My experience Speaking at the WomenTech Global Conference 2021

I had the amazing opportunity to speak at the amazing event that was the WomenTech Global Conference 2021 #WTGC2021. This was a huge event for women in tech, minorities and allies from all over the world

The best part of the event was the interactive platform featuring live ceremonies, keynotes, engaging panels, breakout rooms, country & chapter leader sessions, technical workshops, and networking with face-to-face sessions.

I presented a talk on 8th June, the second day of the conference which was themed as “Inspiration Day”

My talk was about “The Power of Tech Communities” where I discussed-

  • Realising the power of Tech Communities in professionals’ lives
  • Learning to participate, volunteer and contribute to Tech Communities
  • Learning how Tech Communities help Products take their brand forward
  • How can companies build such powerful user communities and leverage their power

I was glad my session had many listeners from all over the world who not only participated along with their comments in the chat, but also left some amazing feedback!

Me speaking at the WomenTech Global Conference – virtual event

Not only this, I was also chosen to moderate 2 very interesting Break-room discussions that were based on impromptu questions asked and voted by all participants. In these discussions, we were able to have informal open discussions, ask questions and share our personal experiences on the chosen topic.

I was able to participate in the week long event and hear many amazing speakers talk about a variety of topics relevant to the industry.

Through this event I was able to connect to many amazing people from all over the world and so many amazing women trying to make a positive impact in the world of tech! I hope to stay connected with this wonderful community for years to come.

A special thanks to Anna Radulovski who reached out to me on Linkedin and invited me to speak at this grand event. She conducted the event with so much passion and grace and kept the energy going throughout the week!

Proud to be a part of an amazing set of speakers!

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Here is the link to a recording of my talk- You will need to create an account to access

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Cheers

Nishi

My Contribution to the eBook ’21st Century Skills for Software Testers’

I am proud to announce another one of my contributions made its way to the eBook titled ‘21st Century Skills for Software Testers‘. This initiative was started by Emna Ayadi and Ard Kramer asking for contributions from various testers on their thoughts about the essential pivotal skill sets that benefit software testers.

🚀 This bilingual book made by software testers is all about:
How we apply 21st-century skills:
🔸 Critical thinking
🔹 Communication
🔸 Collaboration
🔹 Creativity
and also how we are going to use these skills in the future.

#21stskills4testers

This was a great initiative to bring together thoughts of many great testers from around the globe. There are some great pieces featured and a number of things to learn. I am super excited to feature in not one but Two sections in there –

Check out what I wrote in the First section of ‘Critical Thinking’ – Section 1.1.15 ‘Stories of Testers from the Present’ and Section 1.2.8 ‘Imaginations and Thoughts of Testers’

Find the eBook here -> https://leanpub.com/_21stskills4testers And you can download the book for free (fill out 0 dollars)

Glad to be featured along with so many awesome people from around the globe!

I am grateful for the opportunity and always welcome more such chances to contribute my thoughts for the betterment of the testing community!

Cheers

Nishi

Are You Driving Talent Away?

Regardless of size, your business can ill afford a high employee turnover rate. That’s because restocking on talent is costly, with Forbes reporting how hiring a replacement costs employers 33% of the outgoing employee’s annual salary. So, if an employee who earns $45,000 annually resigns, replacing them could cost the company $15,000. Crucially, it takes new hires 8–12 weeks to get up to speed and be at their most productive best, which means your business isn’t just losing money with high employee turnover — you’re also sacrificing productivity.

It goes without saying that employee retention is vital, especially in light of work-from-home setups making things trickier and a lot more challenging. That said, you might be driving away members of your team unknowingly, and adversely impacting your company’s bottom line.

As such, it is now time to take a long, hard look at your management style, and check if there are practices or company policies that might be pushing even your best employees out the door. In particular, you might want to determine whether or not you are guilty of the following, which are sure to tick off your team and get them looking elsewhere.

Setting Unclear Goals


Chron contributor Jim Woodruff details how employees respond favorably when they know clearly and concretely what the company expects from them. In turn, they are more likely to be enthusiastic about work, and in working towards those goals. Setting goals is particularly important in this era of remote work given the difficulties of communicating company objectives to offsite teams.

Without clear goals to guide them, employees working from home can grow easily distracted, and will be tempted to look for either greener pastures or something more fulfilling. Business writer James Gonzales highlights how when working from home, the days tend to melt into each other and can become monotonous. This makes it crucial to have goals for employees to keep them motivated, and working towards the attainment of concrete goals. Whether professional (as in a promotion) or personal (like skills development), these goals will keep your team engaged, and much more likely to stay.


Micromanaging


Micromanaging is a surefire way to drive a wedge between you and your employees. This is none truer than in remote working setups, where micromanaging — as in requiring hourly work updates and tracking hours — is generally misconstrued as a lack of trust on the part of management. Whether that’s true or not is moot, as the mere thought of it is enough to demotivate your employees, to the point of making them consider leaving.

Moreover, micromanaging can put undue stress on your employees, who have to deal not just with work, but also with your constant check-ins, nonstop instructions, and grating leadership style. This results in increasing stress levels that can cause burnout and a host of physical maladies that will severely compromise your employees health, until such a time that taking time off or resigning become their only options.

Here are some tips for employees and managers alike –

Ideas for Self-Care when working from home

Tips to keep your Sanity and Productivity Intact when working from home

Not communicating enough


While employees don’t want to be micromanaged, they don’t want to be left in the dark either. They want you to check up on them from time to time, and will appreciate it if you do. This is most true for remote teams, as bumping up communication, according to a previous post on telecommuting by Nishi Grover Garg, is one way you can show engagement and build connections with your employees.

Your failure to communicate, however, can cause friction, confusion, and frustration, as well as a lack of clear direction. It can even stress out your employees, with 4 in 5 Americans admitting to being stressed out due to poor office communication. Tellingly, a 2017 Gallup report underscores the need for better engagement, as it found that excellent workplace communication increases employee retention and productivity by 24% and 17%, respectively.

Here are some tips on Ways to Stay Engaged with your team when Working from Home

exclusively written for testwithnishi.com

by Rowena Jill

Rowena Jill is an entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about inspiring leaders to be better. In her spare time, she loves to bake and tend to her indoor garden.

Image Credits – https://images.pexels.com/photos/3874627/pexels-photo-3874627.jpeg


Are you a Good Agile Leader?

Agile leaders are supposed to get the maximum amount of quality work done with minimum control of the situation. The team constantly needs support and guidance while remaining independent and self-motivated.

How do you get this done within the tight deadlines? Do you have the team’s trust, and do they have yours? How do you know if you are a good leader for your agile team?

In my article for Testrail blog, I discussed the challenges of Agile Leadership and shared some tips for aspiring Agile Leaders to excel in their team management! Here are some areas to focus on:-

Communication

Communication is the backbone of agile. Open, clear and frequent communication breathes life into the agile team.

As an agile leader, you will be required to be big on communication, stressing its need, ensuring it is happening, and keeping it open and constructive at all times. You may even need to get over your own fear or reluctance if you are an introvert! A good agile leader needs to constantly encourage people to work together, discuss issues, and enforce good communication practices.

Vision

As a good agile leader, it is imperative to maintain a clear vision for the project. Since agile requires teams to deliver working software frequently, most of the team’s time is spent concentrating on different tasks and activities to make the release happen.

But since requirements change often, it is easy to lose sight of the overall vision for the project amidst all that chaos. It falls to the leader to keep the team aligned, maintain the overall vision, and help everyone zoom out periodically to look at the bigger picture.

Removing Impediments

A Good Agile Leader

An agile leader is required to be a constant problem solver. They need to look for problems before they happen and resolve them as early as possible.………

Read More »

My contribution to the eBook “Software People- Work From Home” -now on Leanpub

I am super excited to share that I have my first ever contribution to an eBook now published on Leanpub. This eBook called “Software People- Work From Home” is initiated and compiled by Stephan Kamper and Maik Nogens which has many software professionals from all around the globe contributing their stories, experiences and ideas on their work-from-home experiences.

In my chapter , I wrote about Speaking and Engaging from home in this pandemic-induced lock-down situation. I shared my take on engaging with your colleagues, engaging with the community and also with oneself while working from home. Check out Chapter-9 in the eBook to read my contribution. Please give it a read and support this wonderful initiative –> https://leanpub.com/softwarepeopleworkfromhome

Catch updates and opinions about the book, and tweet about it using the hashtag #SoftwarePeopleWfhBook

My Work-from-Home Desk

Another fun aspect of this eBook is getting to see all the fun ‘work-from-home’ setups and desk images shared by the authors along with their write-ups. It brings a sense of belonging, understanding and normalcy to this unique situation and helps you relate to the writer’s life and experiences. I , too shared by home desk image! 🙂

Find out how software people experienced the corona-virus-caused time working from home!

Software people from all over the planet share their insights & experiences, opinions, and tips.

The coronian times during the year of 2020 have – in fact are still at the time of the writing – proven to provide a good number of challenges for everyone.

– eBook “Software People- Work From Home”

This eBook is available for free at LeanPub. Please give it a read and support this wonderful initiative! https://leanpub.com/softwarepeopleworkfromhome

Cheers

Nishi

Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communications in Agile Teams

Communication is the foundation of success for an agile team. Agile teams need to set up effective communication channels and have a culture of constant communication for complete transparency.

However, there are often several challenges that act as barriers to productive communication and may lead to people problems as well as delayed or failed projects. In my article for TestRail https://blog.gurock.com/agile-barrier-communication/ , I have discussed some of the most common barriers to effective communication for agile teams, as well as how you can overcome them.

  • Physical Barriers
  • Cultural and Language Barriers
  • Emotional Barriers
  • Perceptual Barriers

Read the complete article here ->

Agile teams require constant communication, so it immensely benefits the team to recognize their barriers to effective communication and take some measures to overcome these barriers. Every step taken in this regard leads the team farther down their path to true agility.

My talk @Playscrum Meetup by Leanpitch- 20 July’19

I was invited to present a talk at this month’s @Playscrum Meetup at Bangalore, hosted by @Leanpitch technologies on 20th July

It was a small event with a great set of delegates who gathered to hear me talk about Gamification in Agile teams. Agile teams rely heavily on communication and collaboration among all team members. In this session, I talked about about ‘Innovation Games’ which help make all agile meetings and ceremonies shorter, crisper, more visual and open involving all team members.

It was an interactive session wherein we played many Innovation Games with the audience volunteers, which was a big hit with everyone. There was good participation, many great ideas and discussions in the group. Overall a good experience at my first Playscrum meetup in Bangalore. Would love to collaborate again soon!

Here is a glimpse of the event-

https://www.meetup.com/PlayScrum-Bangalore/events/262475507/

A Day in the Life of an Agile Tester

An agile tester’s work life is intriguing, busy and challenging. A typical day is filled with varied activities like design discussions, test planning, strategizing for upcoming sprints, collaborating with developers on current user stories, peer reviews for teammates, test execution, working with business analysts for requirement analysis and planning automation strategies.

In my article for Gurock TestRail blog, I have explored a typical day in the life of an agile tester and how varied activities and tasks keep her engaged, busy and on her toes all the time!

agile tester.png

Let’s sneak a peek into a day in the life of an agile tester — > You will go through the daily routine of an agile tester and will experience their complicated schedule in real time.

Read full article

https://blog.gurock.com/agile-tester-work-life/

 

The Real Key to Agile Success: Communication

Dear Readers,

I am glad to share that my latest article found its way to agileconnection.com !

Here are some excerpts from the article –

Many organizations have issues during the transition to an agile workflow. Some teams never quite recover from that transformation stage; they say they tried agile but it didn’t work for them, or they are still struggling to get it going. If we look for the real reason behind all these troubles, I bet the majority fo the time, it would be communication.

Agile is designed for smaller that want to get more done with fewer formal processes. Iteratively building and demonstrating the desired products for more immediate feedback is the goal.

Think about the common practices of an agile team: daily stand-up meetings, retrospectives after every sprint, pair programming and buddy reviews, collaborating with customers, and more face-to-face time instead of mountains of documentation.

What is the agenda behind all these operations? Frequent and open communication.

Agile teams are designed so that everybody is aware of everyone’s tasks, progress, strengths, and output each day. The difficulty is communicating all this information.

Let’s say a team was working on a sprint with some defined user stories. The team started working on their assigned stories, using what little was specified in the requirements and assuming the rest. Nothing much was brought up in the daily stand-up meetings, which were short and missed often. The developers worked on their stuff, and in the last few days of the sprint passed their code on to the testers, who began their test design parallel to the test execution. Most of the testing was done in an exploratory fashion, owing to the lack of information and time.

Of course, problems arose. Testers blamed faulty designs and the lack of information provided to them. In turn, the developers blamed the specifications. The manager—who was missing for most of the sprint—now appears and questions the team about the quality issues. Most of the user stories become spill-over items to work on during the next sprint due to the design changes needed.

Unfortunately, this is probably not an unfamiliar situation for many of you. An agile team can’t succeed if communication is lacking.

The team in the example earlier could have done much better if they had nurtured their communication skills. The developers should have discussed the specifications and pointed out missing or ambiguous aspects to the manager, who then would have talked to the clients to get clarifications. The test team should have been involved in all these communications, building their tests in parallel and getting them reviewed. Developers and testers should have coordinated their user stories to buddy test the features and get maximum issues resolved in advance. And everyone should have been participating in stand-up meetings to communicate progress and risks. If this had happened, by the end of the sprint the user stories would have been resolved, and the team could have delivered a better-quality product.

Naturally, it’s easier to look at a failed project afterward and point out what should have been done differently. How can you set your team up for success from the beginning? Before even seriously considering the logistics of agile adoption, you should start looking at all aspects of communication in your teams.

The assigned ScrumMasters must have the ability to communicate and manage the team well, as well as encourage teammates to speak their minds. The agile team may need some verbal or written skills training if they are not used to informal communications via chats, email, or short documents.

All communication within the agile team must be addressed to the complete team, including sharing any documents, release plans or schedules, review requests and feedback, risks or concerns, and even leave updates. This builds a complete sense of oneness within the team and maintains complete transparency at all times.

The managers and leads must ensure open communication and healthy feedback during all meetings and also encourage team members individually to share their ideas and opinions. Likewise, the team must be receptive to constructive criticism and ready to learn from their mistakes.

Only in such an environment will the real agile spirit thrive and teams will be able to find success in their endeavors.

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Read the complete article and do share your thoughts!

https://www.agileconnection.com/article/real-key-agile-success-communication