After publishing an overview about my journey at Agile Testing days in (Part 1), and my learning from Keynotes, workshops and talks in (Part 2). In this (Part 3) I want to share with you a different form of blog through an interview done with 10 participants from different places around the world.

Interview #1: Stephan Kämper(@S_2K) from Germany

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days? 
    I first attended the Agile Testing Days in 2009, after it had been recommended to me by another tester at a local gathering in a (computer) book store in Hamburg, which – back then – regularly invited authors to introduce their new books.

2. From remote to onsite events again? What are the things you enjoyed the most?
I thoroughly enjoyed it to be in-person again and also I’m very grateful for the excellent care the organisers took to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, including (but in no way limited to) providing black masks to indicate “Please keep your distance.”

3. What was your favorite moment? 
The time period from my arrival at the conference hotel till the moment I left. Seriously, though: I loved introducing the MIATPP (Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person) award to Raj at the costume party.

  1. What are your new learnings and takeaways?
    I like the notion of holistic testing Janet & Lisa presented in their tutorial.
  2. Is there a question I didn’t ask you, you would like to answer?
    Yes: What did you do that put you out of your comfort zone at the 2021 edition?
    I asked someone I deeply respect if they were willing to give a pair keynote with me in an upcoming edition of the Agile testing Days and to suggest it to the organisers. They agreed. Phew. 😅
  3. A last word you want to share with the global testing community
    If you can, attend at least one edition of this conference. It’s packed with great sessions, good & healthy food and includes a themed costume party. It’s also organised by very very caring folks.
    Also, please stay as caring and welcoming as I have experienced so far. It’s brilliant to be part of the community. Thank you. 🙏🏼

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Interview #2: Joerg (Jogi) Sievers (@jogi@digitalcourage.social [Mastodon]) from Germany

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days ? 
    Was not my first AGT and I love the event to have a look if my opinions and trends I use are still the right ones. Also I share my experiences I made since the last AGTs to new ones.
  1. From remote to onsite events again ? What are the things you enjoyed the most ?
    If it would be a remote meeting I would not attend.
  1. What was your favorite moment? 
    Met two very nice testers I will try to create a session for next AGT
  1. What are your new learnings and takeaways? 
    Testing/Coding Dojos, Risk Storming and saying “quality” instead of “testing”  are not only my no. 1 🙂
  1. A last word you want to share with the global testing community
    We are testers but should talk about quality and we need to go again some steps to the left and should have talks with researchers, requirements engineers etc. to get their techniques, their approaches also into our mindset. And, security is something we have to talk about. It is not as complex as all the security engineers talking about: We have to start! We are not enough security testers! Security is THE no.1 for the next few years!

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Interview #3: Eveline Moolenaars @EvelineMoolena1 from the Netherlands

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days ?
    As a Quality Engineering Coach, I work on various assignments, helping teams and organizations to take shared responsibility for quality. I am an enthusiast for visual thinking, and the combination of this with my quality engineering expertise brought me to ATD, in 2019 for the first time.
  2. From remote to onsite events again ? What are the things you enjoyed the most ?
    I totally absorbed the social and professional atmosphere of this on-site event. The buzz, the cheerful eyes and the low-key connections made me happy. So yes, on-site.
  3. What was your favorite moment?
    Dressing up, together with Emna and Nikola, for the costume party. 
  4. What are your new learnings and takeaways?
    The paradigm shift that Oana’s workshop gave me. She shared with us her experiences in changing organizations. What stuck with me was that she showed ways to ‘feed’ the new, but also care for the ‘old’. When I lead teams in transformation, my focus is often on the new ways of working and encouraging team members to adopt these new ways. But Oana showed me that caring for the ‘old’ system is essential: the people or teams that find it hard to change or just won’t change anymore. It is essential and compassionate because they have been valuable for the organization for a long time developing value.
  5. (Optional question if you are a speaker) During Agile Testing Days, you gave a (talk, workshop ..) why did you choose this topic?
    Vincent Wijnen and I gave a workshop on visual problem solving, because we experienced the power of visual thinking in solving problems and wanted to share our method with the attendees.
  6. Is there a question I didn’t ask you, you would like to answer?
    What would you like more, next time at ATD? More time to interact and ‘digest ideas’ in between the talks, workshops and activities 🙂 And more sketchnoting! I happily saw various attendees sketchnote talks, to better understand and remember the content. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that done live, in large format, next to the podium? I’d be happy to do the job : 
  7. A last word you want to share with the global testing community
    If you’re not that into costume parties, don’t let that scare you off. The whole conference is dedicated to knowledge sharing and inspiring interaction!

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Interview #4: Patryk Oleksyk (Linkedin) from Poland

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days ? 
    • I work on projects where I always start in some dedicated testing/quality-related roles and then it evolves to something beyond that which cannot be described easily – and I like that I can work in that niche.
    • Regarding ATD I have always been a fan of the keynotes or presentations on Youtube from past years and I tried the online version last year. It was a blast and the best online conf I attended. Additionally, I heard from other attendees “This year is nothing and you should try the onsite version”, so I did.
  2. From remote to onsite events again ? What are the things you enjoyed the most ?
    • Sharing experiences and stories is something I cherish in any event.
    • Meeting a lot of people in person and simply just discussing “how was the presentation” or “what track are you going now” was something I was missing a lot from online events.
  3. What was your favorite moment? 
    • Too many to choose 🙂 On a side note, I would say that 3-day straight night activities were superb and there was never a dull moment. But If I need to choose my favorite one then I say that leadership-related keynotes were the highlight of the conference to me. I especially mean the keynotes from Raj Subrameyer about toxic leadership and one from Vera Baum regarding the learning toolkit.
  4. What are your new learnings and takeaways? 
    • Because I had my first international presentation, I got a lot of constructive feedback, which was my side-goal of this conference.
    • In addition, I got a lot of ideas and sources of knowledge which I will use when the time is right.
  5. (Optional question if you are a speaker) During Agile Testing Days, you gave a (talk, workshop ..) why did you choose this topic ? 
    • I talked about a part of my guide about working as the only dedicated tester in a project/company.
    • I chose this topic because I hear from more and more people that they are taking a “loan tester” role in their project. From their stories, I can just recall my previous experiences and the same problems that they needed to solve.
    • That Is why I wanted a digestible way to present areas and a toolkit to help others thrive in their role.
  6. A last word you want to share with the global testing community
    • Try ATD yourself. I can assure you that this is a lifetime experience and there is no conference like it. Believe that on the last day of it (despite the exhaustion), you will wish that you would spend more time in Potsdam.
    • And thanks to Emna for the opportunity and the whole idea of conducting this interview round-up

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Interview #5: Oana Juncu (@ojuncu) from France

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days ? 
    Agile testing Days is one of my favorite event, because it embodies strong values: “radical” inclusiveness, support of diversity, collaboration and … fun as a great human connection. I love how Agile testing Days demonstrates that performance increases dramatically in an environment of compassion and fun. 
  2. From remote to onsite events again ? What are the things you enjoyed the most ?
    I am an “aficionado” of Agile testing Days and I was a speaker at the conference for five years in a row. Before the 2021 edition, the last time I spoke at Agile Testing Days was back in 2017. So that’s a long time ago. Of course I dramatically missed it. While I have excellent experience of online conferences, and I was myself surprised to discover that we can also have a quality connection  in the  virtual context, I was longing for onsite events. The conviviality of meals together, the party and dancing, and really just breathing together in the same room during a talk or a workshop is something I wasn’t able to experience online. Even if we have cooked virtually together at other conferences ;). I strongly prefer the onsite version, it was a deep refreshing breath of oxygen. 
  1. What was your favorite moment? 
    I have so many dear moments, I cannot chose maybe a ral favorite one. I enjoyed the speaker dinner immensely. I met there new people, extraordinary women and I felt the magic of aka “testing circle of witches”. I was very touched by the expression of diversity and the embodiment of the slogan “clothes don’t have sex”. 
  1. What are your new learnings and takeaways? 
    My main takeaway emerged in a discussion , where someone asked me “What type of testing are you performing?” and my answer just “downloaded to me as an obvious truth :”I’m testing life”. At this moment I just realized that we are all testers, this just what we do all our life long.
  1. (Optional question if you are a speaker) During Agile Testing Days, you gave a (talk, workshop ..) why did you choose this topic ? 
    I work mainly on transformation programs at organization and enterprise level. In my experience, I noticed the following : people have the desire to scale successful experiences, which is, of course, normal. At the same time, they fancy that transformation can be done in a controlled standardized way. I offered the workshop “Change the Perspective On Change” to bring a different, more organic view on change,brought by the “2 loop”s model.  Organizations transform like living organisms: they are born, live, thrive and die. 
  1. Is there a question I didn’t ask you, you would like to answer?
    An additional question I’d  like to answer is “What are your wishes for the next editions of Agile Testing Days”?
    My answer is : “I wish you to stay crazy, continue to believe that sky is the limit so you will reach the sky and beyond. And, while there is the Technical/Business part of Agile Testing, let’s open it to testing Agile Life. 
  1. A last word you want to share with the global testing community
    Come to the Agile Testing Days conference, it’s a wonderful caring, place, where you can lead loads and meet fantastic people. And a word for the ATD organizers: “ You contribute to making the world a better place. Thank you for showing up.” 

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Interview #6: Simon Berner (@simonbernerdev) from Switzerland

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days? 
    • Well, I have applied to speak at Agile Testing Days many times in the past years, but never got accepted. So this was my first time speaking at an on-site edition of this conference.
  2. From remote to onsite events again ? What are the things you enjoyed the most ?
    • Meeting old friends and meeting humans I only knew from virtual sessions/conferences before.
  3. What was your favorite moment?
    • I had some nice conversations with Lisi Hocke, Gerald Mücke, Christian Baumann and João Proença.
  4. What are your new learnings and takeaways?
    • Approach people and try to engage and learn with them. Don’t expect them to do the same back.
  5. (Optional question if you are a speaker) During Agile Testing Days, you gave a talk and workshop on the version control system Git.  Why did you choose this topic ?
    • Because I struggled a lot with it a few years back. Now I think I know quite a few things about it and I want to share with others what I have learned and experienced with it.
  6. Is there a question I didn’t ask you, you would like to answer?
    • Yes there is and it is the following: What did you dislike about this edition of Agile Testing Days?
      • I expected more, more engagement from my side, to have more different discussions with different people. I expected to approach people much more actively, but somehow I could not. I also have had the expectation that people would proactively include me in their conversations, challenge me, get asked to have a chat, drink or dinner with them, but no, unfortunately it didn’t happen.
  7. A last word you want to share with the global testing community

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Interview #7: Simone Colosimo (simone_colosimo) from France 

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days ?
    • In the past, I worked for companies where Agile wasn’t a thing. Since I joined my current company I’m into Agile, and ATD looked like a perfect conference to dig into
  2. From remote to onsite events again ? What are the things you enjoyed the most ?
    • Spend time talking to people who try to solve similar problems, and meet them beyond the mere professional aspects
  3. What was your favorite moment? 
    • The Powerpoint roulette was very funny, definitely something that I’d like to do in the future! Also, I enjoyed the speaker dinner and the many conversations I had with very interesting people
  4. What are your new learnings and takeaways? 
    • From a QA perspective, struggles and challenges are very similar in the industry, we’re living in a transformation era where everyone is eager to find the right solution, through processes, tooling, experimentations, growing our area of influence beyond the ‘traditional’ roles testers had. I learnt that sharing your own experience, as a person or as a professional, can be important to feed the debate and let the community grow together.  
  5. (Optional question if you are a speaker) During Agile Testing Days, you gave a (talk, workshop ..) why did you choose this topic ? 
    • I did my first talk in English at a conference! I chose the bug treatment strategy because we spent a lot of our energy to define it and implement it, and I thought it was interesting to share our journey and our findings.
  6. A last word you want to share with the global testing community
    • If you have the opportunity, don’t hesitate to attend a conference. And if you don’t have the opportunity, it’s worth pushing your management to let you go. It’s beneficial beyond the talks and the workshop you’ll participate in.

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Interview #8: Andrea Jensen (@AgentAJay) from Germany

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days ?
    • I joined the remote version of Agile Testing Days in 2020, it was my first time. After that I wanted to visit an on-site event and I am very happy that it came true in 2021. It was very exciting meeting folks from the agile testing community in real life. 
  2. From remote to onsite events again ? What are the things you enjoyed the most ?
    • After being remote only for almost 2 entire years it felt just very special to be able to meet and chat to people in the same place. Personally, it was easier for me to dig into the conference because I was staying on-site so the potential distraction I would face during an online conference at home was not there. I could focus much better on the conference and enjoy the various activities which are much more fun in person. 
  3. What was your favorite moment? 
    • I had many great moments. All the interesting conversations I had with the  people I knew only online or met at the conference for the first time. And I found it a very special moment when Eric van der Meulen showed us how he learned the piano in an agile way. If you had missed it, a short video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93IKKXwyokk
  4. What are your new learnings and takeaways? 
    • What I took from the Agile Testing Days have been tons of nice swag, the unicorn socks are fun to wear. I took a delicious selection of french and tunesian treats, a brain full of ideas, insights and inspirations and a heart full of excellent human beings and wonderful memories with me home.
  5. (Optional question if you are a speaker) During Agile Testing Days, you gave a talk about remote ensemble testing. Why did you choose this topic ? 
    • I spent a lot of time introducing and running remote ensemble testing sessions at my current workplace to foster cross functional collaboration. While doing that I learned a lot and I wanted to share my experiences with others, hoping that it might be interesting for the audience. 
  6. Is there a question I didn’t ask you, you would like to answer?
    • Did you feel the ATD blues after coming home?
    • Yes, I did, massively to be honest. I would never have expected to experience that after a conference. But I did so. When being back in the office reality gave me a hard body check, I wasn’t prepared for. Hope, I will be better prepared next time. If anyone has some tips to share, please let me know 🙂

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Interview #9: João Proença (@jrosaproenca) from Portugal

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days ?
    I’ve been attending Agile Testing Days every year for the past 4 years. In 2017 I participated for the first time as an attendee and it was the first testing conference I attended ever. It introduced me to the international testing community and I fell in love with it. I consider ATD to be one of the best testing conferences around!
  2. From remote to onsite events again ? What are the things you enjoyed the most ?
    Agile Testing Days 2020 did a very good job of transitioning to an online event, but it is definitely not the same as experiencing the real on-site event and connecting with so many old and new friends. Those were the moments I enjoyed the most, being able to connect again with so many interesting and talented people once again.
  3. What was your favorite moment?
    There were many awesome moments throughout the event. Personally, it was special for me to be able to present my first ever keynote and all the feedback I got. In terms of other talks, I really really enjoyed Bruce Hughes’ keynote on being an ally for Non-binary Folk in Tech. And then of course, being able to see so many testing friends after almost 2 years with only virtual meetups.
  4. What are your new learnings and takeaways?
    Through Jutta Eckstein’s keynote, I learned a lot about how the tech industry has sustainability implications that go further than the obvious ones we already know about. One example is how we always think that firing up new cloud servers / services to improve performance is a no-brainer (when possible), because it’s less expensive than improving algorithms or architectures, but we don’t stop to think about the energy-consumption implications such a decision has.
  5. (Optional question if you are a speaker) During Agile Testing Days, you gave a (talk, workshop ..) why did you choose this topic ?
    I delivered a keynote and a talk.
    The keynote was about a “crazy idea” I had in the back of my mind on how the paradox of choice had a lot of implications on how we make decisions in tech and why constraints can be powerful allies. I tried pitching this idea in the past to conferences but it was hard to convey through an abstract what I meant with all of this. Once I had the chance to keynote and pick the topic I wished, I knew I had to place my bet on this topic!
    As for the talk, it was a joint one with my friend Michal Kutz. Over the past couple of years we’ve put together a cognitive biases workshop for people to experience first hand how cognitive biases easily affect us all. We’ve learned a lot from conducting that workshop and the talk reflected on all the learning points we have been collecting.
  6. A last word you want to share with the global testing community
    Agile Testing Days is definitely one of the must-go events of the year for a software tester / quality engineer. If you approach the event with an open mind and willingness to connect to new people, it can blow you away!

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Interview #10: Lena (Pejgan) Wiberg @LenaPejgan from Sweden

  1. Tell us about your background and your motivation to join Agile Testing Days ?
    My first ATD was in 2019, when I did a workshop with Lisa Crispin. I had been to a lot of conferences before that and I remember being a lot taken aback by the energy. I had a rough period at work and I remember hiding in my hotel room a lot. I think for someone a bit unsure in large crowds, it can be a lot to take in. But I was back on site in 2021 and this year I was more prepared and enjoyed every moment.
  2. From remote to onsite events again ? What are the things you enjoyed the most ?
    Remote is, of course, convenient but I cannot enjoy it in the same way. It feels… wrong. I also got sick and had to cancel my session in 2020 very late 😦
    2021 was everything I needed. People, stages, energy and lots and lots of people I love (new and old). 
  3. What was your favorite moment? 
    Veerle gave me a necklace I had admired and Lisi gave me Pretzl and a game. I like presents , but above all else: I love when people think of me and remember things I like. It made me cry. A lot.
  1. What are your new learnings and takeaways? 
    Pacing myself makes a world of difference. Remember to drink water!
    It’s a fantastic ego boost to sign your own book (and be on a talk show…)
    Most of the talks I attended were on topics I was familiar with but all gave me interesting things to try or think about.
    The part I remember best of all is that ethics is so much more than I am covering in my talk. Jutta’s talk on sustainability really hit home with me. Thank you for that!
  1. (Optional question if you are a speaker) During Agile Testing Days, you gave a (talk, workshop ..) why did you choose this topic ?
    I did a talk on ethics and one on my learnings from shifting from coding to testing. I believe ethics is one of the most important topics (always) and tends to be forgotten in the rush of moving faster, faster, faster. Talking about my favourite topic, me, is always fun and I like being able to show other people how to not make the same mistakes I did.
  2. Is there a question I didn’t ask you, you would like to answer?
    Q: Lena, would you like to collaborate with me on <insert thing here> or keynote at my conference?
    A: Of course! I would love to!
  3. A last word you want to share with the global testing community
    We are a very friendly community. We will try our best to include you if we see you look lost or lonely but it’s always ok to want to be alone! Make sure to recharge when needed, don’t feel like you need to experience EVERYTHING.

Conclusion

Thank you so much for being part of this interview and sharing your experience, takeaways from agileTD.

It brings all the good memories and learning from AgileTD and also it motivates even more to submit a proposal for coming edition !