TestBash Manchester 2017

It was time for the second edition of TestBash Manchester, and together with other well-known people from the testing community, our very own Vera was part of the line-up of the conference day. More than enough reason for me to make the journey to the north of England.

Within an hour of my arrival on Thursday, I found myself on the dinner table with three speakers and a workshop facilitator (left to right: Anne-Marie Charrett, Michael Bolton - not the singer - Vera and Marcel, Matthew Bretten and a happy Pappy).

On a sunny Friday morning we went along the Salford Quays to the conference venue "The Lowry", having a wonderful view of the famous soccer stadium "Old Trafford" (see picture with Vera). The many lean coffee sessions were already buzzing and we had the opportunity to meet old and new friends before the main event started at 9 o'clock.

Master of Ceremony, Leigh Rathbone, made his debut on the TestBash stage. With his highly infectious spirit, and the support of Vernon and his son (as microphone runner), he did a fantastic job. Also for the first time on stage were some others, like Gem Hill, Claire Reckless, and James Sheasby Thomas, partially speaking about very personal topics like "Impostor Syndrome" or "Anxiety Under Test". Two topics also appeared on the Open Space agenda on Saturday.

Our dear Vera took to the stage in the rather unthankful spot after lunch and gave a fabulous talk about "Meta-Cognition" and how it can help us improve our approach to testing. Vera also gave a small preview of the QualityMinds superheroes, which got marvelous feedback.
Rather than doing it myself, I'll allow one of the other speakers to sum up Vera's talk:

The breaks were a good chance to meet with other testers. A unique moment occured during one break, when the makers of five different podcasts came together and took the opportunity to create a giant podcasting session: the Super Testings Bros (Dan Barrow and James Espie, which featured our very own Ron Werner earlier this year), Let's Talk About Test (Gem Hill), Screen Testing (Neil Studd and Dan Billing), Tester Island Discs (again Neil Studd) and Testing in the Pub (Stephen Janaway and Dan Ashby, which featured Vernon in an episode last year). All five highly recommended!

Two big reasons I wanted to make the trip to Manchester were the opportunity to see Anne-Marie Charrett and Martin Hynie live on stage. Anne-Marie spoke about "Quality != Testing" and shared her understanding of quality and the importance for a team to have a common agreement on what quality means, and that it's not the job of a single person or role (the tester).

Martin Hynie (after an extended & very enthusiastic intro from Leigh - see photo) talked about his career and the central question where the profession of the tester is moving to. He didn't give an answer, as he had none, but he wanted to give some food for thought. His talk generated many deep and interesting discussions at the Open Space. Thanks Martin!

At the end of every TestBash there are the 99 second talks and in Manchester there was a long line of participants. Many used the opportunity to stand on stage and spread their message. Vernon presented a fantastic concept on how to use the SCRUM approach for meetings. I'm still wondering where he learned that!? Last but not least, Vera and Marcel took to the stage and revealed the date for TestBash Munich 2018. Save the date: September 14th 2018!​

The Open Space session on Saturday was full of fantastic topics, all of which were proposed and delivered by the participants on the day. We had many highly engaging discussions and we also several very personal topics on the agenda, that could be talked about in a safe and friendly environment.

From my point of view TestBash Manchester 2017 was a huge success and it was the first time since last year, that I could enjoy a TestBash as a "civilian". It was really worth it! I'm looking forward to the videos, once they are available on the Ministry of Testing Dojo.​