Facilitating an SWTC

What role does a Facilitator play at a Software Testing Clinic?

To facilitate a Software Testing Clinic you can use the WSTP technique. It’s about:

  • Creating a welcoming environment for every attendee
  • Supporting the facilitators in their efforts
  • Keeping on top of the session by tracking time, energy and flow
  • Promoting activities to the outside world

Why bother?

Facilitation provides you with a huge feel-good opportunity. You’ll contribute to creating an experience where people are guaranteed to learn. By amplifying the facilitator’s capabilities you’ll inspire more testing professionals and will move our testing craft forward.

What does a Facilitator do?

  • Ideally, arrive before everyone else does and ensure the room has supplies at the ready – whiteboards and dry-wipe pens, drinks facilities, seats arranged, sticky labels and sharpies for name tags.
  • Personally, welcome everyone, ask if they’ve been to a session before. Set expectations if it’s their first time. Describe the format and remind them it’s a friendly environment to ask questions and learn. Thank returnees (both mentors and students!). Introduce mentors to students who are on their own. Try not to get too stuck into only one conversation, be sure to “walk the room”.
  • Hand out blank stickers to everyone and ask each person to write their name on it
  • Ensure the WIFI works and details are available for attendees to log onto
  • Ensure the SWTC hosts have everything in place to run a successful session
  • Hand out schedules to the mentors, ask if they’ve seen it before and remind them of their responsibilities
  • Take notes of tweetable lines. Tweet them in real-time. Use a mixture of text-based quotes, photos and videos. Give those who aren’t attending a flavour for what’s happening. Create buzz and excitement!
  • Provide non-verbal warnings to the facilitators when the are 5 minutes remaining per section of the schedule. Do this for 2 minutes and 1 minute remaining. Stick to the schedule and be vigilant with time. Choose to cut things off at opportune moments.
  • Make a note of the location of the restrooms so you can point someone in the right direction when asked
  • Randomly check-in with the SWTC hosts throughout the evening to see if they need anything/feel good about how things are going/need to adjust timings.

Stuff you might not be able to do

  • With your facilitation head on you might struggle to be a mentor. Best to agree that you’re unavailable as a mentor. Seek opportunities to share thoughts and ask questions during group exercises. Don’t let this distract you from your facilitation role.

Further information

If you want to facilitate one of our Software Testing Clinics then get in touch with us at swtc@ministryoftesting.com or have a chat with one of the Clinic hosts.

Don’t hesitate to contact Simon Tomes if you have any questions, thoughts and ideas about the Facilitator role – simon@testbuddy.co. Let’s iterate on it!