AgileTD conference was a blast and I’m glad to share with you this blog my experience and what I learnt. I have a feeling that it will be the longest blog before I even start writing it. Was not sure to split it into parts, but maybe it’s good to be in one blog and splited into sections. I’ll give them numbers and also I’ll do my best by adding tweets and pictures to make it not boring. 

So Here are the different sections 

  1. Why this edition is soooo UNIQUE & SPECIAL ?
  2. My learning from Keynotes, talks and workshops (coming soon … in Part 2)
  3. Evening activities between learning and fun 
  4. Other special moments
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bonus!!! (Probably I will add an extra Part 3 like this one interview with participants, wanna join the Q/A ? DM)

Why this edition is soooo UNIQUE & SPECIAL ?

It’s my first onsite edition of #agileTD and I already noticed lot of awesomeness comparing to other conferences, let’s share 8 of them:

  • Coming back to onsite events still not commun yet during the covid time, but all organizers and participants did their best to avoid the risk. Only vaccinated people can have access to the conference and attendee is asked to perform a covid test on a daily basis. Plus mask color codes, we have to respect even more and keep strict distance with those with black masks. 
  • Before the starting of the conference there is even a 2hours organized speaker tour around Potsdam where you discover the place and this where I met Bruce for the first time in person 
  • Every day, the conference starts with a morning run and agile yoga & mindfulness session by the lovely ⁦@Ina_Hoelzel⁩ which is an excellent way to bring our focus and energy while attending or speaking at the conference
  • Part of the starting also, in parallel with the yoga there is a session by Lisa & Janet coffee about testing 
  • 7 talks in parallel ? This is like the hardest decision you can make as every talk looks interesting to attend but from 7 you have to choose 1, and if it comes to a workshop, you will miss around 10 talks
  • Organizers offered another excellent service “speaker pick-up” between Berlin airport and the conference venue in potsdam
  • Same like the opening with sports activities, the closing of every day is even more special between serious games and other social/funny activities related to testing. More details will be provided by the end of this blog to tell you what new games I learnt and other activities that inspired me a lot.
  • Magical moment you meet IN PERSON for the first time Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory

Evening activities between learning and fun 

  • Talk show where they interviewed involved book authors
  • Keynote eXtreme where 1 random attendee (who said YES) is selected and asked to do a keynote without any preparation.
  • Party and award, special night dedicated for the party where the dressing code is costume from the 50’s, lot of creative costumes 🙂 the winner did an excellent job !!! very well deserved sophie

Agile Night games and social activities

There are at least 10 games that you probably don’t know any of them ! The one I liked the most was the one by Paul Holland, “IS this a PEN ?”  where he takes a pen and asks you a very simple question and you have to consider what a PEN means to him, I will not give you the solution. but if you would like to try it, ping me and let’s do it together. It’s very funny 🙂 I complicated life by measuring angles and the orientation of his movements but the answer was completely different from what I initially thought!!!

So lessons learned, take a breath, keep it simple and avoid thinking too much. Maybe the answer is around the corner but making it too complex is not helpful. 

There are plenty of other games, many of them weird and not trivial to solve specially if you are not in your “focused” mood, they give you a push to be an outside the box thinker. 

Another game, that I want to mention is TEAM3 GREEN 

The game could be played in teams of three players, with each player taking on the role of one of the three monkeys: the monkey who can’t speak, the monkey who can’t see, or the monkey in the middle. The goal is that the information could pass by gesture from the one who doesn’t speak to the one in the middle who is responsible for translating the gesture to oral messages to the one who doesn’t see. which makes it a good communication exercise and it could be used in your teams as a tip to improve communication. 

During this game, we had excellent time with the team Roxanne and @ReinhardMeyer9

Thank you so much Jeanine for the picture ! It’s clear that I love taking pictures 🙂 even if I didn’t ask, some friends could do it for me. You made my day with those pictures that took me back to the whole scene ❤ ! 

  • Powerpoint roulette by @VinWijNL It’s the best social event I’ve ever participated in during a conference, but what was it about ?  
    • It’s a theatresport, where you go in the scene in front of the audience and you don’t know what you are going to tell them. At that moment Vincent runs the python script and you discover the first slide of your talk containing the title so you start the story and you don’t even know what the next slide is hiding !!
      It’s a great improvisation, storytelling and imagination exercise.
      This exercise is a great idea for team building activities.
      Here’s some tweets to give you an idea what kind of topics were selected:
  • I’m the one who likes to be over prepared before any presentation and I did a lot of pre-presentations before the day of my talk, so at the beginning I said this is not for me and I’ll never participate! I enjoyed all the talks and random stories by participants which pushed me (a bit) and then another reason that motivated me when they said now we will make it in duo, and my sogeti’s colleague @EvelineMoolena1 from Sogeti NETHERLANDS that I met her the first time during this conference, was sitting next to me. It takes us just a few seconds between “think about it” and “raise our hands to participate” and then “being on stage together’ and the topic was how to climb the career ladder. All in all, we find what to tell the audience and as it was a teamwork we make it like questions – answers!
  • Other games: In every corner you can find interesting activities, randomly @Ina_Hoelzel invited me to play “WHO I AM?” where every participant choose a celebrity (cartoon, movies, whatever …) and write it in sticky note and put it in the head of the person next to him (who can’t see what’s written in his head) so in every turn participant ask one question and try to gather data about the personality he is representing, did I also say that the question should be a YES/NO question only ? so it’s not that easy to find out the answer. 

Since the first question I discovered that the “personality designed for me” was related to cartoon, I asked many question then I told them now I’m sure that the personality in my head I don’t know hahah 
Indeed it was the case, I don’t know the famous “captain american”, never too late to know him. 

I really liked the game idea, and how it enables you to build kind of exploratory testing skills as you try to explore without initial assumptions but you are the one who makes assumptions then try to test/validate them by having a target on your mind. It’s a bit similar to the workshop that Veerle did one day before(see workshop related section to find out more about it)

Other special moments

Special thanks to my tweets that allowed me to add some extra vibes to this blog without forgetting what happened !

  • Doing a workshop for the first time in a conference and in collaboration with Ard, I experienced conference talks but for workshops it’s a bit special. I did that only at the local level in my team. I liked the experience at the conference level, I already started thinking what kind of future workshop I can do ? 
  • Meeting a lot of international testing friends (tagging all of you), the ones I already met before in previous conferences and mostly the ones I know from the online world.
  • Meeting 4 of my Sogeti colleagues from the Netherlands, it’s really a great opportunity for what conferences could bring to us, part of magic! 
  • Doing both #reversecasualfriday and #ballgownbreakfast with the awesome Gitte Klitgaard and Andrea (one of my dearest testing friends, I met her the first time more than one year ago where we took a leadership course together online). I met the first time in person and we felt like we had known each other for years.
  • Challenges provided by sponsors, I enjoyed in particular the one by @ebaytechberlin where they created an exploratory testing session where participant need to find bugs from a website without having any requirement, it was so funny looking for bugs, I find 10 in 30 minutes, few days after the conference I got a notification that I’m part of the winners and this is the package I received: thank you very much for such a wonderful gift and as I mentioned the Umbrella was what I actually need as mine get broken recently with Lille always raining weather !
  • There is another competition that allows participants to win one of the recently released books SURFING THE WAVES OF AGILE Value delivery in medium and large organizations. What you need to do is to say your motivation why you want to win the book, as I started my new role as QA Coach 3 months ago where I’m part of process evaluation and improvements which allowed me to show how the book could help me in my mission and indeed they selected me as one of the 5 winners, thank you again @DerkJanDeGrood !
  • The awesome Bruce is always rocking, they put a great slide that could inspire any of you reading this blog. Don’t forget your breath moment when doing a conference talk

Not yet a conclusion … Coming Soon Part 2

Here’s the end of part 1, thank you for reading until now, stay tuned for the next part 🙂 and let me know if you have any comment or question about my participation at the conference.

wanna participate in the conference interview blog that I used to make in some conferences to share your experience by answering 5 questions, message me and I’ll welcome up to 10 participants ?