I’ve started my career as a typical Software Engineer, messing up with C++ and Java code on B2B software (good time !). During that same time, I had the opportunity to see Lou Gerstner on stage as he was visiting our IBM campus. It was right in the middle of the e-Business period and Lou was here to explain us what e-Business was about and what it meant for us. It was one hour which changed my life. I was so impressed by the message, the clarity, the energy, the motivation. I knew from that point on that this was something I wanted to do: Being able to have this type of impact on people. being able to share a vision, drive a business, etc. I guess I would have had the same conclusion if I had the opportunity to see Jack Welsh on a stage. He’s also one of my role model.
Damn ! I just realized that my latest article is almost 1 month old ! This is unacceptable for my trusted readers and as I spend a night in London I decided to share one of my latest read. I did read during the past months but for once, I indulged myself with some great science-fiction books I had in my stack: The forever war from Joe Hadelman (always trust a classic. This is an awesome read !), the Ophiuchi Hotline from John Varley and The Currents of Space from the man himself, Isaac Asimov (I’m a huge fan …).
You’ve just started your new job as a QA manager, QA Director, Senior VP of Software Testing etc. Your title doesn’t really matter as long as your responsibility implies some of amount of management and responsibility for one or multiple products. There is no secret recipes to become successful in your new job but the first 90 days are an incredible opportunity for you to set the tone for this next move in your career. This limited window of opportunity should be used to create sustainable advantage to pave a successful way for you and the products you’re responsible for. Optimally during these 90 first days, you should be able to:
For the past 3 years, I’ve been trying to build the best possible Software Testing organization For Experian Decision Analytics. During my vacation, I had a bit of time to reflect back on these 3 years and identify what building blocks were critical toward my initial goal. Trust me, it’s been a roller coaster ride but I’m feeling very proud of the team today and confident about the future. In this series of article, I’ll try to describe what I’ve done to build what I would consider a pretty damn good team !
Thanks to some well deserved vacation, I was able to finish a book I’ve started a while back: Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days. I had 2 main interests in the reading of this book. The first one was related to the time I’ve spent in the Silicon Valley from 1998 until 2006, when I had plenty of good friends working from various Startup during the Internet Bubble: Excite, Netscape, Paypal, WebTV etc. You’ve got to understand that during these times (especially 1998 until 2002) all conversations during parties were about the Internet craziness going on, all the breakthrough ideas people had at the time (and some not so good breakthrough idea … Can you say pets.com ?), all the stock options people were getting, bubbling ego etc.
If you’ve done quite a bit of hiring, you might have your favorite interview scheme, questions and dynamics which help you assess the skills of the testers in front you. I’ve done a lot of hiring the past 3 years for all position within my organization and I was thinking about the one question always coming back and which help me the most to get a feel about the person experience and pure test skills. I have a whole bunch of question around technical design for automation framework, pure technical questions (One of my favorite was a simple reverse of a linked list but I quickly realized that a lot of fresh graduates have never heard about linked list. I’m getting old ), I have simple technical question to get a feel on how fast they can work, evaluate a piece of work etc. But the one question I like the most is:
“Management Time: Who’s got the Monkey” is probably one of the most popular management article published by the Harvard Business Review. It’s been written by William Oncken and Donald Wass in 1974. It’s been reprinted several time since then and the message is still very true. This is a must read for everyone who has trouble delegating and ends up doing their subordinates or peers work.
If you can relate to the following situation, you should definitely read the article:
Let us imagine that a manager is walking down the hall and that he notices one of his subordinates, Jones, coming his way. When the two meet, Jones greets the manager with, “Good morning. By the way, we’ve got a problem. You see …. “As Jones continues, the manager recognizes in this problem the two characteristics common to all the problems his subordinates gratuitously bring to his attention. Namely, the manager knows (a) enough to get involved, but (b)not enough to make the on-the-spot decision expected of him. Eventually, the manager says, “So glad you brought this up. I’m in a rush right now. Meanwhile, let me think about it, and I’ll let you know.” Then he and Jones part company.
You’ve just allowed the actual problem or “monkey” to leap from your employee back to yours.
I’ve always picked up quite a bit of management and business knowledge by observing and talking to leaders around me. I’ve been fairly lucky so far and have been regularly surrounded by people who impressed and inspired me. They all helped me in one way or another to get better at what I’m doing.
Another way to get some inspiration and motivation is to read biographies about very successful people in whatever industry they are working in. Jack Welch, is one of these people and his biography Straight from the Gut is a fantastic read !