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What I learned at Test Coach Camp 2012

First of all, I had a blast at text coach camp!

I am very happy I made that decision last Friday. Before coming to San Jose I had not applied to go to the Test Coach Camp. I was going to explore the town and its surroundings to adapt to the time difference before CAST. I had dinner with the TCC participants and got to know they had some last minute drop-offs. So I was encouraged to go through the application process, which I did later that night by creating this mind map for application.

My TCC mind map

The format was an open space conference where everyone contributes. So we started off presenting everyones possible contributions and self-organizing a schedule. And I was amazed how much knowledge and experience that was in the room at that time.

Session presentations

First day

Much of the first day for me went into different flavors of discussing coaching non-testers (developers, PO, PM, stakeholders etc.) how to test. As my own CAST talk is related to that, It was nice to get some different perspectives on it from several of the other TCC people and especially Claire Moss. She actually ended up walking me though her own emerging topic presentation. Thank you Claire.

Coaching non-testers

Second day

The second day started off with a recap of scheduling, and then went off with a swift start. Wade Wachs proposed a talk on coaching juggling compared to coaching testing. Since I have juggled for several years, I crashed in on his session. Announcing to him that I am also a juggler and offering to help, we instructed the others how to start with one, two and then three balls. We actually should have talked a little more to each other before the session, since I stepped on his toes a couple of times. I got as excited as him when being able to coach the others in something I have been able to do for years. Although within the session Wade and me coordinated some efforts, and we also realized we had different coaching styles as well as different things that we could instruct on since our knowledge in the practice are not completely the same. In the retrospective, the group found that individual coaching and group coaching can be applied and they complement each other. Also, it was encouraging for the group to be diverse in skill set so there was always someone to look at for inspiration when coaches were not available. I really liked this exercise since both testing and juggling needs a lot of practice to become good. This meant that there was no possibility to “finish” a 1 hours exercise being fully skilled in either juggling or testing.

Juggling Coaching

My session – Expectations management

I had my own session on Managing Customer Expectations as a part of a software testers toolbox. Inspired by Naomi Kartens book on it and some very related situations in my current work environments I wanted to explore my peers view on handling expectations of two different aspects; product quality expectations and test effort/outcome expectations. This relates to the prioritization game discussion I wrote about earlier. The outcome of my session was captured on flip charts, although not very thorough. The discussions were good and I ended up in a private session with Matt Barcomb where he showed me some examples of visualizing quality that he has done in the past.

What I also learned

– I learned a trick from Paul Carvalho how to actually tie my shoes if you don’t want them to tie up. Small detail in my current knitting that should change the probability of having to tie the shoes again.

– I got to know some new people. Is that a learning you might say? Well, in Swedish the word for learning is used also when referring to meeting new people. “Lära känna” or “Learn to know” would be a possible phrase you might hear from a Swede that does not know English very well. Now you learned something as well! =)

– Hanging around 30 people for two days, that are dedicated to their craft of software testing in a room with no windows is probably more rewarding than two days of missed sightseeing.

Thank you!

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