If you are a leader(with a title or without title), I am sure you must be thinking often on how to get your team together. How to juice productivity with visible vibrant energy and free-flowing passion across the team. You must be thinking of conducting some awesome team building activities, present(or receive) content of great help to your entire team so that they would feel that they are learning in some way. My mind is often occupied with such thoughts. Not just because I lead a team, but because I naturally love to push people to get their best, to grow together. And of course, I equally love to learn from the people around me.
Weekly Wednesday session is one of those many initiatives me and my team took as our efforts towards making the above possible. If you do not know what our weekly Wednesday session is about, you can get a glimpse of what exactly it is here. Ok, so I am not really going to directly tell you the ‘how to’ here as the title might have conveyed, but I am surely going to share few practical hints on ‘what can be done’. Wednesday is a fun day for us. It stays eventful and it stays productive. It acts well to burst away midweek blues if any. However, last few sessions were going bit unplanned and though we were having fun, the feeling was there that we can juice more productivity and fun if we plan it properly. Taking people together, engaging the audience is a skill. Content too has to be different.
Time was for me to get the matter in hand. I informed the team that I would be presenting throughout the session and have interesting things lined up for them. We usually meet for around two to two and a half hours every Wednesday, so I wanted to adhere to the schedule and still cover a lot of variety which I want all my team members to focus on too in future. I spent some 45 minutes to put my mind mined stuff into a PowerPoint presentation. Here is what all was there:
I decided to start with something related to Testing. Need and challenge of any IT professional these days is to stay up to date with what is happening in the industry. The case with us, the testers is no different. What could have been a better choice than quick talk around State of Testing Survey 2017? Thanks to PractiTest and Tea-time with Testers for conducting this awesome survey with well defined and well-directed questions. The report talks about many things such as where the overall testing industry is heading, what tools they are using, how important now is to break the comfort zone and learn something new for testers, how the career shifts are happening and so on. If you haven’t had look at it yet, you can check it here.
Got this personalised hand-written pic-note and this #Instagram themed magnet note from couple of my Squad members. They have just left/about to leave my team to take on future goals. Such words coming from someone who have nothing to do with me as far as their immediate professional growth is considered, is much bigger sense of satisfaction and achievement than anything else. The positive impact I created on lives of people around me will always be my favorite achievement.
First job is always special, isn’t it? Six years back, on 29th of November 2010 I joined Zycus. As a fresher.
I won’t lie. I was unsure about the path and future ahead. I didn’t knew if I will enjoy there. I didn’t knew if I will enjoy Software Testing.
I wasn’t sure if I will achieve whatever tiny bit I have achieved. I wasn’t sure if I will see any success. Only thing I was sure about is I will do something I will be proud of. What, how and when is something only journey told so far and same will be the case ahead.
It’s been some experience. Six long years and one journey. I am proud of most of the work I have put so far. I am proud of the products I have helped in delivering. And I am super proud of the team I have built from scratch. I feel fortunate that I could meet some super talented professionals and learn from them.
Many people have contributed to my journey so far. My friends, my mentors, colleagues who inspired me, critics, everyone have contributed. I will like to say a Big Thank You to each of them.
Wednesday is when my entire QA team(we call it ZyQualSquad) gets together for couple of hours for our weekly Team Session and we do quite a few things there. I will share what we do in detail someday maybe. Till then a sneak peek into what we do “Every Wednesday” in our QA Team Session.
Well, we plan it for each Wednesday and do very few things.
We share new stuff.
We implement new ideas.
We present our views.
We make each other speak.
We help each other grow.
We run through team building activities.
We get ‘clicked’, like anything.
Yes! We PLAY.
and we EAT.
Very few things right? :p
Well because we have such an eventful Wednesday, every single week, we never face midweek low.
I often feel empty when I find myself not doing anything ‘new’. Well when I say new, it doesn’t always mean it should be brand new to entire world, but rather to myself.
Idea is not only to keep myself engaged and satisfied but also to tell that I am doing something new and there is still a lot to do. Lots and lots of my learning or initiatives are output of this same feeling or situation I put myself into.
On same line, AI and in particular Chat Bot idea was ruling my mind for quite some time, similar to what it is doing to most of the tech world. I got inspiration from few chat bots, few blogs on medium and that was enough. I tried many platforms which are readily available like Botsify, cloning github repositories, Smooch, Howdy, Chatfuel, etc. I crossed out option of cloning github repo to keep it somewhat original and few others for lack of usability and configurability. Chatfuel was the final choice.
Considered multiple mediums like telegram, facebook messenger, sms, etc. and finally settled for Facebook messenger considering its reach.
After multiple attempts with different available resources, here is the final draft(will keep on enhancing it). Please give it a try and share your feedback. This chatbot is my personal assistant bot and it talks about me on both personal and professional front.