Like many free conferences, BarCamp is hosted at a local college and sponsored by local employers. When Bailey speaks, I can't help but notice the large Atomic Object banner in the background. Then again, the conference has no entrance fee. I offer a toast to AO with my free soda while eating my free hot dog.
BarCampGR is literally a camp. Some people toast marshmallows late into the night and bring sleeping bags to crash on the floor. Since I have a warm bed 40 miles away, I head home.
Test Coach Camp: Learning to be a Good Example
My next open space event, while also called a camp, is held at a Holiday Inn on the Friday and Saturday before the annual conference for the Association for Software Testing.
Like BarCampGR, the program begins with an exercise to create a schedule. Here, though, we announce our sessions verbally, write them down and post them on the wall. We discuss which sessions have overlap, combine some and eliminate those with a lack of interest. After that, we build the schedule for the day by moving the sticky notes into a grid taped on the wall with duct tape by Matt Barcomb, who is the lead facilitator.
Where BarCampGR was local and eclectic, Test Coach Camp is international in attendees, but focused in vision. There are sessions on how to coach in difficult situations-dealing with people who don't want to be coached, people who don't want to test and so on-how to be a good role model, how to create games, puzzles and simulations that challenge the mind and, of course, how to play some games and learn from each other.
I sit in a session by Christin Wiedemann on being a good role model. Wiedemann offers to facilitate and takes notes on easel pad pages. The attendees throw out ideas: expressing appreciation for others creates a culture of appreciation, while keeping the work fun will tend to influence others to seek out fun and play. We write down that leaders must be careful about how they offer feedback, because other people will mirror that behavior.
Christin Wiedemann runs a session on being a good example at Test Coach Camp.
The tester games session is a side-splitter. I show my old business card, which has a defect, and ask attendees to "find the bug." I let them ask reasonable questions. Like good testers, they jump into possible errors: "Is the phone number wrong? Do you really want it to say P: before phone, not H:?" and so on. Eventually, Wade Wachs points out that the color, which is different on both sides, could be perceived as a quality problem. The testing lesson is in the way testers engage-asking for requirements is a reasonable question.