Be Big, Bold, and Brave in Your Testing Efforts | TechWell

Be Big, Bold, and Brave in Your Testing Efforts

I've worked for some wonderful mentors and coaches during my career. One of those was the business president I worked for at a leading financial institution. She was an awesome leader and highly energized about motivating her team to achieve our stated business goals. She held several tenets, one of which was "Be big, be bold, be brave"—meaning don't be complacent, take reasonable risks, and don't be afraid to try something innovative.

Our organizations, management, teams, and customers desperately need each of us to step up and lead. Regardless of whether you have an official title as a leader or you are an individual contributor, you must exercise leadership in your role.

Early in my career I thought having a title would allow me to influence people in my organization. If only they'd give me that promotion to manager, then people would listen to me; after all, I would be "knighted" to lead.

I quickly learned that titles make little difference in the way we are perceived. What counts are our abilities to contribute to the organization by delivering results, solving difficult challenges using our creativity and innovation, having a set of core values that are lived out each day, offering professional insights and new ideas, and communicating a vision in the context of the subject under discussion.

I recently had minor knee surgery. During the course of working with my doctor, nurses, and other technicians, three technology issues arose. On the first visit to my doctor, his office had converted to using a fully digital means of running their business, keeping all medical records up to date using wireless laptops that were wheeled around between patient rooms. The day I visited, however, the technology was not working, so no records could be accessed.

A few weeks after that, I arrived at the hospital again and none of the nurses could log into their roaming desktop accounts. The system said they were already logged in. The third issue arose when I received a bill for an MRI that the insurance had already agreed to cover. An inquiry about how this happened pointed to a billing software error.

None of these issues directly impacted my surgery, but I observed a high sense of frustration among the users and wondered what indirect effect this "hassle factor" might have on the attitudes of those who were there to serve patients rather than waste time navigating through technology hurdles. Worse yet, no one was taking the lead or acting accountable for resolving the issues I observed.

These situations reinforced for me the critical nature of our roles as testers and the need for each of us to be big, bold, and brave. Are you taking the initiative in your testing projects to try to ensure that issues like those I observed are being avoided?

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