It’s been forever (or seems like it) since I’ve posted anything here. Sorry I’ve been MIA. I had good reason though. I was in Dallas last week for the Agile Alliance 2012 conference.
A group of us from the conference (6 in total) attended for a week long of sessions to learn new things with the agile manifesto, see what we could improve, network and have fun! It was a good way to get to know everyone in my group too. It was myself, another QA lead, a developer, head of development, UX lead and our scrum master. The company I work for, JSTOR, has been doing agile for well over three years, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn new things!
The conference took place at the Gaylord Texan Hotel and Convention Center in Dallas, right outside of the airport. It was a huge resort complete with four restaurants inside, an indoor atrium so it was like you were outside, huge (and I mean HUGE) fitness center and spa, a vineyard, Paradise Springs (a water park w/ lazy river and slides), and of course, the convention center where the conference took place each day. It was a beautiful hotel, I will say that. As soon as we checked in and dumped our bags in our rooms, we met up at the bar (one of the restaurants) for drinks, appetizers and watch the Tigers game. Hey, we had our priorities straight ;)
Starting Monday of the week, we were all in our respective sessions. I had decided to sit in session primarily focused around QA, testing, being a leader, coach and mentoring. I was pleased to see that a lot of the workshops I attended, were things my company is already doing. It was nice to exchange ideas with others in the class and answer questions.
I’m not even going to talk about food because I was in Texas aka land of fried food, aka vegetarians worst nightmare. They served us lunch most days and it was the banquet-hall-style buffet. That meant no vegetarian main dishes, but a whole lotta salads, side dishes and potato. Potatoes all. the. time. I even asked one of the workers one day if they had a vegetarian option. The lady looked at me and said “There’s salmon.”
So there you have it folks. In Texas, if it ain’t cow, it ain’t meat :P
We did leave the compound one night and went to PF Changs (thank my coworker who had a car!) and I had my fill of tofu and veggies. Needless to say, I was ready to go home for real food after that week.
So anyway, when we were done with sessions for the day, we took full advantage of the evening fun they had. One night they had two happy hours (oy vey) and another they had some mechanical bull riding, a butt portrait sketch person (REB was happy about that one LOL). Our last night there they had a huge dinner, live music (they were so good!), and dancing. It was a lot of fun!
Aside from the six of us (upper right), we networked and met some great people who have easily become friends for us! Hi Peggy! :)
There was of course, drink tickets. Lots and lots of drink tickets…
It is safe to say I’m officially on detox this week and don’t plan on drinking or eating like that for a very long time. I’m so glad I went though! I learned so much, got closer with my coworkers, made new friends and brought back ideas to use here at work with my team! I hope to attend more conferences like this in the future to help improve my skills!
Have you attended conferences for work?
Did you learn a lot?