Friday, December 19, 2014

Brilliant Tester Looking for Her Next Challenge to Take

Today was the last day for Alexandra Casapu (@coveredincloth) from Altom to contribute at Granlund (that's where I work as test manager / test specialist). I've known she would be leaving us for a few months, but no amount of preparation really is enough when you have to let someone as great as she is to explore into new challenges.

Alexandra started over two years with Granlund Manager -product and I clearly remember thinking many times about Altom calling her a junior tester. If she with her skills and drive for learning is a junior, I wonder what a senior looks like. Junior or not, I've tremendously enjoyed watching Alexandra grow as tester, reach out for new things and become important without making herself indispensable.

There's a few things I would particularly want to emphasise.

The last months, Alexandra has worked hard to transfer knowledge without creating test cases. Her contribution throughout the two years has been fully exploratory. I appreciated her mentioning today that she felt encouragement for autonomy but also support from me, and she really flourished with the autonomy smart people should always have. Her notes and explanations of what she has learned that could speed up the new people's learning and not remove all the knowledge she has built have been very impressive. We at Granlund have failed to assign the developer to be retrained as tester on time, so she has had to focus on structures. And luckily, while she stops as tester today, she will coach the developer in training for half of January's working days.

The issues she finds are to the point, clearly reported and well researched. And there is many of them. In the last weeks, I've needed to address the risks that us not replacing her with another exploratory tester will leave us with: 100 bugs every month that we have fixed, and are now unlikely to find until the developer has been retrained. And there's a long way to go with that. The product managers have learned to rely on her thoroughness and consideration in testing the features, and will have un unbearable workload without her (or likes or her). But we chose to try first the developer retraining for a new career before going back to Altom for another great exploratory tester when the production has issues in scales we've avoided with her and developers are firefighting instead of focusing on the new features they've promised.

She has worked in particularly challenging settings, still providing excellent results. My team she has worked with speaks Finnish. Writes requirements, emails, and Jira descriptions in Finnish - a language Alexandra does not speak. And she does not only understand (because she works hard on overcoming all barriers) but asks insightful questions those who can read the documentation in their native language don't get to ask. She has infiltrated herself with a team of developers, who don't offer information with weekly meeting practices and skype/flowdock discussions - and a local agent in me who voices out some of the silent information. This team's communication isn't excellent locally, and yet she manages to find out ways to patiently gather the information she needs.

The team's developers have told that her joining testing of certain areas is time wasted into long periods of learning, and she has shown them how true exploratory testers do things: learn a little, provide valuable information soon and deepen your learning to become a product / feature expert. She has surprised everyone with that.

And she has also significantly contributed to our Selenium test efforts. First with ideas. Then with tests that were not quite right for maintenance, but she learned. And eventually, with tests that run on par with any of the developers contributions. She is persistent, takes any learning challenge and drives through with admirable focus.

We would not want her to leave, but we also recognise and admire the reason she is moving forward: to learn about different things that will make her even better tester. As far as I've understood, she is now looking for a project where she could work face-to-face with the team instead of remoteness. So, should you be in Romania or should you want to hire a brilliant tester to work locally outside Romania in your project from Altom, I would strongly advice looking into giving her a challenge she needs. Ru Cindrea as the account manager we've been in touch with would be happy to talk about those opportunities from an Altom business point of view.

Funny enough, the title of this blog could apply to me as well. I'd be looking into moving to US, specifically California. Meanwhile, I'll just work partly to Finland from California, as I will be leaving there in just a little over a week.