James Bach’s First Time in Vietnam
After a few questionable trips to other Asian countries, James Bach wasn’t sure he was ready to visit another one. KMS invited Bach to teach a workshop and while he was initially uninterested in the opportunity, his colleagues Lee Copeland and Paul Holland convinced him to go based on their past experiences. He finally took the plunge this summer and hopped on a 747 to Ho Chi Minh City to keynote the HCMC Software Testing Conference and conduct a Rapid Software Testing Workshop.
Bach’s experience in Vietnam was surprisingly delightful. He expected it to be similar to the other countries, where their government made basic things like business travel very difficult. He appreciated the flexibility of the Vietnamese government and their willingness to make business travel a breeze. Upon arrival, Bach was given a cell phone, taxi cards, and a data stick by the team at KMS, immediately making him feel taken care of which was deeply appreciated.
When traveling to Asia in the past, he had occasionally been given a translator when teaching. When he didn’t receive one in Vietnam, he anticipated a scenario that occurred in the past: teaching an entire exploratory testing class then being asked questions like, “Would you explain exploratory testing?” It was disheartening for him because they wasted their time listening to what they didn’t understand. However, in Vietnam, this wasn’t the case. Attendees were engaged and active listeners and weren’t afraid to get into long passionate debates with raised voices, challenging Bach throughout the session. They had an assertiveness that he didn’t expect, but welcomed as it rung true to KMS’s people being innovators, consultants, and problem solvers versus blindly following orders.
Not only did Bach enjoy the business side of his trip, but he also enjoyed learning about the culture as well. One of his favorite aspects of the trip was the friendliness of the locals and how the city felt young and vibrant, evidence of the thriving economy. The variety of food available was rich in culture and flavor. Bach enjoyed learning all about Pho, a widely recognized Vietnamese dish, and eating plenty of it. It wasn’t hard to get good food as the locals paid a lot of attention to him at meal times; it was important to them that he ate and was well fed – something every client or colleague we send to Vietnam is impressed with. The fresh spring rolls, wonderfully smooth coffee, and all of the Vietnamese soul food on every corner were warming to his spirit especially being away from the familiarities of home.
Bach’s perception of Vietnam changed dramatically from a country he had no intentions of ever visiting to a destination where he thoroughly enjoyed his stay. Bach made it clear that he will return to Vietnam in the future, and that Vietnam’s technical talent is on the rise.