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Speaking Up

27 July 2017

Speaking up

As much as programming and other technical skills are a part of testing and test automation engineering, so is speaking up.

In Extreme Programming there was a rule, that if someone asked you a question, you had to stop whatever you were doing and answer them. This provided a priority and created an importance on the conversations we value so much in agile development environments.

As a manager and leader, I learned that unblocking others was one of the most important things I could do. I believe as testers, we can adopt these ideas and share them with others.

How often do we find ourselves writing up a defect instead of saying “hey Joan, is the shopping cart really supposed to empty out when I refresh the page? …I know you were working in that code this morning”? Consider how much less time a conversation like that would take than writing up a defect. Or worse, typing into slack when Joan is only 2 desks away!

Speaking up takes courage. Practicing testing takes bravery. Interrupting others to talk face-to-face takes guts.

When someone says “I can’t be bothered by this right now,” what is your reaction? Do you stand your ground? Do you make sure your concern is considered as you see fit? Do you stick up for the context around the issue and the importance you see in it?

As testers we can’t be afraid to interrupt. In fact, our purpose depends on it.

About the Author

Paul Merrill

Paul Merrill is Principal Software Engineer in Test and Founder of Beaufort Fairmont Automated Testing Services. Paul works with clients every day to accelerate testing, reduce risk, and to increase the efficacy of testing processes. You’re Agile, but is your Testing Agile? An entrepreneur, tester, and software engineer, Paul has a unique perspective on launching and maintaining quality products. He also hosts Reflection as a Service, a podcast about software development and entrepreneurship. Follow Paul on Twitter @dpaulmerrill.

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