Dear current or future client,
A couple of weeks ago I read some interesting thoughts in Helsingin Sanomat. A psychologist, specialized in working life topics, said that it would probably be beneficial for knowledge workers to just take long breaks during the day and wander around outside. Even for two hours!
What? Wonder around with no purpose for two hours during a work day? But what about the million tasks in our backlog? How can we manage with a limited budget if people would slack like that?
Well, as it turns out, it indeed might shorten your backlog if your people would slack more.
Work overload kills creativity and leads to a diminished productivity. Moreover, on top of reasonable workload, people should also have reasonable and suitably defined roles.
To sum up, many poorly suited hats, not so good; one suitable hat, good.
We know that your testing needs a leader and there might be room for improvement in your testing processes. We know that you have a lot of tests to automate, to enable your testers to focus on exploratory testing instead of manual regression testing. And then there’s CI/CD -pipelines to fix and DevOps culture to implement.
We know, and we understand. You are not alone with these “problems”. We’d be happy to help and we even have a few unicorns who have the abilities to handle all these tasks.
But. There’s only so many efficient working hours in a day.
Long gone are the days when testing was done on the side, if someone remembered and had time for it. Modern day information systems and their development projects are very complex. It’s not smart to try to handle everything with one person, priorisation and division of tasks is needed.
Many different skills are needed in quality assurance. We don’t like labels but one example of role division could be: Exploratory tester, Test automation developer, QA lead and DevOps engineer. Sure, especially in smaller scale projects, one skilled person can handle all these. But when we go to larger scale projects, believing that one individual could nail all these roles is just not reality.
Our people always come first at VALA. We believe that when people are well, both the employer and the customer benefits. Mutually an overladen employee is not good for the employer nor for the customer.
We should together make sure that people aren’t overladen and creativity can flourish. This creates a basis for success in team-level as well as individually. The team will achieve, or even exceed its goals, when the daily work is reasonably challenging to each individual, and when we as a team help each other thrive. There is no reason to fantasize about one person taking care of it all at once. Testers should not be the only ones responsible for quality, it’s a responsibility for the whole development team.
As my running coach told me: “90% training load leads to much better results than a 105% load.” The same should be applied to working life.
– Esa Hakulinen, VALA Group QA Lead