Last week I had two events at work that helped me feel valued, and reminded me that there are things I know that can help others, but are hard to put down as a statement on a CV or career experience on LinkedIn.
The first was when I got asked to help setup a project on Jira. Two testers had been trying to work out how best to setup the project in a way that worked for them, that would be useful and useable. They had been going round for circles when one them decided to get hold of me, as he admitted I’m good with Jira.
I got them to show me what they had done so far – A couple of tests copied over from an Excel template, which had the requirements reference, test case description, and steps.
I then asked them to talk me through what they were wanting, and then offered my input.
I suggested that they think about how everything was broken down and grouped together. Each tab they had on Excel was a broad group, and could be their Epic. Each requirement could be a story, so that if they needed to look back at what tests were being completed for each story, they could see in one place. Each planned test to be Test Case (we’re using an extra plugin to expand the test options), linked to each story if it satisfied multiple requirements. Within each test, where it was testing a particular type of database, have that be a Component, to give an extra level of sorting, so that if they wanted to see all the SQL Server tests (for example) regardless of epic, they could do that through components.
As we ran out of time, they were happy with the suggestions I made, and began working on it, sharing their screen to confirm there was no misunderstanding between us.
The second event was when two other testers needed my help with some problems they were having on a piece of work. They were getting squeezed by the project manager for when they could execute, and felt like they were ignored when offering ideas of how to get their work done. They were also having issues with development, with constantly changing technical documents that were unclear, and not as usable for them as they needed.
I offered suggestions of how they could escalate these issues, what would be the appropriate questions to raise in doing so, and the reasoning behind it. Whilst I can’t go into detail here as it wouldn’t be appropriate, as I talked them through my thoughts, notes which later was polished and turned into an e-mail was formed.
I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just telling them what they needed to hear and ask, but the reasoning behind things. “When asking for X thing to be done, this is why”, for example.
All of the testers are peers of mine. I’m not in a higher position to them on any organisation chart. But I’ve been testing at my organisation for over 9 years, and working there 11 years this week. Being the longest serving member of the team does mean I have experiences that they haven’t had.
It reminded me of something from Simon Sinek:
There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead inspire us.Simon Sinkek – Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action
Just because I am not given the title of manager or leader, it doesn’t mean I can’t lead people, even if it is to setting up a Jira board, or challenging issues on a project.
Having my knowledge and experiences asked for, wanted, and then able to be used. It gave me value. It reminded me I know more than how to just run some SQL.