A Barcamp only for quality interested people? On a Saturday? With an entrance fee? Crazy!
Could that work? Was there enough passion and interest in the community? It turns it, it overwhelmingly was.
The starting point
End of April 2017 there was a blog post in the Hamburg Software Test User Group (STUGHH) from Georg Haupt, who was asking, if there would be interest to make a Barcamp for testers.
So far there was not such a thing in Germany or even Europe (as far a we could find out).
A Barcamp is basically an Open Space format, where the participants define the agenda in the morning; so the outcome depends heavily on the topics the attendees bring to the table.
The organization period
After a few posts it was clear, there were interest and some people were willing to organise it. (Ursula Beiersdorf, Jörg Sievers, Christian Kram, Georg Haupt and Maik Nogens).
I setup a slack team, to be able to discuss more in real time and be able to create topic specific talk channels, this gave us more freedom than the group structure on the XING platform.
Over a period of just a few weeks we come up with the format of the event.
- It should be a full day event, so we decided to have it on the weekend.
- There should be a pre-event just for networking and getting to know each other.
- We did not want too many sponsors, just enough to come out break-even.
- Georg offered to host the event in the facilities of the oose Campus.
- We could also use their infrastructure to handle registrations, invoicing, etc. with the help of Georg’s colleagues (special thanks to Stephan Roth, Nicola Bosse and Songül Bulut-Efeoglu).
At the end of this period, we had a website with registration facility online, filled the website with information of the Barcamp format and started to do the foot work.
Marketing and sponsoring period
The event was in Hamburg and we decided to set the date on the first September weekend.
We were using our networks to spread the word about the QA Barcamp. From twitter over XING to our internal company and client channels we reached out to all testers, QA and other quality interested people.
Looking for sponsoring was also started. Surprisingly (for me), we easily found a handful of companies willing to support the event (thanks to ASQF, iSQI, MACH AG and especially to appQS).
Now the waiting started. In the summer vacation there were not many registrations.
With less than four weeks before the events, we were getting nervous and excited… would there be a “good enough” turnout?
While dreaming big with more than 100 registrations, from my personal experience as event organizer I was realistically thinking about a dozen attendees.
Others were also more cautious in their expectations.
Turns out, we were wrong.
BBQ and networking – Event time, Part I
The time had come. Friday after work I went to the networking pre-event.
We had a DJ with nice background music, there was a BBQ station on the terrace and a great buffet with a variety of food and drinks (meat, veggie, salad, beer, soft drinks, coffee, tea, …).
While we did not cater to every dietary nuance (e.g. we had no vegan), I think we did good to consider other things than “pizza and beer” and strike a balance here.
Best of all.. there were easily 20 people over the whole night. Just having discussions, get to know each other and (of course) talking shop in between.
We had also a great keynote with Oliver Monneke and Michael Kutz from REWE Digital, titled “Schnelles Wachstum von 0 auf 35 Scrum-Teams – Ein Erfahrungsbericht aus QA Sicht?”
Nourished physically and mentally I went home before midnight to get some rest for the big day.
Barcamp – Event time, Part II
The second blog post will be focused on my experience as an attendee of the event we created, you can find it here.
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