An affidavit of sorts

The last three months I’ve worked specifically with the goal of my testers taking responsibility for their work.

I’m a strong believer that each person is responsible for their own lives. I try to  live by it and I expect others to do the same. Its one of the reasons why I endorse and believe Exploratory Testing is so powerful. The tester becomes centre to the testing. The tester is the decision maker responsible for their decisions(good or bad) and must be willing to stand by their choices and defend them where necessary.

Its a powerful concept, and I think somewhat alien to the way we are brought up and perhaps bring up our own children. Instead we are protected or we try to protect, wanting to prevent harm to those we are close to. Actually, I think its impossible to totally protect people, much better to teach survival skills.

I often hear people saying: “A great test manager removes obstacles so that their team can test” and its true. A good test manager will do that. However, I think a good test manager will also allow their testers to fail. Allow them to make their own decisions and learn to stand by those decisions and then defend them.

If we don’t do that, are we really helping testers to learn and grow?  I wonder.

I’ve had the luxury of procrastination over the past two days. Yesterday, I spent a glorious few hours at the Seattle Art Gallery. It was the perfect antidote to CAST 2011, which was exceptional yet mentally exhausting.

I also missed my flight back to Sydney, which meant I had a second day of whiling away hours at Seattle airport.

Our brains are so fascinating, aren’t they? Just as I’m about to board the flight, a burst of insight and determination hit me. I guess all that procrastination culminated in my powerful thought.

Its this.

As we learn and grow as testers and human beings, we constantly need to revisit our beliefs, values and motivations. I realised mine needed a revisit. (Incidentally, my tutorial at CAST was on this topic, another example of “if you want to learn something, teach it!”)

I needed to rework my ideas, goals and what was important to me. I needed to put myself in the centre of my testing career. I’m responsible for what I do and what I learn. Me. No-one else. Not mentors, not other testers, not thought leaders. Little ole me.

A few testers at CAST really inspired me to be like this. Unfortunately, I don’t know their names or else I would cite them here. But they’re not thought leaders or mentors, they’re context driven testers with a mind of their own. I like that.

I’ve always been able to think for myself but sometimes, you just have to up the anti, you know?

I don’t know what this will mean for me. I’m not sure where it will lead. What I do know that from this point on, I will continue to own my decisions and I will stand by them, just as I encourage my own testers to do.

I guess thats it. Its just something I wanted to share with you all.

QED

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