At the start of 2021 I had a lightbulb idea to create a book called testing stories 💡 I would ask for volunteers from around the globe to write a story related to software testing. As part of this, we would sell the book and all proceeds would go to charity.
Three months later, we have a published book. It was the featured book on leanpub on the 7th of April 2021.
You can grab a copy for yourself or gift the book to a friend by navigating to this link.
I’d like to highlight the charity we are supporting, Open Sourcing Mental Illness (OSMI). They are changing the way we talk about mental health in the tech community. Go and check out their website.
Experiences behind organizing the testing stories book 📚
What I’d like to share with you is my experiences behind managing and organizing this book. I started by sending a tweet out on Twitter looking for volunteers and also posting it on my blog. Initially, the response was slow, however, as the weeks went by the momentum picked up and the result was over 30 people involved in the book. This reminded me of the virtue of patience and letting things snowball over time.
I had to think of a way to bring everyone together. There were many of us across the globe, so I decided on using the communication tool, Slack. I invited everyone to this slack group and suggested that volunteers introduce themselves to the group. Along with this, I created a Google spreadsheet where people could log their names and the title of the story.
There was one thing I was clear on to start. This was our project. The way this would work is through collaboration. The project would not have succeeded without this approach and I am grateful to each volunteer that gave up their time to make this a success.
We created a system where people would post their story into the slack group and whoever was free, picked up peer-reviewing. Constructive feedback was given on how to make their story even better. This collaboration and support from volunteers was a true success. It brought the team closer together and it allowed the stories to be their best version.
There were certainly challenges with creating the book. We had stories written in GitHub or Word and I had to find a way to sync the two. The sync was done by creating a main Google Docs where we added the final testing stories. Although the stories had been peer-reviewed, they were not consistent. For example, the author biographies were formatted differently or there were author names by the titles. It took me many hours to make the format consistent across the book. In hindsight, I should have developed a template for everyone to use.
Another challenge was Lean Pub. Tricky to navigate for a novice. We ended up using ‘Bring your own book’ functionality. We converted the Google Docs and changed the format to pdf. Then uploaded. There were formatting issues with the book, but we worked through them.
Overall, I have learned a great deal from this project. I have learned about my leadership style that focuses on the people and working through collaboration. Also, as a leader, I’ve learned you need to have a vision of what you’re trying to achieve. You don’t need to know how you’re going to do it as that can be figured out as you go along. Further learning is to have that dedication and determination to complete a project. Without this, when tough challenges come along (such as the formatting) you might give up. I was also reminded of how a project is better done than perfect. Lastly, always explore the ideas you have. Experimentation is the key to success!
Everyone has a story to share 🙌
The final thing I want to say is that I fundamentally believe that everyone has a story to share. This book is from software testers, however, I believe anyone, regardless of discipline, can learn something from these stories. Do think about sharing your experiences or knowledge with others at your workplace, write blogs, have conversations or share more widely by public speaking.
Thank you 💕
Thanks again to all the contributors to make this project the success it is!