Category Archives: goals

Coaching Objectives

It can be hard to set objectives for coaches. Linking a coaches deliverables directly to the output of a team is neither fair nor sensible yet it’s frequently used as a path of least resistance.

I’ve been asked how I was measured as a test coach. Below is the set of objectives that the coaching team, which included an agile coach and myself as test coach were set, as well as an excerpt from the job description for my role. Hopefully they prove useful.

Key duties and responsibilities

Coaching Team Objectives

We also had 360 feedback in our performance management process which was collected and discussed every 6 months.

Want To Know More?

Want to know more about test coaching? My presentation So Mr Testing Coach, What Do You Do? may help.

 

 

Starting a New Job in Testing

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Thing have been a bit quiet around here. Maybe you’ve noticed it. Maybe you’ve only came to this blog for the first time, from a link from Google or Bing, in which case welcome, and do note the gap in posts. I’ve been busy.

Primarily this has been because I’ve been searching for, and then settling into, a new job in a new company. Starting a new job isn’t easy, be it in testing or any other field, and it’s what you do in the first few months in a new company that can really affect how the rest of your time there goes. Those relationships you make early on, and how you are seen by others matter. It matters a lot.

So, while things are fresh in my mind, here’s some handy hints on what you should consider when starting somewhere new. I’ll be sharing further articles about recruitment, job searching and C.V.’s over the forthcoming months.

All presented with a software testing view.

Talk to people

Probably the most important thing you can do when you start, especially in a testing role. Being a good communicator, with the ability to get on with as many people as possible is very important as a tester. Spend your time searching out the important people, introduce yourself, and find out more about them. Ask them about the company, ask them about how you can work together, and find out what they think about how the company does testing. Those relationships you make early on affect how people see you for a long time. Sure, you won’t be able to remember all their names, but make sure they remember yours. And yes, this does mean talking to more than just testers 🙂

 

Ask Questions. A lot of questions

Testing is all about questioning a product in order to evaluate it, right? Take the same approach when you start a new job. Ask everything you can think of, no question is too stupid to ask if you don’t know the answer. Often, so much information in a company, is un-documented, and you want to make sure that you can understand the bigger picture, as well as just knowing enough to do your role. As testers we need as broad a view as possible in order to work effectively so make sure that you learn by questioning, and continue to do so. It takes time to settle into a new job but the more questions you ask then the quicker you should be able to feel like you understand company and your role within it. Don’t sit there, feeling blocked because you don’t feel like you can ask something.

 

Be nice

First impressions count. When you first start you meet a lot of people. Every time you meet someone new then that’s a new first impression. Always remember to be nice. Even if you are really an evil tester 🙂

 

Consider what you are bring to the company

They decided to employ you, there must be a reason, right? 🙂 Remember that you have good, and relevant, experience that you can bring. It’s easy when you first start, to just spend your time learning the company and your new role. But do not forget that your experience from outside the company could be really useful. Maybe your old company did it’s test automation a particular way or maybe you can see the new company works in a way you helped improve in an old role. It’s often new starters who are in the best position to see improvement areas. Don’t just accept that ‘this is the way its done round here’, and don’t feel afraid to speak up.

 

Ask for feedback

It can be really easy when you start somewhere new to just go into things head down and try and pick everything up at once. Remember that you need to pause and ask for feedback. Make sure that you question your own understanding of things, as you learn them, and regularly ask for feedback from those you work with.

 

Don’t forget to continue focusing outwards as well

When you start at a new company it can be really easy to spend all your time learning your new role. After all, there is a lot to pick up and a lot to learn. It is tiring, but don’t forget what you did before. Since you are reading this then I assume you read software testing blogs at least. Keep active in the testing community and keep learning. That way you can bring not only new ideas from your previous job, but also new ideas from the whole testing community.

 

Enjoy it

It takes a lot of effort when you start a new job. There is a lot to learn and a lot of people to meet. Focus on what attracted you to the new job and don’t forget to enjoy it 🙂

 

Little and Often

New Year brings new beginnings, new starts, new ideas and for some New Year’s resolutions. I’ve been reading, with a lot of interest, zenhabits.net recently and the post How to Have the Best Year of Your Life (without Setting a Single Goal) particularly caught my eye. do we set ourselves too many goals and resolutions, and are they ultimately doomed to fail?

With that in mind, here’s my plan for this year, sorry, I mean here are some practices 🙂 I intend to engage in through the year which I hope will help me and others.

  • Blog little and blog often: Easy to say of course but more difficult to do. But often you spend too much time thinking about what to say and the moment is wasted. So I intend to start practicing regular blogging, but posts will be shorter. Not as short as my posts on Twitter but a little shorter than last years more lengthy ones.
  • Get back to getting my hands dirty: It’s time to start doing some testing again and not just managing and talking about it. This really is a practice not a goal, becoming part of my DNA again. As a start I’ve signed up for James Bach’s excellent Rapid Software Testing class which The Ministry of Testing are bringing to the UK this year. Can’t wait 🙂
  • Widen my circle of contacts: Obvious really, I’d like to learn more from others outside of my regular circle of contacts. Do you want to talk about something or help me out?
  • Practice generosity: Directly from zenhabits and I’m not ashamed to say. It’ll all be a bit better if we help each other out. What can I help you with? (I know a fair bit about software testing and test management, and too much about cycling :).

What will you do this year?