Warning: This has very little to do with testing.

Additional Warning: I’m about to gripe.

I attended the 3rd Software Testing Club Atlanta meetup Wednesday.  Some of the meeting was spent fiddling with a virtual task board, attempting to accommodate the local people who dialed in to the meeting.

IT is currently crazy about low tech dashboards (e.g., sticky notes on a wall).  But we keep trying to virtualize them.  IMO, virtualizing stickies on a wall is silly.  The purpose is to huddle around, in-person, and ditch the complicated software that so often wastes more time than it saves.

IMO, the whole purpose of a local testing club that meets over beer and pizza is to meet over beer and pizza...in person, and engage in the kind of efficient  discussion that is best done in person.  Anything else defeats the purpose of a “local” testing club.  If I wanted to dial in and talk about testing over the phone, it wouldn’t have to be with local people. 

I’m sad to see in-person meetings increasingly get replaced by this.  But IMO, joining virtual people to real-life meetings, can be even worse.  Either make everyone virtual or make everyone meet physically.

Yes, I’m a virtual meeting curmudgeon.  I accept that virtual connections have their advantages and I allow my team to work from home as frequently as three days a week on a regular basis.  But I still firmly believe, you can’t beat good old fashioned, real-life, in-person discussions.

6 comments:

  1. John Stevenson said...

    Hopefully next time will be better :o) I planning to do a talk and workshop.

  2. Yehuda Miller said...

    I totally agree with you. A live meet up should be live only.

  3. Phil Kirkham said...

    Agree - at the GR Testers Meetup we've occasionally had a Skype input and it is very distracting. It's nice to get away from the tech and just talk and listen to people.

  4. Timothy Western said...

    There's one piece of information missing from this blog though. Not everyone who was connecting remotely was actually 'local'. I was one of them. I'm a tester in Christiansburg/Blacksburg, VA. Now you might say, why was I in this Atlanta Testing Club Meetup? Initially I was invited to participate remotely via Claire, a tester who I highly respect. So I wanted to support that effort, and I felt that attending made sense, even though, I likely won't ever be there in person.

    That having been said, I totally get the issues with Virtual communication in a distributed setting. It does indeed frustrate some people. However, we do not always have the ideal in the work place. I have worked on many teams, when developers, testers, even the manager may not even be located in the same office. We made it work though. In fact three of the teams I am thinking of were among some of the most highly performing I've had the privilege to be a part.

    But be that as it may, I do think, that the Atlanta Testing Club has now gotten some 'steam' around the local people in Atlanta, so at some future point it may make sense for the organization to pivot, and focus purely on the local in person people. (I've already spoken with Claire about this btw, so I'll not be offended when that decision does happen. I enjoy learning and listening in as much as anyone does, but I also can see that being local focused may be important as well. So Whatever happens long term, I wish you guys success.)

  5. Eric Jacobson said...

    Yes, John. I'm looking forward to it!

  6. Eric Jacobson said...

    Thanks for the comment, Timothy Western. I hope you and Claire don't take it personally. I certainly think the world of Claire and you seem like a great guy too.

    I'm just not interested in being a part of a local club that has an agenda item of determining how to invite more non-local people to participate virtually.

    It sounds like that is not going to be an agenda item, per your comment. Excellent!

    That being said, I hope to meet you in person someday.

    Thanks again for the well-stated comment. You have succeeded in softening my position.



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