Third time lucky – TEAM workshops went down a storm!

The third meetup of the Test Engineering Alliance Melbourne took place on the evening of Wednesday 2nd September, 2015, in the offices of Robert Half in Melbourne CBD. Our membership stood at just over 180 before this third event and we had around 40 RSVPs with almost all of them showing up to participate in the meetup.

Based on experience from the previous meetups, we decided not to try to start right on our advertised start time of 5.30pm, as many people arrive during the first half hour after finishing work or travelling into the city to attend the meetup. So for this meetup, the first half hour was given over to networking and also running the famous Dice Game! We ended up with two groups of Dice Games, one run by me, the other by James Irving. It was good to see so much energy in both groups, with the typical pattern of initial confusion, then “a ha” moments, then engagement then real passion to solve it!

I formally kicked things off with a welcome to the meetup, including some of the background, our context-driven tendencies, and our appreciation for the sponsor (Robert Half) for providing the meeting rooms and very generous food and drinks. Some statistics on the growth of the meetup were presented and the idea of full-day workshops and a conference were put to the group (both of which appeared to have strong support).

The feature presentation for the evening came from Clinton Marks, Associate Director at Robert Half, who gave a brief overview of the DISC behavior assessment tool. All meetup members had the opportunity to complete a free DISC assessment through Robert Half in the week before the meetup so the presentation gave more context around the different behavior types of Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C). Clinton noted that it is not really a personality assessment and that there’s no right or wrong (and no-one falls completely within one category or another). The assessment is useful in predicting behavior under given circumstances, though, so he argued that the profiling helps in team dynamics and collaboration.

The remainder of the meetup was given over to two concurrent workshops, our first try at running more interactive sessions as part of the event. Rajesh Mathur & I ran the “Exploratory Testing Techniques” workshop while Paul Seaman handled “Agile Testing”. (Since I was presenting a workshop, I didn’t see Paul Seaman’s one, but his group gave very positive feedback on the experience and have asked for more of the same from him, so we’ll re-run both workshops in a future meetup so everyone has a chance to experience both too. Maybe if you participated in Paul’s workshop, you can add your comments about it on this blog post.) The majority of the participants opted for the exploratory testing workshop so it was standing room only in the small room we had allocated for it, but this was no bad thing as it encouraged more interaction perhaps. Rajesh and Lee went through some background and definitions, involving the participants and gaining a feel for the level of experience in the room (which was from experienced ET practitioners down to those who had just heard something about ET). Heuristics and oracles were a focus and some classic ET exercises (like the pen and calculator tests) teased out lots of great participation from the group. Time was short and all agreed that we needed more sessions like this so a one-day exploratory testing workshop is being considered. It was actually great fun to give this workshop to such an enthusiastic and engaged bunch of testers (and great to see some more CDT minds in Melbourne).

We had again run slightly past our scheduled end time of 7.30pm as the meetup regrouped after the workshops, but many participants stayed on for a while to enjoy the Robert Half hospitality and network some more. The vibe was fantastic and it was good to see such a broad range of experience in the same room, but all with the interest and desire to learn and share about testing – this is exactly what we hoped for by starting the meetup!

As organizers, we have been overwhelmed by the incredibly positive feedback on our meetup and it seems that the group is very eager to learn and engage in longer sessions such as day-long workshops or a one-day conference event under the TEAM banner. A few feedback comments from our meetup group page:

It was fun to play the dice game and hope to do it again. All the workshops were informative and engaging. It is was great to do the DISC assessment and exploratory workshop. (Darren Davie)

It is so great that once a month I get to surround myself with testers that are passionate about improving their craft and sharing their experiences. It is a real energiser. To those that attended my workshop, great questions, excellent stories and suggestions based on experience. Thank you, your input added an additional layer of interest. (Paul Seaman)

Thanks Lee and Rajesh for another great meetup. DISC assessment was very interesting and would be good to know more. Enjoyed the session on ET and would be very interested in a full day session as there were many questions. Get to meet and talk to other testers as well. (Paul Crimmins)

Keep an eye out for details of the next meetup, which will probably be mid-October. The spirit of open community seems alive and well, so hopefully we can continue to build a group in Melbourne to foster an environment of constant learning and pragmatism in testing through context-driven principles – and achieve our mission of “Connecting Testers”.

As a reminder, here’s how to stay up-to-date with the goings on around the TEAM meetup:

5 thoughts on “Third time lucky – TEAM workshops went down a storm!

  1. Pingback: Third time lucky – TEAM workshops went down a storm! | Test Engineering Alliance

  2. Amanda Shankle-Knowlton

    I’ve done the DISC assessment before, though the version I took used some different language. I prefer being labeled as “Conscientious” instead of “Compliant” 🙂 Is the negative connotation of that word a US phenomenon? Sounds like a successful meetup!

    1. therockertester Post author

      Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      You’re right in that different terms are used for the D, I, S and C categorizations. I took mine in the blog post from a wikipedia article, but others vary a little – in fact, I think Clinton at the meetup used “Conscientious” rather than “Compliant”. I do see some negative connotation around “compliant” when used to describe personality, not sure why it’s more recently being seen that way.

      The most important takeaways for me from doing DISC are to understand how other people see you and to better understand how to work with others in different spots on the DISC than yourself.

      Thanks again for commenting.


  3. Amanda Shankle-Knowlton

    Absolutely! I took the assessment in the context of a non-work-related board leadership position and it was very eye-opening. The D’s aren’t being jerks, the I’s aren’t vapid, the S’s aren’t slow, and the C’s aren’t picky – we just approach problem solving differently and bring different strengths to the table. Learning that a D won’t understand me unless I’m more blunt, and having the D understand that I don’t like being ordered around (for example) was good info. And in an environment when I’m the *only* C (more in the non-work context, I think I work with plenty of C’s in testing though I’d like to confirm that, maybe after this release goes out!), I have to take increased responsibility of thinking through details and contingency planning.


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