This year at the Agile Testing Days, I attended Samantha Laing and Karen Greaves 1/2-day workshop “The Collaborative Team”. It turned out that there was just one other participant in this tutorial, so actually it was much more like a private coaching session. A big thank you for offering the session anyway and making this possible.
The information and exercises were all about building and keeping trust in the team. I found it very interesting that, in order to increase the trust level, it is also important to know what the team can (and can not) influence.
Knowing this, makes it easier for teams to cope with undesirable situations. For example one of my recent teams was moved out of the building where most other teams are located, to a place some minutes walking down the road. For me, it was much easier to understand and accept this, after we learned about the reasons management gave us. — I still didn’t actually like the situation, but at least it was clear why this decision had been made.
This is a theme we touched in the tutorial time and time again: Talking and listening to each other helps immensely.
Another important takeaway for me were the exercises about the power of questions. The ability and patience to listen to people until they have spoken is so important. I have been given solutions (or suggestions for immediate steps) so often, when instead it would have been important to first understand the problem in more detail, rather than providing the tips that came to mind first. — I admit that I have done this, too.
With the experience from this workshop and the material we were given, I feel much better prepared to help teams improve, not limited to software testing but also in the topics we covered in this coaching session.
I liked the half-day format of the session a lot for two main reasons. First of all, this coaching session with two coaches and two attendees was very intensive and a little bit exhausting (but in a good way). Second of all, I had a free afternoon that I was able to spend in the beautiful city of Potsdam.
Thank you very much Karen & Sam and of course co-attendee Elena! If you have the chance to get this kind of session at a conference (or elsewhere), I can only and full-heartedly recommend it.
My ‘Day 1’ of this conference ended with a delicious speakers dinner in a very festive atmosphere.