This blog will cover my participation in Stephan & Maik’s book about my experience working from home.

First Time WFH

COVID-19 has forced us to change the way we work, personally it was my first time ever working from home! “19 March 2020” is a special day when everyone in our company took his laptop and desk gadgets with him. 

It was a sad to say goodbye to our co-workers without knowing when to meet again ! 

Thanks to technology that makes all communications between different teams smooth and working in virtual mode goes beyond expectation where productivity increased. 

It becomes even more interesting for companies to think about implementing a work-from-home policy adding flexibility to employees whenever possible. 

I’m going to cover mostly how I enjoyed the confinement period at home outside my normal working hours. It was a period full of learnings and achievements.

Random Opportunities 

In my normal schedule, it’s not trivial to refine all my learning backlog which is always full !

The pandemic seems to be the unique accelerator for my personal TODO achievements list.

During this period, the status of many planned items (the ones that could be done when staying at home) moved to “DONE” and lots of random opportunities created.

  • More writings 

My 2020 goal was to start a blog, it was done successfully but during this period my blog is having more chances. I managed to add 10 articles plus improving the decoration of my blog.

I participated in the challenge in blogger club by ministry of testing, writing an article “Testing is Like …”: Traveling.

  • Visual recording 

“Text and images 📈✏ are mighty friendly, and when paired together they make information more memorable and easier to process”

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Although it was extremely new for me (I discovered that during 2019 conferences), I wanted to learn this skill. I got some time to initiate my skills in this world. I even ordered “The World of Visual Facilitation” book.

I still need more practice to reach the level I saw in previous conferences. But I’m happy with the initiative.

  • Remote events

I got the opportunity to attend a lot of international conferences such as “Testbash home” and it was an absolute joy! 
Also I spoke at Women In Testing meetup organized by MOT Athens.

The full meetup recording is available via : https://www.ministryoftesting.com/dojo/series/meetups/lessons/women-in-software-testing

  • Read, Contribute and Initiate Books 

It was an occasion to read new books, to share my story “Starting your journey as a tester” in Viv Richards book, “80 testers around the world”

Even more, Ard Kramer and I started an initiative wondering how testers are using the 4C called “21st Century Skills”? and what is the future of those skills?

  • 1️⃣ Collaboration
  • 2️⃣ Communication
  • 3️⃣ Critical thinking
  • 4️⃣ Creativity

We decided to create a book about the 21st Century Skills for testers: “Are testers prepared for the 21st century skills?” 

Gathering testers stories and imagination about the future of those skills.

  • Courses: Scrum & BBST & Leadership 

I got the opportunity to take many online courses and certifications, those learning opportunities are shared in our Sfax Testing Slack. Most of them are free of charge to encourage the community during the pandemic.

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BBST
  • Cooking 

Having more time at home was also an opportunity to discover or innovate new recipes.  

When it comes to community events 

I used to organize testing meetups for MoT Sfax, we did many in 2019

Moving those events to virtual wasn’t trivial, our community use to have special events such as gamification in testing, icebreakers, scrum games, lean coffee format, talks with national or international speakers … 

I try to use different formats when running meetups in order to engage our participants and make meetups unforgettable full with learning and fun. 

I was wondering how virtual events can add extra fun when everyone is behind their screen.

  • How we moved to virtual without losing the joy of meetups ? 

It all started with a question in @sfaxtesting instagram story to see if they are interested in virtual meetups ? 

I was surprised to receive instant answers and interest! 

The first answer was from Ileana Herrera from Salta, Argentina, she was the organizer of MOT Salta. At that moment, I got the idea to extend the event and take this advantage of remote mode. 

We decided to run the first virtual meetup in lean coffee format we call it: “Testers Virtual Coffee” between Tunisia and Argentina communities. 

It was a BIG surprise having like minded people from different countries with us was a joy. 

Testers Virtual Coffee” 1.0

Sharing their experiences, brainstorming about test automation strategies and quality reports was extremely inspiring, checkout “Testers Virtual Coffee” First Blog !

Running this event with such numbers of participants from everywhere was a great experience, they could discuss together different topics. 

It was even the trigger to organize a second meetup using the same format but to share tips how to maintain focus and successfully manage time when working from home. 

“Testers Virtual Coffee” went live on its second edition organized by both of us plus Antonella Scaravilli the organizer of MOT Barcelona.

Those remote meetups are extremely wonderful, it was an opportunity to deal with other organizers in the world, sharing our tips and learning from each other.

We got participants from 20 countries!

Some takeaways and recommendations to run virtual meetups

  • Involve your community in the choice of topics (we used Pull integrated in Slack)
  • Choose the right tool for the meetup depending on the number of participants (Crowdcast was our choice)
  • Define a hashtag for your meetup on social media (our hashtag was #testersvirtualcoffee)
    I recommend using a new one if you didn’t find a standard hashtag so that you give the opportunity to members to connect to each other before and after the meetup and continue sharing their interests.
  • In remote meetups, don’t limit your audience to the local community but try to share your thoughts and learn from the global community, you can spread the event on different social media (we shared the meetup in facebook, linkedin, twitter, and instagram to reach many testers).
  • Try to add more fun to make participants feel connected to each other learning in a safe environment without being shy (we asked them to bring coffee).
  • Use a shared form between them so that they can draw a random thing during the meetup (we used jamboard).
Testers Virtual Coffee” 2.0

Conclusion

Having this remote experience in my life was very helpful to achieve more and to connect with the global testing community through conferences, meetups, slack channels, twitter, courses,…

Hope we get back to the normal life, but I’m sure that software people will have more flexibility from their employers to work from home at least one day per week. 

Finally, I invite community organizers to think about hybrid meetups in the future being physically and remotely available. It’s an occasion to share the learning opportunity beyond local community and here to reach everyone interested in the world.