Some of the most successful and highly regarded test teams are comprised of individuals passionate about their role and committed to performing at their best. Unfortunately, in many organizations testing remains to be viewed as a less than fulfilling role, requiring little or no skill. Many individuals enter the role underwhelmed and unaware of the positive and rewarding challenge it can bring.
So how can individuals be inspired to be passionate about their role as testers? Where does inspiration and passion come from? As managers, leaders and colleagues committed to the success and excellence of the software testing industry, we play an important role in inspiring others and advocating for the craft of software testing.
Passion by definition is: extreme, compelling or intense emotional drive or excitement. Passion has its own energy, one that is observable and transferable. Inspiration by definition is: an inspiring influence; any stimulus to creative thought or action. Inspiration can be compared to a fingerprint, it is different for every person. It is the spark for motivation where motivation leads to action. Testers who are passionate about the craft of software testing are inspired. Where does inspiration come from? Inspiration comes from within. So how can we foster an environment for testing inspiration to grow? Consider the following:
- Be passionate yourself!
- Share your interests and motivation for the craft
- Share your perspectives on the benefits and challenges of being a software tester
- Advocate for testing within your organization
- Provide coaching and mentoring opportunities
- Encourage learning opportunities as knowledge can spark a new level of energy and commitment
To inspire others it is important to be passionate yourself. Be mindful it takes time, patience, understanding, and energy to share your passion. Motivate yourself to continue to grow and stretch your own definitions of excellence. Seek out new sources of inspiration by:
- Extending your network of software testers and interesting minds
- Discussing and constructively debating ideas
- Challenging yourself to seek out perspectives that differ from your own
- Considering sources not directly related to software testing and find synergy in the concepts
Understandably, not everyone will be inspired by the craft of software testing. Focus your time and energy on those who are intrigued by your passion. I have found sharing my passion to be a very rewarding experience.
Recently I have become an avid follower of the discussion boards, blogs and tweets of many folks in the software testing industry. I have always held a passion for learning and the sense that no matter how much I know now, my understanding is a drop in the bucket of what is possible to learn. What I have also found interesting, is that some of my greatest “ah ha” moments and influential changes in my beliefs have come from folks whose perspectives were radically different than my own. Nowadays I actively seek numerous perspectives in order to “gel” them into something that fits for me.
The multitude of social media avenues has provided the opportunity to get much closer to the ideas and perspectives of many industry thought leaders. Of course I still actively seek out the other opportunities to learn from these folks such as conferences, publications, and books but I am finding the near real-time feeds of the industry buzz to be intriguing. However, the volume of information can be downright overwhelming some days. I have taken to adding many blogs and feeds to the Viigo app on my Blackberry and reading during any free time I can catch – grocery store lineups, kids sports activities, even managing to read them while bobbing up and down on my elliptical trainer. Yup, making time to challenge your own ideas and spark your creativity isn’t always easy but always worthwhile.
Image Source: David Armano
If you are like me you may be wondering what the heck Twitter is all about. A few weeks back I decided to create an account and check it out. I quickly learned about the “Following” feature and added a few of the testing folks I know. It turns out some of these folks are updating Twitter all the time and with interesting and thought provoking ideas on Software Testing. I quickly become hooked on hearing the latest buzz. If you are passionate about the craft of Software Testing you should considering checking out Twitter too!
Another great way to see the latest buzz on Software Testing is to check out hashtags such as #testing, #qa, #qualityassurance, etc. Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to tweets.
In co-founding the Calgary POST Workshop, I have developed new insight into how many testers view themselves. This insight stemmed from encouraging folks to reap the benefits of online forums and interactive workshops such as POST. Many folks I spoke to expressed concerns that what they have to say may not be of interest to others…or worse yet they don’t think they have anything of value to say! I was quite shocked as I know many of these folks quite well and am confident they have a great deal to offer the industry.
In mulling this over I realized that perhaps this stems from the innate behaviour of many testers to “find faults”. Not only are we highly effective in evaluating software, but we are also highly critical of ourselves. Hmmm, interestingly I often hear complaints from testers that they do not feel valued by their project teams. It begs the question, do we not need to value and respect ourselves first? When we are confident that our skills and strengths are valuable we present ourselves differently and in turn we are viewed differently.
Hopefully 2010 is a new year to stretch ourselves and become more active in sharing our passion for the craft of software testing. We should all value our unique perspectives and be willing to share with others. Why, wouldn’t it be awfully boring if all the testers out there thought exactly the same way about software testing? Or, if all our great ideas were silenced by our fear to share and receive feedback?
I am very excited to have Quality Perspectives online. I decided to develop my own site while building the site for the Calgary Perspectives on Software Testing Workshop, POST. As a co-founder of the Calgary Perspectives on Software Quality Workshop I wanted to have a link to my own site and here it is!