Thursday, July 15, 2021

Cambridge Lean Coffee

This morning I was delighted to see the long-awaited return of the Cambridge Tester Meetup in the form of an online Lean Coffee!  Here's a few aggregated notes from the conversation in the group I was in.

Onboarding of testers in Covid land

From the company's side:

  • Looking for tips for getting testers up and running remotely.
  • Structured introduction plan, inluding people, tools, and relevant docs.
  • Encouraging the new team member to complement that with finding their own path.
  • Remember that it's hard being new and remote.
  • Make sure that time to learn and to use the product is available.
  • Try to find some task that can make them feel productive, an early win.
  • Have a buddy with priority and time to answer questions.
  • Set expectations on both sides.

From the onboarder's side:

  • Be prepared to ask questions.
  • Self-motivation is really important.
  • Set some goals for yourself (to get that achievement hit).
  • Be prepared for it to be harder.
  • Be brave (even if you don't feel it).

The future of testing

  • Moving towards more hands-on in other areas, e.g. DevOps, automation, or Quality Champion.
  • Good testing or quality comes from the team supported by a quality professional.
  • The basics of testing itself don't change: delivering business value by seeking problems or potential problems, uncovering risks (of what, to who), helping stakeholders to get the information they need to prioritise them.
  • The implementation of that testing might change, e.g. by different people or with different practices.
  • The testing work will always be there, so long as we are building things that we want to fulfill people's needs.
  • Just look at the people on this call. We all call ourselves testers but we do different work in different ways even now.

Quality metrics that are ACTUALLY useful

  • Looking for metric that represent quality for a team's delivery.
  • The team selected a bunch of metrics but would like one that represents "maintainability."
  • That's a hard concept to put a number on.
  • Perhaps take something that's easy to get hold of, from CI.
  • Perhaps something that a tool can generate, e.g. cyclomatic complexity.
  • What is the impact you want to change, course correct?
  • Can you form the metric in terms of that impact rather than in some property of the code.
  • Perhaps keep records for a couple of months in a spreadsheet?
  • ... if any developer feels impacted by maintainability issues, record where and some measure of the badness or cost,
  • ... then review the data after a couple of months and see whether metrics suggest themselves.

Remote line management - top tips

  • A new line manager has never met any of his reports. Tips please!
  • Openly using a structure, to reduce uncertainty about what's going to happen.
  • Be transparent about newness, and experiments you'll do with approaches.
  • Use the mute button and let your reports talk.
  • Be prepared for it to take longer to get to know someone.
  • All the traditional stuff is still important.

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