February 23 Quality Coach Newsletter

This month, the quality coach book explores some techniques to cement and ensure long term integration of ideas into ways of working.

February 23 Quality Coach Newsletter
Photo by Christian Lue / Unsplash

Facilitating a workshop, be it exploratory testing or risk storming, card elaboration or developing a team test strategy, is the bread and butter for quality coaches.

But how often have you held a workshop only to discover that the team is too busy or implement a new ritual or change?

This month, the premium article explores techniques to help cement the knowledge and ensure adoption by the team. I end by exploring the nuances of these techniques so you avoid pitfalls.  

Coaching quality that sticks

You've finally convinced your team to hold a coaching session on a quality-related topic. Congrats! Now, to turn this opportunity into a successful outcome.

Running a task-based, time-boxed coaching session is a great way to embed concepts and new ideas into a team. Task-based coaching sessions focus on the team performing a specific activity. By doing, rather than discussing, the team gets to experience the concept as opposed to a hypothetical discussion on the topic.

Coaching sessions help teams understand the concept, but if you want to embed them into a team's psyche, it requires a consistent application. This means follow-up sessions, tweaks to team processes, and the inclusion of tasks into backlogs. So while you might be tempted to pat yourself on the back after a successful coaching session, realise that you have only started the change journey.

Holding a coaching session on a topic is relatively simple. You could use a formula such as this:

  • Agree on the topic and outcome
  • Use a small bit of relevant work that can be time-boxed.
  • Direct them through the task. Answer questions directly and as best you can.
  • Once the task is completed, hold a short discussion session and explore the topic in more detail.  
  • Agree on the next steps, such as follow-up tasks and further catchup sessions.

Sessions like these look relatively simple to run, but like most things in tech, it hides the skill required to run one successfully. Here are some of the challenges I've experienced;

I've written about how to run specific facilitated workshops.

Team Test Strategy Workshop for Quality Coaches
This workshop provides a systematic approach to developing a team test strategy for an epic or large feature. It provides a team with a framework within which they can consider all the factors that impact testing.
Quality Improvement Workshop - Quality Coach Book
Quality Coaches, run this workshop to figure out team quality tasks prioritisation using the sailboat analogy. Instructions and a miro board help structure the workshop.
How to define quality in diverse cross functional teams
What is quality in a cross functional team? This workshop provides you with a way of helping a team gain a shared understanding of what quality is.

From the Community

Read some great posts this month. Here are some highlights.

How I Contributed as a Tester to a Machine Learning System: Opportunities, Challenges and Learnings
Have you ever wondered about systems based on machine learning? In those cases, testing takes a backseat. And even if testing is done, it’s done mostly by developers itself. A tester’s role is not clearly portrayed. Testers usually struggle to understand ML-based systems and explore what contributio…

Here are some tips for handling meetings that deviate, which might be helpful if your coaching session wanders...

Cutting People Off
Impatience is a virtue. If impatience is solely your own, sorry, but you’re the asshole. But if impatience is shared, saving your colleagues from a tiresome conversation will make their day. Notice

A book review by Lisa Crispin

Another book review! _Grokking Continuous Delivery_ by Christie Wilson - Agile Testing with Lisa Crispin
Review highly recommending Grokking Continuous Delivery book by Christie Wilson

Beth Marshall shared this video on how to use ChatGPT to generate test data.

And an insightful post from Lee Hawkins about being change agents, sometimes less emphasis on facts and evidence and more on compelling reasons is essential.

That's it! We've got some new guest writers joining us. I look forward to their fresh perspectives,

Until next month,

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