Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Don't Care

There are a lot of things at work that I care about:
  • whether my team is happy and productive and learning, and how to help them be more so
  • how testing for the current release is going
  • how the releases in the field are faring and what we're learning from customers
  • planning for the next release to at least try to not make it a sprint
  • looking out for duplicate rates, reopen rates, and bugs bouncing between groups - all signs of inefficiency
  • monitoring and looking to improve what a "fully implemented" feature means so we spend less time thinking of things late in the cycle
There's more, but you get the idea.

However, there's another group of things that, frankly, aren't worth worrying about. These are the things where you're welcome to ask, but my response is going to be something along the lines of, "Look, I just can't bring myself to care deeply about that. It's not worth arguing over." I know some people may be hugely invested in them, but I have better places to put my energy. Examples of this include:
  • Ensuring that every team uses the "new" and "opened" bug states in the exact same way. (Hey, as long as ya'll get it, it really doesn't affect the testers - neither of those states means "go look at this")
  • What order someone chooses to do his test mission, as long as it all gets done on time. (Okay, maybe it doesn't match what I would have done, but we are two different human beings)
  • What time of day we tag the end of an iteration. (No skin off my nose whether it's 10am or 10pm as long as the code is of the stability level we expect when it's tagged)

Your list is probably a bit different than mine, and that's okay. The point is that there are things you should be worrying about, and things where worrying about them really doesn't gain you anything. We all have only 24 hours in a day, and we all have only a certain amount of energy. Deciding that you're not going to worry about something is an action that gives you the freedom to work on what you really care about.

Deciding what to not care about is as valuable as deciding what to care about.

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