TestAway was a long dreamed event for the Testing Community. It came out in a wonderful fashion and the experience was one of a kind. We asked Geosley Andrades (Associate Engineering Manager at Cornerstone OnDemand) to share his experience of TestAway and he very gladly accepted it. Below are his experiences in his words hope you all will love it.

The Dream

It all started with a casual discussion over the snacks post The Test Tribe meeting. Few tribals including me were discussing how cool it would be to plan an outing for the Test Tribe Members.

The day was not far. I realized “Dreams do become reality” when this one of a kind flagship event of “TestAway” was announced as a part of The Test Tribe one-year celebrations with the community reaching around 1500 members in such a short span. The destination of the TestAway was Goa, I would have never imagined I would go someday in Goa for learning.

TestAway Goa Event

The Self-Realization

This was an invite-only program where only selected 15 passionate testers were to be invited post screening of their profile. Filling the application form, I was so excited that this was happening and wished I could be selected to witness and be part of such an exclusive event.

I did have double thoughts when I came to know it was not for free and we had to shell out from our pockets. Seeing the amazing lineup of topics and activities of TestAway helped me erase the concerns of money over the only chance to rediscover myself as a tester.

Finally, the names of the attendees were out. I felt happy to be on the list. I thanked God for this very chance and took an oath to make the most of this opportunity.

TestAway came in a nice way and at the right time to me. The beauty of community, learning and networking with the elite group of testers was what I always wished to have.

Day One – Bring it On

Thursday, 7th March 2019 – The day had finally arrived. Set with all the packing, I caught my flight to Goa – the land of beaches, sun, cool breeze and coconut trees.

Waited for fellow attendees to join me at Dabolim Airport and the fire lit instantly. In no time we were discussing Testing over some quick bites. That’s when I realized I am here for serious learning.

Sandeep Garg the Master of Note making, Rahul Singh the Gamer Boy, Arokya Samy the entrepreneur, Sharath Kumaraswamy the Aerospace Drone Guy, Arjun BM the Micro-Community Builder joined me on the journey to our Test Away destination “Ziva Villa” by Villa De Goa a private luxury villa in the Candolim, North Goa.

The Test Away Flag flew high on top of our villa and I knew our organizer’s Mahesh Chikane, Founder The Test Tribe and Niraj Yadav, Event Manager for TestAway had made sure all arrangements were in place before our arrival.

As soon as rest of the testers reached the venue, introductory conversations erupted. We felt like one family, one team there on a common mission to create an impact in the testing world.  Ajay Balamurugadas, Wizard of Testing took center stage in leading the war cry – How is the Josh? So loud was the “Josh” I am sure must have reached 3 villas far away 😛

TestAway Goa villa

Collecting our swags, we freshened and headed for lunch. Resetting ourselves we jumped on to our first interesting activity “Gamifying Testing”. It was an interesting game based on the principle of minute observation and test of memory.

Though the rules were pretty simple but it demanded a great deal of team coordination, observation skills and an excellent strategy. Our strategy was basically assigning 4 quadrants of the UI to 4 individuals and one person would focus on the center and link these 4 quadrants. Not sure if this was the best strategy but my team did manage to eventually win this game.

Software Testers Event

This was followed by another interesting game wherein we had to guess which Product or Company a person might be thinking by asking only five specific questions. This was difficult where none of the teams were able to crack out completely. But we surely enjoyed every bit of it and improved on asking intelligent questions round after round to eventually crack the strategy.

After this amazing fun activity we sat down for a Tester’s Roundtable where we discussed on the “State of Testing – What wrong we have done and how we can Improve”. The roundup was concluded with pain areas identified and solution on how to overcome them.

Testers round table
Roundtable discussions

Now, this didn’t end here. We were introduced to a superb strategy game called the “Mafia” – modeling a conflict between two groups – the mafia and the villager. At the start of the game, each player is secretly assigned a role affiliated with one of these teams. The game has two alternating phases: one, during which the mafia may covertly “murder” a villager, and two, in which surviving players debate the identities of the mafia and vote to eliminate a suspect.

The game continues until all the mafia have been eliminated or until the mafia outnumbers the villagers. So addicted where we to this game that this has lived in our hearts even after TestAway. We did pledge to play this game sometime when we meet again.

Day Two – I want More

Friday, 8th March 2019 – With all excitement we kicked off our day with Aqua Zumba. Disha Reddy was fabulous in making us move our hips in the Swimming pool. It was nice fun to have all the guys splash and jump in the pool for couple of hours.

Aqua Zumba

After a yummy breakfast, we went on to attend a workshop on “How to Test anything faster and better” by our testing Guru Ajay. Ajay enlightened us on techniques of how to set the right strategy and mission.  Tips on how to make your brain an idea generator and a thinker rather than a storage device.

He encouraged us to get out of our comfort zone, do things differently, take every opportunity as it comes. He ended his session with a beautiful quote saying, “Testing is a goal for life, is a way of life”.

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Breathe Testing. Enjoy Testing. Life is Short.

Workshop
Bomb defusal game

Ajay also introduced us to two great games. First one was a bomb defuse game – “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” – This game task a player with disarming procedurally generated bombs with the assistance of other players who help another team with the bomb instruction manual. Winning this game requires the presence of mind, excellent communication and team work.

Second, Ultimate tic-tac-toe a board game composed of nine tic-tac-toe boards arranged in a 3-by-3 grid. Players take turns playing in the smaller tic-tac-toe boards until one of them wins in the larger tic-tac-toe board. Compared to the traditional tic-tac-toe, strategy required in this game is conceptually more difficult and challenging.

We then went to play War of Cards with a superbly crafted deck of Test Sphere that gets testers thinking and talking about their testing. Testers brainstorm, coach, share knowledge and experiences on the concepts mentioned on a card randomly pulled out. The Team which gives the best explanation wins.

Siquerim beach walk

After Tea, we headed straight to the Coco and Sinquerim beach to enjoy the cool breeze, waves and sand. A walk I will cherish all my life making our bond of friendship even stronger. With a bunch of crazy clicks and our war cry shout, we headed back to our villa.

Post dinner, we continued to play our favorite “Mafia” game and later on testers utilized the rest of the evening for 1:1 mentoring and discussing great Testing ideas.

Sinquerim beach

 Day 3 –  Just Can’t Get Enough

Saturday, 9th March 2019 – All charged for a bright new day we headed to Chapora Fort also called as the “Dil Chahta Hai” Fort on our bikes. Riding through the lanes of Goa, passing by colorful vintage Goani houses it was all nostalgiac stuff. We sat down and just soaked in the view and place for an hour before returning safe and sound to our villa.

L2R – Niraj, Sharath, Geosley, Anita, Savita, Trina, Manjunath, Disha, Sandeep, Priyabrata, Arjun, Ajay, Rahul, Arokya, Mahesh

Today we had another workshop on Storytelling (Less Talk more exercise again by Ajay). We discussed on how to write effective testing stories and open our mind to think of NLQ –NEXT LOGICAL QUESTION and be ready with the answers for it.

Another workshop was on “Design Thinking” by Sandeep where he threw light on the solution based approach of solving problems. His insights gave a new meaning on tackling complex problems by understanding human needs, reframing the problem in human centric ways, brainstorming, prototyping and testing.                       

Each one of us then went on to present their own Audience curated story. Which resulted in coining Manjunath Batti as the “This Guy”, Savita Patil narrating a fairy tale love story and Trina Acharya stunned with the outcome of it all.

Sharing your story

Evening was time to be merry. We headed for candle light dinner to Mama Cecelia’s Beach Café – a shack on the Candolim Beach front and had good laughs over lighter talks and jokes that evening. Sharath stole the evening that day with his standup comedy. We all just couldn’t stop laughing. The day ended with our ritual a game of “Mafia”.

Dinner by the shack

Day 4 – Saying Goodbyes are Hard

Sunday, 10th March 2019 – After a nice breakfast. We wrapped up the TestAway Learning Experience with Mahesh and Niraj gifting us certificates and memento to take home with us.

I literally felt nostalgic writing the final testimonial and deep within my heart wished to have the next TestAway soon.  As I complete this I will miss those conversations, the fun, the learning, the Mafia which Priyabrata Das, tried to capture in his photography. Silent Girl Anita Gujrati was no more silent, the spark of knowledge had ignited not just her but us all. I certainly admit “These were the best days of my Life

Thats me

We are sure you must have loved Geosley’s experience of TestAway. Please feel free to share your feedback, suggestions, queries in the comment box below or shoot an Email on [email protected]

Sharing some of the amazing testimonials that we received from TestAway attendees.

First I want to say Thank You to the organisers for inviting me to this wonderful event.

Before coming here I was filled/my mind was filled with lot of questions. What is Tester career, where is testers career path, what to do get something in my testing path. I got answers for all of these and my mind is now relaxed now.

Savita Patil

TestAway is an awesome experience where you will love and enjoy lots of Testing related things.

Manjunath Batti

TestAway organized by TTT was one of kind from and for the Testing Community. It was an excellent learning platform and helped in unlearning many things which were not good practices.

Kudos to Mahesh and Niraj for organizing it perfectly. Ajay’s and Sandeep’s workshop were amazing and it opened new avenues and perspectives for me. I will look forward for more such events in the future 🙂

Sharath K