As well as watch a webinar on cognitive bias this week, I also investigated new opportunities for networking – something I thought would be impossible while in lock-down.

MOTrix – Cognitive Bias with Lisa Crispin

The legendary Lisa Crispin gave a brilliant and though provoking talk about Cognitive Bias.

Imagine you are part of a team developing a soda machine. Which approach to testing might produce the best end-product? Having a single tester or the whole team testing the product? Introducing diversity allows the team to approach the problem from multiple angles. Each person will ask different questions and suggest alternative approaches to testing. Each individual ideas will be challenged, reducing the impact that cognitive bias will have on the design of the product.

Lisa explained why cognitive bias exists, some different types of biases that exist, and discussed ideas for counteracting the effect of cognitive bias.

Here are my sketch-notes from the talk.
Note – I was supposed to write ‘Vertical thinking’ on the table in the center, not Visual Thinking.

Networking During Lockdown

One thing I miss with the current lock-down restrictions is attending meetups and conferences. The online webinars are a great replacement for attending meetups, but this only helps with learning. We are still missing out on networking – meeting people and discussing various testing topics with them.

If you join the Ministry of Testing slack channel, and join the #virtual-coffee channel, you will be paired with a random person. You will then start a conversation with that person. You could message them via chat, or arrange a video meeting.

I got paired with Parveen Khan, and we had a wonderful chat over zoom about the challenges of working from home and shared our experiences of speaking at various conferences. Parveen previously spoke at Test Bash Germany and Agile Testing Days.

Lean Coffee Meetup

During my Friday lunch break, I took part in a virtual lean coffee meetup hosted by Bazil Arden. The main topic for this lead coffee session was ‘What we’ve learned so far about Isolated working‘.

We used Lean Coffee Table to submit, organise and vote on the different discussion ideas. Lean coffee table had an interesting feature that I’ve not seen on other similar tools. We could add comments to each post-it. The facilitator could add links to sites or summarize each point made as the discussion progressed. This made it easier to review what was discussed after the session.

Here is a summary of my notes that I took during Lean Coffee:

  • Building team cohesion and trust
    • Ask team what works for them to improve the workflow of the group
    • Get to know people including work and personal life
    • Take the time to see how people are, check everyone is coping. Some people embrace working from home, others might struggle.
  • Tools that we’ve found useful
  • Extra preparation and consideration of meeting structures
    • Make sure you prepare for meetings, don’t just ‘wing it’.
    • Introduce timeboxes
    • Kanban system
    • Remind people of meetings
    • Daily Scrum meetings
      • keeps people in the loop
      • choose next person randomly rather than going in a particular order to keep everyone engaged.
  • Virtual Exhaustion
    • Don’t start too early
    • Provide downtime, and support everyone
    • Encourage breaks, and going out for walks
    • Home-life – be understanding of everyone’s situation, especially if they have children.
    • Adhoc 1 to 1 meetings