I facilitated a lean coffee meetup for testers in Nashville this past Wednesday. This was my first time doing something like this so it was a pretty interesting experience. The participants seemed pretty happy so I’ll call it a success! I wish I had taken more pictures but I’m no live blogger. It is tough to get involved and do that kind of active observation.

Date: 10/16/2013
Participants: Read Blankenship, Alexa Riter, Michael Alexander, Kendall Joseph, Justin Rohrman


Lessons Learned:
I really like doing this in the morning because people can be hesitant to cut out some of their evening free time for things like this. The problem with mornings is 7am comes early and it seems even earlier when it happens to rain all night and morning. The rain caused some people to be a little late but it was no big deal and we rolled with it just fine. I suppose you can please all the people all the time so any time will be inconvenient. I may take a poll on when the next event should be.

Strength in Numbers
This time there were 5 people total participating including me. I was hesitant to add my cards to the pile because I was trying to play the role of the facilitator and let everyone get their ideas on the table but in hindsight more cards may not have been a bad thing. There is definitely a benefit to having more people at lean coffee. You get more variety in topics and you get more people with varied experience to talk about each topic. Some things I did like about the smaller group was the intimacy of the group and how obvious the energy level is to watch with fewer people. We were able to get in a groove and ended up not having to vote much on whether to go onto the next topic.

Problem Solving is Energizing
Once we got into talking about each topic the group really got into it. Realizing that we can in fact solve our own problems is really empowering. Also, realizing that the things we were working on at 7 am could be used at 8:30 when everyone made it into the office was energizing.

Facilitating ie rewarding
I really like facilitating events like this, the people that come in and really make the event aren’t the only ones benefiting. I benefit because it makes me feel good to help others help themselves and also I get to hone some facilitating and problem solving skills. The lean coffee format helps to create an environment where people feel comfortable talking about problems they have and things they need help with. Also, it helps to create an environment where people that care can give the best kind of help, solicited help.

I’ll probably try to do another one of these in a month of so. If you are a tester in the Nashville area I hope you’ll join us!