Who Are You?
Throughout my career, I’ve always been the first tester in the team. When I started in 2006, the company was almost 50 people working on several unique projects. There was only one – a great lady tester in one of the teams and a Quality Manager for the entire company, from whom I learned so much!
It was a company that had both product and project teams. The general quality approach, though, was not entirely different. On the contrary, that lady and I have been improving the internal Quality Management System in a way that could guide both universes towards implementing agile practices that result in high confidence about the quality of the various types of software.
To be able to do that, we have been continuously asking.
– Who is the customer and the stakeholders?
– Why does this software exist?
– What are the internal practices?
– What is the technology stack?
– Where do requirements come from, and how are they prioritised?
– How does the team plan their work?
And many more.
Joining as the first person to take care of the software quality systematically, I’ve always tried to start with these questions, even during the interviews. I haven’t been entirely successful because I’ve often rushed to conclusions to prove my value quickly and needed a few iterations before we’ve established the right quality strategy for the team, the customers, the product, and the company.
I firmly believe in Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Still, the processes and the tools have helped me to build stronger relationships with individuals and make the best out of our interactions.
A simple but thorough collaboration tool that helps teams become aware of their quality needs is what I call a Company Blueprint. It’s simply a list of questions that inspire a deep conversation about Who We Are, as a company, what level of quality our customers expect from us, what they’re willing to pay for, and what we’re capable of delivering for them.
It’s basically a checklist to help us understand and become aware of all the factors that determine a software quality strategy.
Self-funded startups are dramatically more tolerant of bugs than investment-funded startups. But investment-funded startups are more tolerant of delays. Both sound unintuitive, and your company might be the opposite. Have you ever consciously asked yourself, though?
Self-reflection like this will open your eyes to all the influences that drive your software engineering efforts and affect your priorities on a daily basis.
I want to invite you to a free webinar on Tuesday, November 8, 5PM UTC, where we’ll discuss what are the factors that determine our quality strategy, and I’m more than curious to learn about yours. 🙂
We’ll be using a Miro board to brainstorm the questions, and it will be available for everyone to play with their teams.