My coworker who has a two-letter last name has complained of applications that require a longer string in the ‘last name’ field. Somehow, I think most applications I’ve ever tested would have the opposite validation error for this guy.
Some of my unofficial career goals up to this point included: 1.) never being in a position where I had to use PowerPoint on a regular basis, and 2.) spending as little time as possible with sales, marketing and advertising people. In the past, I’ve associated both those activities with pointless waste of time.
Well, since I assumed my new role as QA Architect here at Borland, I’ve violated both those goals. However, the good news is that I don’t feel either one has been a waste of time.
As for PowerPoint, I’m in the role of designing and implementing processes throughout the company, and PowerPoint is one of the tools in the box for that roll-out. Granted, some of the people who attend my presentations may still have my previous association, but I try to make my presentations as short, painless and useful as possible.
And sales and marketing folks. This morning, I spent over two hours in a meeting with representatives from sales, marketing and advertising. That meeting was also not a waste of time for me. Those folks are trying to figure out how to get the word out on how we’ve improved our own software development process (using agile) and changed our own tools to support those changes. I’ve been a big part of that process improvement, so the sales, marketing and advertising people were actually listening to me and others from R&D this morning.
I’m really enjoying my new job as QA architect at Borland. One part of my job is to help some of our agile development teams in the US and Austria to form effective working relationships with our enterprise testing team in Singapore, and then, based on those teams’ experiences, to create a general process that other agile teams can use to implement the same types of changes. This is the enterprise agile testing initiative that I’ve referred to before in this blog.
Anyway, while reviewing my proposed process with our company’s agile evangelist, I realized that my proposed process works very well within the given constraints of our company, but that I had given no thought to questioning the constraints themselves. Most of those constraints are very much outside my control, but my coworker pointed out that there is value in thinking how much more my process could adhere to agile principles if some of those constraints were changed or removed, and then presenting that information to the people who do have the power over the constraints.
Without making this blog post a therapy session, let me just say that I think this ability to work well within given constraints goes back to my childhood. As I was growing up, there were many not-so-great aspects of my family life that I couldn’t change, so my coping strategy was to excel within those limitations.
This inclination to make things work within given limitations served me well earlier in my career, when I was just in the position of implementing process. But now that I’m also in the position of defining processes for others, I need to keep this inclination in mind so that I can make an intentional effort to think outside the box.
Check out Slick or Slack (SFW)
This was our development group’s entry to Borland’s video contest for Sales Kickoff 2008. I’m waterfall in the video.