Let me start this blog post by asking some questions, and I want you to be honest: Have you attended the Agile Testing Days before? Have you attended this world-famous testing festival only once? Have you never considered joining as a participant again and don’t know why? So, if you have answered one of these questions with yes, then I recommend reading on because this blog post is for you.
Since 2009, a total of 6,258 software testing professionals have attended the Agile Testing Days before, however only a minimum returns to the conference in the following years. Don’t get me wrong, we are happy about every AgileTD rookie, who enjoys the Agile Testing Days for the first time and brings new learnings back to their team and organization. However, we are wondering what hinders people from coming back? There are many reasons I guess, like other software conferences, changing jobs, moving to another city/country, no approval from managers, or just giving other team members a chance to attend. And although these reasons are all valid, we want to see you at the Agile Testing Days again.
We have talked to some people from the agile testing community who attended the Agile Testing Days more than five times to give you first-hand reasons why you should consider joining the Agile Testing Days once in a while. Quite remarkable are Stephan Kämper and Lisa Crispin, who are part of the Agile Testing Days for 10+ years now. Andreas Schliep and Huib Schoots are also frequent participants whether as attendees or speakers. In this blog post, they will share some of their reasons why they come back to the Agile Testing Days every year, and how this benefits themselves and their professional development.
As we can imagine that some employers would not want to regularly cover conference and travel expenses unless the attendee is presenting something there, especially if they take place far away, it might be a return of investment for you and your company when simply attending out of mere interest. Besides the official talks, workshops, and tutorials, it’s the hallway tracks, social hours, and informal casual conversations at the Agile Testing Days that lead to much inspiration and connection with the community. Stephan Kämper, who is a self-employed QA advocate and works as a freelancer, thinks that the Agile Testing Days are a great place to “get to be seen”. Here he can talk to so many people, and “this helps me in understanding new/current trends in software testing early as well as getting a chance to talk to potential clients”, says Stephan.
Many people might think that going to a conference that you have visited before isn’t a good idea or might feel this is a waste of time. But it’s not. It’s a great idea and staying up to date with the fast-changing trends in the software testing industry is quite important for your profession. The tech world is advancing at a fast pace and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the latest trends, tools, and practices. At the Agile Testing Days, “you get access to talk to a whole lot of excellent testers, thinkers, and outright great humans”, emphasizes Stephan. Professional networking with a variety of experts in various areas is also one of the reasons for Andreas Schliep, Executive Partner at DasScrumTeam AG, to attend the Agile Testing Days year after year. “This gives me the opportunity to extend my horizon and build connections I might need later”, he says. Both learning about your field and especially making connections with other software professionals are worthwhile goals for many conference attendees.
Lisa Crispin, the co-author of many books such as Agile Testing Condensed and co-founder of Agile Testing Fellowships, is a huge fan of the Agile Testing Days. “First of all, learning the latest practices, techniques, and ideas to help my team improve in all ways, from technical skills to build a healthy and safe culture that lets the team innovate. I've brought back so many ideas from AgileTD that have helped us in areas such as test automation, continuous delivery, planning, working together”, explains Lisa. She comes every year to the Agile Testing Days because AgileTD helps “growing our profession as a whole”.
There is nothing wrong with attending a conference simply out of interest in the topic or to boost your name or brand awareness. De Agile Testers, for, instance, are a company from the Netherlands that attend the Agile Testing Days since 2017 because it is the place to be “when you want to learn about the new agile testing methods”. For a couple of years now, this company brings the whole team to Potsdam to experience the conference together and benefit from the inspirational atmosphere. “You get to know each other a lot better when you are close during 3 to 4 days”, says Carlo van Driel. “A lot of new ideas came up so it brought a lot of energy back to the company”.
Every year, the Agile Testing Days provide deep-dive sessions for both technical and social topics. “My work is revolving around both poles”, says Andreas Schliep, “so I need both perspectives. The Agile Testing Days provide a unique opportunity to dig into diverse fields”. At the Agile Testing Days, the attendees are quite diverse and come from different industry fields, which makes it easy to find new connections. “You can find employers, employees, freelancers, and contractors working in quite a few roles in software projects. And if you're looking for motivated and engaged folks this is a good place to look”, stresses Stephan.
With this said, I can only come to one conclusion: You really should come to the Agile Testing Days again and think of it as an investment in your future career. At our conference, you will find the infrastructure and community to help you to boost your personal and professional development.