Musings over lunch

Spring is finally here in Colorado. We had a decent snowstorm on Tuesday, with temperatures well below 20 degrees F, but today it is sunny and shirtsleeve weather. I’m eating my lunch at my desk, but I’m going to go out and enjoy a walk along the Platte River in a few minutes.

I’ve had little time to write lately. I traveled a lot the first quarter of 2013, with a Hawaiian vacation, Belgium Testing Days, and a trip to England for TestBash 2.0 and some advanced agile testing workshops in Cambridge.

Dreyfus Model
Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition applied to evolving the Whole Team

This month I was lucky enough to be able to stay home for a great conference, Mile High Agile 2013. Here is a picture of the presentation that Matt Barcomb and I did on applying the Dreyfus Model to evolving the Whole Team – Matt wrote and drew the “slides” on the wall as we explained it! (And here are actual slides which are more readable if you weren’t there)

At the same time, we’re doing lots of home improvement projects, and when the weather’s nice enough, working the donkeys or going on walks with them.

And there’s my new job. In August, I joined Pivotal Labs to work on the Pivotal Tracker team. I’m on a “dream team” of testers including Marlena Compton and Jo Webb, we do support and testing along with the rest of our awesome development team. Elisabeth Hendrickson also recently joined Pivotal, though she works in a different area, doing magic with the cloud. Someone recently commented to me that we have a “Justice League” of testers here at Pivotal, and it is such a thrill to be part of that!

Though I was excited to get to work on the Tracker team, my first couple months were quite difficult for me. That’s just due to me and my ego, not my wonderful and helpful teammates. In the past, when I joined a new team, I always felt I brought something to the party. I had experience with agile and testing that the team lacked, so even without knowing the domain, I could contribute value right away. But the Tracker team already had agile and testing pretty much nailed. I hadn’t worked on a Rails project before, I hadn’t worked with Tracker before, I had so much to learn! And learning is fun, but I missed that end-of-day satisfaction of having contributed my share. I also worried that I’d never get up to speed, that I would fail.
Fortunately, lots of pairing helped me learn enough to start feeling like a worthwhile member of such a great team. My ping pong skills also helped. As with any job, there are still difficult days, but I look forward to coming to work every day.

All this learning, plus lots of personal life changes (e.g., moving to a horse property, losing my dad), took up all my time and mental bandwidth, and my writing output slowed to a trickle. However, I’m starting to slowly turn that around.

Having worked on a lot of distributed teams, that’s always a favorite topic of mine, and I recently wrote articles related to that for both SearchSoftwareQuality and Methods and Tools. In addition, Janet Gregory and I started working on our new book, with the working title More Agile Testing. I still haven’t found my writing groove. My longer commute means a lot of time away from home, and taking care of donkeys at home, though one of my favorite activities, does eat up the clock! But I’m livin’ the dream, and with enough practice, discipline and help from family and friends, I’ll find time to keep sharing my agile testing experiences and those of my team.

Happy spring!


4 comments on “Musings over lunch

  1. Welcome back Lisa.

    A nice summary of what you’ve been up to.

    I’m delighted that you landed with Pivotal, they are fine folk.

    Looking forwars to the next book, there is much to learn since the last one. The Rails community is a big part of these advancements in tools and techniques, so hoping can get some of what you learn there into the book.

  2. Thanks, Mike! Definitely, I am learning so much here that will be great to share in the book. I’m hoping to learn much more about Rails. And as with the first book, we’ll be asking lots of other ppl to share their stories, if you have any interesting testing experiences we’d love to hear them!

  3. I am sure you will find time to write war stories coming from your current

  4. I empathize. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with many things and neglect something you feel is important. My own writing projects are suffering a similar fate.

    I, for one, would be delighted to read more detail on your experiences joining your new team (c.f. your tweet). And I find that sometimes writing about anything helps me get started writing, and that helps me write the bigger things I want to write.

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