Georgia & Andy
Mar 9, 2016
4 mins reading time

Sharing is caring

Introduction

Ok, so public speaking is scary (at least, for most of us), and having to present something to your team members, with the implied suggestion that they’ll be richer from the experience, is no exception.

Incidentally, this post was initially intended to cover our learnings on some Exploratory Testing techniques following a conference, but after sitting down and discussing our thoughts on the experience, it became apparent that what occurred outside of the conference had the bigger impact on both of us. The process of knowledge sharing.

The conference

Leading up to the event, we found ourselves asking each other “What if we don’t take away anything worth sharing?”. We had some pressure to not only absorb all the relevant information, but also to relay that information to a room full of our colleagues. What if it simply wouldn’t be enough?

The lesson we learnt: Don’t expect to come back with your mind blown.

40%. This is the figure we agreed on when we were driving back home. From a whole day of relatively intense learning, we concluded that, with a bit of tweaking and a lot of consideration, around 40% of what we’d taken away could be adapted and applied to our own workplace. Not to say the rest of what we’d learnt wasn’t interesting, it was a huge eye-opener, just not what we could call “relevant” to what we do, and as it turned out, 40%, was quite substantial.

Simply showing up to this conference felt worthwhile. Even with zero participation, we would have still walked away with the reassurance that we are approaching our day to day work in well-practiced and proven ways. However, because we got stuck in, we also gained insight into new testing techniques and behaviours, as well as having the opportunity to chat with other testers about what they do.

Essentially, a conference is what you make it.

Co-creating and running the workshop

So, we have pages and pages of notes, and we have a bunch of awesome ideas for activities. All we need to do is implement all of this into an awe-inspiring, well-structured workshop, and we’ll be set.

When it came to actually creating the workshop, we found that we both approach something like this very differently. Trying to balance this project between two individuals, one overly-meticulous and the other hell-bent on the finish line, was a learning curve.

There was a lot of engagement and participation in the conference and we knew that this needed to be a huge part of our own workshop for it to be successful. As such, we decided to poach as many of the activities as possible and adapt them to better fit our own team. From our attendees shouting out random answers at the start of our ‘20 Questions’ challenge, to embracing a ‘strong-style’ bug hunt on everyone’s favourite pizza website, we had an amazing amount of team effort.

By the end, we had both found that our different approaches to completing the presentation had complimented each other, and resulted in a well-rounded and varied workshop that we were both very happy with.

Summary

So, the workshop is over, the room has just emptied, and all that is left to do is close our macs, reflect for a bit, and finally… breathe.

It was done.

So, why have we posted about our experience? The truth is, we were nervous. Neither of us had been to a conference before, and quite honestly, for us, the idea of participating in new exercises with a room full of strangers, not to mention sharing all of this “invaluable” knowledge with our teammates, was kind of unsettling. But, by the time the room emptied, by the time we could finally say it was finished, we both agreed that it had been a challenging but awesome experience, and why not share it?

Georgia Drew & Andrew Hart

Tags testing, sharing, workshop, conference