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Hi Boys and Girls,

I know you are all here in order to read about my UK adventure at UK Star conference.
It is going to be a loooong post, so grab your coffee/tea , gluten-free food and keep on reading:)

Some time ago, a friend of mine said that if he would speak at the UK Star conference, he would have give up speaking.
Do I feel the same? Was it that exciting? I definitely pushed my limits. I feel satisfaction and I recommend you all to attend next call for papers 🙂

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Let’s go back to square one.
I arrived late at night, as Ryanair decided to postpone my flight for over 2 hours. It may seem weird to you, but before that day, I had an opportunity to be in London just once – approximately 15 years ago (yup, I’m THAT old), so I didn’t know what to expect.
Not surprisingly, modern London is huge, and even more diverse as expected. What is more,  the city looks like an enormous Lego – construction work set 😀 There are cranes and scaffolding everywhere. I felt intimidated and overwhelmed since I arrived. It was raining, of course 🙂

 

 

 

Conference’s location, in The City, was extraordinary. It corresponded strongly with London’s vibe and diversity. Inside and outside the building it felt the same – multiple languages, opposite minds and full of fresh concepts. Beautiful interiors and professional service made it all work. We’ve been kindly hosted and no one from conference attendees felt excluded. Just from the first moment something ‘was going on’ and everybody was engaged.

Before the conference begun I felt nervous and was extremely unsure. Me – a foreign girl – not speaking English English – in the middle of a big city.

After a funny moment during the registration, when a volunteer was not able to find my badge (because my name is pronounced completely different than it is written in English), I’ve decided to start from tasty coffee. Coffee is always good to start with 🙂

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Just after a few seconds a girl approached asking me about my talk and exchanging ideas in the field of accessibility testing. It was probably the first time when somebody knew me from YouTube or my blog and wanted to know me in person. I was honored. It gave me lot of self esteem:) Go Scotland! 🙂

 

 

Before my talk I had a chance to meet a lot of Twitter friends and finally get acquainted with them in person. What a wonderful moment, when you are able to talk to people that you admire for what they do as testers and speakers, who inspire you for a long time and you can just talk to them. This is why you should attend such events. The presentations are important, for sure, but for me, the vibe, spirit, all fantastic opportunities to talk to people were definitely more valuable that day.

 

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I can name a big difference between Polish conferences and UK Star. In most events in Poland, attendees are the people who start their journey with testing, who want to learn anything, something to start with. They look for basic topics and workshops in the area of test automation or manual testing. At the UK Star I had an opportunity to meet testers from different countries, with at least several years of experience within multiple projects, who came there to share their good practices, achievements and just to inspire.

As you are probably interested not only in my feelings about the conferences, but in the presentations as well – I’ll try to give you some main topics and walk you through the talks I will remember.

Let’s start from the best keynote I have ever a chance to participate in – Isabel Evans – ‘Leadership, Fellowship and Followership‘. It was my first opportunity to meet Isabel in person. Her very personal and inspiring talk led the audience among different styles of leadership and peoples’ behaviour.

I’ve acknowledged also that being compassionate to yourself is a key to everything – being a good human, employee and a leader. The rest comes second. We should leave the world better place that we found it. I find this keynote strong and a must to be heared live. If you ever had an opportunity to hear this particular keynote live – do not hesitate and attend!

I’ve also learned that our leadership style is strongly determined by the company and it’s rules. If there is a capacity for playing and making mistakes – there is also a space for team’s evolution and grow.

 

 

Christina Ohanian, the Tester and Agile Coach, performed her opening keynote session – ‘Embracing Change‘ at the very beginning of the conference. I bet my manager – Piotr -probably the biggest fan of Simon Sinek in the world

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would hear this talk with pleasure as I did. There were several referrals to Simon Sinek during the whole talk. To build a good test team in your company – you should definitely start with WHY and define your purpose all the time. All may change, but there should be a purpose always.

As Christina said, change is scary, especially when we are used to a particular way of working. Learning to embrace a change and adapt to the environment around us is both healthy and urgent necessity.

 

 

I need to mention about @thetestdoctos ‘s – Dan Billing – workshop about security testing. Finally I had a chance to meet and hear Dan in person. We had a lot of fun during his presentation, as it was a PROPER WORKSHOP – WiFi was not working, there were no tables for the laptops and time was limited 😀 Dan is sneaky – he wanted us just to feel a little bit of security testing in order to invite him for decent workshop in our companies.  Best PR ever, Dan! 😀

We’ve learned that hacking is illegal. I am disappointed with this fact 😦 I’ve also noticed, that opposing to movie stereotypes – you don’t need to wear a black hoodie (as I had none that day)  and you don’t have to have a wall of GREEN PHP code in front of you displayed in order to perform security testing (aka hacking). Oh maaaan. Such disappointment.

But seriously, you should definitely invite Dan to your company!

 

 

UK Star was not only about presentations and workshops – there was plenty of space to talk and exchange experiences – either within Lean Coffee meeting in the morning, in the Test Huddle area or during conversation tracks such as ‘Ultimate testing Survival / Zero to One : StartUp quality notes‘ prepared by Victor Slavchev and Yann Person. They were able to involve audience into conversation and bring the value to the whole discussion. From Yann’s part – i loved the most a statement saying that startups begin investing in testing just after first production failure. On the other hand, Victor’s crazy slides convinced us that we should emphasize our value as testers within our companies, as quality is an integral part of software development – not just a part after development phase.

 

 

Finally, there was also my talk – ‘Make IT accessible‘ happening that day. I was placed in the agenda within a storytelling track – together with Rick Tracy and Lena Wiberg.

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I had a unique opportunity to speak up about accessibility testing and why it is so important for everybody. People were listening to me, nodding, participating in my short exercise. It was even more that I expected. I had a chance to talk to some individuals from my audience about accessibility, that gave me the feeling that there is a need to talk about it over and over again. As I believe, that no one should be excluded from our society by the software, especially people with certain physical or mental disabilities. This is our responsibility as software developers, testers, UX designers to care and to make our applications accessible.

At the end of the day, after all my preparations, it just felt great to stand there and talk.

 

 

 

UK Star conference was important for me. It brought value. It matters.

The conference has it’s flaws as well, of course it has, but this time I decline to focus on them. It just was great to be there.

In case of any suggestions – stalk me on Twitter or put your comment down below. Cheers!

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UK Star. Checked.

Posted in agile, conferences, team, Uncategorized

Test team will help you out

Test Team

Hi Boys and Girls,

Being close to the test community at Test Warez Conference, on which I am at the moment, made me think about my team and how do we do things at New Voice Media.
I believe it is worth to spread and inspire you to introduce good practices into your test / scrum teams.

Next week I’ll provide you with wider summary of Test Warez – today I want to focus on one aspect that came to my mind yesterday during the discussion panel run by
Łukasz Pietrucha about planning your tests.

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We’ve started with lightweight talk about ISTQB’ish approach to formal documentation and planning across organisations but end up with vivid discussion and sharing good practices and personal project-related experiences (not necessarily related to panel’s subject 🙂 ). It made me think that planning your tests and organising testing in your organisations, in general, is extremely context-related. You might think that one, structured, recommended by ISTQB idea should work, but sometimes, to be honest, it is just useless.

I went back to my roots as a software tester.

One of my very first sources of knowledge about software testing in general was Polish blog.testowka.pl . It is technical, teaches you how to start with Selenium and gives updates about software testing in general – very thought through source of knowledge (For some reason I was convinced that it is run by a girl…. but never mind, just leave it 🙂 – sorry Wiktor! ).
Wiktor Żołnowski – the author – wrote a few words about himself on that blog. However, I’ve read it just a week or two ago. Wiktor wrote ‘It was ‘Agile’ – people and interactions over processes and tools. Then I’ve acknowledged that all things which I knew about testing ans so-called quality processes promoted by different organisations, had little value. Software can be crafted just better.‘ – and I consider it as a quote close to my heart. I still keep thinking about it, that’s why I decided to write today’s post.
Now, at New Voice Media, I can tell the same thing. There was always a missing part in my teams / projects/ organisations, even with their structured processes and diverse working environments, and I don’t speak about faking the agile style of work only – what I mean is – craftsmanship and team spirit (what a cliche).
It suites me better – it may not suit you at all, so don’t feel offended, Dear Reader 🙂

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As some of you probably know, at New Voice Media we – the DevOps team – work  in Scrum or Scrumban. This is the first time, where I an able to see theory in practice and it works good for the organisation. We have testers and developers in our team, but we try to widen our responsibilities to enable all team members to learn and improve their skills.

Apart from separated feature teams – we also try to gather in community of interests, Sound ‘Spotify’ish’ 🙂 Maybe. On the other hand, it helps. We try to share knowledge across teams and locations (some of us work in Poland and some in the UK) to avoid silos of knowledge

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– it means we meet, talk and help one another out. It also means, that when somebody gets sick, has some emergency or has too many tasks to do at once – other testers may (and will!) help. We use different communication tools, chatters, video conferences, Wiki spaces and so on, but first of all – WE WANT to share and WE WANT to learn. It is not the organisation, who makes us do it – it’s us who do it, because it just helps.

I am not sure if that would be an approach for entire corporation – but for small departments – maybe? Would it work in a software house? I don’t know – but at leas you may try it. I know at leas one software house, that has it’s own community of interests and it works great for them. 😉 When you feel the energy and willingness to do something – you can definitely progress at things.

You cannot build (good) your software alone these days, so it is good to have a team which would help you out. Just in case 🙂

As always, you can comment down below or stalk me on Twitter.

Cheers!

Posted in agile, conferences

Wrocław – the meeting place

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Last week I had a chance to participate in two fantastic events in Wrocław. There is a lot going on in here. My beloved city is a fantastic spot to meet people, exchange ideas and get more involved in testers’ community.

Apart from Wrotqa – we have quite fresh meetup for testers run by DataArt company.
I had a chance to speak at that event. Great energy, warm welcoming and breathtaking view from the window:) You should definitely attend their next events.

Wrocław Agile Day

Yesterday there was an amazing event for agile-maniacs 🙂 New Voice Media organized Wrocław Agile Day. Apart from the spot and atmosphere – it was an unique opportunity to take par in workshops run by experienced agile coaches – such as Helen Lisowski or Will Jacobs.

It seems that real agility is more and more visible in software development. 🙂

I had a chance to present my new talk “Yes, you need time for bug fixes” as well. As you can see in the picture – people had a lot of fun! I’m happy about that. 🙂

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It seems that developers, testers and other IT people have similar experiences when it comes to projects and rush incorrectly called “agile”. It was fun to meet all of you and exchange ideas.

Thanks to Michał, I have this fantastic photos! Awesome 🙂

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Keynote

The keynote speaker of Wrocław Agile Day was the one and only – Rob Lambert. I wish that every newbie in public speaking had a chance to meet him in person and listen to his advises. Rob was like a shepherd – going among us and repeating “You’ll be fine“. It was a bit like live version of his “simple” guide for public speakers. 🙂

THANK YOU!

Not only was Rob mentoring us, but also delivered a keynote presentation “Releasing Agility – A journey to frequent releases“. Everyone that I spoke to afterward were impressed and excited about the talk.

All of that should be accessible on YouTube soon, so you would be able to listen to all of New Voice Media presenters.

See you all next year in Wrocław!

Cheers.