Agile Testing Days 2014 – Part 1

Agile Testing Days 2014 – Part 1

As the annual wild ride that is Agile Testing Days comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on the last four days.

2014-11-13 18.42.49This was my third year at ATD, and as strange as it may sound, it feels like coming home the minute I walk into the Dorint hotel in Potsdam, Germany and see the familiar banners. My first year at ATD blew my mind and started me on a journey that has seen me getting involved in the testing community, and speaking at several events; things that I totally credit to ATD 2012 and the wonderful people I met.

This year I was very fortunate to be accepted as a main speaker which made me feel even more a part of the ATD fabric, and it was great to be given the opportunity to give something back to the conference that has given me so much.

Monday – unexpected global responsibility

STWC room
STWC all set up and ready to go

Due to my wife not allowing me to travel to Germany on my birthday, I had to concede to travel on the Monday, therefore was unable to take part in the tutorials. However, I did know that the live (streamed) final of the Software Testing World Cup was taking place so figured I’d watch some of that and watch the some of the best software test teams in the world.

Arriving at the hotel, I made a beeline for the main room where the STWC final was being held and immediately spotted my friend and mentor Pete Walen who was getting ready to provide the live commentary and interviews during the event. Another friend of mine, Matt Heusser co-conceived the STWC with Maik Nogens was at the long judging table and took a few mins out to speak to me. After briefly catching up I offered my assistance and to my surprise the offer was accepted! Matt explained that he could do with an additional pair of eyes around the teams to spot any interesting work, good teamwork, and general behaviours, something that he just could not do on his own. I duly accepted as I was also interested in getting closer to the teams to learn from them.

Swarming on work near the end

So once the final kicked off (and you can read more about it in Tobias Geyer’s blog), I wandered around just watching the teams, specifically how they planned, communicated and worked as a team, making notes and passing them back to Matt. The event lasted three hours and the dynamics in the teams were fascinating in the different periods. Everything got very frenetic toward the end, with a couple of the teams swarming on activities which was really good to see. You could cut the tension with a knife.

Finally, the time was up and all of the teams breathed sighs of relief! While teams congratulated each other and generally relaxed, Matt enquired as to my plans for the evening then suggested that I might like to join the judging panel. Well, this was too good an opportunity to pass up, to be a part of this event would be a fantastic experience!

Super secret judging room…

The global judging panel consisted of Matt Heusser, Maik Nogens, Tobias Geyer, Alina Avadani and Katarina Gillmann. Tobias, Alina and Katarina were the winning team in last years forerunner to this STWC. After dinner, we locked ourselves away until the wee hours of the morning, reviewing and scoring the defect reports, test reports and discussing teamwork. We mostly worked in pairs, where I was paired with Matt, which was in itself was a great experience and something from which I learnt loads. Eventually we totalled everything up and we had our winners.

But it was 2am, on the first day of the conference; a conference that I know is mentally and physically exhausting so this did not bode well! So with the result wrapped up and kept secret it was time to turn in for the night.

 Watch out for part 2 – costumes, testing, learning & games…

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