Last weekend I was invited to Odessa, Ukraine for the Ukrainian Testing Days, a conference that Andrii Dzynia co-organized. Andrii has organized public testing dojos in the Ukraine in the past. He asked me to put the reports from their sessions on my blog in an English translation. I think he does great work there for the Ukrainian community. So, I was eager to see that community in action. I had a pleasant trip, staying in Odessa was very comfortable to me, especially since Julia Cherniak dropped me from the airport, and led me around in town on the first day. Here is a full report from my roughly two days in the Ukraine.
Arrival on Friday
I arrived on Friday. Julia dropped me from the airport, and brought me to my hotel, the Londonskaya, nearby Odessa’s city center. Since I didn’t have time to get lunch on my trip, we went together to a close-by grill restaurant. Later I was showed around in town, the weather was superb, so I had a really pleasant time upon arrival.
The conference had already begun with the usual tutorials on the first day. In the evening, there was a reception planned at the bar. There were Lightning Talks planned for the evening. All of them were in Russian, so I had to ask my seat neighbors to translate me pieces of the talks. I didn’t get the names – due to the language, or maybe due to the alcohol involved. So, forgive me, if I can’t provide you with names of the speakers.
The first one was on bug patterns. The speaker collects together bug patterns at http://www.itsfeature.com. I didn’t manage to give him the feedback during my stay, but I think he might want to run some of them through the next pattern conference like EuroPLoP, or any other of the PLoP conferences around.
The second talk came from a lady who described how to take care for your own education. She explained a lot of things that I also had incorporated into my talk on self-education two years back. Later I asked her about finding a mentor, and other things like deliberate practice at testing dojos, and weekend testing that I found worthwhile.
The third speaker that I had the pleasure to get translated explained 10 things every tester should know. I don’t remember the details, but I found his list compelling.
After that I left with Dima, a colleague from Julia, for a bar at the beach. We had a long chat about various things like software development, software craftsmanship, exchanged different thoughts on talks and practical sessions, and what I have seen. Dima is also writing for infoq. So we also had a chat about writing articles, and books.
I had the pleasure to talk about the past, the present, and the future in my keynote at the morning of the official conference. After the talk there were some folks approaching me asking various things. One girl sticked particular, as she asked me how many earrings I have, and found it curious that I had been a swimmer, and a swimming trainer later. I am quite certain that she already is a great tester. ;)
Out of curiosity I asked for people to raise their hands if they had followed software testing as a career for their live. I was surprised to see so many hands raised. At CAST 2012 I had for the first time the impression that a tester did not “fall” into testing, but pursued it as a career since school. I think Ukraine is sort of special in this regard – or at least the Ukrainian Testing Days have been for me. Looking back, I feel awesome having been part of such a great community of testers.
After my talk, I talked to several people, before we headed to lunch at a Spanish restaurant. Later Dima, a colleague from Julia led me around in town, and had me interview. I hope this interview will be published in the near future. So stay tuned.
Odessa seems to be a quite interesting city. Despite the nice weather, there were about a gazillion weddings going on during my time there. We walked by the opera house in Odessa, which is a reconstruction of the Vienna opera house, I was told. There were nice little parks, bridges with locks from love partners, and other tiny little things which made the stay so pleasant. Overall, it felt like holiday and time travelling with all the music from the 1980s and 1990s played in pubs and restaurants.
In the evening, I joined the after party at a beach at the black sea. There were some party games going on, but me being a huge nerd continued to talk to other nerds while the polonaise was going on. Also, it seemed that more people approached me, and had a chat with me, after giving out beers. Andrii made me aware of this the day after this.
Some folks went to the charaoke bar after the beach party. I felt too tired, and really needed some rest before the final day where Andrii and I were going to run a testing dojo at the office of Lohika, one of the sponsors.
We had decided to run a testing dojo in the testing with a stranger format that Huib Schoots and I had used at the TestBash in Cambridge, UK. We ran in pairs in three different sessions. The first one was to a touring session to get to know the application. The second one would continue from the debriefing to the interesting areas of the product, and the final one would probably deal with different techniques for note taking.
Unfortunately I had to leave to lunch and the airport after the first session, so I didn’t see how the plan worked out. I received lots of gifts like a cup, and a t-shirt from the conference. I also handed out some copies of my book, ATDD by Example – also signing it for the folks I had a chat with.
After all I came back from a three day trip to a conference very relaxed. I received a lot of hospitality from the Ukrainians, and I had a very pleasant stay. Hope to get back next year, or maybe in some other near future? Thanks for all who talked to me, and who led me around.