This is my entry to the Ministry Of Testing Blogging Club, Sprint 4. As a matter of fact, I had been meaning to take part in this club for multiple months now, but life always somehow got in the way — but now I had finally decided that it is more important to get something, anything out, and worry about fallout later.
How could it possibly go wrong?
But I digress. Let me focus on answering the excellent question with one skill that I have yet to see in the official club thread.
In my opinion every tester should have enough observation skill to notice his surroundings: the process he or she is taking part in, and his or her place in it.
I got inspired to write this after a recent discussion with a newly acquainted tester, who had very firmly asserted her place in the development process. After giving our discussion a bit of thought, I reflected on my (now 9-years long) career, where I had taken part in multiple projects, agile and not, closely and loosely knit with the developers, and I realized that there really is no one single best answer to question “what do I do here?”. The right answer is “it depends”.
As my suggestion to colleagues in the business I would recommend taking a good hard look at what’s going on, who’s valuating your efforts, who pays for it, who holds stakes in it, who do you interact with on a daily basis, and so on. Ask yourself what do those people really value, and how can you make their and your life easier?
As an example — in my current team my predecessor had played a role of a quality gate. I did try to fit those shoes for a while, until I realized that as I will inevitably take parental leave, the team will have to do without me, and it is actually my job to infuse the team with the skills, perspective, trust and self-confidence, and move to a consulting position. A result is now this: at almost every possibility I accent that I have perfect trust in my teammates’ ability to deliver a well-tested and high quality product, even if I am not around. I am changing teams soon, and my place will be filled with a (very skilled) junior quality specialist, but he won’t be bearing the responsibility alone — because everyone else knows that it’s not his alone to bear.