In the past I have tweeted about the benefits of reviewing abstracts for talks. In this case the ones for upcoming TestBashes from the Ministry of Testing.
- It provides valuable feedback for the applicants
- It is an easy way to give back to the (testing) community
- It gives you a sneak peek into what is current in the field of testing
- It gives you ideas for submitting your own abstracts (if you’ve got the ambition into public speaking)
All in all lots of opportunities to learn. I encourage everyone to get involved in this. Follow this link.
Reviewing and writing feedback
I tend to do this activity on a regular basis; once or twice a month, like tonight. I had some time set aside to go through a batch of abstracts. Finished quicker than I thought as after 6 or so proposals there were no more left for me to review 😅.
That aside, I want to focus on what I learn from these kind of exercises. As well as the benefits laid out in the aforementioned bullet-points, doing an activity like this will sharpen your skills like:
- Critically reading a piece of text. Sometimes you grasp an abstract in a first read, but often it needs to be read two or more times to get an understanding of the applicant’s intent.
- Making a judgement based on what you’ve read. Once the proposal is understood, an assessment needs to be made, using predefined criteria (like: context, relevance, originality etc.).
- Formulating constructive feedback. And when the assessment is made, this needs to be relayed back to the organisation and author. And especially this is an area where I continue to learn. It’s harder than you think to write something that can be used by the recipient as input to improve upon.
This post is part of a series of articles about “What I Have Learned Today”; acknowledging every day the thing I have learned. Feel free to read the other posts. all opinions in this article are my own and not necessarily represent the views of my employer.