freedom-0

My Musical Freedom is over now. Through the past year – most of my time I’ve spent on rehearsing, practicing, talking, dancing, acting and singing. Quite large chunk of work, I’d say, especially for newbies on a stage.

I have to admit – we made it. Probably even better that anybody expected.
I am proud of myself and all of us separately. I had this unique opportunity to sing on the stage, in front of 800 people gathered in the Theater – feeling that something big is going on. And feeling great.

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Agnieszka Franus – a girl who did fantastic visuals for our show – did this galactic piece of art with my face (twice) on it. Originally it is me singing Star People song ๐Ÿ™‚ Impressive!

Here is me rehearsing my song –>ย YouTube –> you can watch the entire movie about improving yourself and the whole event done my Marcin Pล‚awnicki – the movie is in Polish but has English subtitles ๐Ÿ™‚

Wait a minute – but we are talking tech here, right?

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Right!

Summing up the musical – the closer we were to our premiere date – the more we’ve been rushing.
It sounds like

EVERY

IT

PROJECT…

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True.

I believe that each (Agile) project has those three phases:

  1. We have to deliver product x somewhere in the future.
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    We know our deadline – more less what to do, but think also about huge timeline in front of us.
  2. We have a month to the release date.
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    All hands or deck, saving the deadline, doing over hours, fixing tons of bugs ๐Ÿ™‚
  3. After several patches it is finally in production. ๐Ÿ˜‰
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    You can rest now.

With the musical it was pretty much the same. We’ve started form small scenes, exercises, vocal warm ups. We did a lot of those, as the premiere date was far ahead from us. We’ve been practicing for several moths, but still “had plenty of time”. We took our time to learn lyrics, scenes, prepare our roles, stenography and costumes, did it slow with no rush, some people came up to every rehearsal, some did not. We knew our deadline, but did’t feel it yet.

When the premiere’s date emerged – I’d say during a month before The Big Day – we were able to finish all the scenes, which has been half-done for months, have all decorations and costumes prepared (at least several times in a row, because our director was tend to change her mind often), learn lyrics and songs by heart, do new vocals, record them, record them again, as they were not good enough, do it all in ourย  rehersal place and to it all again on the real stage in the theater. We’ve spend multiple over hours, night hours, morning hours and lunch hours rehearsing in order to make us and the audience happy.

How many times were you able to spend your extra time just to make sure that your production code work as requested? Just to make sure that the release went smooth, just to make sure that there is no issue with production database, customer data or performance? We did pretty much the same with our theater performance.
I’d say we were extremely agile and I assume that every actor, singer and performer is agile as well in the IT – agile way.

We had different conditions in our rehearsal hall than in the real theater and we had to adjust really quick.

Our director demanded changes in the play all the time – it was too slow, too shy, too quiet, needed more moves, less moves, more people, less people, different entrances… We had to respond to all changes at once. Each of us in individual scenes and all together as a choir, a team.
I was stunned that it all looked like big IT project. With the same dose of chaos, energy and motivation. People with no, quite and lot of experience and skills, speaking different languages, having different habits and customs. Together with one goal. I think that every scrum master I know would be pleased taking part in it.

We had no daily meetings – so some of you would say – oh, so it’s not Agile, it’s not Scrum.
We were having just moving speeches done by hour director about what was good and what needs to be improved. I would compare it to a retro meeting – done daily ๐Ÿ™‚

I believe that it is not the matter of IT project – this whole 3-stage approach. Maybe it is not even the matter of Agile, Waterfall or any other fancy way of work you choose. It is rather a way of how we – the people – tend to work. If you are a Tester, PO, Scrum Master or any Actor on a stage – you will be dedicated to your project if it matters to you.

When we have:

A GOAL thatย  is understandable for every member of project team (it may include the deadline or release date as well),

COMMON APPROACH – done in different way by different people but overall helping us act together as a team,

GOOD TEAM – they may have not equal stage of expertise in the subject – but have to be dedicated to a task

RESPONSIVE CUSTOMER, who gives instant feedback of what to improve, what to change, what doesn’t look good.

In the end – you all can rest and celebrate the success together with the customer (or your audience).

We are on a good path to achieve success. Either in a theater, movie or within an IT project.ย  We’re not always right but we have to keep on it.
What do you think?

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Theater is agile. Agile is a theater.

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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,ย  the city looks like an enormous Lego – construction work set ๐Ÿ˜€ There are cranes and scaffolding everywhere. I felt intimidated and overwhelmed since I arrived. It was raining, of course ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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 ๐Ÿ˜€ 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.ย  Best PR ever, Dan! ๐Ÿ˜€

We’ve learned that hacking is illegal. I am disappointed with this fact ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’ve also noticed, that opposing to movie stereotypes – you don’t need to wear a black hoodie (as I had none that day)ย  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!

UK Star. Checked.