SoCraTes - Software Craftsmanship and Testing (un)conference
I was last week at the SoCraTes 2015 in Soltau, Germany. As the name suggests, it is mainly about Software Craftsmanship and Testing. I have attended several conferences in the course of my life, in the last two years mainly unconferences as SoCraTes. But I don’t want to tell you, what an unconference is. You can read it in my previous blog SoCraTes 2014
Let me tell you why SoCraTes is such an exceptional conference.
Upon arrival, I got the feeling to come back home. Long unseen friends, greetings, hugs and the first “how are you? You might think that if you already know each other is not particularly difficult to feel comfortable. Well, unfortunately, I have to disagree. I’ve never felt in other conferences such a feeling, even though I already knew some of the participants. I have visited the wrong conferences? Maybe, but that do not change the great sensation of being welcome at the Socrates. Furthermore, new and unknown faces are also warmly welcomed. It does not require any secret memberships or academic degrees to be easily accepted. The participants of the conference are open, friendly and share common passions. The slogans, which interest us are agility, software craftsmanship and testing software. So it’s easy to find common ground.
I have done no statistics in the conference, but let just assume that, on average, each of the participants has five years of experience in his field (I think there are more than five years, but as an example, five are enough). With 170 participants, this means 850 years of experience together in one place. This experience is potentially available for everyone. Can you imagine how big such a knowledge pot is? Every time when I think about it, I’m speechless. Through the unconference format, anyone can offer his knowledge or place issues on certain topics, and so allow the best possible exchange.
The location also plays an important role. The hotel where the conference took place, is somewhat isolated. This gives us the opportunity to spend all the time together. We don’t have only the time of the official conference at our disposal, but also the evening can be filled with activities and discussions. In my humble opinion, this increases the fun and enjoyment considerably. We not only learn a lot, but also have fun doing it.
In traditional conferences, the speakers are shortly available after their talks for discussions with the participants, but mostly stay among themselves. At the SoCraTes, the distinction between speakers and participants is fully cancelled. This enormously arise the opportunities to exchange ideas.
Although the official language of the conference is English, you don’t need to be a leading light of the English language to be able to communicate well. Even my limited knowledge is enough. Every Participant make an effort and no one is bothered because of his language skills. The fact is that you must not be afraid to make mistakes. This allows conversations in a much more natural way.
As you read, the Socrates is a remarkable conference. A conference in which people are the important thing. A place of inspiration, to gather strength for the daily work.
At the moment in which I write this blog, the following SoCraTes and partner conferences are known to me:
- SoCraTes Canaries
- I T.A.K.E. Unconference
- SoCraTes UK
- SoCraTes Day CH
- SoCraTes FR
- SoCraTes BE
I would like to thank the Softwerkskammer , all organizers and all participants for making it possible.