Process VS People oriented test management

Once upon a time I cared about tester certification. I’m tired to be. There is but one lesson I learned - just as scripted and exploratory testing are two extremes of all the possible testing approach, there process-oriented and people(skill)-oriented test management styles. And it does matter which one your manager is… I don’t like to work with process-oriented managers – this is something to remember when new opportunities will appear either within my own organization or outside.

Gang war (my speculations)
What I mean by process and people oriented management? To better understand the difference look at what each one of them does to improve the results: the first think how to improve process (write more guidelines, add more procedures – such as review) , the second – how to improve people (skills, motivation, etc.)
What is “agile movement” if not movement from: from process-orientation to people-orientation. But I don’t see as much battling between agile proponents and opponents as I see between Context-Driven School those who decline them, between those who promote certification those who decline them.
Probably the reason is this: “QA” requires process-oriented thinking. That’s why we’ve got much more process-oriented managers in testing compared to development.

Certification issue is hype, not the certification itself

I’ve gone through many certifications: ISO, CMM (lvl 4 and 5), ISTQB. Each time we did it because the certification was on hype: our government reduced taxes for ISO certified companies (one year only), competing with India CMM certified outsourcers, and now working for Europe (ISTQB certificates are required to get a software development deal). Hype comes and goes. People make money out of it (consultants helping/training to get certificates, and certification authorities). That’s business. Just as any business – you come with a new product, invest into marketing it and then sell it while hype is high. I believe that the hype will be over in some 5-10 years, but I don’t know. Even my mother-in-law knows now that ISO guarantee no quality of the product.

There’s no good and bad (jedi and siths): only competitors
I understand the process-oriented test managers (and there are a lot of them as I mentioned above) as I’ve been one in the early days of my career. They don’t want individual tester skills to be unknown value in a schedule or quality equations. They say – each person could be replaced and it is only question of how much training costs in time and money. The idea of tester certification (optionally with several levels) is more than logical to them.
I understand those who are making money from the idea of testing certification. It does not matter how good your product is – it only matters how good you could market it and fool your customers into buying it.
I understand also people-skills-oriented consultants like James Bach who helps organizations to improve tester skills in order to improve the testing (opposed to process improvement). Tester certification is now hype so management pays less attention to improving tester skills.

I’ve realized what’s my dream job is not
There’s but one good thing about spending so much time to talk and write about certification good and bad aspects. I just realized how to define what I don’t like most in my job – I don’t like to work with process-oriented managers who don’t care or don’t understand the value of skills of each one person in my team. The managers that only care to count people in my team, the managers who want me to write a lot of documents that none will benefit of, the managers that only care how much test cases I have written, how much of them passed and if I did it according to the schedule.

P.S.I do believe that this is one of those posts that I will regret posting, but I must have written it – and I can’t tell why.

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