My experience speaking at Targeting Quality 2019, Canada

I am back from the trip to Canada which followed the big day that was #TQ2019. So, I finally have a chance to share my experiences. This event https://kwsqa.org/tq2019/schedule/ organised by KWSQA was special in a number of ways-

  1. It was my first international conference talk ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. I was one of the few international speakers at the conference, and the one who traveled the farthest for it!
  3. I was the only speaker presenting 2 talks!

The travel was big too – with tonnes of visa processing, a 24 hour long flight to Toronto and then a bus ride from Toronto to Cambridge (which I nearly missed ๐Ÿ˜› owing to the infamous Toronto traffic! )

Day 1 of the event was workshops that were in progress when we reached and we got a chance to informally meet the organizers at the desk. That evening they had planned a Speaker dinner which was a great idea. I got to interact and meet with all the speakers, made some friends and so the next day seemed a little less daunting having so many known faces.

24 Sep was the big conference day. Staying at the same hotel gave me the advantage to get ready at my own pace and be on time for the breakfast. The event began with a brief intro and then split into tracks. The first talk I attended was ‘Lean Coffee Facilitators Training’ by Matt Heusser. My first time hearing him speak. His session was fun and engaging and practical. I did #sketchnotes for the talk and also participated in the activity which was fun!

After that was my own session in the next room, so I hurried to setup and get ready. The best part was that the organisers had planned a 15 minutes gap between each talk for QA/Networking which gave the speakers and the delegates some breathing room and time to get to other sessions.

I talked on ‘The What, When and How of Test Automation’ which was a 45 minutes session. The room was full and there were lots of good questions and participation from the audience. I did feel that I handled it well and the topic as well as the proposed ideas were well received! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are a few glimpses into my talk-

Though I was relieved having just delivered a good talk, I still had one more to go! After that was lunch hour. A few participants from my talk invited me to sit at their table and we had so many discussions about work, testing as well as my travel plans ๐Ÿ˜›

Then we got back to talks- I also attended a talk on ‘Barriers in Accessibility Testing’ by Albert Gareev which I also #sketchnoted

Post that I rushed to the lightning talks track as I had to prepare for my next talk that was a 15 minute session on ‘Gamify your Agile Workplace’. As I got there I heard Richard Strang talk about ‘Implementing an Agile QA Guild’ and his experiences that were so varied and interesting. Then I got up to speak and since I was talking about an innovation game called speed boat, I had to first draw a big speed boat on the flipchart (with my limited drawing skills:P ) with a room full of people staring! I guess I managed well as the room MC Tina Fletcher (also president of KWSQA) was impressed with my masterpiece ๐Ÿ˜› hehe

The session went well – the best bit being our Keynote speaker Damian Synadinos attending as well volunteering for the little game we played. It was an honor and an unforgettable experience. I hope the audience took back something tangible to try out gamification in their agile teams.

With both the talks done, it was now time to relax and network. I stopped by the booths by Oracle and NPM, chatted with fellow speakers and delegates, the organizers and also got real time feedback from the attendees who chose to attend my sessions.

Post the little coffee break was the grand closing keynote by Damian and it really was an experience. He mentioned in his intro that he had some improv experience and he really uses it to the best in his speaking! The talk was funny, intriguing, had loads of content, memorable quotes as well as an activity in which I volunteered! And a big Plus — Damian mentioned me and my talk too! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ All in all it was an epic performance and really inspiring as a speaker. Kudos to the effort that went behind putting this together.

The best parts were getting to know so many wonderful people like Josh, Bailey and Dani, and getting to meet @Matt Heuser who I have had the chance to work with online. A face-to-face interaction makes things seem so real and people so approachable. He is a gem of a person and so encouraging too. I also made a friend @Emna who came from Tunisia to speak at the event! We roamed the streets of Cambridge and rode buses together and by the end seemed like we have known each other for so long. I surely hope to see her again at a future conference.

The organizers at TQ2019 had really worked hard and their efforts worked out so well with such a grand event pulled off with great ease, smooth flow and right on schedule. They welcomed us with warmth and helped throughout the day. At the end of the day we all got some time to cool off with a Social event where we mingled and got a chance to express our gratitude and say good byes. I would like to personally thank Greame Harvey, Sabina, Rob, Josh Assad , Jared and Tina Fletcher from the KWSQA committee who were all so helpful and kind.

I am thankful for getting this opportunity and look forward to staying connected with such awesome people. I am also thankful for my supporting hubby who tagged along so that we could make this into a trip – got a chance to explore Toronto, Montreal and Quebec city and of course the majestic Niagara Falls! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers to @KWSQA #TQ2019 and many more to come! ๐Ÿ™‚

I am speaking at ‘Targeting Quality 2019’ , Canada

I am super excited to be speaking at this grand event TQ2019 being organised by KWSQA on 23-24 Sep in Canada!

On top of that I get to present not one but 2 talks!! My topics are

โ€œThe What, When & How of Test Automationโ€ 45 mins

In this I will talk about preparing robust automation strategies. Agile means pace and agile means change. With frequent time boxed releases and flexible requirements, test automation faces numerous challenges. Havenโ€™t we all asked what to automate and how to go about the daily tasks with the automation cloud looming over our heads. Here weโ€™ll discuss answers to some of these questions and try to outline a number of approaches that agile teams can take in their selection of what to automate, how to go about their automation and whom to involve, and when to schedule these tasks so that the releases are debt free and of best quality.

โ€œGamify your Agile workplaceโ€ย ย ย  15 mins

In this I’ll present live some innovation games and have audience volunteers engage and play games based on known scenarios. Let’s Play and learn some useful Innovation Games that can help you gamify your agile team and workplace, making the team meetings shorter and communication more fun!

Both these topics are close to my heart and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with a wider audience.

I am also excited to meet all the awesome speakers at the event , as well as get to know the fantastic team of organizers behind this event!

Check out the detailed agenda here – https://kwsqa.org/tq2019/schedule/

Follow me at @testwithnishi, @KWSQA and #TQ2019 on twitter for more updates on the event!

Also check out & support other initiatives by KWSQA at https://kwsqa.org/kwalitytalks/

Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Innovation Games โ€“ Part 4 โ€“ 20 / 20 Vision

Hello Readers!

Here we have for you another Innovation Game centered around prioritization. It is a visual and crisp way to chart out and understand priorities of upcoming tasks , features or stories.

Game :   20/20 Vision

Aim :       To chart out the RELATIVE priorities of the tasks at hand

Method:  The 20/20 game elaborates the prioritization of each task in relation to a benchmark task of medium priority and complexity.

Just like a visit to the Optometrist, where he makes you compare the various lenses to find the best suitable for your sight, in this game we make the team compare all stories / requirements / tasks and find the right place for them on the chart of priority in relation to the one benchmark level.

Description: Write down all stories on post-its. With the teamโ€™s consensus and decision, decide on one story which is of medium level and put in on the board in the middle.

Now the team goes through each story one by one, and places the story on the board as higher or lower priority in relation to the benchmark story. At the end of the exercise, we arrive at a visual representation of the story or task prioritization, giving us a clear road-map for future!

20-20

This game takes almost 15-30 minutes only depending on the number of tasks at hand, as compared to long planning meetings.

Give it a try, it is fun ! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers,

Nishi

Innovation Games โ€“ Part 3 โ€“ Prune The Product Tree

Hello There!

Hope you are enjoying our series on Innovation Games, and learning some new techniques to engage your Agile team. In Part 1 and  Part 2 we discussed some really fun and interesting Agile Innovation games.

In this part we shall discuss a really unique Innovation Game which helps the team and stakeholders to gather a broader perspective on the product or project they are working on. While working on small components and intricacies of the project, it is possible for us to loose perspective and be confined in a narrow zone.Our game helps us to ‘Zoom-Out’ periodically and get a bird’s eye view of the project, its future and the road-map ahead. It is called –

Prune The Product Tree –

Objective:

  • To identify the most important features, aspects of the product as per the stakeholders and to elicit feedback from the customers.

Method :

  • Draw a big tree on the chart and draw its branches. The thick branches represent the major functionalities of your system. The smaller branches are the functionalities within each branch.
  • Participants place the index cards in their respective branches after writing the new expected features.
  • We may also add apples for functionalities that will be very useful for next releases, and flowers for the good-to-have features that may wow customers!

ProductTree
Prune The Product Tree

Analysis:

This will give an overview of the future direction of the product and gives visual representation on which branch of the product tree is expanding the most.

Try this out with your team , and you shall see the benefits soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers.

Innovation Games โ€“ Part 2 โ€“ Speed Boat

Hey There!

Hope you enjoyed the first part of our series on “Innovation Games”!

The next Innovation Game in our series is “Speed Boat”. This is a fun way to do retrospectives and feedback meetings where there is need for all team members to voice their opinions in an open and anonymous way. This method reduces the duration of the meeting to almost one half and gets better results which may indeed be very useful for the improvement of the agile team.

Game Objective:

  • To find the impeding and the helping factors in achieving any goal. It can be used as a fun way of doing retrospectives, as it engages the team and brings out the concern areas.

Method:

  • Letโ€™s take one iteration or sprint for retrospective. Draw a boat with a Sail on front end and Anchors pulling it down at the back end.
  • All participants are given post-its to write down the factors that they think helped them move faster and post them on the sails; the factors that impeded their speed in that iteration and post them on the anchors.
  • We may also look for the desired factors which may help more in future and label them as the wind.SpeedBoat

Analysis:

This feedback may be saved by just keeping a picture of this chart for revisit in the next sprint , or by saving the post-its as notes.The take-away would be to keep checking in the next sprints that we—

  • Minimize the anchors
  • Maximize the Sailing factors
  • Try and bring in the wind factors in the next iterations

This is a very useful tool to bring in better results from our retrospective meetings , give it a try in your agile team and let us know how it worked out!

Cheers,

Nishi

Innovation Games – Part 1 – Mitch Lacey Team Prioritization

Hello there!

As promised, I am now beginning the series on learning the most popular Innovation Games, some of which I also featured in my Session at UNICOM World Business Summit.

The first one we take up is “Mitch Lacey Team Prioritization”

Objective:  The objective of this game is to prioritize the items in our ever-increasing backlog, which if not tracked can prove paralyzing for the agile team.

Method: Draw a chart with x axis as Size (small to Large) and y axis as the priority (lower to higher). The graph is divided into three columns for easier segregation.

Start out by handing out post-its having each backlog item listed, and the team places each item in the corresponding area as per their perception and discussion.

This is how your chart must look like:

The Mitch Lacey Chart
The Mitch Lacey Chart

Analysis:

  • Top-left corner of the graph will be the items with high priority and low effort, so automatically be the first items to be picked.
  • Top-right corner, on the other hand, will be items with high priority and high complexity, so will be picked next.
  • By placing the ideas in the 2D space, it gives a clear visual representation of the next logical steps for the team, and also answers the vital question —โ€œWhat should we do that will generate maximum value with minimum effort and complexity?โ€

Try it out – its fun and effective! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers,

Nishi