Share your stories!

April 22, 2021     Janet Gregory, Lisa Crispin
collaboration, sharing     Collaboration

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Janet has taught our agile testing course all over the world.  Although she has a timeline and knows approximately how much time each section should take, Janet finds that most classes don’t stick to the same times. Each class is different because the people are different. They come from different backgrounds, have different life experiences, and approach things from different perspectives.

One class (in-person, pre-Covid) seemed to take longer than normal in every single section, so Janet felt a bit rushed at the end. One of the things Janet likes to do is retrospect after each class trying to decide what went well and what could be improved.

This class had participants that were hoping to become instructors, so the class participants overall had more ‘experience’ than the normal classes she teaches. As a result, there was more experience to share and more stories to tell.  However, Janet was worried about the participants feeling rushed at the end of the third day, so she sent an email and asked for more feedback from them.

One comment from a participant was:

“In my opinion the additional stories were more valuable than the exercises because they demonstrate that I have the same problems in my projects as other people, and they give me an insight in additional solutions.”


Each person learns differently, but sharing stories enables us to remember the lessons learned. Janet likes to start her stories with phrases like “In my experience” or “This one time in …” or anything else that helps frame the context. People can then extract what is meaningful for them.

Lisa shares the stories she’s experienced in her own work. If you check out her blog posts, you can read about how she facilitated remote retrospectives, or the time she helped developers learn to do exploratory testing, or even things she’s learned from her donkeys. Lisa recently started a new job, and will soon be telling stories about doing ensemble (aka mob) programming, and how that’s helping her to revive her coding skills as well as sharing her testing expertise.

You too have stories. You have your own unique experiences to share. Each story you tell, might help someone else. You may think people have already heard similar stories, but you might explain something in a way that really gets through to some people. One thing to remember, is that it is your experience, and it may not be true for everyone.


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