Friday, February 7, 2014

Sharpening the sharp minds

A bunch of nice people got together for lunch yesterday to talk about software development. From the discussion opener ideas, we picked up the idea that testing (amongst other things) could be failure demand, that is, creating need for more of it because of suboptimization within the value chain.

That topic is probably worth a post on it's own, but for the purposes of this post, it gives me a trigger to think of things I do. I work as a tester in my teams. And as I was reminded of yesterday in late hours of team building, a catalyst for change, a voice of concerns people are afraid to speak out on and a source of team motivation (wow, I feel appreciated) as they succeed and can change things for better with the feedback. But what I try to avoid is suboptimization.

As much as I love testing (for a good reason!) I don't think the more the better. Doing testing that concludes a broken product works - if I just close my eyes tight enough - isn't helping my team except to cover their ass by saying the task was done, three days was used. Adding testers to a project where we have too little time for fixing isn't helping us either. And it might just be smarter to invest in an architectural rewrite than another tester working on the swamp that we all know will keep failing. We can all care for the flow with our special skills.

Eventually, I believe software creation requires a group of sharp minds. And a task I particularly enjoy picking up is helping to sharpen the minds. With this inspiration in mind, I'm bringing in people to wake us up. To help us stay awake. And to give us ideas that take us forward. I organize trainings and discussions.

Is that testing? To me yes, as I get the ideas of needs from testing and information gathering needs for my testing tasks. I don't really care for the categorization but on the fact that I can help my team members to create less 'failure demand' for me to test on. Play your strengths - a love of people and connecting communities is one I bring to the table in addition to sharp mind and picky eyes. What's yours?