The KWST (quest) for learning

Kiwi Workshop on Software TestingKWST#3 (like quest) was a workshop that exceeded my expectations and the reasons are several. At KWST#1, there was the brand new buzz, the excitement of something new and the start of something significant in the New Zealand software testing world. KWST#2 was an example of contention and more importantly, connecting and finding. KWST#2 allowed us as Kiwi testers to connect with an Australian leader, David Greenlees who has gone on to set up OZWST and Tasting Lets Test. KWST#2 also unearth Katrina Edgar as *new* voice in the testing community.

KWST#3 was again, a completely different vibe.  This workshop was the first without James Bach (however his influence was strong) and it was a very ANZAC peer conference. The attendees for KWST#3 were:-

Katrina Edgar – Wellington, NZ
Oliver Erlewein – Wellington, NZ
Rich Robinson – Sydney, Australia
Brian Osman – Wellington, NZ
Anne Marie Charrett – Sydney, Australia
Jennifer Hurrell – Auckland, New Zealand
Erin Donnell – Auckland, New Zealand
Katrina McNicholl – Christchurch, New Zealand
Andrew Robins – Christchurch, New Zealand
Mike Talks – Wellington, New Zealand
Tessa Benzie – Christchurch, New Zealand
Alesasandra Moreira – Sydney, Australia
James Hailstone – Wellington, New Zealand
Lee Hawkins – Melbourne, Australia
Damian Glenny – Wellington, New Zealand
Shirley Tricker – Auckland, New Zealand
Joshua Raine – Wellington, New Zealand
Colin Cherry – Melbourne, Australia

And as you can see we had New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne covered.  Only David from Adelaide was missing! Now some might wonder if this is a Kiwi workshop why are there invites from Australia? If anything, the name KWST denotes its origins but it is exclusive to Kiwi’s.  We are after leaders, we are after strong craftspeople – we want to build the community, we want to get better!  One of the very obvious benefits to come from KWST#3 is the Closer Tester Relations that now exist between the countries making *our* community downunder just that much bigger and better.

[side note – there was some talk about the exclusivity of communities and events – I won’t address that issue here but will in a future post].

Ok, so what went down at KWST#3? For a start, KWST#3 unearthed more testing leaders. I could go through the whole attendee list but every single one is a testing leader – my challenge to them (us) is extend their (our) sphere of influence and help other testers see through the nonsense that is out there at the moment and become better testers.

Some thoughts i managed to record in between facilitating were:-

  • Real testing is about communication and building relationships
  • Create a space that facilitates the opportunity to learn
  • If you are questioning why you are testing, find your community to help answer why
  • Its not about teaching, its about learning
  • Dispel the myth and then harness the power
  • Test the idea – is there value here?
  • In learning, become hands on and acknowledge the risk

And a sample of some of the many excellent tweets tweeted during the two days.

#KWST3 @thbenzie … Excellent ER… If you can dispel a myth you can foster engagement, collaboration, confidence and sharing

#KWST3… Andrew “Capt Stubing” Robins taking about his team’s JBE..James Bach Experience in 2004 @jamesmarcusbach

Some of the lessons learned
It is important to have a good mix of people and much better to have people who share common ground.

Good facilitation works well though I’ve learned not to kill the conversation too soon

CITCON – Oliver had a great idea to print off the ER descriptions, put them on the wall and everyone voted what ER they wanted to hear. We did this from ER three onwards. It seemed to work pretty well (CITCON )

Having a +1 card wouldve been very helpful as a number of yellow cards (and some cases green and red) were thrown in support of what was said by the person delivering the ER. Gives the presenter instant feedback.

The success of these workshops is in the sum of the everyone involved. Find a core  group to work with.

Twitter generates excitement, comment and feedback. Define the harsh tag and let everyone know.

Sitting close to the co-facilitaor and content owner helps to quickly make decisions!

Regular breaks = regular networking opportunities

Playing “testing games” is a good way to learn, share and break up the workshop

Day one is all nervous energy. Day two is more relaxed and people open up a lot more

Last day check out also included the question – “what I will do in then next twelve months?” – Give everyone a call to action…it seemed to work well. Already, a number of KWST’ers who have deferred using social media have made the leap!

KWST#3 (and OZWST, Tasting Lets Test and so on) are gaining momentum down under.  These are REAL leadership workshops aimed at helping the craft of software testing improve. Its alot more than juts talking – its debating, challenging, discussing, sharing, helping, networking and building the personal connections which are vital to a successful community.  KWST#3 achieved that.

Oliver summed it up best with his tweet…

#KWST3 us organisers feel so rapt! It looks like we’re actually achieving what #KWST set out to do and everyone is really enjoying it too.

KWST is ABOUT bringing community leaders together (and finding them) and raising the bar in our world. My challenge to you (us) all is what are you doing to help the craft (and the community) become better?

Collin Cherry’s thougyhts on KWST#3

Aaron Hodder’s braindump from KWST#3

David Greenlees perspective

KWST#3 002 KWST#3 attendees

Discussion in action                                      KWST#3 – Attendees


Author: bjosman

Principal Consultant at OsmanIT

5 thoughts on “The KWST (quest) for learning”

  1. I am a never say die guy. I keep trying and get success through hard work. But hard work is not enough. You also need to have relevant skills to do the job well. So I read books, blogs, and where ever I get access to get knowledge. I ended up reading this book “Software Testing & quality assurance: from traditional to cloud computing” recently. Man, it is useful. really recommendable.

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