Communities support you
Communities enable groups of passionate people
Communities break silos
Communities deepen social connections
Communities help you grow
I somehow seem to be ok at creating communities. I accidentally founded the awesome Leeds Testing Atelier, although 100% of the credit must go to the brilliant team who help create the Atelier and have made it much more than my initial ideas. To the Atelier crew, I salute you. I was involved in Agile in Leeds helping take this from Emily Webbers capable community building hands and again with a small team helping this event grow.
I decided to leave Leeds and move to Newcastle leaving an amazing job and a great culture behind at Infinity Works. In Newcastle, I have again become involved in building communities helping to set up and run Ministry of Testing Newcastle and doing whatever the Agile NE founder Jon McNestrie needs of me to support him in the running of Agile NE. I am grateful to have found such lovely engaging people and thank them for their support and for the knowledge I gain from being in their presence.
Why? The idea with the Atelier was to make learning free. A long time ago, when I was much younger I had managed to get myself invited to a Test Bash Brighton conference by bothering Rosie Sherry and becoming a press person for Ministry of Testing. I learnt so much from this experience. I went to Test Bash on my own met loads of new people and had time to think. This inspired me, I wanted to create this experience for everyone to give people that conference experience for free. I think we have done that, it’s an awesome completely non-corporate punk ass conference day full of learning and talking with friends. If you haven’t been before you should.
This has then taken me on an amazing journey of exploration of learning. I love running these events as they create and deepen social creations. They create a support network of people, to give you ideas when problems or challenges occur, to find out what’s going on, is there a new practice or tool which is really helpful. They are fun, there has to be an engaging element to them.
In a previous role, I turned a boring environments booking meeting which was usually a fight which fulfilled no needs into a vibrant gamified pipeline community getting 10x attendance to come and discuss their pipelines. People share their current pipeline, discussing possibilities with practices and tools represented by badges on a pipeline. This helped drive innovation and brought organisational silos together different business areas, devs, testers all presented their pipelines.
Communities have the power to change, with a community you can gather enough people to make a difference. Communities are what drives learning for individuals, teams, organisations.
I have run an internal learning group within organisations allowing individuals within an organisation to get together and learn something together, taking just one hour a week this provided a massive boost to morale, we got in a room created a backlog of things we wanted to learn which were roughly relevant and then started looking at them. No format of learning was off the table, videos, coding, pluralsight, mob learning. Communities can inspire people.
A community is opt-in you can’t be forced into a community, if you don’t want to come you don’t have to. As a community you have autonomy, good communities have a purpose and they help you as individuals learn and master an area of interest.
The better you are at surrounding yourself with people of high potential, the greater your chance for success.
The best communities I have seen have small groups of organisers assemble a crew.
Make your community fun and engaging
Focus on the learning
Every opinion matters – Be open to all ideas
Help people solve problems
Feedback, discuss your community with the community, what do you all want out of it?
Don’t dictate, the community decides
Go create or get involved with a community!