CAST 2016 has an exciting expanded structure this year with the official inclusion of TestRetreat as part of the event. While some of you are veterans of Test Coach Camp and TestRetreat, others will not have heard of or participated in these smaller gatherings over the last few years. I caught up with one of the regular attendees, Curtis Pettit, to talk about his ongoing interest.

Why did you go to Test Retreat in the first place?

Well, I had been looking at going to CAST for a long time. Although attending CAST is professional development, I was traveling on my own dime. That made it harder to consider the trip for just one event. Having Test Coach Camp in the same place just before the conference felt like two conferences for just a little more than the price of one. Test Coach Camp’s coaching theme was where I wanted to grow my career at that time, so I finally decided to go.

Was there anything else that convinced you to attend?

One nice thing about Test Coach Camp was seeing the list of illustrious attendees ahead of time, so I knew who I would be spending the day with in a small group setting.

How did you know who was attending?

At the time, the list of people who were applying to get in to Test Coach Camp was published on a wiki.

How did you feel once you arrived?

When my plane landed, I got on the hotel shuttle and there were two guys who boarded with me. I overheard them talking in general terms about a mutual client they’d served at different times and it was clear they were consultants. I noticed hints of agile practices and software development in their conversation and wondered whether it was a coincidence or whether we were headed to the same place

One of them introduced himself, which was a relief for me as an introvert, and it turned out we were all going to both Test Coach Camp and CAST. Once we arrived at the hotel, we agreed to each check in to our rooms and then meet back in the lobby to go on a road trip for Test Coach Camp supplies likes sticky notes and markers. From that point on, through the rest of the conferences, I never felt alone in a room. There was always someone I knew, which really helped me to engage.

For me, engagement is one of the biggest selling points of Test Coach Camp, now TestRetreat. You arrive and join a smaller group, well small compared to CAST, and get to know them over the course of the day. Later, wandering around the bigger CAST crowd, you probably know a person from TestRetreat at every table and in every session. You’re rarely in a room with a bunch of strangers, which is particularly appealing when I’m trying to be social at an event.


At Test Coach Camp in 2012


Thanks for that great Q&A, Curtis!