Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hindsight and personal responsibilities

I enjoy looking at things in retrospect. When I talk or write about things in retrospect, I often come off as someone who thinks that there was an action in my past that I alone could have done differently to change how the world is today. I know things are not that simple, but I love the thought play regardless. And while I can't change anything of the past, I don't want to spend my time worrying about things I've done. I want to choose things I will actively try to do differently in the future.

My previous point of hindsight and automation in my current job is a great one. I can't go back in time to get myself to do more of automation work. I've had my hands full in testing business models assumptions to drop features for right focus and helping make every feature count. We've all learned a lot, and in the four years, we've gone from no automation of any kind through continuous delivery without automation to continuous delivery with some automation (database checks, selenium, assert-based unit tests, approvals-based unit tests and approvals based integration tests). Most of my team now knows how to add tests on most of these types, and I do to. I just find it more important that it's the team, not me.

With reflection now that I've made my decision to move on (resigned last Friday, that's a step) I have a one month time interval to make a decision into the future to leave my team off the best I can. And that means one major feature finalization and documenting a complex area of testing as integration approval tests my team can rely on.

Another big thing I learned in hindsight was a career changing moment for me.
I don't really imagine I could have saved all those millions alone. Instead, I'm sure from the experience that empirical, hands-on evidence on what works and what doesn't wins over speculation, and being allowed to focus on hands-on testing could easily have made a difference.

It was a career changing moment though. I went back to being a tester. I deepened my skills in testing and getting my team to work with me on testing. And on the side, I learned again to do programming - on my terms, for my purposes, only in the ways I find valuable and worthy.

I'm looking forward to my new job, that will still keep me a #tester and still advancing in my career. I look forward to pairing with a specialist automation developer and with some hardcore application developers who won't touch the automation in a different language. We're going to build an awesome product. This time, without having to build up the team awesomeness first through encouraging developers beaten down by their past experiences.

One person can only do so much. Yet, one person can make a difference. A great tester reminded me on an important lesson I keep shielded: one person needs the others to make a difference and not to burn out. I can always speak of things as if they are personal responsibilities, but they are really just team contributions.