Testbash Germany 2017 – wurst practices and trolls

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It was great – my first Ministry of testing event – Testbash Germany and my second time speaking in front of audience out of Bulgaria. So, the result is – it was simply amazing, I loved it.

I would love to say big thanks to the organizers – Patrick Prill, Marcel Gahlen, Vera, Kristine the teams of Quality minds GmbH and Mailborn Wolff for letting us in their offices for the premeet up and open space, I would like to thank everyone involved, sorry if I am missing someone.


I am originally not a fan of writing impressions for conferences, but not too long ago I came to the conclusion – this is actually a way for us as community to show people who weren’t there how good an event was and help conference organizers gain confidence and public exposure for the great job that they did. So, if you go to a conference, write about it, make photos, tweet, make people jealous. 🙂

Btw, if you want to get really jealous take a look at the Ministry of testing instagram for some photos.

Heuristic – “I forgot my notebook”

I came up with a heuristic how to summarize conferences and it is called “I forgot my notebook”. Why the name? Well, I literally forgot my notebook in Munich open space and good guy Marcel Gahlen reached out to me to let me know and offer to send it to me, so thanks Marcel and Vera for picking up after me. 😛

But it actually made me remember a story – in an interview, Stephen King was once asked “Do you keep writer notebook with your ideas?”. His answer was: “Keeping a writer notebook is the best way to immortalize bad ideas. If you imagine your memory like a strainer, if you have all your ideas there and shake them really hard, which is what time does, only the big parts, the important  ones will remain in there. Therefore you don’t need a notebook.”

So, if I have to make a summary – the “I forgot my notebook” heuristic will be – what did impress me from a conference, without having to take a look at my notes, what was so fucking interesting, that made it stuck in my mind. And I believe that helps speakers to find out how good they delivered their message, as well.

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So, here’s my personal highlights, without looking at my notes.


Alex Schladebeck did a great talk, really amusing in the way it was structured (message exchange between future Alex and past Alex) and she did some pretty good points on the importance of testers not being bashed for being “not technical” for some specific task or information. I really can relate to this as I was once told by a dev in a meeting “I’d rather not have this conversation with QAs because it’s technical”. So, great start with Alex and by the way, she is also conference chair for Romanian testing conference 2018, so if you want to meet her and listen to her live, call for speakers is still open or just wait for registration to open, I am pretty sure it will be a massive event.

Another talk that really impressed me was Vasco Duarte’s  talk on the topic of #noestimates. I was really impressed first by his talent in giving a good talk and make a clear point and second by the topic itself. Vasco talked about burnout and how it is actually capable of ruining your career, but also your life. He suggests the no estimates paradigm as a way to get rid of the pressure that falls upon employees and make them work more hassle-free. Takeaways  that really stuck in my mind were: “Being late is actually the normal state of a project” and “do we really work on something so important, that we are ready to sacrifice our  health and sanity for it? “. It was a great talk, if you have a chance to listen to Vasco, definitely do so.

Christian Kram made an awesome talk about his background  in cultural anthropology and testing mattresses. Yes, correct, the guy was paid to sleep on mattresses, how cool’s that ? 😀 I was really astonished by the way all activities he described from “mattress testing” were actually relatable to software testing and paradigms that we use. In general, I love people who are able to relate previous experience out of testing to software testing, I think this is very cool. And it was a great talk.

Katrina Clokie made the end talk about leadership. I was really happy having the opportunity to meet Katrina, because so far I’ve only read her blog.

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I was also quite impressed by her in two ways: first, the great talk that she gave and second – she was a master in multitasking, I mean she was able to take notes, tweet and take pictures and she did that great. I mean, if I try to do this I’d probably miss the whole conference trying to tweet a single tweet. 🙂

Katrina made a really cool talk, the one think I really remember about it was the Satir interaction model as a model for understanding how communication work, and how to resolve problems with communication, normally occurring due to reacting to misinterpretations.

Also, the open space part the other day.  I wasn’t aware what open space is, until I tried it and it was awesome. Basically, it’s multiple time boxed discussions everywhere and each participant is able to visit or start one whenever he/she wants. It was exhausting, but awesome, such a great generator of ideas.

As a conclusion – Testbash Germany was an awesome event, I had a chance to meet so many great people and share thought and ideas. And also, visit a city as incredible as Munich,  I strongly recommend the conference to anyone.

And if you visited a conference anywhere, I would love to hear from you how it was.

Note: Slides from my presentation you can find in Media section of my blog. Videos from all talks will be uploaded in the Ministry of testing Dojo

Thanks for reading. 😉

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Senior software engineer in testing. The views I express here are mine, they don't represent any position held by any of my employers. Experience in mobile, automation, usability and exploratory testing. Rebel-driven tester, interested in the scientific part of testing and the thinking involved. Testing troll for life. Retired gamer and a beer lover. Martial arts practitioner.

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