You Cannot Be Everywhere

A key lesson with the whole situation is, that there is no Nirvana, no steady state nor closure to everything. The only constant is that life is ever changing. Coming up around the corner is a new change – some can be planned for and others not so much. Imagining that things can be different is the first step to dealing with change (Thank you, Virginia Satir).

There will always be more things needing attention. Sometimes it’s based on the fear of missing out (FOMO) and the urge to be involved in everything. You will very easily find yourself stretched too thin – and needing a way to scale the effort, both professionally and personally. Clocking more hours will only work in the short run. Remember, it’s ok not to scale – sometimes it’s actually the best solution.

The Tester cannot be Everywhere

It’s a challenge for many testing professionals to catch up with the team’s deliveries – even when you account for test automation. The current market practice is to build a “whole team approach to quality” as described here:

Most people we know work on teams that don’t have enough testing specialists. When a tester is spread too thin, they can’t add as much value if they only do what we might consider traditional “tester” activities. When teams believes that the whole team is responsible for quality, they will learn the skills necessary to help with the testing activities. 

Acting as a test consultant may help you contribute in different ways. You’re promoting the whole team approach to testing and quality by helping everyone learn useful testing skills and practices. You can transfer your testing skills to others. You can design experiments to improve quality and bring in new techniques such as example mapping or tools to help the team.

Testers as Consultants, Crispin & Gregory 2021

This aligns with the research of Accelerate (Lean Practices, specifically) and the Team Topologies framework – and with the old saying: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you wan to go far – go together. The best approach to scale an effort is to do it collaboratively, disband the bottlenecks and automate repetitive grunt work.

The Test consultant cannot be Everywhere

It’s also important for the test consultant, test advisor, test coach, facilitator, manager and stage mom to build the skills in others and move on. First the test consultant has to sit on their hands, as the things are for others to experience and learn from. Secondly the test consultant needs to let go. Decline the meetings and let the sleigh team run down the hill.

You Cannot be Everywhere

Yes you! You cannot be everywhere – you cannot be involved in everything at all times. and it’s OK to take a break or step into a spectator role for a while.

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