Bringing change, new structures, new workflows, or even new tools into a team can be a hard, tricky and a never ending process.
I made this experience on my own. In early 2017 I attended a Scrum Master course and this was a mind changing and mind blowing moment in my life. I was really enthusiastic and motivated to implement the Scrum methodology in our team, because I thought this will make all our daily work life better, it will make us happier and more successful. So I felt I am doing something good, doing something for my colleagues to help them to feel better, but the only props I earned were some “uuuhm’s” and “ooohr’s”, especially when I called everyone up for the daily stand-up. Or I received comments like,“yeah sounds nice, but I don’t think it works for us!“ Or „I don’t see any benefits, I only see that I need to get used to new tools and processes and I don’t have time for that …“.
It was like fighting against windmills and I felt being alone with my good will and enthusiasm making us a better, happier and more efficient team. With the missing support from my team I felt giving up on that.
But then I was able to convince another team member to take part in a Scrum Master course, too. Some new kind of motivation started to grow. Suddenly, I had someone with me to discuss about:
- what can we do,
- what should we do,
- what would be the next useful step?
It is a way easier now, because we can motivate us when someone feels to give up and we complement each other.
Together we were able to implement more and more Scrum practices in our team and we are closer to the point where we want to be.
In my opinion every team member needs the same (at least similar) education on the things and topics the team wants to change or implement. It gives your team a better chemistry and everyone can equally take part in discussions and decision processes.
Now following my personal 5 key reasons and benefits of sending a whole team to an education event. It mainly matches with agile teams, self organized teams or teams who want to become agile or teams who work in the tech business, it might match also with many other team constellations.
Reason Number 1 - Filling the Knowledge Gaps!
Especially conferences are serving usually parallel tracks with sometimes more than 10 sessions running at the same time. If you go alone to such an huge event you can only enjoy a fraction of this immense range of knowledge & knowhow.
When joining such an event in a team you can distribute your colleagues all over several tracks and so you can catch more new insights. The single tracks and their sessions sometimes are focusing more on individual stories and certain particular sessions are a bit more oriented to bring you some personal benefit only to a single person, so each team member can improve individually on their own.
Also the decision process of “who goes to which session?” can be decided within the whole team. Everybody knows their strengths and weaknesses. By checking the session descriptions you can quickly find out for whom this kind of session is a good match. So find out the weaknesses in your team and fill the gap with a smart colleague distribution all over the whole event schedule.
Reason Number 2 - Lift Everyone up to the same Level!
This reason deals mainly with the problem I was trying to explain in my intro.
Keynotes at a conference usually deliver a broader message, or new insights which are relevant for the majority of the audience. For example, if the keynote speaker is telling you about the importance of retrospectives, the whole team will understand it and afterwards you can discuss all on the same level about changing your retrospective procedure or about finally implementing it.
It is the same with a training, it doesn’t mean that a trained team member is good in sharing and distributing the knowledge among the other colleagues. Many important stuff will get lost if you try to sum up or represent the important messages of an intense 2 or 5 day training, you cannot replace a training with a summary of the best moments for your team, it simply does not work, or do you understand a whole movie by just watching the trailer?
Reason Number 3 - Team Building
Conferences like the Agile Testing Days are learning festivals with a high concentration of a good mixture between knowledge sharing and having fun. If you are looking for a cool team building or incentive event some conferences are offering an awesome package.
Such conferences offer many collaboration sessions. These work related hands-on and playful workshops will give your team a safe environment to try out new things under real working scenarios. Common team building events are taking your team very often out of their daily work scenarios. This is fun, but I think there is no better way to grow as a team than having work related incentives, because you do not need to take the extra step of relating positive situations back to your work scenario.
A good team incentive comes also with quality time and celebration events. During a conference the team members can stay together for having quality time or having fun during the social events. This is a perfect chance to get to know your team mates better, which automatically will raise up your team chemistry level.
Reason Number 4 - Changing your Mindset
Many team relevant changes or improvements require also the change of your personal mindset to bring them effectively to work in your environment.
If you attend a mindset changing training you are already in the middle of your mind’s changing process, the reason therefore is the mood and spirit during such an event. You will meet and get to know new, nice and very inspirational people. You will get affected by this special atmosphere and the switch in your brain has already turned. Others who stay at the office don't feel this special love which you felt and they won’t get affected from that by just hear-saying.
If you are not able to change your colleagues mindset you will fail with the implementation of any new working methodology. Your colleagues need to experience the same like you did. If your whole team joins the training or conference, then they all will come back with a new mindset, new inspiration, new motivation, they even will come back as a different person and only after that you are ready to go with implementing new structures, new tools and/or new processes!
Reason Number 5 - individual Coaching and Trouble-shooting
Conferences and trainings (the good ones) are also offering many open sessions, dedicated to solve individual problems. If you have problems in your team or open questions, you will get help for your individual problem in your team from the community or the coach.
Together you can discuss the next steps to solve the problem and everyone can share its thoughts, feelings and worries. Your crew will go home with a solution, a solution that everyone has agreed on and a solution that you have elaborated together as a team.
This makes it so important, because if only a single person describes a team internal problem, it will only show one single point of view, but what is with the rest of your colleagues? I think, if you have a team problem only the team together can solve it and not a single person who thinks who is in charge of the team.
However you gain knowledge, no matter if you read books, watch documentaries, take part in training or attend conferences, you often finish inspired and motivated to take advantage from the new learned stuff. All this power can be taken or destroyed so fast with only one single „uuuuhm“ or from a single random team member who has no interest in growing or becoming better. Better you infiltrate everyone with the same motivation and inspiration by educating everyone.
So I ask you, what is better, sending one person to an event, but then failing in adapting new processes? Wasting the money on one person, who gets frustrated, because he or she cannot change the team and maybe leave the team with its new gained knowledge and quit the job? Or is it worthy to send the whole team, spending a bit more money (catching a team discount, … mostly all events offer team tickets) and coming back as a new team with new common ideas and goals and being ready to grow and in becoming more efficient?
I think it is obvious! Join education events as colleagues and come back as a team of friends to boost your businesses!