First blog post – it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it…..

….that’s what gets results?

I’m at a new company, in a new position and now seemed like as good as any to start a blog.

I have moved from being a small cog in a big machine, to being a slightly bigger cog in a smaller machine. What does that mean for me? Why does this change feel like it’s so much more than any before?

Small companies are great places to work, it’s so easy to get to know people and the way things work. But, when I started in my new job, I felt a certain unease. Something was missing. I really missed processes. Some of my earliest notes that I made upon starting my new role were about me questioning where processes were, if there were any and where could I find them?

On a side note, using OneNote or Evernote when starting a new job is a great way to collate thoughts, emails and docs and without them I’d have forgotten most of my questions or at least lost most of my post-it prompts and probably made yet more of a fool of myself than ususal.

So processes, my close and personal friends, those by whose guiding light I had been following in my working life so rigidly that I had lost sight of what it was I was really doing. If all I am doing is following a set way of working, where is the creativity? Where is the use of a tester’s instinctive approach to a task? Where was the fun?

I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, I really did enjoy it.

I’m not saying that I didn’t think that the processes were bad.

But, was I restricting myself and others? Where was the expression? Where was the spark? Where was the testing?

I should say, I spent a lot of time in test automation. I love automation, it can be a time saver a sanity saver and a great resource to share among teams.

But, it isn’t creative testing, it isn’t a replacement for testing, it cannot replace a tester.

Bit of a side track there, sorry.

Back to where I am today. Processes weren’t apparent and testers were still testing, even without a plan, or a strategy or even a way of reporting the testing, what kind of madness is this!?

My question is this, (and if you’ve made it this far, thank you) what are we sacrificing in the name of process? What is the right balance? I can’t live in a world without process, but equally without creativity and the spark of free testing.

Blog post title lyrics from: It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it – by Fun Boy Three and Bananarma.

Find all the songs from my blog posts at this Spotify playlist.


6 responses to “First blog post – it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it…..”

  1. Hey Chris

    Process of guidelines?
    “Do this…” or “Go in this direction…”

    Don’t quash the creative nosey creature that is a tester but how to ensure a minimum level of quality and content?

    Without the kind of direction and support processes and guidelines (P&Gs) give I start feeling very uncomfortable very quickly. Even if I’m a team of one I document why and how I’m doing things – one day someone may follow and why should they go through the same pain all over again?

    There is, of course, the other complication – some people just can’t or won’t follow P&Gs.
    How do you get buy-in?



    • You’re right Bob, there needs to be a balance I don’t think there’s one right answer to this situation. As for buy in, I think that really depends on the people who need to buy in and how we present it, or even sell it as well as taking other’s opinions on board.


  2. Hi Chris

    I like to think of (documented) processes as:
    – my helping hand when I’m new to a job
    – my safety net when I’m less sure of my footing in a new project
    – my legacy showing how I got things done (like it, lump it, improve it, but please don’t ignore it)

    With processes in place I feel freer to be creative around the edges and, when the evidence is overwhelming, to creatively remodel a process that’s not working.

    It is much harder if you perceive the process as a box intended to constrain you.

    So, I say: follow the process until you can see a better way, and fight back against anyone who ever tells you to not question the process.



    • Hi Mike,

      I agree with everything that you’ve said there. We just need to remember too update the processes when we find a better way, otherwise they become out of date and obsolete, or some people follow the old way and others a new way.

      Thanks for your comment.



      • Spot on!

        Two fundamental requirements for process docs: accessible and easily maintained.

        These days we’re absolutely spoiled with options for creating marvellous docs that can simply communicate a process e.g. take quick photos of those “fag packet” whiteboard discussions, add some bullet point clarifications and save them as a shared online doc viewable as a webpage. Done.

        +1 for OneNote / Evernote



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