- Submitting more than one topic so that at least one will get picked up - can backfire and both might picked up.
- It was fine. The biggest issue was being responsible two conference nights in a row because I was speaking the next day. (three if you count getting up at 6 for my flight the third day)
- Going to conference away from your hometown is better. Being in the hotel meant that I didn't run home to do family things and instead met people and talked and built some relationships. This was more lacking in Vancouver last year.
- The first talk, Augmenting the Agile Team, if there was a talk that had me nervous, was this one. I knew the material and certainly understood it but the other talk was one I was more connected to, more passionate about and really just knew what I wanted to say and in what order I wanted to say it. I could have done my 40 minutes without slides.
- Turned out fine. There were a couple of hiccups (partly due to interruptions) but I was back on track pretty fast and someone told me they didn't even notice. My flow and energy were good, the message was pretty clear I think. Question period was full, complete and had interesting questions. The questions indicated that there was some real value for people.
- Got the best feedback I've ever had for a talk. My talk came after a pretty good keynote that I found very mentally invigorating and thought provoking. But a person I respect in the community came up to me afterwards and said, "You know, I got more out of your single talk than I had hope of getting out of the entire conference." So to get that after a keynote I enjoyed was pretty amazing. Better yet, if that's the start of her conference, think about how much better it would be able to get?
- There was definitely some positive reception to the core point that doing Agile doesn't mean following a prescribed path. That it is OK to find something that will work for you as long as you're doing it intelligently.
- The second talk, middle of the second conference day, Technical Nomads was amazing. Theoretically I left Testing Games early to do a quick last minute prep on this one the night before but got caught up talking to my family and didn't do any last minute review/prep.
- Turned out great, for me at least. I had great energy, great feedback. Was able to move with the energy of the crowd. Came up with some jokes while speaking that got laughs (and not the nervous awkward kind). I came out of this talk with a pretty solid buzz.
- Questions were intelligent and showed that the talk had value for some people.
- Feedback was a little less thoughtful but still pretty good. One person said it was "Fan-f***ing-nomenal!!!" A new phrase for me, but definitely not a bad one.
- I had been a little more worried about reception of this one. It had been turned down by a few other conferences before this point while the other one had gotten better attention. ie - it's a little less mainstream in it's appeal. But I think that the content is actually pretty near and dear to people's hearts, whether a manager or a tester and people liked knowing that it was being thought about out there. There were definitely people toying with doing some of the concepts at their own organizations already.
- Most of the content I chose to go to was interesting, vibrant and useful. I really only had one dud talk. Definitely wish I could have gone to more of them but I'm really happy with the ones I went to.
- The Gaylord Opryland Resort is a palatial megaplex. Four (maybe more) separate fully sized conference areas. An indoor jungle, well, two separate ones. An indoor river with boat rides. 17 restaurants. A starbucks. A gellato and a separate frozen yogurt place. It was 2000 steps from my room to the front desk, that's close to 2 km's. But it was gorgeous. Very high service, very friendly.
- Conference Food - the breakfasts were passable but I was happy with lunches and the reception. The restaurants in Gaylord were ok. I had a great burger at Fuse but PaulH had the worst nachos known to peoplekind.
- Tester Games - This was unexpectedly awesome. I mean i already liked board games quite a bit but playing board games with new people you've just met but kind of all share the tester brain is beyond cool. It really helped to make some connections to people that you couldn't really do in the corridors. So awesome that we even did this rogue, stealing into a random conference room one night instead of the beer-crawl.
- CAST is really a conference apart. It really is about testers from all over the world coming together to talk about their passion. (that's testing, if that wasn't clear)
Ok, my quick thoughts stopped being quick about 500 words ago. Below are links to my slide decks. Happy to continue the conversation about these in the comments. Or on twitter or wherever.
Augmenting the Agile Team - A Testing Success Story
Technical Nomads - Stemming the Migration of Senior Talent