It’s been more than a week since I’ve been back from Agile Testing Days 2013, and I still can’t stop thinking about it.
I still keep that #AgileTD twitter search tab open. I still look for more blog posts recapping talks and experiences.
And that’s unexpected. Which is basically how I can summarize the whole event.
Well, that and AWESOME.
ATD 2013 was my first testing conference. I didn’t know what to expect. Sure it has “Agile” in the title, so it can’t be all about testing, right? Yet the agenda seemed a bit unfamiliar. All kinds of testing matters, that I usually don’t come in touch with. Would I have anything in common with these guys?
I had a few hooks coming in. I’ve met David Evans and Dan North before. I’ve been twitter buddies with Lisa Crispin and Oana Juncu for a while, and I was looking forward to meeting them in person. A few more I’ve been following on Twitter, but that’s all. I felt I would feel like a fish out of water.
I kind of regret not going to a tutorial now, but I decided to spend the first day walking in the streets of Potsdam, with Venkat Moncompu, who I’ve met in the dinner the night before. That dinner was the first sign I was going to enjoy the conference: We’ve just come to the hotel, and already joined a small crowd that took over half a small restaurant. Probably not the first time that most of the topics in one restaurant was testing, but a first for me.
Then came the speakers’ dinner. Winding up at Oana’s table and meeting Chaehan So, made for a lovely dinner. And this time we’ve talked about how introverts and extroverts act in conferences. As an introvert, I “pay” in energy every time I reach out my hand and say “Hi, I’m Gil”. Conferences cost me a lot in energy, so much that sometimes I need to find a corner to enjoy some silence, by myself. It took me awhile to understand that it’s an investment, rather than just cost.
That dinner was the second sign (along with some alcohol) – this was going to be a fun conference. It was also a sign of the transformation I’m feel I’m going through in the last year – making conferences more about meeting people, rather than coming to learn new stuff.
The first keynote was the last sign, since this is where I started to have non-stop fun. During the first keynote, a few twitter aficionados (including yours truly) took over the #AgileTD feed, conversing, opining, and even taking shots at the keynote topic. We didn’t sit together, but the twitter gods brought us together. Later we’ve also met in person.
And the awesomeness just kept coming.
Some keynotes I loved: Dan’s and David’s and J.B Rainsberger’s. I liked Peter Saddington’s and Matt Heusser’s and I’m so sorry I’ve missed Lisa’s and Janet Gregory’s closing keynote. Meeting those guys in person, some again, some for the first time, was even more enjoyable.
Lean coffee meetings in the morning were so interesting – the format does not only make it easy to discuss interesting topics (I think I’ve learned more about the testing world in these sessions than the rest) but also make it possible for great interactions with people you’ve never met before. You can participate, listen, your choice. For an introvert, it is easier to make new friends just by being there. For example, it was much less effort than meeting new people and making conversations over breakfast.
Speakers and attendees, first timers and returning alumni – I’ve met great, interesting people.
People like Seb Rose, Peter Kofler, Emma Armstrong, Lyndsay Prewer, Carlos Ble, Maaike Brinhof, Adam Knight and Carlos Sanchez – They gave me an awesome early birthday present.
On the weekend, after I got back, I crashed and needed to recharge, although this was a physical thing. My emotional energies were sky high.
A week later, I just want to say: thanks guys, you rock! Can’t wait for next year.
Finally, I want to thank Madeleine, Uwe and Jose for putting up a great conference. Everything – the speakers, the people, the activities, the food – everything organized superbly, everything just worked. And when everything just works, magic happens.
I’m keeping that #AgileTD open tab for a little more. To enjoy the awesome magic a bit more.