“A double degree in Arts and Commerce… that will fully prepare me for the working world”, I naïvely thought as I entered my final year of university. Soon however, essays, tests and exams were replaced with job applications, CV’s and cover letters. Reality hit home.
The workplace no longer consists of paper piled high and long meetings, but online forums, discussion boards and detailed software products are the norm. The workplace is no longer solely in the physical building, but in the online world that the organisation creates for its employees. Entering the modern workforce therefore becomes intimidating for those of us less technically minded or skilled.
Four weeks ago, I began my journey through Assurity’s Graduate Programme to become a software tester – a job choice I would never have anticipated at the beginning of my university studies, but one I chose after deciding to embrace the unknown, the future and the world of technology.
I quickly discovered there is a place for us History majors even in the most technical industries and organisations. However, it’s up to the individual to embrace the opportunities that come their way and discover the modern techniques and practices that help define our part in the process.
During the induction, our tutors discussed the practices of Lean Analysis and Lean Testing. I quickly saw a pathway I could understand, where I could contribute to my newly chosen field and a platform that could potentially propel my future career.
The Lean methodology that Assurity practises includes:
- Producing what’s needed when it’s needed
- Working with the right people at the right time
- Building quality in from the outset
- Avoiding unnecessary steps that don’t add value
A seemingly simple set of principles that aims to reduce commonly produced waste such as unfinished work, handovers and wait times. The Lean approach is designed to enable the ability to adapt, change and move quickly in an industry that’s constantly speeding ahead. Lean is taking the world from a contract-driven, heavily documented approach to projects, to one that in the words of Vanilla Ice wants you to “stop, collaborate and listen”.
Problem areas such as unnecessary processes, multitasking and rework can take away focus and time from more important tasks and can decrease the quality of the end product.
Project teams are full of diverse people with diverse skill sets. Work on enabling open face-to-face communication, common understanding and trust across the team. Teams that work collaboratively, share their knowledge and consider themselves a complete group rather than many different silos, will produce better quality work, faster and deliver the greatest customer value.
Anyone can read an email, but everyone may have a different understanding or interpretation. Have conversations, but teach yourself to listen to what is really being said and, if you're unsure, ask the right questions. Technology needs people who think differently and do differently.
In my short time at Assurity, I’ve discovered an opportunity for those without a technical background to embrace their analytical natures and work towards employing Lean Testing practices – to stop waste, enable collaboration across diverse teams and get people to listen to what the customer really wants and needs – all for the purpose of increasing customer value, and for the satisfaction of finding your place in a technological world.