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Adjusting to Working in a Cross-Functional Team Part I (Nicky Tests Software)

On January 18, 2015, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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Won’t try to deny it – I’ve been pretty slack at writing blog posts lately. Other than the fact I’ve been enjoying the sun as much as possible, I’ve also still been adjusting to my new role at Vend.

I started in the beginning of September and it’s been a very steep learning curve. You see, this is my first proper experience with Agile. While it’s exciting to be working on projects where you collaborate in a team, and find yourself helping deliver value fast – it’s actually also fairly intimidating (or at least I, myself, am intimidated). Below is a written experience report on how I’ve adjusted to working in a cross-functional team.

Vend gets inspiration for it’s engineering model from Spotify. I work in a small cross-functional team with a Product Manager, Product Analyst, four developers, a technical documentation manager  and a designer. When people ask me “Who’s in your team?” and “What’s your team like?” etc. – these are the people I think of. It’s my first time working in such an environment. Previously, my definition of “team” always automatically referred to the Testing team – unless told otherwise.

Making Decisions

One of the first things I learned when I started working at Vend was the fact that everyone you need to make a decision is in your cross-functional team. It kind of took me a while to get my ahead around it and (truly) realise that you don’t have to have meetings upon meetings to actually get s*** done – just put our team in a room together and we will come up with an amazing solution.
Another thing that has stuck out to me is the fact that I’m actually part of the decision-making process. Since as a team, we have goals to achieve and deadlines to meet. We also, as a team, need to agree on how we go about meeting those deadlines and more importantly – what we can achieve in that timeframe.

Asking for help in QA

As the only tester in my team, it’s my responsibility to communicate information about the software to the team. It’s also important to remember that quality should be embedded into the software. For what it’s worth I get top-notch code when it’s marked as Test Ready as every branch is always code reviewed first.
But sometimes I need help when testing – either from someone in my team (a Product Analyst in terms of understanding how the software should be behave or a developer in understanding what exactly has changed etc) or another tester.
In the past, I’d found it scary to swallow my pride and ask for help as I used to think it was a sign of weakness – and that people would think I’m not good enough at doing my role.

But now I think differently – while there are a plenty of ways I could improve as a Tester, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. 

It’s important to ask for help from developers as they would have a great understanding of the code they had just written and can give me advice based on this. It’s also important to ask for help from other testers as they have an in-depth knowledge of how other areas of the system behave and can come up with some great test ideas based on this.  

This is Part I of II, here’s the link to Part II

 

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