The unconference days at the Agile Testing Days started with a brief introduction by Olaf Lewitz.
I found two sessions particularly interesting. One of them was about how to help new speakers to propose a session to a conference. Here’s the flip chart summary:
The tactical advice I have: Listen to what the organisers say and act on that. The submission page the Agile Testing Days for example, lists hot topics and also states that proposals that are related to such a topic will be more likely to be chosen. The page also states that providing a teaser video will increase the likelihood of being selected even further. I am sure other conferences have similar submission guidelines. Trust them.
Other good advice mentioned in the session: Like reading good code, reading already accepted proposals from previous conferences can help you see what gets accepted (because those already did). Also, while humour is great, it doesn’t always work well in all circumstances. Therefore, be sure to test it in a safe-to-fail environment, e.g. some work colleagues or a user group meeting.
One participant, Maarten Groeneweg, volunteered to be coached on making a conference proposal by Maaret Pyhäjärvi. Together they created an entire mind map Maarten can now use to figure out details of a topic he likes to talk about. If you get a chance to get this sort of support, by all means, take it! While it may well be outside your comfort zone, I’m definitely sure it helps a lot.
The other session I liked a lot was about “Gojko’s Future”. Again, there is a flip chart summary:
In his keynote, Gojko presented many aspects of software development and operations that may change, so that testers might become superfluous within about a decade.
Mike Sutton asked one question that I found particularly interesting (I’m paraphrasing): “What could you do, if Gojko’s future becomes the present?”
Some answers were a bit defensive, suggesting possible ways to prevent such a future and I worry about this a little bit as well. But there are many other professions that went out of fashion or disappeared almost completely. For example think about broom makers or rope makers.
Maybe with the advancing technology, we should be ready to find a new profession?
Now, after five intense Agile Testing Days, even the unicorn got tired and it was time for me to drive home. This conference was incredible and I met so many wonderful old and new friends! Thanks to everyone involved in making this such a special event!
Hope to see y’all again next year!
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