As all these years, I went to the Agile Testing Days in Potsdam, Germany. On Tuesday evening I received an award for being the “Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person” 2013. Since this is an award based upon votes on the internet, I want to say thank you for voting for me.

I had prepared a speech, but didn’t deliver it fully. Here is the full thing that I prepared.

Back in 2009 I read a blog entry. A guy named Zeger van Hese wrote it on his blog. He was writing about a shy guy speaking at a conference. That guy had a quite compelling story to tell about how his team of testers discovered agile development practices, and implemented them. The guy seemed pretty nervous when he talked, Zeger wrote. That guy was me, having my first conference talk at Agile Testing Days 2009. I was anxious with all these people that influenced me in the room: Lisa Crispin, Elisabeth Hendrickson, and the evening before that I demoed my talk to Gojko Adzic and Mike Scott.

Skip forward a few years, and I am happy to receive this award. The Most Influential Agile Testing Person. Thank you.

I remember when I was confronted with being influential for the first time in my life. I was still young, a 16 year old teenager. I just gave up swimming, and stepped into a coaching position at my local swimming club. I also stepped up to organize our youth groups.

At that time I had all the terrible ideas in mind that teenagers come up with. I was smoking, drinking beer, partying all night, etc. At some point one of our more senior people took me aside and told me that it’s not a good idea to stand in front of a group of kids with a cigarette in hand. That was when I realized that I indeed had influence with my behavior on others – and that I needed to be cautious with stupid actions.

Boy, was I scared. Receiving this award – Most Influential Agile Testing Person – reminds me about this fact – and it still scares me.

Back in late 2008 I have been involved with the uprising of the Software Craftsmanship movement. From the mailing list, I remember a lively discussion from those early days. The model we had in mind was that of the ancient crafts with their mentor and apprentice model to educate the next generation of software developers. In one discussion we pointed out to the people that influenced us in order to point to our self-picked mentors.

Today, this list would be endless for me. James Bach, Michael Bolton, Elisabeth Hendrickson, Gojko Adzic, Jerry Weinberg, Johanna Rothman, my colleagues at it-agile, past and present, Matt Barcomb, Brett Schuchert, Uncle Bob Martin, Micah Martin, Steve Freeman, Kent Beck, Michael Feathers, Alistair Cockburn, Andreas Leidig, Doug Bradbury, ….

I think this list will never be complete, but these folks influenced me largely – and most of them still do.

When I took a look into the program on Saturday evening to see who will be here, and who will be speaking, I was amazed by the amount of people attending Agile Testing Days this year that influenced me. Lisa Crispin, Janet Gregory, Dan North, my early mentor Matt Heusser, my first apprentice Meike Mertsch, Tony Bruce, Ajay Balamurugadas who introduced me to Weekend Testing, Huib Schoots, Jean-Paul Varwijk, Anna Royzman, Pete Walen, James Lyndsay, Bart Knaack, the TestLab gurus, Seb Rose, J.B. Rainsberger, … even this list seems infinite, and it’s hard for me to not run into a familiar face in the hallways at this conference.

What that look on the program on Saturday evening taught me is that this conference heavily influenced me. It seems to be a large family reunion. It always has felt like that in the years past. That said, keep on being influenced, maybe by me, and also by these great people that I learned so much from on my own.

Thank you.

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