Last week I went to Hamburg for the first German Agile Testing and Exploratory Workshop (GATE).
The event took place in Hamburg and it was my first trip there. The city seems like a nice place, where everything gives the impression of cleanness and organized work. If you want to try something excentric, Reeperbahn at night is the place to be. Therefore, you can select what you consider suitable for you.
The workshop had a few participants, Meike Mertsch, Markus Gärtner, Maik Nogens , Christian Baumann and myself, but it turn out to be a really productive and interesting meeting. Some of the initial topics were more developed than others, turning the discussion to focus on only some aspects ,and thus, causing other topics to be left out, but for some other time. It was a really good stimulation of the brain.
In some workplaces and most corporations you are just limited. When you have the chance to do a little bit more and add a personal touch to your work, something happens and you end up being busy with other secondary tasks. Meetings and workshops are a great opportunity for the testers, in this case, to come with new ideas and more important, have their ideas put into practice.
Therefore, I thank Markus and Meike’s company it-agile GmbH for making the event possible, by letting us use their space, and because I had the chance to meet interesting people in the beautiful city of Hamburg.
Markus’ session with the dice game, done by Michael Bolton and James Bach particularly comes to my mind as I have to admit that I didn’t really recognize the pattern instantly, even if it was the same James practice with me more than an year ago. And then I thought that my solution was expressed mostly by numbers and it could have been represented in a visual way. Thus, I realized visual memory is stronger than memorizing numbers.
Maik had a nice story in which he described the notion of “Charity Testing”, a term that he coined. Basically, if you want to learn for yourself, the best approach is to use it in a specific context, by finding projects that are done to help the community, as a volunteer tester. Although maybe “volunteer” is not the exact word.
Meike played a lot with stickers and kanban. I personally took from this a sketch idea for future implementations as puzzles or even ways to write an article.
I also tried my beta picture puzzle exercise, but turned out to be a bad idea not to mention that it was not complete. Of course everyone in the room was a tester and my app was thoroughly analyzed and broken. It got a set of bugs that I wasn’t aware of, but will try to fix it.
The topics presented were interesting, but what was really great it was the way the whole workshop went and ideas changed.
It will be harder probably to keep the same spirit of sharing among larger number of participants, as in large crowds you have lesser time and tend to self-censor yourself about what can be said or not. But, I would gladly participate to a second workshop next year.
As I said, the subjects and topics were good, but what really matter was the way we shared the ideas. If there is a job where one can have this constant environment of sharing ideas and come up with better solutions every day, I would really like to have the chance to experience this once again. I realize, however, it is hard to find such a thing.ShareThis