Phil Graham recently put out an essay called Be Good. As usual, it is brilliant and insightful – and the challenge to “not just don’t be evil, but actually be good” is a striking one.
Near the end of the essay, Graham writes:
You know how there are some people whose names come up in conversation and everyone says “He’s such a great guy?” People never say that about me. The best I get is “he means well.” I am not claiming to be good. At best I speak good as a second language.
That’s about where I stand in the software test community. In fact, I would settle for something like “Matt can be opinionated, highly critical, and sometimes speaks a bit quickly. He is also good at software testing, truly enjoys it, and his integrity is beyond reproach.”
Come to think of it, that ain’t that bad, after all.
Sidebar 1: Some names keep coming up again and again, and Phil Kirkham is one of them. Phil is a tester/developer in the UK who finally started a blog this month. Phil I look forward to more posts – and – everyone else – here’s one to watch.
Sidebar 2: Shrini Kulkarni is a long-time reader, and he recently pointed out that I have slipped in my terminology from “testing” to “QA”. The short reason is because I have moved to a company that has a “QA Group.”
Now, you would expect me, in typical Heusser fashion, to rail against the term QA, to say this it is impossible for testers to ensure quality, and to try to get the groups named changed. Yet I have not.
What is that all about?
Well, yes, we do have problems where people assume QA will solve the organization’s problems, but that is the nature of the beast – I had the exact same problem when I was in development, and as a project manager. People who step up and take responsibility get rewarded with more responsibility. That’s just a reality of corporate life.
More importantly, though, our group is a little different. The QA group is made up of rather technical testers – most of us are capable of getting a development or leadership role somewhere else. We chose to be testers. We have real impact on the software process, we have the keys to production, we have the ability to recommend blockers to management, we can ride along and pair program with developers, and, in some cases, change the process on the fly.
Someone is going to ask “how’s that working for you?” and my short answer is not too bad, really, but give it six more months and ask again.
This topic deserves exploring. More to come.