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How to get the testing team together? Part 1 - Hold testing lunches...

Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently, just been very busy and finding it difficult to sit down and actually write something that I feel that people will want to read...

I've been busy mainly at work, but also with home life too, so it hasn't all been work work work...

However, I digress, I have recently taken the initiative to start trying to build a sense of community within the testing team here where I work. I'm trying to do this in a number of ways, one way is the introduction of a Testing Lunch.

What is a Testing Lunch?

A Testing Lunch (I really couldn't think of a better/more catch word... any ideas?) is a lunchtime session where testers voluntarily (and I emphasise that word) come for an hour lunch where we talk about anything to do with testing. This will hopefully lead to the testers genuinely wanting to talk about testing and get discussions going with testers who possibly work on areas that you've not worked on or maybe done some cool test work that someone has been doing that they want to share with others.

I was worried that we'd start them and then have nothing to talk about for a whole hour... but for the first session I asked everyone what they wanted to get out of the session, and we came up with a backlog almost, where if nobody volunteers or has anything they wish to discuss we simply look at the board and pick off the next thing on the backlog.

So far we've covered, Performance Testing in an Agile Way, and I hope that people have taken something away from that.

How to make people attend?

Well this one is easy... Cakes! :) Also I think the fact that it's voluntary (again I emphasise voluntary!) means that people only come if they want to, and so far we've had an average of about 6/7 people turn up which isn't bad considering I'm asking people to give up their lunch, although I'm not sure if it's a willingness to talk about testing that makes them come, or the cakes... Either way, so long as people are talking I don't mind :)

What next for the lunches?

Well I hope that we'll work our way through the backlog and maybe even get other people outside of the testing team to come and do some talking about things that may affect the testing landscape, for instance, mobile apps would be interesting, or our Application Lifecycle Management team could come and we could ask questions about how it all affects testing. It's important however not to cross the divide between Testing and "work", we're talking about Testing as a passion and hobby not as work, so I think it's essential that we don't cross over work into the lunch, as then it just becomes another meeting.

I hope this is something that continues for a long time as I see a lot of value in it, even for welcoming new members of the testing team as we are always welcoming new faces and seeing others go.

What are we talking about?

As I mentioned we have a backlog of items to discuss if needed, this includes (but isn't limited to):

  • Performance Testing in an Agile Way
  • Knowledge sharing across teams
  • What makes a good Agile Tester?
  • How can we improve?
  • Where will testing be in 5 years time?
  • What's the difference between testing and QA?

A lot of the topics above are just to start a debate, I'm interested in learning what the people in the testing team think about the above, as I'm sure there interested to hear what others think as well.

We're currently holding them every week, and people are still attending, so that's a promising sign. :)


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