Keeping the Conference Momentum Going!
You know how it goes, you come back from a conference, you’re buzzing, excited and full of inspiration. The rest of your team has been busy working and have a momentum of their own, eager to learn but focussed on deadlines. Over the next few weeks, you try to share your learnings, but slowly momentum slips away, the buzz fades and the feeling that those learnings are not being maximised begins to build.
On Saturday following Test Bash Manchester the MoT crowd organised an open space, the first topic of the day was to address exactly this issue. While the conference and what we discussed is still fresh we were eager to share some ideas that came from the group:
Brain Food / Knowledge Sharing Sessions.
Knowledge sharing sessions can be both a great way to both share the learnings you have found and to practice some public speaking. The idea is simply to organise a time & space to review your experiences and learnings with the group back at the office. Lunchtime sessions can be a good approach to get these started, attract people with snacks, and if possible persuade the management to buy some pizzas.
Where I work, we have a range of interest guilds for each of the disciplines within the engineering team, these include automation, API, platform and QA. The QA guild, in particular, is a wonderful safe space to discuss your craft and ways to improve your working practices across the QA, particularly useful for testers dispersed across teams. Top tip: invite people from other disciplines to help get outside perspectives.
This is something I feel everyone could be doing and a fantastic way to maintain momentum. Identify a new skill or initiative that you can use at work, and start taking an hour or two a week for self-development.
This is my favourite way of both maintaining momentum on a guild project and providing aspiring leaders with an opportunity to learn the craft. Like the individual side projects, but more collaborative, identify an opportunity and challenge an aspiring leader to gather some volunteers and begin chipping away at it, regularly check in to offer support and remove blockages, maintaining momentum here is key.
We’d love to know what you think about this issue and these ideas. Can you identify any pros or cons to the implementation and use of these methods? Do you have any hints or tips of your own on how to share knowledge and ideas from conferences? Do you have any strategies on how to embed them successfully at work?