Skip to main content

Mr Big Stuff, Who Do You Think You Are?


Ever worked on a project when you thought 'I wish the sponsors were more involved?' That would really help to clarify the vision and focus the team on what is truly valuable.

That is a noble wish, one I have echoed many times. However, experience is now telling me something a little different, that perhaps that desire is entirely dependant on the sponsor you wish to involve. Say hello to our old friend context again.

What happens if your sponsor (as they can be) is a real big hitter in the organisation? And god forbid, they are being judged on the delivery of your project by an even bigger cheese. So, your big cheese starts getting hot and heavy with the team, interrupting stand ups, looming over your shoulder and getting all judgemental.

As a Scrum Master, I've dealt with this a few times, so a little practical advice:

1. Cut the Shit - sponsors will want direct answers. This is the best way to deflect attentions from your team. Patience and seniority are sometimes not happy bedfellows.
2. Take the Heat - take one for the team. If the sponsor wants information and you don't have it, volunteer to get it. Then you can pick the timing of any actions required.
3. Role Power Matters - As much as people show a significant amount of bravado, role power hugely matters. Find out from your team whom it matters most to. If there is fear (rational or irrational) from one or more team members then you know who to shield most.
4. Post Storm Repair - Sometimes there is nothing you can do. You will be railroaded. But, these sponsor interventions come in bursts in reaction to a specific issue so they are finite. You may judge this as defeatist but sometimes you need to pick your battles, so have your recovery plan (people first, then project later) ready.

Unless you want one of these in the middle of your team, you'd better act and fast.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Testers Guide to Myths of Unit Testing

One area that testers might be able to enhance their contributions to software development teams is how we perceive and contribute to unit testing. I believe testers busting their own illusions about this aspect of building something good would bring us much closer to developers, and help us realise what other layers of testing can cover most effectively.

Also, I want to do a talk about it, so I figured I would test the premise, see if potential audiences were into it. I put this on Twitter:
Working on a talk about what testers might believe about unit #testing & how we interact with developers creating unit tests. Any challenges/additions for my list below? #development#agilepic.twitter.com/4oT5HE4qs3 — Ash Winter (@northern_tester) December 19, 201730 replies with ideas tends to indicate that people might be into it. 
The ListI thought, as my final blog of 2017, I would provide a super useful list of the myths and legends we as testers might believe about unit testing:
That developer…

Wheel of Testing Part 2 - Content

Thank you Reddit, while attempting to find pictures of the earths core, you surpass yourself.
Turns out Steve Buscemi is the centre of the world.

Anyway. Lets start with something I hold to be true. My testing career is mine to shape, it has many influences but only one driver. No one will do it for me. Organisations that offer a career (or even a vocation) are offering something that is not theirs to give. Too much of their own needs get in the way, plus morphing into a badass question-asker, assumption-challenger, claim-demolisher and illusion-breaker is a bit terrifying for most organisations. Therefore, I hope the wheel is a tool for possibilities not definitive answers, otherwise it would just be another tool trying to provide a path which is yours to define.


In part one, I discussed why I had thought about the wheel of testing in terms of my own motivations for creating it, plus applying the reasoning of a career in testing to it. As in, coming up with a sensible reflection of real…

Wheel of Testing Part 3 - Applications

I've only had to quit two jobs to finally find the time to finish this blog series. Winning at life. If you need reminders (like I did) check out Part 1 and Part 2 before reading on...

After the first two blogs regarding the Wheel of Testing, I was delighted to receive a few requests for the wheel itself, which got me thinking about applications of it, beyond what its original intent was, which I've explored in detail in part 1 of this series of intermittent blogs. Most models need a little air time to show their value, in software development we crank out models all the time, but I'm not sure how many get used. I am inspired by models such as the "Heuristic Test Strategy Model" by James Marcus Bach, as I have used it and seen the benefits it has brought for my clients, particularly the ability to ask questions. So, I wanted to create a model which has a number of use cases, both real and imagined:

Helping to unlocking a career in testing which may be stuck

It is no…