Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Choices, choices ... on how to use time

For about half-a-year, I've been thinking and preparing a webinar series on testing, with a few main motivations.
  • Finland is not Helsinki. To do things with Finnish Association of Software Testing or Agile Finland, we can't do all sessions in Helsinki.  Some of the most inspiring Finns I want to hang out with are located in Oulu, Tampere and Turku. And most likely there are inspiring people I haven't had a chance of meeting, since they just don't come to sessions in Helsinki.
  • Finland is not Europe or the whole world. I have a strong feeling that we need to be more connected in Europe as well as internationally, and doing EuroStar made me realize how few of our field's big names are from Europe outside UK. Just looking around has taught me about several people I'd like to know better, but I lack the chance of traveling like a consultant. Thus the webinar series would give people like me access to people and ideas that are not otherwise available. 
  • Great people and great presentations are not online yet. Knowing from personal experiences of listening to a lot of presentations by Finnish colleagues, a lot of this stuff is not online. I can't give a link to listen to amazing presentations that others should hear, and I suspect my local community isn't only local community like this. Tapping into a wider range of presenters would be great. I'd love to show off my colleagues from Finland, and I'd love to see people I haven't seen before. 
I wrote a description document on this quite some time ago on this.

Since then, I've had chats on this with people. From someone running a lot of online content, I learned that webinars might be really dull way to deliver the contents. From another one running webinars I learned that the numbers on a scheduled session are surprisingly small. From our own technical trials, I learned that while it is possible, a lot of participants actually fade away during the webinar. For presenters, I learned that some people feel off talking all by themselves, and others find the talking to an invisible crowd comforting without the stress they get from live presentations.  From discussions, I learned that videotaping may be a key to what I want to achieve - new content over repeating the same old stuff. And that while we have these conferences where we actually just listen to the presentations, people find the breaks and the face-to-face connections and the forced presence of being there to listen really good. 

With the limited time available to organize something, all this talking is taking me to a conclusion different than the one I had half a year ago. I want to use my time slots on seeing people face to face, but videotaping the great contents to give others the chance of tapping into what we talk about. For the non-Finnish presenters, I want to help those who already have the webinars set up find the people and topics they should show.

Thus, I won't be organizing a series of webinars, but a series of events that happen in face-to-face settings, with a streaming possibility. And if anyone has contents they want to make available, I'm volunteering as happy to help to get that stuff out - in front of an audience or just a camera.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Refining agile to see what and why for Agile Finland

I'm organizing an aquarium discussion for August on finding a purpose for Agile Finland. I took the idea from someone at latest Agile Dinner / Drinks, and it should be fun hearing what people have to say on what we should be and do.

With the small group I talked with on the Agile Drinks session, we seemed to be quite well in synch with what we'd like. We'd like to shift focus from the adjective 'agile' into words that seem more meaningful like productive, results-oriented and happy. The things we value when we seek agile as opposed to not-agile.

Back with the purpose: nothing special, just save Finland, tweeted one of the discussion participants. The idea that valuable software is a key asset for the future here, we need to seek ways to collaborate and to do it better - for all roles in development and in touch with development.

I know I no longer want to waste my life into planning for an acceptance test for a year and a half, only to learn that either the plan fails (even though it was updated throughout the wait time) or that when the plan is successfully executed, the testing done is of no value really. I want to plan continuously, and do continuously. And learn from both our successes and failures.