Saturday, September 17, 2016

Like I Never Was Away

My first week at a new job is behind me, and it has been one of the weirdest experiences of my life - in a good way.  I joined the company I used to work for 8 years ago, and with one week there, I'm starting to feel like I never was away.

I've changed a lot in the 8 years:

  • I still prefer exploratory approach to testing over automating, but I'm now a tester and a programmer. I no longer live by imaginary limits of a role even though I strongly identify as a tester. 
  • I've lived with systems bigger and more complicated than what we're developing. Things appear smaller than they used to. 
  • I've learned that empirical evidence trumps speculation. That it is a better choice for my time to test hands-on than sit in a meeting where people tell their theories of the thing none used. 
  • I've grown appreciation for (a lot of times idiotic) test automation as a means of fast feedback and a base we can build more on. 
  • I value my freedom of choice even more than before. I love not getting tasks but visions to guide my work. I love not having a specific description of responsibilities other than being the most awesome professional I can  be. 
There's things where the company has changed and not changed. The elements of the products people talk about are much the same. Surely they've changes some three letter acronyms and come up with lots of new ones, but the domain concepts remain. There's a lot of same people, even if in different positions. It's fascinating to see which ones have advanced to management, which ones to deep technical roles and which ones appear to continue as I remember them back then. A big change is that there no longer is a big bureaucracy to get access to the code base.

For purposes of testing, there's one big change: there's more test automation than before and in a very healthy way.  I find in a week that I don't agree with a lot of the stuff on how automation is and my fingers itch for shared learning in mob format and some major refactoring. Also, I'm sensing a bit o my biggest automation fear around: the lack of great testing as focus on programming eats up too much of the intellectual bandwidth while learning. 

So with a week in, I feel like I never left. And I know what I want to pick up next. 

I want to spend time with the closest developers I have in my team and stop the programmer-tester boundary of unit vs. system tests. I'm betting we're mobbing on his unit tests in a few weeks because I already introduced ideas of what and how I want verified where his response was to realize some of that could be unit tests. 

I want to spend time exploring the biggest risk components with some tester colleagues who might settle for less than I would. And while learning what and how I would test, I want to use my closest automation tester colleague to turn some of my ideas into automation that helps us run things over time. 

I want to learn and share with everyone, starting with my tester (quality engineer) colleagues. We'll first do mob testing on some python test automation, as the automation study circle is an existing structure. To complement with my true interests, we've already agreed with one colleague we're starting an exploratory testing study circle. 

We'll see how this goes.  Let the fun times begin - there's lots of amazing people around.