Do We Belong? What the Belong-O-Meter Tells Us About the Ministry of Testing Community
Simon Tomes
17th May 2022

A chart representing 5 points of belonging

The above chart paints a fascinating story. 

Those are 36 helpful people willing to share their sense of belonging to the Ministry of Testing community. 

A while back I asked: Which sense of belonging do you most identify with the Ministry of Testing community? 

Recipients selected one of 5 options.

A chart of five options related to belonging.

And this led to several 1-2-1 calls where I was curious to dig deeper into each response, to understand an individual’s context, goals, and ambitions. What relationship did these community members have with the community? 

It’s been an incredible learning journey.

During each call, we’d discuss their response and explore what people would like to see less of and more of. Such conversations have led to many reflections and next steps.

Key findings and reflections   

  • Most community members aim to be part of the community on their own terms 
  • There’s a lot of love for this community. Folks genuinely look out for each other
  • It can be difficult for a community member to jump to a “creation mode” — where a member adds to the community with a video, article or something similar
  • Those towards the latter end of their career are keen to give back yet sometimes can’t find a straightforward way to do so
  • Not everyone wants to attend another testing event
  • There are members who lurk and we should embrace them, they are as much part of the community as those who are visually and vocally present
  • There is an opportunity to find out why people join the community in the first place. This can lead to a set of common joining themes
  • For “traditional” testing professionals, the Ministry of Testing community might be seen as too progressive
  • There’s not much awareness about the Ministry of Testing scholarship fund
  • The community can be inward focused and might benefit from officially joining up with other communities such as those for Customer Support, Developer, UI/UX, DBA, and Data (Science and Engineering). 
  • There aren’t enough opportunities for activities and events for the communities based in Australia and New Zealand.

Ideas and next steps

  1. Set up a “X Things You Can Do To Participate in the Ministry of Testing Community” page/article. Provide a full spectrum of activities from co-create to lurk.
  2. Review our existing guides and learning materials on how to co-create and contribute to the Ministry of Testing community. Explore more ways to surface this information in various mediums.   
  3. Create a model for community member types. To help align member goals and ambitions to see how the Ministry of Testing community can better serve itself. 
  4. Explore how we might run a campaign to amplify the Ministry of Testing scholarship fund
  5. Explore the idea of an official speaker exchange from one community to another
  6. Offer ways for community members in Australia and New Zealand to co-create events and activities.

The Belong-O-Meter is fallible like any survey is. And what someone tells you on a call might not necessarily match how they act for real. Such behaviour can change every year, month, week, day, hour or minute based on what’s going on in that person’s world at any given moment. I’m just grateful I’m able to have helpful conversations with the community when I get the chance.

No one can really tell someone to belong or force a sense of belonging. It’s personal. Yet a community can create a platform and set a tone that helps someone feel welcome in a way that works for them, whatever their goals and ambitions. It’s the support and signals we send to each other that matter.

There is much more to learn about this wonderful community. Thanks for looking out for each other.

How about you? Which sense of belonging do you most identify with the Ministry of Testing community? Feel free to let me know and I’ll set up a call for us to go explore your answer. 

– Simon – CommunityBoss