## Our Team is Microservice Based?
The Tracetest team has a lot of similarities to a distributed system built via a microservice architecture. Ok, this is an awkward analogy, but hang with me. The team is distributed, with members in 3 continents, 6 countries, and 7 cities. While we use English for our team communication, we represent 4 different native languages - Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, and English. We come from different cultures, have different backgrounds, and have different sets of experiences, both technically and personally. From this diversity, we derive a strength as a development team that is unique in my professional experience - we are developing rapidly, have extremely strong experts pushing the product forward daily and are bringing our unique perspectives together to build a great tool. There are even technical similarities to a microservice based system - we are maintaining communication and flow through a series of contracts (async standups, twice weekly scheduled standups/planning meetings, dedication to achieving our commitments) and utilize a variety of technical protocols (Slack, Google Meet) to pass information to each other.
Similar to distributed microservice systems, these characteristics that provide strength also provide challenges. We work remotely and asynchronously - it is harder to ensure smooth communication, trust, and that the entire team is aligned. It would not be too much of a stretch to say the distributed nature of the team makes observability more challenging. Distributed systems rely on tracing, metrics, and logs to help solve these observability challenges, and are coalescing around the [OpenTelemetry project](https://opentelemetry.io/) to provide the solution. Since we are individuals and not microservices… we decided to increase our ‘Observability’ by gathering the team together. Ok… end of this painful analogy!
## Picking a Centralized Location for a Remote Meeting
Tracetest picked Cartagena as a central location to be ‘Remote Together’. This choice was based on a combination of factors - central location between team members, time and cost to travel, working around crazy visa limitations, interest in and ‘fun’ of the destination. We originally were considering Cancun as a meeting location, but there were visa restrictions for our team member traveling there from Brazil - who knew? Cartagena, which was founded in 1533, has a long history as one of the major trade ports in the Americas, and several team members expressed interest in selecting it. The Old Town of Cartagena has a great selection of hotels, dining, and has an international airport, making it an ideal location.
## Fun in Cartagena’s Old Town
Our meetings were planned for Aug 2nd and 3rd. A majority of the team arrived early, so we ended up having our first team meeting on Monday. It was interesting seeing how tall the various team members were - it ends up that numerous Google Meet calls are not a very reliable source for judging this! Over the course of the 3-4 days, we had a few awesome dinners - [El Arsenal: The Rum Box](https://www.elarsenaltherumbox.com/) and [Carmen](http://www.carmencartagena.com/en/) were the highlights. We also took a break Wednesday around noon for a [Cartagena Street Food](https://www.foodies.com.co/en/product/cartagena-street-food/) tour with Foodies, stopping at 8 or 9 street vendors until we were absolutely stuffed… yet somehow the team still managed to eat the ice cream at the last stop.
## Planning Tracetest v0.7 Release
The meeting did have a work component to it. Our primary task was to plan our next major release, v0.7. Out of that planning, we came up with a list of big boulders (epics) which we grouped into a variety of themes. These are:
New backends - support several new data stores for retrieving captured traces from.
- Support OpenSearch as a backend trace datastore [#1076](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/1076)
- Support OTel Collector Pipeline to Capture Traces [#1071](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/1071)
OSS Contribution - Help [OTel Community Demo Applications SIG](https://github.com/open-telemetry/opentelemetry-demo) w/Front end [#916](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/916)
Improved installation experience.
- Improve CLI release and setup docs [#912](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/912)
- Ease installation process by utilizing CLI to do the server install [#1077](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/1077)
Developer Focus - Make Tracetest a better tool for Developers to troubleshoot initial writing of microservices and instrumentation of the code - [#1078](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/1078)
Variables & Chaining:
- Chaining Tests [#1040](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/1040)
- Add variables to test triggers [#948](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/948)
- cli: output improvements [#1067](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/1067)
- Associate and show CI environment info with each test run when run from a tool such as Github Actions [#1066](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/1066)
- Deep link to test result [#1052](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest/issues/1052)
You will hear more about each of these projects and see us incorporate them into the product over the next couple months. Have particular questions, thoughts, or input on any of these? Feel free to add your comments to any of the Github issues.
## Worth the Trouble and Expense?
Getting a remote, globally dispersed team together is neither easy nor trivial. Travel is hard. Our geographically closest team member, Jorge from Ecuador, had the most connections to get to Cartagena - 4! Our UX designer, Olly, came from Kyiv. Her return trip home included a 22 hour bus ride from Poland to Kyiv due to the invasion of her country by Russia. Was all this travel worth it? I believe each of us would say ‘Absolutely’! It is hard to get to know people via teleconference, and there is no substitute for in person conversations, breaking bread with coworkers, and having an after hours drink at El Arsenal with the team. Friendships were made, and each of us came away feeling even more a part of a special team. Over the next few weeks, look for the features described above to be incorporated into our open source testing tool on [Github](https://github.com/kubeshop/tracetest). Feel free to add to the Github issues linked above, or join us on our [Discord channel](https://discord.com/channels/884464549347074049/963470167327772703) to discuss the future of Trace-Based Testing with Tracetest!