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Agile Hippster Days in Testing conference – ATD 2018

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Recently I attended the Agile Testing Days conference, which was held in Potsdam, Germany. This was my first conference in two years, where I did not speak. Finally, I was just a listener.

I must confess that I really wanted to get to this conference, I even submitted a report, but it was not accepted. And by an incredible coincidence, I received a trip there as a gift from the organizers of the testing competition, which was first held in Israel this year. I attended the last 2 days of the conference and I am eager to tell you about it. Usually, I rate a conference by three categories: organization, content, community.

Organization

Let’s start with a general organization. When you enter the conference, you immediately plunge into the incredible world of Agile Testing Day. There are a lot of merchandising, all in unicorns. All participants receive a logo T-shirt and a fashionable bag. There were several sponsor stands and snacks, refrigerators with drinks and beer. The latter has always been replenished, so it was possible to constantly maintain the “degree” of the communication. Lunch and dinner were decent. Permanent pies and sweets with coffee and tea were always there. In general, food was abundant.
About the schedule: the brochures were well decorated and provided the schedule of lectures. But if you wanted to see the description, you had to go to the site, log in, find your report of interest and see there. The same was with the evaluation of these reports. In my case, this created a problem, since I did not remember my password.
About the room of the reports: there were many spacious rooms. Although there were not always enough seats, so I had to sit on the floor. In some rooms the speaker did not have a microphone. Usually they managed without them, but some spoke very quietly. There were enough places to sit in silence to work or talk with colleagues.
So, I can conclude that the organization is 8 out of 10.

Gifts from sponsors and ATD

Community

One can write a separate post or even a book about the community at this conference. There were very funny and nice people. It can be seen that they have known each other for a very long time and the backbone of the organizers and participants has already been formed. They were all on the same wavelength, they have their own jokes. Due to this fact there were a lot of activities before and after the official part of the conference. If you like to go for a run in the morning or yoga or chat over a cup of coffee, please do. Even aikido lessons took place in the evening. This was so very cool. It bought a homely atmosphere to the conference. It should be mentioned separately, that at this conference one can find real testing legends from around the world: Lisa Cryspin, Angie Jones, Anne-Marie Charrett and others.
All this was somewhat reminiscent of the Hippie Party, where everyone is joyful and happy, where everyone wants to know true happiness, love and balance in the life of a tester. Such was an Agile Hippie Days event. And here it’s 10 out of 10.

Me and Anne-Marie Charrett. Selfie after great keynote talk.

Talks

This is where the “fun” begins. The content and level of reports is the biggest surprise at this conference. I do not know what happened in the first days of the conference, but on the 3rd and 4th day, except for one Annie-Marie report, I did not find anything useful for myself. There were many reports about life in general, that where very indirectly connected with the life of the tester. Cats, dogs, hamsters all over. And everyone is talking about something high level and great. Workshops were made in the form of board games, which were very general and did not give any interesting advice for the real work of the tester. The quality of the presentations was terrible. Some of the speakers spoke very quietly and not quite clear. In short, the part of reports was a hell. All was about the meaning of life and nothing practical. After half a day of transitions between the halls, a group of participants from Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and Israel was formed. Those who were for the first time at the conference could not believe that they hear reports that provide nothing interesting and useful. The hit of the season was a report about cats, after which we went to the hall and everyone asked one question: what should I learn from this report, and what is a keynote? And what will I tell my colleagues at work? What have I learned from this conference? Another huge disadvantage was that the reports were not recorded and there is no possibility to see them afterward. That looks very unprofessional and not modern. Today, at almost every conference in Russia, you pay two times less and you get access to all conference materials. And here… No. Therefore, for the content, I give 3 out of 10.

Keynote about cats…

Conclusion

For me personally, this conference was one big disappointment. I thought I got to the best conference in the world. And here it is … Yes, I met new colleagues from Europe. Yes, I saw live legends. The crowd was cool, but the reports… How was it possible to “hammer” on their level? How was it possible not to check the presentation people were going to report? No new ideas, no new practices, no inspiration I found here. Therefore, if you are looking for answers to professional questions, you will not find them here. If you are looking for a party and for understanding the meaning of life, then you are here on Agile Hippie Days.

Last one, this is my personal opinion and I did not intend to offend anyone.

Unicorn, Me and “White Box” Bear

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