I am back from the trip to Canada which followed the big day that was #TQ2019. So, I finally have a chance to share my experiences. This event https://kwsqa.org/tq2019/schedule/ organised by KWSQA was special in a number of ways-
- It was my first international conference talk 🙂
- I was one of the few international speakers at the conference, and the one who traveled the farthest for it!
- I was the only speaker presenting 2 talks!
The travel was big too – with tonnes of visa processing, a 24 hour long flight to Toronto and then a bus ride from Toronto to Cambridge (which I nearly missed 😛 owing to the infamous Toronto traffic! )
Day 1 of the event was workshops that were in progress when we reached and we got a chance to informally meet the organizers at the desk. That evening they had planned a Speaker dinner which was a great idea. I got to interact and meet with all the speakers, made some friends and so the next day seemed a little less daunting having so many known faces.
24 Sep was the big conference day. Staying at the same hotel gave me the advantage to get ready at my own pace and be on time for the breakfast. The event began with a brief intro and then split into tracks. The first talk I attended was ‘Lean Coffee Facilitators Training’ by Matt Heusser. My first time hearing him speak. His session was fun and engaging and practical. I did #sketchnotes for the talk and also participated in the activity which was fun!
After that was my own session in the next room, so I hurried to setup and get ready. The best part was that the organisers had planned a 15 minutes gap between each talk for QA/Networking which gave the speakers and the delegates some breathing room and time to get to other sessions.
I talked on ‘The What, When and How of Test Automation’ which was a 45 minutes session. The room was full and there were lots of good questions and participation from the audience. I did feel that I handled it well and the topic as well as the proposed ideas were well received! 🙂 Here are a few glimpses into my talk-
Though I was relieved having just delivered a good talk, I still had one more to go! After that was lunch hour. A few participants from my talk invited me to sit at their table and we had so many discussions about work, testing as well as my travel plans 😛
Post that I rushed to the lightning talks track as I had to prepare for my next talk that was a 15 minute session on ‘Gamify your Agile Workplace’. As I got there I heard Richard Strang talk about ‘Implementing an Agile QA Guild’ and his experiences that were so varied and interesting. Then I got up to speak and since I was talking about an innovation game called speed boat, I had to first draw a big speed boat on the flipchart (with my limited drawing skills:P ) with a room full of people staring! I guess I managed well as the room MC Tina Fletcher (also president of KWSQA) was impressed with my masterpiece 😛 hehe
The session went well – the best bit being our Keynote speaker Damian Synadinos attending as well volunteering for the little game we played. It was an honor and an unforgettable experience. I hope the audience took back something tangible to try out gamification in their agile teams.
With both the talks done, it was now time to relax and network. I stopped by the booths by Oracle and NPM, chatted with fellow speakers and delegates, the organizers and also got real time feedback from the attendees who chose to attend my sessions.
Post the little coffee break was the grand closing keynote by Damian and it really was an experience. He mentioned in his intro that he had some improv experience and he really uses it to the best in his speaking! The talk was funny, intriguing, had loads of content, memorable quotes as well as an activity in which I volunteered! And a big Plus — Damian mentioned me and my talk too! 🙂 🙂 All in all it was an epic performance and really inspiring as a speaker. Kudos to the effort that went behind putting this together.
The best parts were getting to know so many wonderful people like Josh, Bailey and Dani, and getting to meet @Matt Heuser who I have had the chance to work with online. A face-to-face interaction makes things seem so real and people so approachable. He is a gem of a person and so encouraging too. I also made a friend @Emna who came from Tunisia to speak at the event! We roamed the streets of Cambridge and rode buses together and by the end seemed like we have known each other for so long. I surely hope to see her again at a future conference.
The organizers at TQ2019 had really worked hard and their efforts worked out so well with such a grand event pulled off with great ease, smooth flow and right on schedule. They welcomed us with warmth and helped throughout the day. At the end of the day we all got some time to cool off with a Social event where we mingled and got a chance to express our gratitude and say good byes. I would like to personally thank Greame Harvey, Sabina, Rob, Josh Assad , Jared and Tina Fletcher from the KWSQA committee who were all so helpful and kind.
I am thankful for getting this opportunity and look forward to staying connected with such awesome people. I am also thankful for my supporting hubby who tagged along so that we could make this into a trip – got a chance to explore Toronto, Montreal and Quebec city and of course the majestic Niagara Falls! 🙂