Month: October 2012

Self Blindness

I’m reading through Gerald Weinberg’s Becoming a Technical Leader
at the moment. Amongst other great suggestions (I’m only a 3rd of the way through, if that), the book mandates that in order to progress (with it) one must spend 5 minutes per day writing a journal.

I decided that since I do indeed want to progress (not necessarily into leadership, but in a more general sense) I should follow through on Jerry’s recommendation. It also brought to mind a blog post from James Bach about what testers should do, every day. The activity of journalling, stepping outside of oneself and observing, possibly making changes and adjustments to behaviours as a result seems to check a good 3 out of the 4 items on James’ list.

I’m not great at finding time to write. I have far too many other commitments and activities jostling for my time. Work, editing The Testing Planet, family (3x delightful daughters – all under 5!), a social life of sorts, reading and studying and generally trying to stay on top of my game, exercise… What I’ve ended up doing instead is just kind of logging my thoughts as I have them, and when I identify them as being worth making a note of.

This has proven to be pretty successful so far, with a fairly consistent stream of notes covering every few hours since sometime yesterday afternoon when I began. I was in fact in the process of holding a kind of congratulatory inner dialogue whilst eating my dinner that I suddenly had a revelation. An epiphany of sorts!

ALL of my notes were about the good stuff I’d done. Of which, to be fair, there was quite a bit! 😉

But when it came to something negative that I might have done or did do, nothing. Nada. Zilch. “That’s not worth keeping a record of!” my brain has decided at some point. Very interesting. To me at least, since I know for a fact that I did kind of rub somebody up the wrong way during the course of the day. A classic No Problem Syndrome situation, as identified in the book (see comments below for clarification on this point.)

With the whole point of the exercise being to kind of step outside of myself and try to see my actions as other people see them, maintaining my journal, even for only one day, has helped me immediately identify that I have a blind spot when it comes to my behaviour or communication skills at times.

Now that I know about it, I can try to do something to change it, and hopefully increase my value to the team(s) I work with. Epic Win! I can’t wait to see what other goodies journalling brings my way.

Thanks for the advice Jerry! (And James!)

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I'm Simon Knight, Tester turned Product Manager. Helping design awesome products for testers.

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