Reflecting on My Role

I was on a tech panel last night for a Women Who Code event (which was awesome!), and there were some really great questions from the audience about testing and quality assurance. One question stood out to me, because answering it caused me to reflect about my role at a team level.

I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was asking about handling the tensions that happen when work doesn’t pass quality assurance - something I’m sure all QA engineers and developers are familiar with.

At the core, a foundation of trust is essential to navigating this relationship: trust that I have the client’s best interest in mind; trust that I do my job in support of my team and the work that they do; trust that I don’t ask for unreasonable work or rework; trust in my expertise and recommendations.

It also requires acceptance and understanding from the team that quality is everyone’s responsibility. As QA Engineer, I may be accountable - but the responsibility of ensuring that we’re focusing on quality during the entire development lifecycle should be shared by the team.

Without trust, without that buy-in for responsibility, those natural tensions become toxic. Part of my job as QA Engineer is to build that trust and acceptance of responsibility by helping create a shared understanding of team expectations. We’re starting to struggle with this a bit on my team, and the question was a good reminder that sometimes you need to sit down with your team and realign goals and expectations together.

Written on February 16, 2018