Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Mindmapping And Common Pitfalls To Avoid

There was one occurrence of plagiarism of my work, a blogger by mistake had passed the blog and map I had shared, as their own. I sympathized with that person, if I had mentioned my name or had personalized my work (with a signature/logo) then I would not have put that person in this situation. I am to blame, as I shy away from making my work copyrighted/add a signature. 

My knowledge sources are many. 
I refer books, articles, watch videos created by others, learn from many and from their experience. 
My credit goes to all who share their learning and in that case, I cannot take credit.

Another incident that triggered me to collate common pitfalls to avoid when we share our work with a wider audience is when I posted my own work over a year later without revisiting and revising it. A learner from the community TeemuVesala reviewed and provided with suggestions to revise it. Thanks, Teemu.

Based on these events plus the mind map exercise that we conducted at my workplace, as a result of which I got to pair with DanAshby to review the mind maps has helped me create the below mapThis can also save time, effort, reputation and credibility when we share our work.

Click on the images to view it in its original size.

Friday, 17 February 2017

European Testing Conference 2017

I have earlier shared my experiences with conferences (local and others) but being at European Testing Conference was a tad different experience as a speaker and as a participant.

As a participant

What I liked?

Attendees and speakers got to attend the workshops scheduled on pre-conference day.
The workshop that I chose to attend 'Test Leadership' helped me share some of the problems that I have had with my stint as a tester, test manager, and a leader.

Special mention of Speed meet.
  • One goes to conferences to listen and learn about new tools, new features of an existing tool, to learn about techniques first hand from the creator, speakers, and volunteers who have signed up to teach.
  • To find a solution to a problem that they are facing.
  • To discuss problems and meet people who can help them build something together.
  • Speed meet gave such an opportunity for the conference goers to meet a mentor/friend who can help them learn.
  • This meet brought many Twitter friends closer. Mostly the introverts/ambiverts to share about themselves.
  • At conferences, we witness many rushing from one talk to another. If lucky, we get to spend time with a mentor and learn from them during the break/s. At ETC, breaks were scheduled to accommodate such meetings to happen frequently. It was great to see people come out of a talk and share their learning with others who were in a different talk. I listened to three attendees from 'Mob Testing' workshop during such breaks.

What Lessons I Learned?

To take 'me time' to learn lean leadership and to use that time for strategic thinking (that I learned from Johanna Rothman 's blog) even when there are interruptions.
Learning to say no, different ways of handling interruptions.

Many suggestions were shared by the audience and Fiona Charles who ran the workshop, on handling interruptions.
Some suggestions were to use the below methods to let your ad-hoc audience know that you are now available / not.

  • Red / Green flag at the desk.
  • Flag up / down.
  • Headphone on / off.
  • Block your calendar.
Participants from around the world shared book references, articles to read and techniques to learn and use for some of the problems shared in this workshop. Glad to have been a part of this workshop with Fiona and the attendees.

What I liked and learned from?

Fiona and her way of running the workshop.
Listening to your audience and letting them converse and share their experiences is very much needed when we run a day-long workshop.
Providing your feedback when needed and when you have something valuable to add is what I learned from both Fiona and the audience.
Keynotes by Kevlin Henney, Gitte Klitgaard, and Fiona Charles.
And I did love Finnish culture which is different from where I come from and is grand.

As a speaker

Instant feedback on my talk from the organizer Maaret Pyhäjärvi was valuable.
I could with the help of this feedback, convert the talk to an exercise during the Open Space which was held at the end of Conference day 2.
I was introduced to Marketplace for the first time here.
A marketplace is where the willing participants come forward and ask for knowledge on specific topics to be re-shared. Mob testing/programming, Calabash, Creating and using re-usable mind-maps were topics that I recollect were talked about again. 
Thanks to participants few of whose name I recollect Sergey, Evgeny Borisov, Miroslava Nikolova, Vivien Ibiyemi, Ru Cindrea, MaaretP, Kevlin Henney, Bettina Stuhle, who were present at my talk and provided feedback.
Loved speaking to this audience, I just wished they would be a little interactive. Later did I learn from Kevlin Henney that the Finnish audience is a bit different from the US audience where I had earlier spoken at. Lesson learned I have to change my style of delivering the talk differently based on the audience and where they come from.


A nice experience conferring at ETC 2017.
Gained confidence to change the style of the presentation on demand and based on the feedback and deliver at Open Space. 
Met a lot of brave and independent people from the community, learned from them a lot professionally and personally. 
Met leaders from the community and made new friends.
Learned that I can help the community in my own way.

LLewellyn Falco, was a grand host and organizer of the conference. From this experience, I learned to extend my help/support to two leaders who will be conferring in Bangalore, next month.

My thanks to
Mentors Carsten Feilberg, Isabel Evans for their valuable time and guidance. 
All my friends at European Testing Conference who equipped me for Finland. 
The organizers (all involved) who facilitated and provided with timely help. 
My organization who gave me time to be a part of this learning.

European Testing Conference comes to Amsterdam in 2018, stay tuned and to know more:
Follow EuroTestingConf on Twitter and hashtag #ETC2017 #EuroTestingConf #eurotestconf

Image credits:
Photographer, Twitter, Llewellyn Falco.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Few tips to mind-mappers

As I started out to mind-map the test ideas for a feature that I was testing/learning to test, many lessons were learned and are now shared below in the form of tips to use when we create or reuse mind-maps created by others.

Reviewers and the community of learners helped shaped the way I today create maps.
Some of them from the community who read/used the maps provided me with valuable feedback which is incorporated into my learning and is brought to you in the form of these tips.

Hope these tips can help when we start out to build a map and share it with a wider audience.

Make it generic - Here it means, do not feed your audiences with steps to re-create but only act as a trigger to move on with an idea to test.

Earlier shared at European Testing Conference

Coming up next - Common pitfalls to avoid when mind-mapping.