I’m writing my first official blog entry ever from the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference (PNSQC). It’s a great little conference in its 23rd year of focus on Testing, QA and generally improving the quality of the software we deliver.

Yesterday, I presented two tutorials with my friend and colleague, Esther Derby—a workshop about retrospectives and another that was an overview of agile methods. Both were lively and fun. No electronic equipment involved in either session, just people to people interactions with a few flip charts and index cards thrown in for good measure. I continued my low-tech experience this morning as I opened the space for an Open Space track of the conference.

I can’t resist “bumblebee-ing and butterfly-ing” around the Open Space sessions. As I wandered by a group discussing Agile development and testing a few moments ago, I overheard this exchange:

“You get the most output from the most emotive team!” “I absolutely agree!”

Intriguing. I wanted to linger, but I continued on my butterfly way, reminding myself that I had committed to writing this blog today. (To thine ownself be true!) Later on, I heard:

“I can’t believe it. Ward Cunningham came to my Open Space session. I never expected to be chatting with a guru in my field.” “Yeah, earlier today I talked with Brian Marick about FIT. Amazing!”

Finally, I bumblebee-ed myself into a group whose discussion had led to defining the difference between work groups and teams. I offered my ideas about the characteristics that transform an aggregation of people into the synergy of team-ness. I left with a slightly revised list:

• Shared goal for results/outcomes/delivery

• Interdependent work that calls for a number of skillsets

• Joint accountability for outcomes

• Shared agreements about how to approach the work and how to work together

• Shared preference for working collaboratively on the task at hand

• Low turnover in team membership and/or effective practices for including new members