Monday, September 2, 2019

Breaking the Assumption of Review to Accept

It was one of the European Testing Conference calls, and I forgot to ask at the end of the call if they'd trust me to summarize the call in a tweet. I remembered I forgot only an hour later, and they were no longer around. I send a message asking for the trust, and the response taught me something of relevance I had had hard time communication before. The response asked me to run the message through them.

I felt deflated. I no longer wanted to write that tweet. I felt they did not trust me. I felt they wanted control over my tweets.

I sat on the response for some hours, thinking I would let it pass without tweeting, without saying anything. But eventually I responded and expressed how I felt.

"I do really bad with reviews (for acceptance), they suffocate my ability to do things. I do "you can ask me to delete" style of reviews." - I told them. 

"It's a tweet. Go ahead" and "I'm sure you'd look out for me" was just the response I needed.

They did not ask me to delete my tweet. I would have if they asked me to. The risk of me doing something irreversible was very low. There was no particular reason why the review needed to happen before the material was published as it could happen after. I would carry the risk of apologizing in public, explaining in public and reaching out to people with the odd chance that this time I failed at doing something I did routinely.

The tweet was something that made a pattern of how I prefer working very visible.

I build skills and competencies in me & people around me to do things without acceptance.
I expect things are discussed in preparation, not reviewed as final step.
I trust the doer to pull help when help is needed.

I was writing release notes for millions of users, all by myself. As we added another product, the product people wanted a review before publishing. I asked them to publish their own release notes.What we were already publishing routinely had all the info they needed. They just needed to add the review and republish. Waiting for that step did not make sense to me.

I welcome feedback on mistakes, to grow the skill. I kick out the testing-fashioned acceptance review, unless I see it is founded on actual risk.

I don't let people do this to me, and I don't do this to people. I've given up on being the guardian of quality and become the facilitator of quality. The work happens before and while, not after. And there's always the next cycle to act on feedback on mistakes.