Tuesday, April 13, 2010

One Day Away

Many of us are important in small ways. We're the ones who always check out last night's automation first thing in the morning. We're the ones who find a creative way to track down a bug. We're the ones who make sure support has been trained on the latest release. Sure, we're all testers, and anyone on the team can effectively test the product, but every one of us brings something special. One focus, or skill, or talent that the others simply don't even notice to do. It's just your thing that happens, because you do it.

Now take one day away.

No planning, no prep, no warning or pre-training. Just take one day away.

What would happen?

Something wouldn't go right, just for that one day. Testing would get done, and people would accommodate your absence, but your small importance would get missed. Would the world end? No, of course not.

Now extend that to a week away.

That "not right" begins to snowball a little bit. A week is long enough for people to notice that little thing you always did that's now not getting done. The world still isn't ending, but it's noticeable.

Now, this is just a thought exercise. But consider for a moment the disservice your team experienced because you were just gone. That thing - whatever it is - needs to be something that can survive you. Can you train someone to keep an eye on your one thing? Can you automate it? Can you make the need for that one thing go away?

You can't move up if you leave problems behind, even the slow problem of one missed thing building up over time. So think about your thing, and make it your team's thing.

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