What’s the Problem Here?

At the the recent “Online Test Conference – Fall 2020” a workshop reminded me to look at the problem. And it’s always a people problem. Which got me thinking later on in the program – what’s this talk trying to solve?

About the OTC

The fall 2020 version of the Online Test Conference was the 9th version, and the conference has been online only since the start in 2016. I had a talk in 2017: Shifting is more than Shift Left. Since then the conference has expanded to be over three days:

  • One day European-friendly timeslot
  • One day American-friendly timeslot
  • One day Asia-Pacific-friendly timeslot

With little effort you might be able to listen to talks on two days, – and if not the whole thing is available on youtube afterwards. The conference is driven by Joel and his team from PractiTest. Though the only marketing the push is their free and annual State of Testing Report. the State of Testing report has been running for some years too and provides insightful global trends in the field of software testers.

The OTC is great for multiple reasons: It’s free, anyone can join (and many new people to testing does), the talks are recorded and there’s a bit of a chatter on the slack channels. It’s an easy way to step up your learning.

But back to this year

New this year was online workshops. First off I attended “Workshop with Rob Lambert: Building diverse, inclusive and effective teams by focusing on behaviours“. Which was great on two accounts: interactive and had key takeaways. One take-away was the use of DISC profiles to understand yourself and the team around your delivery. I’m usually cautious about personality tests, but Rob did put it very reasonably.

The primary action item from the workshop was though to look at every meeting and consider:

What problem are we solving?

Rob Lambert, OTC Fall 2020

This can be applied is so many ways. And with the addition: Whose problem are we trying to solve – you can get closer to understanding the business and your team. It might sound off, if you are more a testing type that likes to investigate and spot problems and trends – but at the end of the day you too have to consider what business problem your testing taps into. What is the need of your decision maker?

What’s this talk trying to solve?

Due to time constraints and work I didn’t manage to catch many others “live”. Unfortunately one of the talks I did pick, I had to stop watching. While the talk had both a presentation and a video feed, it seemed as the person was just sitting there talking to himself. Watch the full recordings HERE, and judge on your own.

Not that my talk in 2017 was super, but I learned since then that even an online talk can be engaging. As a presenter you have to pause (Dana), you have to ask the audience questions (Angie) and have a theme or a story/stories. I tried my best on “When Subject Matter Experts test” [Available online with subscription: MoT Dojo].

So the question above applies as well to conference speakers and conference attendees. If I can’t tell what problem he’s trying to solve – or for who, then I’m out. The barrier for exiting online talks is so low, that it will be a factor in the future: to engage the listeners and to be clear on What’s the Problem here.


Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

[Media sponsor for the Online Test Conference Fall 2020]

2 thoughts on “What’s the Problem Here?

  1. […] Yet there are people in the profession who seems not to be able to imagine that companies and teams works in different ways. That there are delivery teams that do not have testers and that there exists IT projects that are not about developing bespoke web software for the consumer market. I have worked with teams that have been maintaining the same system for 25 years – without any testers and with a team application maintenance engineers who have learned intricate business contexts. It’s all about the culture. […]

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