I’m going back to Madrid after an intense weekend of talks, workshops and of course some free time at the conference Barcelona Software Crafters.
It is not the first time that I attend to that event, and that allowed me to follow the evolution that the event and the organisation had.
In 2016, after hearing a lot of good things from an event called Pamplona Software Craftsmanship and after some time being a part of the community in Madrid I decided to send a proposal to Barcelona Software Craftsmanship. My talk was about “Testing on the toilet” and it was going to be the first time that I was going to give that talk as I thought that the audience could be the right one to start some debates about different testing techniques.
They liked my proposal and it was selected. But I received the first unpleasant surprise when they asked me to buy my ticket for the event. So, I was going to be a speaker and I had to pay my travel and hotel expenses and also I had to pay the ticket. I decided not to keep quiet and I complained, it didn’t look right to me to ask the speakers to pay a ticket and ask them to bring content to your event. The answer that I got was that as it was a community event and a part was an Open Conference all the attendees (speakers or not) could contribute to the event and because of that all of us should pay the expenses that the sponsors were not covering. The answer didn’t convince me and my point of view is still the same: If I decide to go to an Open Space I can choose during the event if I want to propose something or not, but if I go as a speaker I need to prepare it in advance and I have to give that talk because I committed myself to do that.
Despite of not being happy with the answer, I had planned to go with my boyfriend to the conference and, by surprise, I had bought tickets for the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert that would take place that weekend in Barcelona, so I didn’t cancel anything.
When I arrived to the registry the first day I found out something that I didn’t like related to the t-shirts: all of them were the unisex kind (wide shoulders and straight, something that unless I love the design I won’t use except for the gym or as a pyjama, even if some women prefer them). When I asked if the didn’t have female t-shirts they asked me that the order had been too small (only 100 t-shirts) and their provider didn’t allow them to choose different kind of t-shirts.
Those are details that for a lot of people don’t matter, but when you are in an environment that is supposed to be worried because of the obvious lack of diversity (the previous year there were no women at the event and that year we were less than a 5%, and there was no other kind of diversity either), I think that you have to show some concern for the details.
When this year a friend of mine that is involved with the organisation wrote me because they wanted to take steps to improve, I decided to help them. We started with some small changes: we checked that the name Software Craftsmanship was sometimes an entry barrier and the organisers decided to change the name to Software Crafters (more inclusive but keeping the spirit of the conference). They also worked to provide tickets for the underrepresented groups and to share the C4P to try to reach more and different people. And overall, I felt way more attention to the details.
He also asked me if I wanted to send some proposal. The conditions this time were much better: the conference ticket was granted to the speakers, it included event the Saturday dinner and they had managed to provide 200 euros per speaker to cover some of the expenses. The train from Madrid costed me 160 euros with the conference discount that Renfe provides so not everything could be covered, but at least it helps. I was really lucky with the accommodation and Ana Gamito read a twit that I sent looking for someone to share a room and she offered me to stay at her apartment. This has been my first time doing coach surfing and I really liked it as I had the opportunity to know and spend some time with someone so fantastic as Ana and now I’d love to repeat the experience in future events.
In conclusion, I wanted to say that I’m really proud and happy to see hoe events like Barcelona Software Crafters evolve, how they consider the feedback and improve edition by edition. I hope that we manage to transmit that message of continuous improvement to be able to reach more people, because I’m sure that if they knew these events they would enjoy them as much as we have enjoyed it this year participants. Thank you for everything and congratulations to the organisation and the attendees!