How to encouraging participation in a virtual Test Guild

Hi Everyone, I have decided to start a Test Guild in our Company for all Testers to meet once a fortnight to discuss and learn about all things testing related. We have a range of abilities and roles from Jr to Senior and beyond. The sessions will be virtual as we are all in different time zones. To start with I have asked everyone to introduce themselves on Teams and list some topics they would like to discuss. I’m now looking for ideas of how to encourage participation in the first session. I had the idea of asking everyone to submit one testing related question they would like to ask with the idea that it would encourage discussion and hopefully and answer.

Has anyone got any suggestions or have you been to a session that you thought was really productive, if so what made it so?

We tried to start a Guild last year and it was a bit of a flop, I want people to get benefit from these sessions rather than it be just another meeting you have to attend.


Lovely idea! We have something similar.
So we have a backlog accessible by everyone to put idea’s on.

We host testing dojo’s or exploration nights so 1 guy prepares a topic, doesn’t deep-dive into it, he just gathers enough information to give a brief introduction to everyone. (let’s say API Testing as an example)

During the evening session:

  • The introduction is given
  • an assignment is given
  • People complete the assignment
  • People share their experience (each 30-60 minutes)

The assignment could be something like: automate X & Y and here is a list of tools & frameworks to automate it with and people have to pick a framework they haven’t used yet… to explore :wink:

You can have technical evenings & non-technical evenings. Topics can vary from: API testing, unit, Docker mutation testing to agile methodologies to creating charts etc

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In my current company we got only three testers, so I’m not sure if that would work for us, we usually go together to grab some lunch and sit down to discuss the testing situation on projects.

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Hi Romina,

It sounds like a Community of Practise in another name - so read up on these threads:

all the best for restarting the Guild


How large is your team?

I would suggest a Kanban board. People can add all their suggestions , then individuals get three votes. The top three is what you then go on to talk about.

Use things like Google jamboard or Miro to help with participation. Split into smaller groups to discuss a matter and then come back and share your discussions.

My main advice would be to simply experiment and try lots of different things to see what works for you! Research group facilitation.

If people want to listen and learn, that’s Ok too. You can’t force participation, only encourage.

I’d love to hear how you get on.

Participation may be a slow burner. You may find that to start with people are finding their feet so won’t be vocal straight away. A couple of good ways to get interaction:

  • Lean Coffee session on topics related to what you want to achieve
  • TestSphere session where you pick a random card and talk about it. This can be done remotely too using

Find some external speakers to come and engage them on a topic they can relate to or want to learn. Or if you are a pro member, providing you are in the room, find a talk on a topic on Ministry of Testing and share it in the session and talk about it afterwards.