So I didn’t really attend Let’s Test… I wish I had! Sounds like an awesome CONFERence, and I’m only hearing great things about it.
However, I did get the opportunity to help with one of the sessions! Anne-Marie Charrett’s “Coaching Testers”. This was a first for me, and I enjoyed it. Sitting on my couch with laptop on lap (pun intended), Police Academy on the TV in the background, and Skype chatting with practicing test coaches all way from Sweden.
As I understand it, Anne-Marie’s session went something like this:
- Coaching demonstration
- Question time
- Then the session attendees got to give it a go by coaching people over Skype IM (that’s were I and a few others came in)
Quick thank you to Duncan Nisbet for keeping me up to date on the progress as it was after midnight local time. Thanks dude! You’re still in my bad books, purely out of jealously (because I couldn’t be there). ;0)
So to begin the session I was sent a picture file and asked to describe it. I won’t include it hear as Anne-Marie may use it again in future sessions. I went about describing my observations and there was some back and forth questioning. I then got a new coach as they were swapping around to give everyone a go. We went a bit further into the questioning, and spoke briefly about the emotions that I got when I looked at it.
The only negative… it wasn’t long enough! I wanted to keep going with it but the attendees needed to debrief as the session was drawing to a close. My coach provided me some feedback, and I too provided them with some.
I got value from the session, I hope the practicing coaches did too. One thing I hadn’t thought about when looking at the picture was the emotional side. I thought I was just observing and describing, but when asked that question I was stumped. I thought about it some more and then realised I had quite a few issues (emotionally) with the picture. There were items in it that were off centre, and being a touch OCDish where things need to be symmetrical, I found myself not liking it at all! Maybe this could be put down to critical thinking, or lateral instead of vertical (something I would have liked to explore further given the time). Either way, it opened up another line of thought… a line that is crucial when testing products. Some of Michael Bolton’s context-free questions:
- What are your feelings about this thing?
- Who might feel differently?
- How might they feel?
I reference that post from Michael ALL THE TIME, yet I still didn’t think about it during the session. That’s why we practice I guess.
Another great coaching experience, and also a good way to help others (and to attend a CONFERence without attending). ;0)
Update – Here’s a picture of all the action (thanks to Duncs).