Attending the AST’s virtual “lean coffee” (September 21, 2022)

The Association for Software Testing ran another lean coffee over a Zoom meeting on 21st September, designed primarily for the European timezone (in their morning) but also again being convenient for me to attend in Australia.

For anyone unfamiliar with the concept of a Lean Coffee, it’s an agenda-less meeting in which the participants gather, build an agenda and then talk about the topics one by one (usually with a timebox around each topic, which can be extended if there’s energy around it).

After my good experience of their first virtual lean coffee on May 24, I was really looking forward to this session – and it was certainly well worth attending.

This lean coffee was facilitated by new AST board member Trisha Chetani using Miro. We spent a chunk of time at the start of the session getting set up in Miro, suggesting topics for discussion and then voting on them (again a process we had to learn in Miro).

It was a larger group in this session than last time, which had it pros and cons. There were more topics to choose from and more diverse opinions & experiences being shared, but there was also the inevitable Zoom meeting “talking over each other” issue which made some of the discussions a little frustrating. It was good to find myself not being the only Australian in attendance with Anne-Marie Charrett joining the session and also great to see a wide range of tester experience, from newbies to, erm, more established testers.

AST lean coffee Zoom meeting screenshot

We covered the following three topics in the lean coffee:

  • Teaching developers about testing
  • A book, blog or podcast that inspired you recently
  • How can a test team show their value?

I enjoyed the session and the topics we managed to discuss. The hour went really quickly and I got some valuable different perspectives especially on the final topic we covered. Thanks to the AST for organizing this session at a time that was reasonable for folks on my side of the world to attend. I’m looking forward to more lean coffees in the future (when hopefully we’ve nailed down the tech so we can focus most of the hour on what we all love, talking testing!).

Note that one of the lean coffee attendees, AST board member James Thomas, has penned an excellent blog which covers the content of the discussions from this session in some detail.

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