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๐Ÿฅง Pie-Mail - how to take pride in imperfect software ๐Ÿฅง

published5 months ago
4 min read

Hi folks!

Hope you've all had a great couple of weeks, and a special hi to new subscribers!

Last week I was at DevNxt conference in Dunedin. Great learnings, and an awesome time making new connections, and re-igniting old ones. If you weren't there, I'd strongly recommend getting along to the next one!

I've also been watching the latest episodes of Ozark on Netflix. I've been trying to figure out why I like the show so much. I think it's because it's basically a show about a manager, dealing with an incident, that keeps getting progressively worse. It's.. relatable ๐Ÿ˜‚..

Anyway, here's this weeks newsletter. Enjoy!

๐Ÿฆš Taking pride in your work

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One of the big struggles as a tester is learning to 'let go' of bugs. A couple of people have mentioned this to me recently, and I've been thinking about it a bit.

Someone phrased it this way: "I like to take pride in my work. Releasing software with bugs in it makes my work feel meaningless".

I really empathise with this, because I've felt that way too.

Sometimes though, it's unavoidable. I've been in situations where there hasn't been enough time to do all the testing I've wanted to - and bugs have been found later, because that testing didn't happen.

I've also been in situations where I've found bugs, but we've decided to release the software anyway. In these cases, the value gained from releasing outweighs the cost of fixing the bugs beforehand.

Rightly or wrongly, these situations happen - and having to work like this can have a material impact on job satisfaction.

So, how do you find pride in your work, when faced with these situations? I've had a couple of ideas.

  • In testing, our job isn't always to find bugs. It's to assess risk, and deliver value. We can find joy in being able to deliver that value to customers, and providing a working solution, even if there are flaws.
  • Quality is subjective, and can mean different things to different people. To some stakeholders, "quality" can mean meeting a deadline, or closing a deal. There are achievements to be celebrated here, even if the software isn't as perfect as we might like.
  • Part of the craft of testing, is being able to prioritise and make pragmatic decisions. This can mean making tough decisions on bugs that don't always feel comfortable. But, being able to make those decisions is part of doing a good job - and we can take pride in this too.

Sometimes it's important to acknowledge that we don't always want to build the perfect product.

We need to build something that delivers value to customers and other stakeholders, in a timely fashion, and that can mean making decisions or tradeoffs that are uncomfortable.

But there's joy and satisfaction to be found in those uncomfortable decisions, sometimes it just takes a change of perspective to find it.


๐Ÿ–ฅ Neat stuff from around the internet

๐Ÿ“– Read

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๐ŸŽง Listen

  • I really enjoyed the latest edition of Maintainable, featuring Paula Paul. Lots of good stuff about legacy code, testing, and context switching.
  • โ€‹To test or not to test, from the Waiting for Review (iOS development) podcast. They have an interesting chat about the value of UI testing, and some practical reasons an abstraction layer (like Page Object Model) is useful.
  • The third part of the Six Four interview with the founders of Vend is up - I've yet to listen to it, but these chats are always interesting - I'm sure it'll be worth your time.

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๐Ÿ“บ Watch

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๐ŸŽฎ Play

  • The original Legend of Zelda, on the web. But also, technical details of how it was implemented. One for the game devs.
  • โ€‹Learn git branching is a fun way to... learn git branching.
  • Weird product alert: Rainbow Fart Waifu is a VSCode extension that "put a virtual lover on your desktop and keeps giving you compliment while you are coding". I'm usually up for some weirdness, but not brave enough to run this on my work computer. Someone else try it and let me know how terrible it is please.

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๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ Events coming up

โ€‹What really grinds my a11y gears! (19 May, online)โ€‹

I love that this event has a section called the "open rant"! Part of Tech Week NZ, this meetup is dedicated to venting about accessibility frustrations, and some of the solutions to these frustrations.

โ€‹Weaving Ethics into Product Management (19 May, Auckland)โ€‹

Fingers crossed, I'll be in Auckland for this one. Tanya Johnson is VP of Product at Auror, a leader in the tech space in NZ, and definitely someone worth listening to. Hope to see you there!

โ€‹Designing for Data Products (20 May, online)โ€‹

Daniel Jordan from Dexibit is sharing at UX Auckland about some of the intricacies and challenges in doing design for data products. Something we're all using more and more, so, there is likely to be something valuable here.

โ€‹Incident Review: Heaphy Track (23 May, online)โ€‹

Staci from Xero shares some lessons about incident management, from a hiking incident on the Heaphy Track.

โ€‹Pasifika in Tech Talanoa (2 June, Auckland)โ€‹

Join Eli Faamatau, Tash Bettridge, Ron Amosa and Eteroa Lafaele as they share about their journey in the tech space, and what the industry is like for Pasifika and Mฤori.

If you're Auckland based, please consider sharing this one with your networks. I'd love to see a stronger Pasifika and Mฤori presence in the NZ tech industry, but it only happens if we build opportunity by promoting events like this.

That's all for this edition of pie-mail!

Thanks for reading, catch you all again in two weeks!