Find My Friends of Good Software

We had a Friends of Good Software (FroGS) remote lean coffee last week. It's a structured conversation that gives people a chance to write down their topics and vote on them, both to choose the order of the topics at the start, and to decide if the current timebox is enough time on the topic. Timeboxes get shorter and shorter to keep the ideas and the blood flowing.

We gather our FroGS quarterly for an online open space or lean coffee. All our events abide by the four laws and one principle of open space, the hardest of which always seems to be: Whoever comes is the right people. Partly from a grammatical point of view, but mostly from an "I wish X person could have been here for this conversation" point of view.

As with each event, it was clear this time too that those who were there were the right people.

  • Someone wondered aloud: how do I get my developers interested in testing? A fellow Friend of Good Software replied with what felt like a completely unreplicable personal anecdote: bully your developer into presenting at a developer conference, so they'll meet a bunch of kind-hearted testers enthusiastic enough to inspire the developers' interest. Then someone from the other breakout room relayed a similar anecdote in the hangout later: bully a family member into joining you to a testing conference, and let said family member learn enough things from enthusiastic testers to break into testing.

  • Someone noted: I would love a talk about font accessibility right now. To which another one of our FroGS replied: I have given a talk on font accessibility, I'll send it to you.

  • One person asked: tell me about your experiences of having a guest in your mob or ensemble. In fact, I had been exactly such a person, and the ensemble facilitator was also among the handful of people in our breakout room.

Yes, of course, we did "cover" "topics" too. This lean coffee included:

  • using agile practices on fixed-cost projects
  • how to set up a test strategy for a product that's never had a test strategy
  • increasing visibility/recognition for testing activities
  • how to keep curious about things you've done before
  • what you're learning now

Our FroGS brought what's currently on their minds, got helpful tips and suggestions, and came away with notes on the Miro board for later.

But the things I remember are those moments of seredipity, the things that feel like they can only happen by accident or with great care, with the right people in the room. Whoever comes is the right people.