During the past few years, I’ve organized, held, and participated in quite a few test team workshops to help build and evolve test skills and practices with the different teams I’ve been a part of.
When putting together a workshop, I like to consider my audience, their familiarity is on the topic, how I’ll present the topic, how I’ll engage the participants, how it can help them, and what I’d like the team to take away from the workshop. Taking the aforementioned into consideration, I’ll start putting the workshop together.
I am an advocate of highly participatory workshops where everybody is actively involved and where we all learn from each other. I believe it’s people’s interest, curiously, and their own test and project situations that often brings forth the most intriguing questions, thoughts, and comments – all which fuel the energy in the room.
I believe there’s a lot of learning that can be had listening to presentations and talks from some people. Some of these people deliver information so well, you’re often at the edge of your seat. The things you can learn from listening to a talk can go a long way.
I also believe that a great way to learn test skills in a workshop setting is by actually applying and practicing the skill as part of the workshop, with the rest of the team and participating. It’s a great way to learn, to brainstorm with others, to practice, to put your ideas into your work and then build on them while learning from others. In short, we’re learning by actually doing.
I also enjoy having everybody, or every team share the results of their respective tasks during the workshop. It gives everybody a chance to show what they’ve done, how, what thought process they used and for them to explain it and allow their peers to ask questions. It enables their peers to learn alternative ways, or additional ways a task could have been approached, and build on what they’ve put together.
What’s the point of taking time away during a busy work day to attend a team workshop if you’re not going to learn and enjoy it? I find workshops are usually as great as the participants make it – especially in an open, active environment where everybody participates and learns together. Generally speaking, when people are invited to workshops and they get to actively learn, get involved, present, brainstorm and work on tasks together – they enjoy the experience, use some of the skills from the workshop in the context of their own projects, and want to attend more workshops!