Thursday, November 22, 2012


Here it is Thanksgiving morning 2012.  Of course I woke up at 5:00 AM when I had an opportunity to sleep in.  I meandered through all of my RSS feeds.  And of course I stumbled upon this gem of a post by Christopher Avery.  By the way Mr. Avery is an awesome person to chat with.  I had the absolute pleasure of talking with him at the Rally On conference this year.

On Friday November 16 I attended Keep Austin Agile Conference put together by Agile Austin.  I learned quite a few things at this conference, but there was one thing I had not heard before regarding retrospectives.  Earl Everett in his talk on "Retrospective Tips, Tricks, and Traps" he mentioned the use of appreciations during retrospectives.

Honestly I think it is a great idea.  What I immediately struggled with is how many appreciations or the quality of the appreciations.  Also I had some thoughts on the emotions of appreciations.  I concluded that I do not show my appreciation enough, so I will incorporate appreciations more into my daily routine both at work and at home.

Christopher Avery added more controversy to my thought process by stating "Reflect on your ratio of potential vs. actual acknowledgment".  I completely agree that each day we should reflect and I need to add a list of appreciations to that reflection, but how many of your appreciations should truly be acknowledged.  I have been thinking all morning as to what ratio would be good for me.  I keep thinking my ratio of actual appreciations should be low and strategically delivered.  I am leaning toward attempting to do something like take action on my top two appreciations for each day regardless of how many potential appreciations I can come up with.  Is that enough appreciations?  Maybe not, but it is certainly a start.

Another thought I have is that in my list of potential appreciations there may be reoccurring recipients.  Perhaps one of my daily appreciations should be directed toward someone or something new on my list each day.  I kind of see this as a twist on "Paying it Forward", but it is absolutely practical to show daily appreciations.

I am a facilitator of meetings.  As a facilitator I easily fall into the trap of speaking to much.  People who know me, know I have an opinion on everything.  I am hoping by limiting my appreciations to two per day, appreciations will become contagious.  In a collaborative agile software world we could all use a bit more appreciation.

It is Thanksgiving after all, so I have certainly a great deal to be thankful for.  On Monday show your appreciations to your colleagues, especially a Tester.

Happy Turkey Day!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Time to think

I truly dislike the fact that I do not blog more.  I still do a lot of reading and I am participating what seems to be a great course on-line with Stanford University called "A Crash Course on Creativity".  I simply do not do enough writing.

This morning I read Michael Bolton's blog post.   As usual his post got me thinking on various topics but primarily on "Where does my time go"?

As Mr. Bolton describes I am going to go through the exercise of using graph paper to illustrate where my time disappears to, but more importantly I am going to think more clearly as to where my time should be spent as a Senior QA Engineering Manager.

I need to spend more time marketing the value of testing.

I need to spend more time marketing test innovations.

I need to spend more time on educating and mentoring the team.

I need to spend more time educating myself.

I need to spend more time learning to become a forward thinker or visionary.

Ideally I would like to spend more time testing, but apparently that is no longer in my job description as a Senior Manager.

So just in this very short blog post of thinking out loud.  I have come up with two key areas that I must find time for, Marketing and Education.

Hmmm!  Now I need to go spend time thinking more about why do I have to market testing at all and why I feel compelled to educate others or myself.

First I guess I need to steal some graph paper from our daughter and map out where my time goes.  Then I might be able to add a slot for additional blog posts.

Happy Testing!