I Know Everything

– Hey, listen to me! I am the trainer/big name/white middle-aged man – I know everything!
– emm… no, you don’t. And neither do I.

I have arrived in phase where I know nothing, but I have enough confidence to teach others that little knowledge I have.

Since I was little I was very good middle man. I was reading a lot and used to observe things from different perspectives. Later at university my speciality was to explain something my study mates knew much better than I did, but struggled to understand some aspects of it. How can I do that? Very simple – I listen. Not just words what people say, but words which they do not say as well.

I work as a trainer not because I know everything, but because I like to help people. Training and coaching for me, in first place is about empathy.  I need to be able to connect with trainee and to understand her/his journey, to understand their challenges and problems. Only then I will be able to guide them to their next step. Not to my next step in that situation, but their next step.

My trainer moto is:

docendo discimus,

which means: by teaching, we learn.

I really learn while teaching. Listening to people and empathising with them I learn to know their stories. Based on my trainees questions, I start to explore new topics or dig deeper in domains I knew superficially. In my last training I learned a lot about Ireland – did not expect that, but wow – it was so interesting!

Lisa Crispin is excellent role model for learning attitude. She is three book author, has 20+ years of experience in agile teams, international speaker and, and, and… But I never heard another person then Lisa to say so many times phrases like: “I learned today…”, “that’s interesting!”, “I learned it from …”. Lisa helped me to understand that learning is not something what we do. Open mind to people, situations and new ideas is a mindset.

To know Lisa also showed me that it is easy to ask Lisa for a help. Because you know she will not judge you that you don’t know something. I try to use it in trainings I give. I talk about my mistakes, I say that I do not know everything, but I know material very well and I will do my best to help them to find their answers.

 

 

#PayItForward – Dojo Membership

This is my last and final community give away to finalise my TestBash Germany journey.

Two years in a row I donated a ticket to Test Bash Germany, this year I planed to do the same, but one discussion on Twitter changed my mind. This year with little effort you can get a 1 year Dojo membership and to watch the talks from ALL the TestBashes.

You said “little” effort?

Only thing you need to do is to convince me that you really need the Dojo membership. Information, how will you use it and why you deserve it more then others, will help me to choose.

Where to send it?

testretreat@gmail.com

Deadline?

21.4.2019 7a.m. German time. I will announce the winner on 22.4.2019 12:12 via blog post.

What do I expect from you?

To learn and to fulfil yourself.

 

Update: and the winner is…

Trainer Notes

Agile Testing Quadrats

Weeks after Agile Testing Days were pretty intense. Every week another training. Business as usual? No. I do not know why… was something in the air or was it my students, or myself. We tackled agile and dig really deep. To experienced and guide it, made me very vulnerable.

To learn means to leave comfort zone and to realised that what we did so far was not OK. Learning can make you feel big discomfort. That feeling is not a good feeling, so sometimes to get it go, people turn the anger to the messenger. Trainers and coaches need to learn how to deal with it. Another thing next to anger is struggle. I see struggling people, who want to be really agile, not only on paper, but they have no idea how to do it in their environment. Sometimes I do not know which situations are harder – anger or struggle, but definitely since I attended Agile Couch Camp this summer it is easier to deal with situations like those.

Week before Christmas I had a group of people who had especially big emotional debt. No matter which topic we were discussing, it went back to the old stories about orders, ignorance (from managers) and silence (from employees because it does not matter if they say something). This group was special with another thing – there was one of managers sitting with them. She is one of the new managers, who joined the company not so long ago, but still – a manager. First day she was all about denial. Everything, what group said about bad practices, missing communication or management, was not true. On second day she started to listen and at the end of the day she said: “now I see that we have communication problem”. She realised that to talk or to share ideas is not enough with people, who were misused for a very long time. They do not believe you and they listen to something else. On third day the manager was missing for the first part of the day. I used the time and asked the group to reflect on training and how the manager reacted. It was interesting to observe that they collectively realised that maybe there is real change coming. The training they got, the manager, who listens when they complain and reacts when she realise something wrong. I felt very privileged to guide them through this moment. Felt like real transition to new level.

At the very end of the training group asked me for tips how to stick to ideas and how to keep agile spirit vivid. Maybe because of approaching Christmas or because of this something in the air, this time I chose to share story of my own vulnerability, my own struggle and my own insecurity and my tricks how I keep going and where they could look for tools what would help them to create a positive agile habit.

Sometimes giving a training can be exhaustive… but I still like it.

Today I Learned

Last September I joined trending and became one of the ISTQB trainers. I have a whole story “why?” and I plan to share it one day, but today I want to talk a bit about learning.

How I see learning from the trainer side is pretty ugly – mostly students do not want to learn. It is trendy to talk about learning and training should be safe place where to learn, but in many cases ISTQB is something where they have been sent by a boss or something, what they think they have to do, to get a next shiny job title. I try hard to make trainings entertaining (e.g. I carry different testing games with me) and informative (learning materials, stories from the past), but sometimes it is simply not working. Sometimes I am happy that at the end of the day everyone simply memorised what negative test is and why we should do it. Most challenging are the ones who refuse to understand some definitions or concepts, for example, difference between validation and verification. Most frustrating if this person has 20 years of experience in IT. In those moments I ask myself, is this really for me? But then I remember my “why?” and everything is OK again. Part of that “why?” are students, who are engaged and eager to learn everything I can share with them. They do some research upfront and have clear vision what they need. It is highly rewarding to work with that kind of students. Discendo discimus – while teaching we learn.

In trainings I invite people to embrace failures, to share experiences, to learn from each other, to use synergy. To help them to do that, I point to my own mistakes. Something like the picture on the top of this post. Few month ago I put whiteboard into our home kitchen. We use it as drawing board, as shopping list, as design board for next game we will program and sometimes I write citations. I guess, now till end of my days, I will spell “intelligence” correctly. I must to admit, not always I was so cool about my mistakes. Few years ago I would feel ashamed and embarrassed, would try to hide it, put a lot of energy to deny it. Today I share it with the world. I know who I am and spelling mistake will not make me less me. I better put my energy to think why did I spell it wrong? Am I writing too less on an analog information carriers? Do I assume that software will catch all my spelling mistakes?

Since this month we have new colleague Dani. One thing what he did, he created channel in our company slack #todayilearned to share our learnings. It has became simple but effective training for me to identify what did I learn new today. Sometimes it is simple stuff, like, how to spell “intelligence” or that I am afraid to sit in the car which moves faster than 210kmh on busy autobahn, or that people who smell lavender fragrance make less typos and are more productive (I sent this fact immediately to my colleague with whom I used to share an office and passion to lavender). Or sometimes it is realisation that not everyone reads and spends on learning about a software as much as I do. I left digital transition domain because I was sick of explaining software development basics again and again. Now I explain them on weekly bases :D . I like to think that I can assume correctly about previous software development experiences of my respondent and explain missing parts accordingly his/her level of understanding. And almost every second time I fail, because of aiming too high. People try to write an essay without knowing the alphabet! Yes, even in 2018 you have to explain, with patience and empathy, what is a smoke test, what is a negative test and regression test to a developer with 10 years of experience in software development. And this is OK. We all make mistakes and wrong decisions, important is to use it as learning possibilities.

 

 

More Agile Testing > Introduction

Two weeks ago on Slack, we talked about collections of good resources and Lisa wrote that she and Janet created a good one, but it is not available online. I volunteered to digitalise it and she agreed. Since then I am checking links and reading articles. What can I say – it is an AMAZING collection! Thank you, Lisa, for your kind allowance to publish the list online.

This is the bibliography list created and published by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory, More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole TeamFor more details on their work, visit http://agiletester.ca.

Part I: Introduction

Books

Websites, Blogs, Articles, Slide Decks