Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Today at STPCon someone said, "He did a very good writeup. He is a senior tester." And that really made me think. As managers, we often say that someone is a senior tester, or that we're looking to hire a mid-level tester. This is a proxy term; when we say "senior" or "junior", we really mean that person has a certain cluster of characteristics.

And every person is exactly that: a cluster of characteristics. They are really good at some things and less good at other things. When we assign a seniority rank to a person we are really describing which characteristics we value. We - consciously or unconsciously - assign value to various characteristics, then determine which of those characteristics a person has, and only then open our mouths to say, "this person is senior."

"Senior" is not a gift or a word of praise. "Senior" is an expression of multiple underlying values. Embrace the nuance and explore the characteristics that make up "senior".

1 comment:

  1. A blog entry from Uncle Bob Martin sketched the point for me for the first time a while back.


    It describes the difference between becoming senior with one company, and becoming senior in the profession. I like to be senior in the profession, not within one particular context.