I did a bonus talk/workshop on Tuesday on Test Masters Academy‘s conference during the Reinventing Testers week. Title was: “Reinventing Testers, Reinventing Myself, Staying Sane.” The talk was an introduction of explorative, valuable, and supportive conversations.

Imagine you are at the scrum meeting. You’ve reinvented yourself as a tester and feel fit in the new team. But today, a senior manager has joined the meeting: The release is in testing and “go live” is today.

The problem is that you are facing some very odd issues. How are you going to manage talking about them?

Testers are often under pressure. We have to stay cool – and sane.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect” – Mark Twain

(It was Jess Ingrassellino who tweeted this quote a few days ago.)

An experienced tester on my team recently mentioned that a sudden change in schedule had caused him to fear he would loose sense of himself.

I am very passionate about providing testers with ways to remain true to themselves, even under pressure.

In the talk, I introduced the type of philosophical conversations I practice as often as possible with team members and friends: Protreptic dialogues.

(I have written and talked about it before.)

We formed a circle and I spread Dialoogle cards with pictures on the floor for us to pick from: Pick a card that relates to testing.

Picking a picture of something and associating it to testing requires you to use your intuition better and think creatively about yourself and what you do.

The thoughts enable protreptic conversations in which I as the “guide” and facilitator listens and ask questions. The conversation is personal, but never intimidating as it is always only about assisting you in reflecting positively about your thoughts, ideas and values.

Sane comes from latin sanus, which means healthy, sober, sensible.

Being sensible, sensing, sensemaking and staying sane is linked. The kind of sanity I seek, is that where we seek to understand who we are, and stay true to our values.

I shared this slide in PDF with five helpful principles that you can follow to perform explorative, valuable and supportive conversations with colleagues and friends.

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Morning sun reflecting in the rivers as seen from the insanely tall Empire State Building. Far out in the horizon, the Atlantic is barely visible. New York is beautiful in its own ways.
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