Posted in Uncategorized

Have a chip on your shoulder

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As today we have #Eurovision contest in Kiev (привет! to all of my Ukrainian friends:) ) the warming up would be music-related.

Some time ago I’ve attended a workshop, on which I’ve learned that everyone is able to sing. People claim, that they cannot sing, they have no voice or they are not talented. The truth is, that if you can hear a sound – you are able to repeat it. Less than 10% of population is not able to do it it is not likely you are in that group:) )

On the other hand, the problem with singing is more in our heads than in other organs  responsible for the act of singing (like larynx, diaphragm or mouth). Since childhood, most of us is thought that some people have “special abilities” for doing artistic things whereas the other don’t. It’s just not true.

It is our inner critique that imprisons us and makes us more harsh for ourselves than for the people around. That’s why we should open our minds and get back to the natural abilities of each human being, which is shouting, screaming and singing.

The post won’t be about singing though, but about testing and learning new things.

Since the beginning of my professional career in testing I had always a chip on my shoulder that I don’t have technical education. I did my best at work, but still was missing something. People around me – testers, developers – they all had a technical degree. I believed that they KNOW some magical things, which I didn’t know.

My education was a huge obstacle for me at the beginning, but I am not used to giving up quickly :). Eventually, I did my best and learned new things by heart from the web (thank you testerzy.pl), books, workshops and meetups.

I was wondering – am I the only person in IT industry, who thinks this way? What is more, maybe even some experienced testers feel the same way when they leave their comfort zone and start new project, new job, new team, familiarize themselves with a new technology.

Even if you work in the IT industry for a while, at the beginning of each new task you always start like:

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No matter if you are smart-ass and Technical University graduate or have completely different background (like I do).

What is my point?

Go and learn, girl! Put yourself together, boy!

There is no excuse. You don’t have technical background but want to be a tester? Learn! There is no magic. No mystery. I’ve read that IT industry has a space for anyone. Sure, it has a space for everyone… who wants to learn.

I know a bunch of testers, who graduated from different faculties, such as: English Philology, Chemistry, Architecture…. We have one thing in common – all of us spend free time on reading about agile, SQL, Java, UI, UX… and much more.

Gathering new abilities extends your horizon and exercises your brain. Think of it like of a training, which will help you remain younger and better organized.

After some time of such training you will be able to jump from this position:

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… to be more like:

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There is no worst thing than a tester who thinks he has enough. There is always not enough. You cannot stop learning, because the web changes, trends change, methodologies change and it is fast, rapid and happens now. If you don’t keep up – you become Windows XP (if you know what I mean 😉 ).

Today I want you to get up and search for something new each day. You’ve been thinking about familiarize yourself with SQL, but have no time for get it done? Find your time – 15 minutes a day, on the bus, in the queue – wherever you can.

If anyone can cook, anyone can sing – what stops you from being the best tester in the world? (Or, at least, in your organisation).

Go and make me proud!

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Posted in agile

Tester is not the quality police

Testeris notaquality Police (2)

I wish I could invent this sentence, but unfortunately I have not. It’s been a while when people discuss the subject on Twitter, so I would like to give my short comment on that as well.

The whole team approach

During my panel about being Jedi tester, people agreed that agile tester:

– executes tests
– gathers requirements
– chases designs
– keeps good product quality
– has technical knowledge
– does multiple tasks apart from testing

He is Agile. Whole team approach. Right. Have you ever heard about developer doing things mentioned above? Or about a developer who gathers requirements, chasing for designs, organizing project or taking care of the quality a whole?

Neither do I 😀

So where is the whole team approach?

For some reasons, it happens sometimes, that a Project Manager, who is introducing the tester into agile (not only) project, thinks that having a member of QA in the team solves all of the  problems. Tester would be some kind of policeman watching developers and defending the code from bugs.

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I do agree that tester’s role and certain approach to developing good quality of software products is unique and is a must, but when other team members don’t care about quality – tester’s effort is pointless. The whole team approach means that everyone is responsible  for the product and have good quality in mind.

When we succeed – all of us can celebrate. When we loose – the whole team looses – not just a developer or a tester.

Software tester cannot be a policemen who watches the code. Some people may say that he should be a quality evangelist, who teaches developers proper approach of dealing with code and bugs, but without certain mindset and maturity of team members – single tester is not able to cope with difficulties. He’s role is important, but he is not able to change anything alone.

When thinking about agile project – all of us should think about quality – starting for Project Manager. What is more, each developer should be as quality aware as possible.

On the other hand, tester is a person, who points the purpose and leave some breadcrumbs for developers in order to help them, but the act of quality is whole team’s responsibility.

Don’t think about the testers as villains or policemen. We are neither of them. We care about quality and do our jobs as good as possible 🙂

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

You follow the leader, because you want to

when we honorthe earth, we honor ourselves

You follow the leader, because you want to…

you follow a manager, because you have to.

This very simple truth that I’ve heard some time ago might fit to your professional career as perfect as it fits to mine. Some smart guy said to me a few days ago that people join the companies, but leave managers. This is so true.

I always thought that joining the company and considering their values and principles as important are consistent with mindset of all people inside them. Apparently – it is not. Even when company’s values are perfect and eye-catching through recruitment process for you – the real values and day-to-day behaviors of their employees may differ as much as many people work within it.

However, it may not necessarily mean that employees harm company values on purpose. Sometimes people join certain companies, because some benefits such as: technology, brand or possible profits are equally or more valuable for them than the company values. Nobody gave me the right to condemn such behavior.
On the other hand, it might mean that your manager doesn’t share the company values, which are important to you. It might also mean that your manager would not be the best leader in the world. It happens.

when we honorthe earth, we honor ourselves (1)

The Earth is not as flat as you initially thought it would be

Let’s assume that company A strongly believes that Earth is flat.

Accidentally – you – the great geologist – believe that as well. What a coincidence!

The Earth is flat – finally somebody said it out loud! You start your recruitment process believing that you’ll change the world and FINALLY the truth will be revealed to the rest of the humanity.

All goes well and you’re joining Company A. You start your geologically – centered work and at day 1 meet Jason.

Jason is your manager.

Jason joined company A, because it is a known fact that they pay well and this is what he was looking for. On the other hand, Jason is personally strongly convinced that the Earth is not flat, but it is a tiny cube. He didn’t revealed it through recruitment process and no one noticed so far.

Jason was promoted to be a manager in company A, because he was dedicated to his work, his professional experience was flawless and his passion to tell people what to do was great. His personal believes are now started to be more visible, but not as important for the company as his performance.
Pro: Jason is a great asset for the company.
Con: He starts convincing you that maybe the Earth is not as flat as you initially thought? Maybe it is more cube-like rather than being flat?

In Polish we would call it “Sytuacja ambiwalentna” – you’ve joined the company in the first place, because you’ve shared the same values and – at the same time – you’ve been given the manager who doesn’t share those values at all.

Sometimes it is not possible to change your manager or project. Surprisingly, it may be way easier to change the company.

I won’t say that this situation is common, but it happens. As I wrote at the beginning – you follow the leader, because you want to – you follow the manager, because you have to.

It was always funny to me all those LinkedIn’s pictures showing how the REAL manager should behave in order to encourage people to be more effective at their work.
Today, I think that meeting a real leader is important to everyone’s professional career – no matter if the leader is running the whole company and is simply an inspiring person – or –  is your closest manager. Being led by wise, hard working managers, who share the same values as you do means more than money or benefits. Everyone would prefer to follow people, who support them, show them how to achieve their targets.

We spend most of our working days at work. It is a lot of time. We could use it wisely or not. It’s up to us.

I wish all of you to meet leaders only. Be inspired by them and make the change.
Don’t let yourself be managed by poor managers.
Don’t stick with the companies who promote poor managers.
Grow.

The Celebration Continues!