I recently ran a workshop with the rest of the UAT team on how to use cypress, this is new automation framework I have started to implement as I am lead of the automation initiative. The purpose was to spread knowledge around the team on the framework and enable other team members to start writing their own test as we are in product aligned teams and it is too much for one person to write all of the tests for the whole website.
My initial thoughts on the workshop was that it would be a chilled out environment and we would get into a room run through a PowerPoint, write a couple of tests job done! Workshop complete. However the more I thought about it and the more other team members would talk about It I started to feel the pressure build around the workshop and as I’m not the biggest fan of speaking in front of people this instantly led to me putting the whole thing off. I started to think of ways to alleviate the pressure from myself and I ended up splitting the group of 9 into 2 groups. I instantly felt better that I wouldn’t be speaking in front of so many and although all of the people in the workshop were my team mates, I was still worried about technical questions I could potentially be asked. ‘Will I be able to answer them?’, ‘how stupid I would feel if I couldn’t answer?’ etc.
I put together a prezi and broke down the sections I wanted to teach such as set up, test structure, beginning to write tests and then mini challenges for people to get on with themselves. The workshop was earlier this week and coming out of it my first thought was ‘what was I so worried for?’ I felt like it went really well. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I got some really positive feedback from the survey I sent out following the workshop. I think the mini challenges I set helped massively as the attention was not on me for the whole duration as I was walking round helping if anyone got stuck. The competitiveness from team members, created a fun learning environment and I felt it really sunk into the team what they were doing and built confidence that they were able to go away and write tests for themselves. I could see the ‘lightbulb moment’ in people’s heads when things started to make sense. The only thing I would change about the workshop, would be that setting up was a bit slow and the team ended up waiting around for everyone to be ready to go. However this was a crucial part of the workshop so people knew how to do this and the knowledge could be passed on to any new starters. Also I didn’t want to become a dependency in the future.
I really enjoyed conducting the workshops as I felt I passed on value to the rest of the team, also because I was so nervous about doing it, it was a personal goal for me to be able to stand up and run my own workshop, the second group do it early next week and I’m looking forward to seeing their feedback. I know feel that this will be an ongoing thing and we can work as a team to automate the UI testing for the website as much as we can providing a safety blanket for the team on things we may take for granted to ‘just work’. My advice for anyone who is a nervous public speaker or is not comfortable standing up in front of people would be to think of ways to break things down such as group size and don’t let the pressure from other people get to you at the end of the day it is your workshop ad you are in control of it.