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Why I Lost My Job As a Test Manager and What I Learnt As a Result

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My career followed the typical path of someone in technology. Tester, Test Lead, Test Manager, Senior Test Manager. It started in 1999, back when we lived in a world of scripted tests and large, separate, test teams who designed and ran the tests. A world of silo’s and walls, a world where communication-by-bug- report was common.

Agile came, and fortunately disrupted things. Teams became cross-functional, and yet management did not change. Management became harder; there were more stakeholders to manage, and more areas to cover. Task switching came as standard.

Eventually the penny dropped with senior management and the management team was re-organised. A change had to come and that meant no more Test Managers….

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Why I Lost My Job As a Test Manager and What I Learnt As a Result

  1. 1. WHY I LOST MY JOB AS A TEST MANAGER AND WHAT I LEARNT AS A RESULT…
  2. 2. I DID NOT GET FIRED!!
  3. 3. WHO AM I?
 STEPHEN JANAWAY www.stephenjanaway.co.uk @stephenjanaway www.testinginthepub.com @testinginthepub
  4. 4. INSPIRED BY • My experiences. • Some dinosaurs. • Radiohead. • Winston Churchill. • Take That.
  5. 5. BACKGROUND
  6. 6. MY SO CALLED TYPICAL CAREER SO FAR…. Junior Developer Tester Test Team Lead Test Manager Quality Gate Manager Senior Quality Gate Manager Senior Test Manager
  7. 7. Photo © Stefz
  8. 8. Test Manager Dev Manager Dev Manager Dev Manager Dev Manager
  9. 9. SO WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM? • Too many teams = too much task switching. • Lack of touch points to teams. • No team to interact with day-to-day. • Fire fighting = Perception of only being a blocker. • Too many managers required in decision making.
  10. 10. Photo © Andrew Smith
  11. 11. CHANGE IN THE AIR...
  12. 12. WHAT CHANGED? • No more Test Managers. • No more Development Managers. • Cross functional, autonomous, independent teams. • Teams aligned to architecture. • Delivery Managers - team manager, scrum master, point of contact, etc.
  13. 13. Delivery Manager Product Owner ● Designers ● Architects ● Developers ● Testers ● Ops
  14. 14. WHAT HAPPENED?
  15. 15. WHAT WE DID...
  16. 16. KEEPING A FOCUS ON CHANGE Image © Nana B
  17. 17. CHANGE CAUSES SIMILAR EMOTIONS IN US ALL
  18. 18. CHANGE IS NORMALLY JUST A TEMPORARY DISCOMFORT Image © kris krüg
  19. 19. FOUR STAGES OF CHANGE 1. Unconscious Incompetence. 2. Conscious Incompetence. 3. Conscious Competence. 4. Unconscious Competence.
  20. 20. WE SUPPORTED EACH OTHER • Recognise there is change. • Treat each other with respect. • Be open and honest – say what you think, feel and need. • Ask questions. • Listen to understand.
  21. 21. TEST COMMUNITY Image © Ian Sane
  22. 22. http://labs.trademe.co.nz/projects/the-self-organising-organisation/ http://blog.crisp.se/2012/11/14/henrikkniberg/scaling-agile-at-spotify
  23. 23. TEST COMMUNITY • Testers group with a community leader and committee. • Responsible for arranging events: • Discussion sessions. • Internal speakers. • Showcases. • External speakers. • Being the voice of testing. • An enabler - getting testers together, talking and learning from each other.
  24. 24. Image © Niall Kennedy
  25. 25. LEAN COFFEE A simple and democratic way to discuss topics and have conversations that people want to talk about. It’s structured but agenda-less Started in 2009 in Seattle Jim Benson and Jeremy Lightsmith Today - all over the world http://leancoffee.org http://www.meetup.com/Lean-Coffee-London/
  26. 26. LESSONS LEARNT • Bottom up works but you need people overseeing it. • It takes time and effort. • Keep asking what people want - seek regular feedback. • External speakers help (but organisation is greater). • Don’t incentivise community engagement. • Some people just won’t engage - focus on those who do.
  27. 27. TESTING COACH Image © Chris Hunkeler
  28. 28. TEST COACH Responsible for: • Coaching and training about testing. • Running the testing community. • Working with teams to improve their testing. • Educating managers and senior managers. • Raising the company profile in the external testing community. • Bringing the latest, greatest and most useful new ways of working into the group.
  29. 29. Image © Doug
  30. 30. WE WON’T BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THE SILVER BULLET FOR ALL YOUR PROBLEMS BUT WE’LL DEFINITELY BE ABLE TO HELP YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY TO GREATNESS! DISCLAIMER
  31. 31. EDUCATION³ Photo © Richard Lee
  32. 32. EDUCATION - PEOPLE • Educating Managers • About testing • About managing testers • Performance review and competency development help • Educating Senior Managers • About testing • About investment in testing • Educating Testers • How to talk about testing more effectively • How to fight their own battles...
  33. 33. EDUCATION - SKILLS • Educating Testers • Testing Mondays - context driven testing sessions. • Testing Showcases - information sharing. • A conference a year. • Internal conferences. • Widely publicising online events and meet- ups. • A blog post a day.
  34. 34. MENTORING SCHEME
  35. 35. MENTORING • Pairing testers with other more experienced testers. • Facilitates learning and “someone to look up to”. • Helps fill a gap left by not having Test Managers. • A great learning opportunity.
  36. 36. SO WHAT HAPPENED?
  37. 37. EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR QUALITY
  38. 38. NEXT STEPS FOR TEST MANAGEMENT ”WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? THE WORDS ARE COMING OUT ALL WEIRD WHERE ARE YOU NOW WHEN I NEED YOU?” RADIOHEAD - THE BENDS
  39. 39. WHAT IF IT AFFECTS YOU? • It’s not the end. • You have transferable skills. • Use the opportunity to your advantage. • Use your transferable skills. • Remember your roots a spread the testing word far wider :)
  40. 40. AND NOT JUST IF YOU ARE A TEST MANAGER • Support as a tester. • Someone to look up to. • A subject matter expert to learn from. • Learn how to explain the value of testing.
  41. 41. NEVER FORGET WHERE YOU’VE COME HERE FROM
  42. 42. CHERISH YOUR COMMUNITY Image © Ian Sane
  43. 43. “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning” Winston Churchill Stephen Janaway @stephenjanaway stephenjanaway.co.uk testinginthepub.com

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