredibly journey in sport and testing and how focusing on the process itself is much more important than the result.

Whenever you want to quit, remember that you have paid for it

Andrei Contan

Workshop #2: Ensemble Session

Then my second workshop I did at the conference was the ensemble session together with Elizabeth. We split up the crowed right at the beginning and so I ended up with having Paul Holland, Christian Baumann, Thomas Rinke, Mazin Inaad, Hannah Rauschel and some others (sorry I forgot your names) in my group. But it was so embarrassing right a the start of our groups session, because I could not found this 🤬 give remote control button in Zoom. But yeah, after we sorted that out, we then finally had a really constructive session with lots of successes and laugher.

Intergalactic Game Night - Angie Jones wins it all

I guess the highlight for the whole testing community on that day was, that the all famous Angie Jones won the Agile Testing Days Award for being the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person (MIATPP) in 2020! She brought Test Automation University (TAU to life and did tons of other great stuff for the testing community in the world. So well deserved, congratulations Angie!

To call it a day, Lisi and I did some late night final preps for our workshop on Extreme Pairing. I am getting nervous - once again 😬

Then I needed some rest... 😴

Thursday 13/11

The third and last conference day started with another big welcome note by Jose.

Keynote: Beyond the bugs

Rick Tracy invited us in his keynote to have a look at how testers impact projects based on specific money calculations. Very hard to grasp for me, but nevertheless, interesting viewpoint. Thanks Rick! 👏🏼

I don't know really what Testers are doing

Rick Tracy

Workshop #3: Extreme Pairing

The long waiting is over! After months of careful and thoughtful preparations, the moment arrived where Lisi and I could finally unleash our workshop called: Extreme Pairing! 🚀🦄 Our first going to production went off like a firework! Everything and I mean really everything, ran so smoothly - no hiccups - as if we would have done it already several times in a row. Working with Lisi is fantastic, she takes it literally to perfection and beyond. I could write much more on all the things we have experienced while preparing this workshop and what you as participant will get to see and learn. But you have to experience it yourself the next time. This workshop is one of the main rollercoaster in my life and thus means a lot to me. 🪄I am happy and grateful - and so I am looking forward to where this workshop will take and lead us in the future.

Thanks Lisi for inviting me on to this journey with you and for the opportunity to share our passion and happiness with many more people in the future 🤗

Automatic Accessibility Testing for All

A11y workshop by Anne-Cecilie Haugstvedt was a great intro and experience into the world of Accessibility testing of Web-Sites. Great topic, super interesting and well done! 👏🏼

Security Tooling in Your DevOps Pipeline

Then I joined the talk about Security in the CI pipeline from Nancy Gariche. She told us how the security process moved from Waterfall model over to the Agile and finally to DevOps landscape. Also this talk was super interesting - but my energy for writing dropped drastically. Thanks Nancy! 👏🏼


Let it go 🎶

Final keynote by Nicola Sedgwich about Let it go. By “Let it go” she means: Let go from the discussions we have about e.g. Cypress vs Selenium (or other tools9 and better invest that time and energy to improve the testing reputation and process overall!


Further Resources

You want to read more on how this years's edition of AgileTD felt like? Then I highly recommend you to have a look at Lisi's fantastic personal experience report!

Wow that was pretty intensive - giving three workshop in three days was a bit... well I would not say too much... but enough! 😁

A special thanks goes to Lisi, Elizabeth and Joep for creating the amazing Ensemble Sessions also over the last past month! Looking forward to more in the future 😁

Bye bye #AgileTD Online 2020! See you next time - all you lovely unicorns!