Monday in Potsdam was a lovely day.  Yeah, a little foggy, maybe a little damp outside, but hey – I was inside where there was good coffee, a variety of juices, waters and the odd snack or two.  A nice luncheon with great conversation following a very enjoyable breakfast with great conversation – Oh, and Matt and I had another opportunity to present Software Testing Reloaded – Our full day workshop.  This time in conjunction with Agile Testing Days.

As usual, we totally messed up the room – this time the staff of the hotel were more amused than horrified.  The folks wandered in after coffee and light snacks and found us playing The Dice Game – Yeah.  That one.

In retrospect, it was a great ice breaker to get people in the room, involved and thinking.  It was a good warmup for what was going to follow.  So, we chatted and conducted the first exercise, had everyone introduce themselves, asked what they were hoping to get from the workshop.

I think Matt and I were equally astounded when a couple of people said they wanted to learn how to test and how to transition from waterfall (well, V-model) to Agile.  We gently suggested that the people who wrote the book were down the hall and perhaps that might be better for them – and reassured everyone that if they were looking for something more that they could either re-evaluate their choice OR they could hang with us. 

So, after a couple of folks took off, and a couple more wandered in, we settled at 11 participants.  It was a lively bunch with a lot going on – great exercises, good interaction.  Kept us on our toes and, I think, we kept them in their toes as well.  

Somehow, we managed to have a complete fail in getting to every single topic that people wanted us to talk to or do exercises around.  Ummm – I think our record is perfect then.  You see, there is always more for us to talk on than there is time.  That is frighteningly like, well, life on a software project. 

We often find ourselves with more stuff to deliver in a given period of time than we can hope to.  If we promise to give everyone everything, we really can’t deliver anything.  Well, maybe that is a bit of a stretch.  Maybe it is closer to say we will deliver far less than people expect, and less than what we really can deliver if we prioritize our work differently in advance. 

So, for Matt and I, we try to work our way through the most commonly occurring themes and address them to the best of our ability.  Sometimes we can get most of the list in, sometimes, well, we get less than “most.”

Still, we try and let people know in advance that we will probably not be able to get to every single topic.  We will do everything we can to do justice to each one, but…

This got me thinking.  How do people manage the expectations of others when it comes to work, software projects and other stuff of that ilk. 

How well do we let people know what is on the cusp and may not make the iteration?  How do we let people know, honestly, that we can not get something in this release and will get it in the release after? 

I know – the answer depends on our context.

In other news,  It is really dark here in Potsdam (it being Wednesday night now.) 

To summarize, we met some amazingly smart people who were good thinkers and generally all around great folks to meet.  My brain is melted after 3 days of conference mode – and there is one more day to go. 

I’ve been live blogging on Tuesday and Wednesday, and intend to do the same tomorrow.  I wonder if that has contributed to my brain melt.  Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Auf Wiedersehen.