PEST 2: Taking One for the Team – First Impressions

I kind of want to say “PEST was awesome as usual” but then again…. it was only the second event we held.

I’m glad Kristjan took it upon himself to organize the event (and the catering :)). And thanks to Oliver for doing the labour-intensive job of a facilitator.

As always, I was a bit hesitant when I saw the topic (Taking One for the Team) and the questions to be answered. Somehow the stupid voice in my head said “well… I don’t have anything to say”. Despite this I did some thinking and the story I came up with was about creating my first team. Unexpectedly, I received a lot of questions and heard that some of my ideas were useful for others as well. I will blog about the “hot topics” of my presentation and expand on them.

Oh, I’ll be sure to think of the feedback when I have my moments of doubt. It really makes me feel there are people out there who listen, think along, and give support. This is probably the most awesome outcome of PEST besides the influx of new ideas.

The overall highlights for me:

  • Harles’s presentation about fighting against something without appearing to be up in arms. This one really rang a bell and I need to think about this more. It is very difficult to not reject the orders from above when they’re presented in that top-down manner which doesn’t really consider you as a thinking human being. It really is about the power relationships. I have been thinking about what to do because I know that my reputation among some of my foreign colleagues is not top notch precisely because I can’t be easily bent into doing things (that I don’t really agree with). They probably can’t deny what I’ve done but maybe I can be more pleasant (and then also more effective with people). It’s a fine balance, though. Retaining my integrity is extremely important for me but maybe I can find ways to react better and change people’s minds without saying “no” to them off the bat.
  • Aare’s presentation about a long-term project and the troubles with it was a topic up my alley as well. The danger of regression testing becoming unbearable is something that I actively try to deal with. My team is going to face a growing amount of regression testing so I try to monitor the boredom levels and also the effectiveness of testing.
  • Ülar’s contemplation of being a one-man-army… oh yes, sounds familiar. This situation reminds of the importance of motivation. Or rather, finding out and learning about the mechanisms that drive you. Really, know yourself.
  • Raimond’s approach to ordering a tool (or any other piece of software you need) didn’t seem to click with my work until yesterday. Then I learned that my team will have a developer assigned to assist us. So this is where I can work off Raimond’s approach. Describe it. Break it down. Review it. I think this will prove useful for me too. However, the teamwork and communication part made me think of ways how to facilitate better communication. Maybe, one fine day, I’ll be doing video conferences as well.
  • Ervin and the effectiveness of the work he does really makes me want to look into my team’s and my own work  processes to see if I can make it more effective. Automating something immediately is not possible but I will be asking for a lot more testability to be built into the product.
  • Not that I didn’t know how Rasmus works before… but now I definitely know better. And I have been wondering how we could employ this “jump in to impress” tactics better. Obviously, we don’t have to and sometimes can’t do it… but I’d like to have this competence in my team.

Overall, I think it was a great conference. It’s a very intriguing mind game to imagine if we all would work in the same company…. Kristjan thought that then we’d feel too good about ourselves and would really have to go out there to look for failures and problems to understand what we could do better.

Truly, to get thoroughly motivated, PEST will get you worked up!

See also: http://www.testerstower.com/?p=197 and http://www.testerstower.com/?p=202

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