Preparing for Building Quality In with Distributed Teams
Since early November, Abby Bangser and I (Lisa Crispin) have been collaborating to put together our TestBash workshop. We made our “release plan” with milestones and a schedule of Skype meetings (we’re a distributed team too Abby is in London and I’m in Colorado!)
We created a shared mind map in MindMup 2.0 to brainstorm ideas. We thought about the different types of distributed teams. For example, some teams are distributed by work responsibility or functionality. Some teams are made up of all remote workers. Some are mostly colocated with a few remote workers. Lots of flavors. Then we listed distributed team issues that impact quality. These include technical difficulties of communicating, trust, and sharing work and outputs. We also listed the solutions that have worked for our own teams to overcome some of these problems.
On our mind map, we worked out the flow of our workshop. Abby and I want to tell our stories of working in distributed teams, and also have participants share theirs. We want to give participants the experience of working remotely so they can feel the pain in real time, then come up with ideas for overcoming issues. We set a goal that everyone should leave with potential experiments they can try with their own teams to overcome the downsides of distribution, take advantage of the upsides, and build a better quality product together.
Next, Abby and I refined our handson simulation. We’ve done a couple of “dry runs” with our respective teammates. Our “testers” had a lot of fun, and found the simulation is realistic, providing lots of learning opportunities.
We’re finishing up our slide deck, gathering our simulation materials, and look forward to practicing together with our material. The TestBash staff is making sure we have the infrastructure we need so that participants can make the most of it. We’re looking forward to helping people learn good ways to build quality in even if their team is distributed. I think that together with participants, we will forge some new frontiers in testing on distributed teams.