The Speed, Agility and Team Spirit – are you ready to embrace it all?

This is my fourth write up on my experience with Test Leadership Congress 2020. If you missed the previous three, then I recommend you to please read those here, here and here.

Wednesday, July 29th 

“Agile has Stopped My Career Growth. Now What?” by Brijesh Deb

Agile is seen by a lot of testers, especially of a certain experience range, as the adversary of testing, stopping their career growth. However, in reality, Agile has more opportunities for testers. This talk was aimed at helping people understand the role of a tester in Agile projects and addressing a common misconception about Agile stopping career growth.

After this session a group discussion on the topic, “Career Development Opportunities for Agile Testers” took place. 

The session “Too Fast Too Furious: A story of being first QA manager” by Priyanka Halder was very interesting and meaningful for everyone who isn’t a manager yet and about to become one and also for everyone who is already a manager but maybe needs some refreshers.

Here are my session notes: 

As per Priyanka, a good QA Manager has to be a great leader first. She shared three mantras for the first time managers:

  • Bring out better outcomes from a group of people working together
  • Build a great team – Care Personally, Challenge Directly
  • Give and receive feedback openly

Lead vs. Manager

Your Job as a manager is to get better outcomes from a group of people working together.

Purpose: Do we know the Vision and path to achieve it?

  • People: Understand, develop and aspire to be their best self
  • Process: Running effective meetings, future-proofing against past mistakes, planning for tomorrow, and nurturing a healthy culture.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Building a great team means to build trust, understand the motivation -inner motivation vs. outer motivation. Be compassionate and delegate to make the team self-sufficient. Appreciate privately and publicly but show vulnerability and offer psychological safety.

Which leads us to the FBI Framework for communication and feedback.

F = Feeling: What emotion did the action or behaviour of the other cause you?

(Are you angry, anxious, sad, disappointed, or happy, surprised, thankful?)

B = Behaviour: What was the exact action that caused this emotion?

(Note that you should not use the phrase “you always” or “you never”)

I = Impact: What were the consequences of this action?

A great Manager never stops growing and never stops motivate his team to grow too.

Right after this inspirational session, we were able to join a workshop which was as meaningful and important as all the other great sessions we had this week. And I am really grateful that I had the opportunity given to me by Anna Royzman to participate in this great conference.

The “Workshop: The Personality Puzzle: Building a Solid Team” by Brittany Sherell was so much fun in a serious way which made me realize how important it is to grow as a private person also as the business person. It doesn’t matter in which field you are working if you are already a leader or not, but this knowledge is for sure priceless.

My notes from the session by Brittany – 

Brittany opened her workshop with an interesting quote –

“People don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.”

As a leader, you will be able to:

  • Identify common personality types and behaviours
  • Recognize how to blend diverse strengths for improved productivity
  • Leverage individual personality challenges to create more team cohesion

But what is personality in the workplace?

And why is personality in the workplace important?

25% admit they took their frustrations out of customers.

63% reported that they lost work time avoiding someone who offended them.

78% said their commitment to the organization declined in the face of toxic behaviours.

Are you ready to play the personality puzzle?

Brittany showed us 4 different symbols and we had 30 seconds to choose one for ourselves. Which one would you choose? Are you ready to unlock the puzzle? Share your choice on Twitter @testmasteracad and @Brittany Sherell and @AstridWinkler4 and we would love to share your result with you. Don’t forget the hashtag #tmatlc2020

And now here are strategies to build a solid team:

  • Discuss team personalities and preferences (survey,  a team meeting, etc.)
  • Collaborate as a team on how each member can use their strengths to contribute in the most powerful way.
  • Create an environment that welcomes two-way, continuous feedback.

Use self-awareness to build a solid team means to ask yourself:

  • How do other people see me?
  • What are my strengths/positive traits?
  • Are my potential pitfalls showing up right now?

Key takeaways

  1. Unchecked personality clashes are costly
  2. Meshing a team with diverse personalities requires the ability to discern the positives and pitfalls at play on the team
  3. Leveraging personalities happens with communication, collaboration and strategic contributions.

Encourage your team members to share their rhythms and preferences upfront to find the proper way to collaborate. 

Later on, a Lean Coffee session happened and I am sure testers enjoyed sharing and solving their problems through discussions and brainstorming. 

And now, with all this inspiration for how to build a solid team and never stop growing for yourself and your job I will take your leave. We might see each other tomorrow.

See you soon. 


Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care.

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4