Patroklos Papapetrou’s I T.A.K.E. Unconference 2015 Retrospective

Jun 17, 2015 by Madalina Botez in  Testimonials

Screenshot 2015-06-17 13.50.59Blog post by Patroklos Papapetrou, originally appeared on his blogRepublished with permission. Thanks Patroklos for your active participation during the unconference.

ITAKE Unconference 2015 Retrospective

Last week I had the chance to attend both as a speaker and an attendee my first un-conference. Actually I would categorize ITAKE as a mix of conference and un-conference. The overall agenda and the way the event is structured is very intelligent and it makes people communicate more and exchange ideas in various ways. To be honest it’s the first event I attended where speakers and attendees are all together, writing code, pairing, solving problems while having dinner, discussing, listening and sharing knowledge. It doesn’t matter if you are a famous keynote speaker or a junior developer who just graduated from the university. Everyone can talk and discuss for every possible topic that interests you. Here are the “little” things I loved about ITAKE.

  • Talk duration : 35′ including questions. Oh yes. No more endless talks with 50+ slides and audience looking at the windows or the watch ready to jump out of the room. In the beginning I was struggling to find which slides I could remove from my presentations but at the end I enjoyed so much my talks that I think I will always do the same even I have 50′ for my talks
  • Small rooms : 40 people at most except the keynote sessions. The feeling that you get when you discuss ( not present ) your topic in front of 40 people in a very small room is awesome. People feel so free to ask questions during the talk and that’s why I regard it as discussion rather than talk. Besides when the room gets crowded and people are forced to stand up because there are no more seats, the feeling as a presenter is even better 😉
  • The Venue : Amazing hotel, great organization, excellent food and coffee all two days in the center of the beautiful city of Bucharest.
  • Open space : OK I have to admit. Before going to the event, I was very skeptical about the open-space part of ITAKE. How 250+ people will get organized in 20′ and discuss so many topics in a structured way? Well, if you want to know how it’s done, then book your calendar for next year’s ITAKE. 42 different topics were discussed in the different open space spots.
    Our facilitator, Mike Sutton, was amazing. He literally moved us like puppets and from empty space we had a full of interest topics in just a few minutes.

My contribution:

  • Holding down your technical debt with SonarQube : My oldie but Goldie talk squeezed in 35′ :)
  • How to boost development’s team speed : My newest mini-workshop. Amazing how many suggestions and ideas we exchanged with all the participants.
  • Continuous Inspection as part of Continuous Deployment : Open space topic with tens of attendees and several side-topics came up to the “table” during the discussion
  • Real-life stories from teams that moved from tradition deployment to cloud deployment : As expected, there were not that many stories but I learned a lot of stuff from people that are effectively using Amazon for the cloud infrastructure and deployments.

I had the chance to meet also all the organizers and the folks behind ITAKE un-conference. You rock guys and I’m pretty sure that the event will become better and better every day. Thank you for having me part of this year’s event and looking forward to seeing you around Europe in another (un-)conference.

Did you also attend the unconference? Are you curious what others said? People are talking about it on Twitter using the #itakeunconf hashtag.

Daniel Billing’s experience as keynote at I T.A.K.E Unconference 2017

Aug 16, 2017
Blog post by Daniel Billing, keynote I T.A.K.E Unconference 2017, originally appeared on his blog. Republished with permission. Thanks Dan for your active participation during the unconference.


When learning new things, ideas, skills or exploring new perspectives, the image above reflects how I am feeling when I am trying to assimilate and process all the activities I take part in within the testing community. It’s that beautiful and terrifying moment when you are flying and the sun is ablaze on the horizon. It’s knowing you’ve learned a lot, but there is so much left to learn. Perhaps a move one way or another will lead to failure, but as long as you are quick to learn from those mistakes you can be on a well-lit path again.

Over the last month or so I’ve been attending a few events, including I T.A.K.E. Unconference in Bucharest, Romania, Let’s Test in Stockholm, Sweden and Nordic Testing Days in Tallinn, Estonia. Each of these events offered something new and different for myself as a contributor to those events. However, it is the other aspects of what they provide that are important.

I T.A.K.E. Unconference

I T.A.K.E Unconference was my first time giving a Keynote talk at a conference. This was a huge honor not just to be asked to give a talk, but also the fact that it wasn’t a testing conference. I T.A.K.E. Unconference is a developer conference. Every attendee is highly technical, lives and breathes the code they write and the tools they use. It made me realize that whilst I have spent a lot of time learning about security, there is so much else to learn. Especially about how developers learn and work, and how applications are crafted.

I spent hours talking about how to build good environments for testing using tools like Docker and Heroku, or exploring how developers think about testing. A lot of it is about unit testing, some of it is about automation. But there are a lot of developers who understand the value of good testing and want to work with testers to make it happen. There is a lot we can do better to support them in this endeavor. These are things we should be doing at Medidata…testing cannot happen or exist in a vacuum.

Yes, there were those that think the role of testing or testers is now defunct, where a technical person can achieve all things they need to on a project. It was interesting to be able to discuss and challenge some of that thinking, where a tester can be a specialist or advocate for testing on their project; rather than someone who executes tests, gathers test results and creates endless meaningless reports. I’m not saying reporting is bad, just the doing the wrong reporting is bad, and unhelpful. It doesn’t add value, nor does it explain to those who don’t test what the value of the testing is.

I T.A.K.E. is a hotbed of software craftspeople. People who want to build and develop great software for their customers and clients. The best talk I went to while I was there was one of the other keynotes. Felienne Hermans, of the Netherlands, gave a talk called:

What is science? On craftsmanship for children

This reflected on her approaches to teaching coding to children. Children learn predominately through play, exploring their environment, and asking questions. It’s something that adults have largely forgotten how to do, or if we haven’t has become more formalized. We’ve turned play and learning into work instead. We can make our learning far more creative through events such as hackathons. We should review, model and landscape our applications inside the environment we are working in. Children do this far more naturally than (some) adults.


Read the full article here.

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