After going to Germany last month, then taking some time to finish up a chapter for the O’Reilly Beautiful Testing compilation – and just before heading to STAR next week, I’ve had a heck of a time keeping up with the part of my life that actually pays bills.
Since I don’t do anything terribly important (like shipping software to paying customers), I also miss out on the the ebb and flow that product teams go through during the shipping process. However, if there’s a time of the year when my job sort of resembles that, it’s this time of year. A chunk of the work we do is lined up with the MS fiscal year (ending June 30), so a lot of our projects end up wrapping up in June. At the same time, we’re starting to plan for FY10 and it’s fun to spend some time doing some forward thinking.
In fact, we (the test excellence team) will take some time later this week to get a jump start on the process. Basically, we’ll brainstorm on everything we might do, then prioritize it into the equivalent of a product backlog. We’ll pull in some data from some other sources around the company (e.g. test leadership team and some ms test architects) between now and June and reprioritize as necessary. Finally, in June I’ll meet with some of my peers (those that run “excellence” teams for other disciplines) and we’ll discuss some of the lager t-shirt sized projects and look for opportunities where a cross-discipline approach would be better than one targeting just one discipline. It’s fun to watch it unfold and nicer to be able to take input on improvement efforts from a lot of sources, map it out, and do the right thing.
If I remember, this summer, I’ll share what I can about what we end up working on. But now, it’s time for me to get my head back into the work for this fiscal year…ah crud – as soon as I finish tweaking my STAR presentation.