Agile Testing Days Highlights: Part 1

JoEllen Carter & me as Rocky Mountain Goats, joined by Viktorija Manevska and Vanya

My dilemma – how to write about some highlights of Agile Testing Days 2016 in the small amount of time I have, without going on and on for pages and pages? I’m going to do it incrementally, and try to keep it short!

Potsdam Christmas market
Potsdam Christmas market

This was the 8th year of ATD, and I’m lucky to have been at all 8! This was the 6th year in lovely Potsdam, and yay for us, the Christmas Market was underway, we enjoyed it repeatedly!

The best part for me is always meeting old friends and making new ones, and I got a good start on this after arriving on Saturday.

Exploring with participants
Tutorial sketchnote from Concetta Isolano
Tutorial sketchnote from Concetta Isolano

On Monday, Janet Gregory and I were joined by testers, test managers, developers, product managers and ScrumMasters for our tutorial on Exploring Requirements. It was a fun day with engaged participants collaborating on ways to get shared understanding of features and build quality in. Concetta Isolano (whose lightning talk on being a developer was one of the ATD2015 highlights for me) shared her learnings in this awesome sketchnote.

Fun with speakers

Coloradical! JoEllen Carter, me, Lynn Winterboer and Cher Fox
Coloradical! JoEllen Carter, me, Lynn Winterboer and Cher Fox

The ATD organizers work hard to create a program of diverse presenters, including new voices and established leaders. They reward us all with a lovely speaker dinner. The four of us from the Denver, Colorado area wore our Coloradical T-shirts to celebrate!

First conference day

Janet and I hosted the first of three Lean Coffee sessions.

One of three Lean Coffee groups Day 1
One of three Lean Coffee groups Day 1

Gil Zilberfeld and Markus Degen also facilitated groups. It was awesome!

The conference opened with the awards for the Software Testing World Cup. The conference organizer,

Team "Quest Aotearoa"
Team “Quest Aotearoa”

Diaz & Hilterscheid, paid for all 7 continental winners to compete in the finals at ATD – really awesome. To me, every team was a winner. I was of course proud of the team from Colorado, but I had to root most for my friends on the Oceania winner from NZ, who came in third! Thanks to that, I was finally able to meet Mike Talks in person. I’ve known him “virtually” for so long, and he helped us so much with More Agile Testing. Meeting him was definitely one of the best things about Agile Testing Days.

Jingle Bells

Sadly, our host José Diaz was down with the flu, but Mike Sutton stood in for him splendidly as conference emcee. As he started off the conference, a group of us gave a short rendition of a Dickens Christmas Carol-based Ghosts of Testing Past, Present and Future. This starred Super Agile Person, aka Stephan Kämper, as the ghosts, and featured Janet Gregory as Little Tester, Alex Schladebeck as chief singer, Pete Walen (see his awesome  from ATD) as the Voice of Dickens, and me. New lyrics to Jingle Bells (thanks Jack Gregory and Bob Downing) quickly told how we used to be, how we are now, and our bright future.

In the excitement, I had forgotten to bring my notebook and markers, so I don’t have notes of Abby Fitchner‘s amazing keynote. Hacker Chick inspired me to face my fears, take risks and experiment. Please see Pete Walen’s terrific post about it – also, I believe all keynotes will be available on video later on.

New voices

Every conference slot had multiple sessions I wanted to see, but the New Voices track drew me first. I enjoyed Alpár Gabos’s Android testing talk. It was more of an intro level, on smart ways to cover your Android product with automated tests at appropriate levels. He mentioned some useful test frameworks and tools, such as Espresso, Spoon-runner, monkey tester, and Gradle’s Checkstyle, findbugs, pmd and lint. Most amusing takeaway: JDD, Jesus-driven development – write code and hope it will work.

Seasoned voices

Next I went to Cheezy Morgan‘s talk on Continuous Delivery anti-patterns. You can get continuous delivery, if you are really willing to do what it takes. So much in this talk, but Cheezy’s message that a focus on high quality leads to a streamlined process – not the other way around – matches my own experience. His advice to build a hypothesis and experiment is right on.

Story and Example Mapping Mashup
Boris and Andrea in their Opposuits
Boris and Andrea in their Opposuits

I missed Duarte Vasco’s No Estimates keynote, as JoEllen Carter and I were busy setting up for our own workshop. While we were preparing, Boris Wrubel and Andreas (whose last name I’ve forgotten) came in to show off their holiday Opposuits.

We were sad to have to turn people away due to an over-full room, including one of my favorite testers and presenters, Nathalie Rooseboom de Vries van Delft aka FunTESTic (check out her blog posts on ATD too). With only two hours, we tried to cram a lot into each 10 minute exercise, but the participants got into the spirit and the room was full of energy and insights. Check out our slides and materials.


My favorite of all the fabulous social events this week was the private Christmas market set up by the entrance to the conference hotel. A representative sample of the huge market in the town center, this one had booths for Gluhwein, bratwurst, crepes, Christmas decorations, and more. A cool jazz band played holiday favorites while a “curling” game (that’s what they called it, I guess it was kind of like curling?0 ensued. We also drank one of the awesome ATD craft brews made by Eddy Bruin and Bram Bronneberg.

Next was the legendary conference award night party, “Ho-ho-holy night”, where we got to learn who won the STWC, who won the

JoEllen Carter & me as Rocky Mountain Goats, joined by Viktorija Manevska and Vanya
JoEllen Carter & me as Rocky Mountain Goats, joined by Viktorija Manevska and Vanya

Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person award (the richly deserving Maaret Pyhäjärvi), enjoy a fabulous dinner with people in awesome costumes, and dance!

Though all six MIATPP award winners were at ATD2016, we didn’t manage to get a group photo. I hope everyone will come back next year!

That wasn’t very short. I hope that I will find time soon to continue this diary of ATD2016, please check back!


3 comments on “Agile Testing Days Highlights: Part 1

  1. Hi, thank you for this post I agree with you that The ATD organizers work hard to create a program of diverse presenters, including new voices and established leaders. very useful information

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Recent Posts: