In case you didn’t already figure it out, I don’t actually write these posts on Mondays. Normally I spend some time on the preceding Sunday morning, reflecting on my activities over the course of the last week, trying to figure out whether there was an overarching theme to it. I already mentioned in my previous post that I had to deal with some communication issues arising from some current development activities. This week was largely an extension of that, working towards making sure I not only have a product roadmap that can be articulated clearly in the first place, but that I also have a process or system for defining the items in that roadmap in the first place.
Since I’m fairly new to the product management role, figuring this kind of stuff out is important to me. I’m fortunate to have an awesome team around me that I can lean on for advice and input, but when it comes down to it – I’m the one who has to take responsibility for what’s on the roadmap as well as when, and to some extent how, it gets delivered. It’s a bit of a learning curve, but one that I’m very much enjoying getting my head around.
One of the things I’ve built into my schedule is a weekly call (an interview of sorts) with one of our existing customers to get a better understanding of the context within which they’re using TestRail. I’ve had some great conversations so far and am looking forward to many more over the coming months with some very well known customers. I can’t name them here, but feel incredibly privileged to be in a position where I can speak to people working on household name products and dealing with significant testing challenges, so we can work towards building features that help them solve their problems. And by the way, if you’re a customer and want to have a conversation like that, please do feel free to reach out.
- Last week we had our second TestRail webinar, this time with Matt Heusser who was, predictably, a wonderful guest speaker. We talked a bit about the reasons for systematically practicing testing skills and ways in which testers could implement and get feedback on some kind of deliberate practice regime. It was a great discussion, and if you didn’t catch it live, you can find a recording and some resources in the blogpost here.
- This article in The Economist resonated quite deeply. I think one of the main reasons was that, while reading it, I had a strong sense of “there but for the grace of God go I.” I’m incredibly privileged to have a job that I enjoy, and that I’m good at, and that provides me with things it’s very easy to take for granted; a good income, work/life balance, agency, fulfilment etc. If I rewound the clock a number of years though, and made some slightly different life decisions (like not going to university amongst others), life could be very different indeed. For that reason, and because of some other life experiences that I may get into another time, I feel a deep sense of empathy for men who have become disenfranchised with the current economic climate, and how things are shaping up in terms of skills and work in the future. It’s a difficult situation for many and one that has me wondering, what can I do to help? The shed approach may work for some, but I don’t think it’s really my thing… Knowledge work training on the other hand; that has potential. And, let’s not forget just being a good dad!
[Fathers] are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it. But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing—missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it. – Barack Obama
- Along similar lines, I found this article in The Guardian about tech billionaires buying up property in New Zealand in preparation for the coming “apocalypse”. Somewhat hyperbolic to be sure, but interesting nonetheless. There are some pretty strong parallels between some of Peter Thiel’s business ventures, the idea of the Sovereign Individual, and concepts underpinning the Altered Carbon tv and book series. Kinda scary, but as always, my response to reading this stuff is – what can I learn from it?
- I watched Black Panther. It was pretty good. I’m not sure it was the best MCU film ever, but it certainly wasn’t the worst either. Nuff said, true believers.