Context-Driven Improvement: An Introspective Model for Testers

How do you know that you’re a good tester? How do you fill your stakeholders with confidence in your skill-set? Do you feel like you have purpose and play an integral role in your environment? If you didn’t show up one week, would your team actually feel a gap? Would your team members be trying to contact your personal number to find out when you’ll be back? Do you use any measurements right now to track any of these feelings? If not, then how compelling can your protestations to management about your own self-improvement really be at the end of the day? Do you realize that you are in charge of your learning, not your manager?

Self-improvement within the skill-craft of testing is hard and takes effort. This begins by first understanding yourself, such that you can establish a baseline across multiple core competencies in testing. Secondly, we must then compare that baseline to the expectations from our organization, as it relates to our own contextual situation. For example, a tester on a team that is responsible for creating backend web services may not need to increase their skill-set in areas that a one from a front-end focused team.

Many organizations are attempting to rate testers in a quantifiable way, but sometimes go about it using uninformed methods that present only the illusion of skill. This also has the potential to introduce risky social implications that can permeate both the engineering and employee culture. As a testing community we must have enough intellectual humility to develop the skill of being self-critical for the purpose of moving the testing craft forward. If we wish to truly serve our stakeholders, then we
can do that by setting up the expectations for compellingly strong confidence in testing. We do this such that management and our stakeholders can truly understand the value of testing.

In this tutorial, Connor Roberts will introduce a personal metric for self-improvement as a learning model, meant to be used by testers for the purpose of increasing their core competencies in the craft of testing. Many times, self-improvement seems intangible and is immeasurable in many of the quantifiable ways that we as humans traditionally like to categorize things. However, we sometimes use this as an excuse, consciously or subconsciously, to remain stagnant and not improve in measurable ways. Let’s talk about how we can abuse metrics in a positive way by using this private measure. We will endeavor to quantify the qualitative, for the unique purpose of challenging ourselves in overlooked areas of self-improvement.

Session Takeaways:

  • Provide an explicit self-improvement model that testers can use to measure their progress in the craft of testing.
  • Establish a baseline by which testers can measure themselves.
  • Examples of how this model is used in various ways, within some existing contexts.
  • Comparison to existing self-improvement models from industry leaders in testing.
  • Guidelines for exposing personal biases or weaknesses across various areas of the model.
  • Litmus tests for determining which areas of focus matter to your individual context.
  • Develop a strategy for setting expectations with management and communicating progress in a healthy way.

Leadership Strategy
Location: Majestic 4 Date: September 22, 2016 Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Connor Roberts