My day to day role is a Test Manager – managing the team, recruiting, doing performance reviews, etc, but I’ve been spread across a number of non-testing related activities for the past couple of years – Security, DR planning, incident management tracking, and more recently project management.
Managing a project has been a massive learning curve for me, and I’ll do a separate blog post on that, but I wanted to share something that I have noticed.
When I took on project management, I naively expected that to be maybe 20-30% of my time, but it has been more like 70%. Not that I mind – it’s a great new experience, but despite all I have learned, I find it so hard to resist getting involved in the actual testing.
The software is developed and tested before delivery for acceptance testing, and that’s where I come in. I have a colleague working with me, and it must frustrate her that I am getting into the nitty gritty, but it is so natural for me to dive into the testing, thinking about the scenarios to run through, what possible combinations of things that need testing. And that’s when it struck me. There are things that we just do without having to think about them. I know the types of functional and non-functional tests that I need to check without doing loads of planning. I’ve been involved in testing for 27 years, so I guess I should have expected it to be instinctive to me, but it still took me by surprise, but it is easy to take for granted the things that we seem to be naturally good at.
I also feel that after being a hands-off manager due to the nature of the job, I enjoyed the chance to get back into actual testing – to reuse my skills, make sure that I haven’t lost my touch and to be doing something that is tangible.
We all need something to do where we feel that we add value, and sometimes meetings and paperwork just don’t cut it. So I need to allow myself a little time every now and then to keep testing, and in the words of Rob Lambert, to ‘Remain Relevant’ by reflecting on and honing the skills I have as well as taking opportunities to learning new ones.