March 30, 2014 · Events

The TestBash 3 Story

This week's TestBash 3 in Brighton was my first conference of 2014, and its eclectic collection of speakers and delegates (not to mention its flawless organisation) is going to be hard to beat before the year is out.

I went to TestBash 2.0 last year as a freebie, having completed the Rapid Software Testing course in the days leading up to it. I was unprepared, expecting just to passively absorb a succession of presentations, and as such I missed out on some great networking opportunities. This year, I planned to be much more proactive.

The festivities began on the night before TestBash, when the Pre-TestBash Meetup was held in 10 Below @ Smugglers. I was expecting a relatively sedate affair with some polite conversation, but got a lot more than I bargained for! The place was absolutely packed, with lots of inter-mingling and a succession of free bar tabs (thanks to QASymphony, NewVoiceMedia, and whoever topped-up the third time; I'd over-indulged by that point...). It was more than just an excuse to drink though, with plenty of colourful discussion at an increasingly loud volume! I chickened-out at about 10.30pm, as I had an early start next morning (more about that below), but I could've talked all night.

The pre-TestBash meetup
The pre-TestBash meetup. Picture courtesy of Chris George (@chrisg0911) (Source)

There was an early start on Friday morning for the hardy handful of us who embarked on the Pre-TestBash Run. I'd be lying if I said that the free t-shirt wasn't the main draw for me, and I was hideously out-of-practice (particularly having spent much of late February off work with a bronchial infection) but it was a better experience than I expected - it was dry, a reasonable temperature, and I managed to keep pace with the main group for 1.2km. At that point I stopped for breath, decided I'd drop back to the next group behind... only to find there wasn't one! Still, a burst of fresh air did me good, although my calves would disagree with me before the day was out.

The run (and subsequent shower/breakfast) meant that I wasn't ready in time for TestBash Lean Coffee, my one regret from the entire event. As with all of the other activities, it had tremendously grown in comparison to previous years, with about eight separate groups running their own sessions. One of my colleagues participated and found it incredibly valuable, as it's hard to get such open discussion within an ordinary conference format; there's a local monthly Lean Coffee near where I work in Cambridge, and I'm going to make a real effort to attend them from now on.

The early morning runners
The early morning runners. I'm in grey hoodie! Picture courtesy of Rikke Simonsen (@vanilleDK) (Source)

As for TestBash itself? Well, you know the format - 30-minute speaker slots with time for questions at the end of each presentation. The slides/videos will no doubt be online soon, so I'll direct you to a few of my personal highlights:

Along with the above highlights, I noticed some interesting themes/trends occurring throughout TestBash. Draw from these what you will:

Keith Klain tells some home truths
Keith Klain tells some home truths.

And, if you'll indulge me for a moment, a few personal wins:

I hope this has been useful for those who weren't able to attend. 2015 is not that far away, and my hope is that in thinking "I wish I'd been there", you'll resolve to come along next year. If this hasn't swayed you, then maybe the spinning cat (which hypnotised us during Mark Tomlinson's presentation) will do the trick.

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