Begin With the End in Mind

A long time ago I got terminated. Kicked out of a project for doing what a tester was supposed to do. We had shiny test plans and ran all the cases flawlessly every week. Our passrate boasted 98,4% and everybody seemed happy.

The only problem was that the product sucked big time. It was literally unusable and when the company CTO finally got the first look and feel of the product, the project got terminated the next week.

So how was it possible if we were the QA? How did we doom ourselves?

We worked hard to produce all that the business demanded from us. The only problem was that the goal was the wrong one.

It didn’t cross our minds that what the business wanted might be different than what had to be done. So, we did everything by the book and produced all the evidence and documents that were requested from us.

…And we got terminated.

Our primary outcome should have been to find the bugs and problems to improve the product instead of producing ever more irrelevant stuff to improve the metrics.

The thing that we lacked was leadership and skills to make the organisation see this. The morning after I got fired, I stared myself at the toilet mirror. There was nobody else to blame. I had been the test manager… and failed. I had to learn it the hard way.

You can only succeed if you begin with the end in mind. That is why today, I always start my days, projects, meetings and sessions with the same question.

What’s the outcome we truly need?

(P.S. My new book, The Storytools of Testing is out now. Check it our here!)