I kinda didn’t go to TestBash…

It seems slightly strange to be writing a post about a conference that I didn’t physically attend but the awesomeness that is TestBash, made me feel like I was part of it anyway!!

Testbash has been part of my own personal journey for a number of years now, It was the very first testing conference that I attended back in 2013 and I was hooked! I’ve helped out Rosie at a couple of the events and I have also been an attendee at a couple too, both of which were wonderful and rewarding experiences. When I heard the announcement for TestBash Manchester, I was instantly thinking, I’m going to that event!! I bought my ticket (not before Chris Chant…because no one does…) and was looking forward to seeing the talks, familiar faces, meeting new people and of course learning loads – but I also had something else very important going on this year. My wife and I were expecting our first child so, I had a dilemma and a choice to make. I made the decision, the only one I was ever going to make, to stay at home with Sophie and my Wife.

As a huge fan of Testbash, I wanted to ensure that someone else would be going in my place – It would have been easy to get the money back but I wasn’t really interested in that and I wanted to pay it forward. I’ve sponsored a ticket in the past so this is not a new thing for me and I wanted to do it again. I met Patrick Prill for the first time, in person, at TestBash in Brighton after talking to him on Twitter for several months. This guy is awesome, not as moody as his profile/any other picture suggests and I couldn’t think of a better person to gift the ticket too.

Making me feel part of the day…

I was up early on the day of the event, I normally am anyway since the arrival of our little lady. So there I was, feeding Sophie and a flood of messages came rolling in from Twitter!

*UPDATE* – Can’t believe I missed this photo of Patrick (semi-smiling) and Rosie!!

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Patrick had attached a sticker to himself, with my name on, and was having photos taken with lots of lovely people. It made me feel really happy and part of the conference! This is what I love about the test community, you get moments like this that make you feel valued and part of something special. Throughout the day I was getting notifications about different things that were happening and finally, I received a mention/shout out during Patrick’s 99 second talk! It perfectly rounded the day off for me. Thank you!!

From a non-attendees viewpoint…

I’m completely bias, so I’m always going to think that TestBash is awesome, no matter where it’s held! There was something different about this one and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Richard Bradshaw has a huge part in this I feel, along with Rosie, they made TestBash Manchester very special. The social media buzz was amazing to see, maybe because I’ve found myself on the outside looking in this time – Everyone looked and sounded like they were having a really great time!!

One of the things that I felt was a master stroke was “The Teshbash Challenge”. It was an absolutely perfect way to get everyone talking to each other and a fantastic ice breaker. I love talking to other people and I don’t really mind walking up to strangers and having a chat, others are not so comfortable doing this but by having this challenge open as part of the event, it meant that it would be far easier to talk to other people during the day.

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Photo by Phil Hargreaves

All is not lost…

Although I missed the event itself, as a Pro Member of the Ministry of Testing Dojo I get to watch the talks back in my own time when they get uploaded to the site. I don’t think I’ll go as far as trying to hold my own TinyTestbash Bristol in my house but I will enjoy all the talks over the up-coming weeks.

If you’re not a member of the Dojo already, I would thoroughly recommend signing up to it. Not only does it have all the previous TestBash talks it’s also home to lots more great content and is getting added to all the time!! Go check it out!!

I’ve already sent out a pre-advance warning to my Wife so I’ll be at the next UK based Testbash event in Brighton next year – Hopefully, I’ll see many of you there!!

Good Luck to everyone involved in TestBash Philadelphia and TestBash Netherlands – I know that those will be equally as awesome!!

Test Bash 2.0 – From the Eyes, Ears and Brain of me…

I first heard about this event from my Boss/Mentor months ago and he went through our company chain to get funding for us both but was unsuccessful – to say I was miffed is an understatement! A couple of months passed and it was getting closer to the big event and every day I would see a new post on Twitter and the STC from someone explaining their delight at attending and how much they were looking forward to meeting all the great software testers that were going to be there. I was truly gutted…and posted about how gutted I was at this happening and that I wouldn’t be part of it…Then all of a sudden I was handed a life line from the one and only Rosie Sherry!!

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Once a calmed down a bit (my reaction was similar to a small girl hearing that she’ll be a VIP at a One Direction concert)  I composed myself and asked what I would need to do – basically, I would have done anything (nearly everything) to be at Test Bash but I didn’t want to play that hand straight away. Turns out all I had to do was be my usual friendly self and register the lovely event goers in and point them in the right directions – easy! Where’s the catch I thought…there really wasn’t one, apart from it being a long old day and a late drive back to Bristol, it was all good in my eyes!

Managed to get the afternoon off work on the Thursday so that I could be there for the Pre Test Bash meet up, I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to meet some of the people that had travelled down early for this pre event before the big day on the Friday. I wasn’t disappointed! I arrived at The Eagle pub, nice and early to meet up with Rosie…who it turned out was running late anyway so I shouldn’t have busted a gut to get across to the pub so quickly (Meh). Anyhoo, as I propped up the bar I saw some people I thought were “testers” frequenting a table and I went over and introduced myself, as you do. These were not testers…or did they ever know what a tester actually does…Awkward!! I did what can only be described as a half moonwalk back to the bar and ordered another drink, lesson learned Danny, don’t speak to anyone else until after 1900 – the percentages for them being a tester are far greater after that time. I wondered upstairs, I spied the Test Bash Poster on the door so it had to be up there right, finally I found everyone (half of them, I saw in the bar earlier but didn’t want to say anything after my first attempt at contact with the wrong people). I sat at a table and made small talk with a few people who were great and very easy to talk to, relaxed straight away. I thought this was going to be a good night. Then I had a kind of in awe moment, Michael Bolton came in with Keith Klain and sat next to me….As a newbie this was huge…I didn’t say much at first because I didn’t want to sound like a tool but I ended up telling them a story about how I thought I was going to get kidnapped on an airport transfer in Prague > to be fair it was quite a good story that fitted right into the conversation but…WTF Danny – nervous I guess. Meet some more really great people that night but had to go and get an early night ready for the following day.

Ok, onto the day itself…Met up with Rosie and the gang in the morning, impressed by the venue! Great job in getting this place, I slipped on my Ministry of Testing T-shirt and I was ready to go. Once to last bits of admin were sorted the doors were open…Loved how people were waiting outside before we opened the doors (like we had a sale on or something) and equally impressed because it was bloody cold out there! People were of course there for Lean Coffee with the lovely Lisa Crispin. I didn’t manage to have a look at this as I was still doing my duties downstairs but I’m told it was really good. Next time I hope to be there!!

I had the job of escorting Mr James Bach to the stage when he arrived in the building; if I’m honest I though a big hairy homeless guy walked in but it was in fact the great man himself. I didn’t tell him any dodgy stories but I think he may have liked the Prague tale…next time perhaps. The talks started and I located myself in between the main door and the side of the seating area, just in case anyone needed my help (duties first). As the speakers delivered their presentations I thought to myself “Wow, this is awesome” The passion, enthusiasm and knowledge that these Ladies and Gents had was so inspiring to witness  and I knew that this craft had me hooked!

I’m not going to give my take on these talks as many more experienced folks will done and will do, also the videos will soon be available for your own viewing pleasure if you were not lucky enough to be there. I must say one thing though, the guys at the end who gave the 99 second talks were amazing – visibly nervous some of them (as I would be) but they had the belief in themselves and the love for testing to get up and give a talk. This is a goal that I want to set myself for next year.

My ramblings have now come to an end but I would like to say one more thing, that may turn in to two…Thank you for everyone who took the time to talk to me and for the great advice too – It has made me write a blog for starters, Also thank you to Rosie, Simon, Steve, Laura, Julie and anyone else I have missed out who made a new bloke feel so welcome. Cheers!!