Saturday, April 14, 2018

Second chances

"This does not work", they said. "We used to find these things before making a release", they continued. I see the frustration and understand. I feel the same. We lost an exploratory tester who spent 13 years with the application, and are reaping the results as they've been gone for a month. Our ways of working are crumbling in ways none of us anticipated.

We lost the tester, because for years they got to hear they are doing a bad job. How they are not needed. How they would only become valuable if they learned automation. And they were not interested. Not interested when the personal managers told it. Not interested when most conferences were full of it. Not interested when articles around the globe spouted that the work they were doing was meaningless.

They found the job meaningful. The team members found the results meaningful. And it was not like the manual exploratory testing they did had stayed the same over the years. As others in the team contributed more automation, their testing became deeper, more insightful, targeted on things where unexpected change was the only constant.

I reviewed their work long before they decided on leaving. I promoted the excellence of results, the silent way of delivering the information to make it visible. And when they decided it was time to let go of the continuous belittling, I was just as frustrated as anyone in the teams that lack of appreciation would lead to this.

Just as they were about to go, we we found them a new place. And I have a new tester for my own team. The very same tester who elsewhere in the organization wasn't supported is now my closest colleague. I got a second chance of helping non-testers and non-programmers see their value, for them to feel respected like I do.

And for that I feel grateful. I already knew my manager is a great match for me in my forward-thriving beliefs of building awesome software in collaboration with others, valuing everyone's contributions and expecting daily growth - in diverging directions. My good place - my own team - is again even better with a dedicated manual exploratory tester with decades of deep testing experience.

1 comment:

  1. That happened to me, but not because of the reaction of colleagues to my testing. Rather, it was because of the reaction of external stakeholders to the application I was testing (and, to be fair, that I also served as data wrangler on when we weren't in test mode).

    This was in a regulatory situation, and the stakeholders in question were public utility companies that were being regulated. They pushed back for years against the obligation to collect data; changes to senior management eventually brought to the top someone who preferred to listen to those stakeholders than to their own advisors.

    Of course, the wheel of senior management has turned again; and then events have probably demonstrated that taking the corporate eye off issues of data might not have been such a great idea after all. But we're getting into politics here...

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