Let’s Taste – The Retrospective

Here we go then with the dissection of my “Lets Taste” session at Let’s Test 2013. After reading the great post from Aleksis where he applies 6 Hats Thinking to attending Let’s Test, I’m going to try & use the same technique for retrospecting on my session.

This retrospective also includes valuable feedback I received from Paul Holland, Fiona Charles, Iain McCowatt, Carsten Feilberg & John Stevenson- thank you all.


Whilst reading around the subject of 6 hats thinking, I found this & thought I’d use it with the Wikipedia entry to frame my post:


White Hat – Information

  • 40 minutes talking
  • 20 minutes open season
  • Session split into 2: presentation & experiential
  • no tables
  • Chairs in circle around me
  • Borrowed clicker off Huib
  • Had to change batteries in clicker before session

Red Hat – Emotions

  • Nervous
  • Excited
  • Anxious
  • Proud
  • Happy

Yellow Hat – Optimistic Response

  • Man – I’m presenting at my first conference & that conference is Let’s Test!
  • Happy to have been given this opportunity
  • Look how many people showed up!!
  • Nervous about presentation content – although focus had changed to more of an experience report
  • Nervous about experiential session – is it too contrived?
  • Started confident – this was going to be a piece of cake!
  • Full house of attendees – the biggest crowd I’d spoken in front of
  • Good banter at beginning – were they really only there for the chocolates?
  • Good response to the challenge in the experiential session
  • Some great probing questions carried the experiential session without me having to do too much
  • The “buggy” gummy bears worked a treat!
  • I got some really great questions about how I test sooner – working out how they could apply it in their context
  • Some supporting comments from an attendee stating he uses a simialr technique in larger scale organisation – that was really great to hear. I changed the session to be more of an experience report as a kind of safety measure because I was unsure if this technique could be applied in different contexts
  • Some of the attendees got some of the points I was trying to get across – One in particular had a look in the “factory” & found the ingredients for making sweets!

Black Hat – Discernment

  • I lost confidence throughout the presentation – caused me to waffle
  • I spoke longer than I intended – this cut into the experiential part of the session
  • I spent too long looking for confirmation in the attendees from the first couple of slides – I didn’t need to, the content was that deep to warrant me checking I hadn’t lost the audience
  • The leap from the presentation to the simulation was too much – it was tricky for the attendees to get where I was coming from
  • I thought I’d primed the attendees with the meatballs & that I prefer testing close to the source code, but that priming was undone with the challenge handout
  • The simulation was to contrived – too much going on , trying to demonstrate too much.
  • I had to push the attendees in the direction I wanted to go – my socratic questioning failed me
  • The simulation ended up being less about learning & more about teaching the idea – that’s not what I wanted
  • From feedback received, it was clear that the session had evolved when I was preparing it & this had a negative impact on the session

Green Hat – Creativity

  • Presentation adds “noise” which doesn’t add much more value than the simualtion alone
  • I need a simulation which gets the point across
  • Simulation needs to have less points to get across
  • What is the point?
    • Testing sooner provides advantages such as fast feedback, better communication, rapport between team members
    • The whole development team is responsible for quality
    • Need to try & bake quality in from the beginning of development of a feature
  • Is the presentation actually needed?
  • Other simulations I’ve attended don’t have presentations, they’ve included stories of experience drip fed throughout the simulation
  • I don’t really like presentations as I find myself being hindered by them – maybe i’m putting too much info into them?
  • Need to have more courage with the session –  from feedback, I know the testing approach is good & it can be scaled. As I was preparing the session, I didn’t know if this was the case or not, so shied away from saying it was scalable
  • Need to read up on systems thinking more – this approach to testing can be applied to big systems which have been broken down into their sub-systems, which is exactly in the case in my current employment!
  • Would the session be better in Lego?
  • Can I adapt the Scrum / Kanban Lego simulations?

Blue Hat – Thinking About Thinking

  • My practice sessions were only to my work colleagues – this probably meant that I received different feedback than if I had presented the session to strangers as well.
  • It was great to get my first conference session under my belt
  • That session was the first time I had carried out a session with that many people – looking after & talking to that many people are definitely skills I need to practice
  • OK – it didn’t go as I’d hoped, but I got some good questions & feedback from the attendees
  • I’ve learned some valuable lessons & I’m grateful for having the opportunity to learn
  • So I need to rebuild the session from the ground up
    • Drop the presentation – does not tie with simulation & adds little value as it stands
    • The points I’m trying to make in the presentation can be made throughout the simulation
    • Drop the chocolates – they were a gimmick which didn’t pay off as I’d hoped
    • What can I use instead of chocolates? I’m thinking there’s got to be something with dice or Lego
  • Get the attendees more involved from the start – assume roles within the simulation
  • I need to practice running other peoples simulations
    • They are far wiser than me & their simulations are tried & trusted
    • I can focus on learning how to run a simulation without the stress of creating one – creating simulations can come later
    • Learning how to run a simulation first will help me to adapt in simulations & “go with the flow” if needs be
  • Sources of simulations I have access to include:
  • I still prefer an experiential session over a straight up lecture – I just need to get better running the simulations before trying to create my own!


All in all, a great experience & I’m thankful for everyone who chose to attend my session – I hope you got something out of it other than just a sugar high!


Whats next? Rebuild the testing sooner simulation, run other peoples simulations with smaller groups of people, preferably strangers…




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DasTbFUcmtI (thanks Aleksis)