Do you know the most common thing between school students and testers? Both of them expect a promotion by moving up a grade every year. Well, ifyou look at history, school students succeed in getting it while testers don’t every year. My not-so-humble opinion is because school students are much smarter than testers and over time, as they grow up, students are unable to hold on to their smartness. With the appraisal season beginning in our company, gossip sessions were held in coffee places about who’d fit where in the bell curve and who’s going to be promoted and who’s not. What struck me about the appraisal stuff was the kind of appraisal feedback that an employee would receive most often. It’s not always that he gets a great manager who writes a very good appraisal. There are times when your manager does not know what you are doing for the most part of the appraisal period. Here are some examples when you know that they are bull****ing you with your appraisal when they tell you…

a) You have to be more proactive than reactive  This is a commonly uttered phrase when your management has run out of reasons and is trying to justify why an employee has not got a promotion that he deserved. If you look at the tasks that every individual has done in his life, half of it would be reactive and the other half proactive. However, a blind eye is turned to the “proactive” side and the “reactive” side is completely visible to the management. Come to think of it, we live in a reactive world and we learn to react quickly to situations in life; however, instead of appreciating our speedy response, this gets documented at some place and people advise us to be proactive.

b) Oh; 8 months back you missed a spell-check before we went to prod and it almost caused a client escalation due to a missing “The” in the title This kind of reason is quoted very often when the management realize very late that they have to complete the document in the next 8 hours and they have no idea as to what the employee did in the last year; instead of providing an area of improvement based on multiple occurrences based on trends of the same type of problems, they tend to find out a 1-time occurrence of an event and use that to pull down the ratings of the employee. These documents would also harp on the fact that you did not own the project and you tested badly when you were only filling in for your friend who was on leave on that specific project.

c) He is a great hard-working person but… ; He is a very smart engineer but…; He tested a great solution but…; When there is not much data against a person and have to fit him in a specific slot in a bell curve that’s not at the top, they tend to give a very vague positive stroke in the initial lines and include a but; and for miles after the but include a list of improvements without any justification or validation; this happens when your management knows for sure that they don’t have much data against you, but have to justify your specific position in a bell curve.

d) Surprised to find out that you’ve not shared the US chocolates with your teams… This is a sure indication that you have to start looking for jobs outside your teams or company; when you find your management falling to such levels and telling you such stuff in your appraisal, then it is very clear that you do not have any further scope of career sustenance (forget advancement) with your current management and it’s time to change teams or change companies.

 e) No data

This is how a friend’s appraisal document looked like … 3 dots; that’s all. And that was because the system does not accept null values; this is a reflection of your management being “high and mighty”; this means that your management does not worry about your career advancement and they are taking things for granted. Remember that sometimes, to be heard on the phone, you have to “hang-up”.

f) No connection to the original goals ; does not call out if the goal is met or not. Many a time, there will not be a connection between your goals and your achievements; and the appraisal document does not clearly call out if a specific goal was met or not; whether it was met well in time effectively, or if the teams had to stretch to meet it. This documentation would be filled with only adjectives; if you have great networking within the company, you would not be surprised to find out that an earlier employee under this manager would have got the same appraisal a few years back. This is more of an indication of a very incompetent manager that you’ve been blessed with. Pamper his ego and I am sure that you would be getting a promotion in the next cycle.

g) Oh you did not do this for development; you did not do that for development, etc. etc. This management would be a perfect example of a submissive management; a QA management that submits to the development counterparts. This management would not have a backbone and are dependent and driven by the development teams; this management is completely blind to the fact that they have taken a suicidal route and the bugs identified by this automation would be usually hidden by them. The developers would be driving the testing and would be advising and guiding the testing team and mostly, such QA teams work as extended unit-testers, rather than as an individual QA team. And the list goes on; however, the editors give me only 2 pages to write and hence I stop here. However, this is not a problem that you can never solve. Have you ever thought about the possibility of mentoring your managers and managing your managers? Well, in reality, that’s possible. There are many ways in which you can avoid getting this kind of bull**** from your bosses.

More on that next month…..!!!

 

Fake Software TesterA Fake Tester's DiaryFake Tester,Fake Tester's DiaryDo you know the most common thing between school students and testers? Both of them expect a promotion by moving up a grade every year. Well, ifyou look at history, school students succeed in getting it while testers don't every year. My not-so-humble opinion is because school students are...
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Fake Software Tester

What has this author achieved in testing? This author has tested more than a million lines of code and has logged more than a billion defects; He has reviewed other test cases and found at least a trillion missing test cases and has coached his peers to log more than a quadrillion bugs; He has talked more than a Quintillion words while participating in triage meetings and he has been a part of sextillion arguments convincing the developer of the bugs. He has done good researching on septillion testing conferences; every day, he has Octillion thoughts that come to his mind on the problems that plague the world of software testing. He has selected Nonillion testers from his Decillion testing interviews and has unsuccessfully attempted to coach Undecillion testers about testing. His writings are followed by DuoDecillion readers and the comments on his blog are more than Tredecillion; he has answered Quattuordecillion questions on testing in various forums. And by the way, like the monthly columns, the above contains Quindecillion amounts of exaggeration on what I have done so far in my life.

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