March 19, 2020 by Kenneth Fisher
A while back a company I worked for had two teams. One was a development team and the other was a testing team. Now, the development team was pretty new to the concept of testing outside of It works in Dev, move it to Prod. The testing team was a very mature team with lots of tools and a great deal of experience at building tests. The development team (from now on known as DT) had a major fail because they didn’t properly test a code move. Because of the importance of this move there was a giant spotlight on the team and they decided to engage the testing team (TT).
This is exactly what they needed to do.
DT built up a set of tests for the next deployment. They gave these tests to TT and asked for their help. TT said, This isn’t good enough. We need more test cases. Ok, fine DT built more. A test was scheduled, time was spent running it, a number of people from different teams were involved, and then afterwards TT said Still not good enough. We aren’t comfortable with the results so we won’t be giving them to you. More tests created. Still not good enough.
I’m sure just reading this you can feel the frustration of DT. TT just wouldn’t give them a win. Yes, DT really needed to get a full set of end to end tests set up, but that wasn’t going to happen overnight. And rather than helping them build up a set of tests and get there over time TT just frustrated them and in the end DT gave up. No more system testing for us.
Senior teams and individuals will frequently be working with juniors. And yes, it can get frustrating, but that’s no excuse not to be as helpful as possible. The goal is to bring a junior up through the ranks. And just to be clear. A senior in one subject will be a junior in other subjects. Say a DBA starting to work with aspects of Azure. (Totally not using myself as an example.)
One of the easiest ways to bring juniors up is to give them a win. In the case of DT if they had been given testing results, even with a series of disclaimers, they would have a win. Something they could build on. Next time they add more tests, and more, and more, and more. And eventually, over time, they end up with a mature testing environment.
Remember, you were a junior at one point too. In every subject. Weren’t those wins nice? Didn’t they encourage you to move forward? Well pass those wins on!