On Monday 9th September, I attended SwanseaCon. This event was particularly significant because it was also the first conference that I was given the opportunity to speak at in person.
A 20 minute walk from the hotel took me to the Three Lamps, a restaurant in the center of Swansea – and the venue for the Pre-SwanseaCon meet-up.
My lightning talk was an extension of a 99 second talk I originally gave at a #MidsTest meetup. I compared the testing pyramid to the process of making a patchwork quilt.
The meet-up included 4 lightning talks (1 was given by myself) and an opportunity to ask questions after each one. This was a bit of a shocker as I’ve never attended lightning talk rounds that included a Q and A section before.
Fortunately, I love asking questions (and answering them). A surprising range of questions were asked after my talk, some about testing and others about quilting.
I’m not entirely sure why, but I was a lot more nervous about giving the lightning talk than I was giving the conference talk the next day. Luckily everyone was friendly and supportive.
Once I was back at the hotel, I wrote up my notes from the lightning talks and published them on my blog. They can be viewed here.
The main event
After a good nights sleep, it was time for SwanseaCon. The village hotel was a wonderful venue, providing plenty of tea, coffee and soft drinks to get us through the day.
A good selection of conference swag was provided, including a tee-shirt, notebook (essential for any conference), drinks bottle, stickers, and a rubber duck (not surprising as one of the sponsors were rubber duck consulting).
The conference included a start and end keynote, and 5 sessions (with 4 concurrent tracks).
The talks I attended were:
- Flow. The worst software development methodology in history. Ever! (opening keynote)
- Testing, Agile and DevOps – their roots and evolution
- Quality not Quantity – Getting value out of test automation (my talk)
- You’re the Tech Lead… you fix it!
- Embracing Change: From Tester to Quality Coach
- The Good, the Bad and the Avoidable SQL Practicies
- Sustaining Remote-First Teams (closing keynote)
I will be publishing my notes from each talk over the next week (with the exception of my own talk, of course).
My own talk
I am really pleased with how my talk went. There was a slight hiccup at the start of my talk. My laptop was out of commission so I had to use an older laptop, which did not have a HDMI port.
Important lesson – bring your own cables, and highlight what you need to the organizers in advance.
Fortunately, everything was sorted in the end. I suppose the initial technical issues gave me something different to worry about. My relief at getting the problem fixed meant I was less nervous about giving the talk.
I had some great conversations about my talk while networking. People were also keen to share their own ideas and similar experiences.
It’s also interesting to see other people’s notes and what they got out of the talk. Lizzie Lane was nice enough to share her own notes from the conference, which included my own talk.
Thanks for the wonderful messages…
For the first time, I decided to create a front page for my notes and encourage others to leave a message and sign it. This was signed by people who attended my talk and others who I chatted to during the conference and the pre-conference meet-up.