Jacek Tomczak QualityMinds

BIO: I have started my adventure with testing while working as an application tester in telco company. Within 6 years spent there, I had also a chance to act as a Head of Testing Department. Together with my testing team, I was involved in many complex projects implementing changes in large integrated systems environment. I also had a chance to work as QA in Scrum teams, for insurance and pharmaceutical companies. My favorite part of tester’s job is test strategy designing and test process optimization. Currently I am a part of QualityMinds in Poland and my main focus is agile testing team building. After work I like walking in the forest with my two Bernese Mountain Dogs and also doing some stuff from wood that may be useful in my garden.

Presentation: I Bought a Robot: Remote Working and Telepresence Tech
Co-speaker: Rick Tracy
session level: beginner

I recently started working remotely, 8 hours away from my colleagues. In order to have smooth communication I am on skype, slack, and have multiple digital scrumboards. Despite all of this, it still feels as if I am somehow disconnected from the team, as if being physically present and available for trivial things forms a basis of team culture. As such, I did the only rational thing possible: I bought a robot and decided to live in it.

This telepresence robot rolls around the halls of my new company and at times goes along to clients. When I want to get a cup of coffee or something I roll up to a colleague and invite them to the water cooler. I roll the thing into meetings, attending via robot rather than shaky video conference, and I turn its head when I want to talk to different people. When leaving meetings I make small talk with my colleagues and joke about the topics of the day.

All of this brings a much different experience to working remotely. I no longer feel apart and I am constantly finding new ways to interact, make my robot useful and be more present and available for my team. In this talk I will explore the theories and outcomes behind this experience so far.

Take-aways:

Key learning 1: Skype and video chat doesn’t fulfill the needs of team culture
Key learning 2: There are ways to be somewhere physically without being there in person
Key learning 3: Team interaction is more than important information exchanges
Key learning 4: Telepresence Robots can be used for far more than video chats
Key learning 5: Sometimes the fun move is also the best move