• Toby Sinclair

A Retrospective – My first conference talk (longer than 99 seconds)

So earlier this year i did a 99 second talk at Test Bash. This was a good start for an aspiring public speaker like myself but since then i’ve been determined to get a longer slot. When i was offered a slot at Agile Testing Days it was time to hit the big stage.

What was my talk about?

“Practical tips for pairing with developers to test.”

You can read the full abstract here: http://www.agiletestingdays.com/session/consensus-part-v/

You can view the slides here: http://slides.com/tobythetester/deck#/

So how did it go?

As it was an Agile conference what better way to do this than a retrospective. In one of the Lean Coffee mornings we talked about how Retrospectives can be a bit boring. However the last thing i want to do is write a boring blog post, so i’ve come up with my own simple twist on your usual retrospective format – “The Conference Kit bag”

I asked for feedback at the start of my talk so luckily it made this retrospective pretty easy!

What should i keep in my kit bag?

  1. Great Content and topic

  2. Confidence and enthusiasm was great

  3. Humour was good, especially use of video

  4. Clear and Understandable

  5. Reference other articles from people in the testing community

  6. Ask for feedback, i got some really useful advice.

What should i take out of my kit bag?

  1. Stop looking at the floor during the talk. Engage with the crowd more

  2. Stop using slides.com They didn’t display well on screen

  3. Stop adding too much detail to slides that isn’t talked about

What should i put into my kit bag?

  1. Talk a little bit slower, especially when talking somewhere there might be people who don’t have english as a first language

  2. Talk about my experiences in more detail, go deeper

  3. Mac VGA Connector

  4. My slides were hosted online, look at better software so that if the wifi doesn’t work I’m not screwed

  5. Download videos locally rather than streaming incase wifi is unreliable

A good retrospective always has actions. I like to phrase these as:

Where should i carry my kit bag?

  1. Content might also suit a workshop on pairing. Look into how that might work. Richard Bradshaw has some thoughts. I’ll buy him a beer.

  2. Do this talk back at my workplace.

  3. Invite one of my developers to present with me next time. Might be an interesting twist on the pairing topic.

  4. Submit the talk to other conferences. Look on Test Events for Call for Proposal deadlines.

  5. Dan Ashby is interested in me doing a brown bag session at his work. Buy him beer.

  6. Ben Williams suggested doing the talk at “Canary Wharf Agile Forum”. Buy him beer.

I’d like to develop further so get in touch if you’d like me to talk at your conference, workplace or even just in the pub.

Thanks to the following people for their feedback:

David Evans, Ben Williams, Tom Roden, Dan Ashby, Alan Parkinson, Chris George, Richard Bradshaw, Christina Ohanian plus those who i didn’t remember your names!

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©2020 by Toby Sinclair.