#FlattenTheCurve: Another QS Barcamp Perspective

Sococo Office Floor

Early September, the StugHH and friends had our 4th QS barcamp in Hamburg. Well, in Hamburg and all over the world. As it was online. ONLINE! In pandemic times not that unusual, but for us it did make a difference. No barbecue night, no chatting along, no coffee times…. BUT: more new friends from outside Hamburg, better documentation, and even a small sports session.

For us as organizing team, it was quite some effort to organize it. How can we somehow create a good “barcamp like” atmosphere? How can we get the people to chat? How can we present our sponsors? Which tool to use? How to keep privacy?

We chose a combination of Sococo to create a homely atmosphere of rooms to have meetings and side chats, Zoom to have video sessions, Mural to take notes and a bit of PPT… and we chose to have a one day only barcamp…

Keynote by Sandra Parsick: “Infrastructure as Code, no Need to Test it, as Long as it Runs…”

Sketch of keynote

To start, we had a great keynote. Infrastructure code also is just a program – and you guess it: we testers think a program should be tested. Infrastructure code often is written by ops folks, who are not educated programmers. And they seem to have a similar learning curve as dev had the last 20 years. So why not put them together: pair programming with dev and ops. Flatten the learning curve!

For us testers, it was interesting to learn, how differently infrastructure code should be tested. In the subsequent open space, we developed together the house of infrastructure testing, as opposed to the famous pyramid models.

Barcamp Sessions

House of infrastructure testing

We had quite a few open space sessions, from testing of low code/configured applications, via a risk storming online session, problems with remote work, web performance testing, … and a “sport” session, to regain focus after lunch break.

The sessions showed, that most of us by now are used to work in online sessions. All discussions have been very focused, fair, mindful and productive. The feedback showed that the sessions have been well received.

The participants had the chance to visit the sponsors in their booths, but, only one was there. Probably we did not discuss expectations well enough here. We had so much program, that most likely the participants would not have found time to visit the booths.

And Then…

When you think of a Barcamp – what do you think of? I would think of meeting new people and old friends, work on my network. I would think of checking out the booths of the sponsors. I would think of having a nice drink the evening before.

our Sponsors….

These things did not work out as planned. So we discussed what to do better next time:

  • Let us still have a “party” the evening before, in order to learn the tool, to chat along, to “meet” people. Try some online game to achieve that
  • Invite representatives of the sponsors also in the evening. Although we are very thankful for the support, we have not really been able to give back.
  • Have longer breaks between sessions to enable discussions between the participants

And the tools themselves… that would be an additional blog post. At preparation time, it was most effort to identify a tool set that would suit our needs for the barcamp perspective. It worked out ok, but with some issues. Functional and non functional. So in case someone has a good idea – please comment below.

But maybe next time we can meet again in person … in September 2021. Let’s keep our finger crossed! And then, please go ahead and wear your swag… cannot believe how difficult it is to get a shirt printing company to do the follwoing: receive a design pattern of a shirt to be printed, and then have many people order this pattern… and last but not least create a one bill! In case somone knows a provider for this approach: please mention in the comments for next time.

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