Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A new year for projects, a new feeling for testing

When a new year is about to start all kind of new promises are made. When the year is actually started some of them are already broken. Still, the New Year gives the feeling everything will be done better for now on, or at least we will try to. It gives you the feeling you have the opportunity of a fresh start. And you have a whole year to manage this feeling.

This sounds very similar to some projects I did. Instead of a new year a new iteration was started. Promises, read action points, are made and followed up. Only somehow, the feeling of a fresh start is not there. Most of the time we keep looking backwards, remembering especially what others did otherwise making it impossible to fulfill our promises. This behavior made it harder to continue with a fresh sense.

While you are reading this you might think what does this have to do with testing. While I'm writing this I have the same thought. Still there is some feeling there is a relation. Writing this article might be the same as a project/iteration. It has a goal, it is already started, there is some feeling, and the structure is not clear yet as I don't know yet what to write exactly, and perhaps most of all: I'm not re-writing this post to make it a better post.

Every year we start at the end to think about what went good and what went wrong and what could be done better. You made decisions, accept the effects, take the risks and continue. That is also why I'm not re-writing this article, I accept the risk that no-one would read this or understand this. And I continue. Isn’t this also similar to the decisions which are taken during testing: you know that sometimes test cases are not good, you did not execute some test cases or you missed some functionality and raised an issue for this? You acknowledge the risk and continue. Continue with a new iteration.

As on the first day the structure becomes a bit clearer as you already know the risk you accepted, you defined some counter actions and you start embedding you promises. As you have to. You need to accomplish your goal.

My goal here is to make a posting as my initial goal was starting a blog. To maintain a blog I new to post on regular basis. And to post a article it has to make sense to the topic of this blog: Software Testing.

The structure here is getting much clearer. It started with a new year, new iteration. It tells about promises/action points, not looking backwards and continues to fulfill the goal. And the project is already running so no time for re-writing and accepting the risks. to me this sounds very similar to projects. The thing I missing here is the "feeling" thing.

A new year starts with the feeling of a fresh start. In projects we don't work with feelings. It should all be measurable so we can verify and validate. Expression of feelings can disturb the clear view of the goal, wrong decision could be made. Is it wrong to express you feelings? Sometimes it is. But who am I to decide. For this article I'm responsible for feelings, only this is my own feeling and as said, I accepted the risk. Is it wrong to express your intuition in a project? Depends on the role you have. The project manager or test manager should decide what to do with it.

Only you are responsible when and how you express your feelings. This becomes a part of the communication skills and moments. So if you have a feeling that can help to achieve the fulfillment of your action points then express them on a correct moment in time. As in the New Year it is just before the year starts. Similar to review moments of projects. And also during the project for example during team meetings, stand up meetings or on initial basis with your project manager. While expressing this also try to explain what you can do to help making this feeling measurable and listen to the manager, as if he makes a decision not to continue with it. Just let it go and keep on focusing on the project. Keep you mind fresh as this is necessary for a fresh start.

Seems that I almost finished this article as I explained my goal, made a small translation towards testing have the feeling that I said most of the things I wanted to explain for now and have a feeling that this will the beginning of a fresh start for this year maintaining my goal: publishing on regular basis in my blog expressing a feeling on this moment.

Towards testing this could be translated in: Don't always look back, communicate also your feelings and try to help to emphasize that a new iteration can be a fresh start as a new year does for you.

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