Thursday, August 16, 2018

Experience Report: Problem Solving: A Hands-On Workshop

Participants of the first Problem Solving: A Hands-On Workshop
LtoR: Sivabalan, Dinesh, Vinod, Sandeep, Aneesh, Ajay, Jyothi, Parmesh, Sagar.
Deepti had left early.
I don't remember when I asked Jyothi if she would be interested in doing a workshop together, but I am happy that I asked. It was in the second week of July and we decided that we will have the workshop on Aug 15th. There were multiple Skype calls, lots of comments exchanged on Trello, multiple files shared on Google Drive and we met on the day of workshop - thanks to internet!

So, we were the trainers and we had partnered with

Few things I learned/relearned from this workshop:

Never Give Up
Our first call did not happen as scheduled. The Trello board was inactive for a week. There was just one registered participant till a week before the workshop date. We had not yet finalised the slides and exercises for the workshop. Few days before the workshop, we got to know about Jerry's demise. I was in my last week of my notice period. There were multiple things going on at the same time. Some drastic measures were taken and the workshop was successfully conducted! This entire workshop experience will be one of the reminders for me that if we persist hard enough, impossible will become possible.

Differences can be resolved if we have the right attitude
Jyothi and I seem to have contrasting styles in how we prepare for a workshop and how we present. I am someone who mostly flows with the flow and waits for the last minute till I get that one brilliant idea. Jyothi seems to be someone who is more organised than me, likes to rehearse every detail and be prepared. Every word on her slide was powerful and my slides had more images than words. If someone had looked at our slides, they would have thought that we were preparing for two different workshops. We did not have many arguments - our goal was to create a good experience for the audience. We did not hesitate to let go of our work and vote for each other's work.

Partnership based on trust is beautiful
Each one of us (Jyothi, myself and ManuMantra) trusted each other and result was just brilliant. All the pieces just fit the overall workshop puzzle so well that I myself was surprised on some occasions. Certificates not yet ready - no problem - ready on time. Handout not ready - let us use the lunch break and finalise - Projector showing a blue tint, use cello tape and fix it.

What audience learned
To be honest, I did not anticipate what would the audience learn. Whenever I talk about problem solving, I go into a peaceful mode. Maybe, I start thinking about Jerry Weinberg and the whole class where we talked, argued, learned, observed problems and their solutions. So, towards the end of the workshop - when we asked the audience to share what they learned, we were surprised to know that some of them got solutions to their problems and some got confidence to solve their problems. Nothing gives the workshop instructors more happiness than seeing participants leave the workshop, satisfied and energetic to apply the lessons.

And it was a good start. Time for more workshops.

The next one is - Mobile Testing Workshop at Bangalore

followed by - Problem Solving Techniques for the New Leaders/Managers at Pune