How to keep a test community vibrant, engaged and valuable?

As a senior tester in an organisation with many different development teams I realised that while we had a lot of very skilled technical testers across those teaams who were all working in Silos. Testers where finding new ways of doing things, using new tools and not sharing those new ideas or technologies across the teams. This led to a lot pf duplicate work, silos and gaps in our knowledge and caused problems when people moved teams. This session will outline that issue and talk about some of the things we implemented to try and build a real testing community across the teams. We did this in a number of ways. Introduced a team meeting and after a bit of trial and error settled on a lean coffee style, introduced an “open space” where we could demo new tools, technologies and products we were working on or request demos for things we would like to know – could be testing related or related to the industry we work in (payments in our case). We also introduced a “Monthly Testing challenge” where we got together and tried to test something completely unrelated to our day to day job; this allows us to try new approaches, work with people we don’t usually get to and generally learn from each other. As well as these formal scheduled sessions we also introduced more cross team whiteboards, SBTs and release reviews. I also introduced a mentoring program making sure each of my testers had a mentor they were happy with and with who they could discuss their progress.