As software testers, we accept that each new role will require us to learn new technologies and skills. We also know that we often feel the need (or are told of the need) to provide value to the project quickly. Both of these competing expectations are normal to a certain degree. When I joined a new project about testing an API against a European Union standard for payment services, I had to do both to an extreme I had never experienced before.
The list of things to learn from almost the ground was long: an API and how to test it (including exploratory, automated and performance testing), understanding more than 400 pages of specification and learning the business domain. Despite this, other project members were expecting valuable contributions from me shortly after joining.
In this talk I will share my story and the strategies I used to manage this challenge. I'll go into:
- How to find out what the most important priority is
- Dealing with multiple parallel tasks without losing focus through too much context switching
- Learning while doing
- Expectation management
- Keeping myself healthy despite of the challenges
I will package my experiences in lessons learned you can use to make solid progress in conditions of uncertainty, and in need of learning new tools, techniques and products.
In summary, I'll look at what aspects testers and other IT professionals can take to reduce these sorts of situations, while also providing takeaways on how to deal with them in case you are in this kind of project.
- Learn how to manage overwhelming learning requirements
- Protect your time and focus to enable continuous progress on the project
- Help you recognise and talk about such projects, even perhaps help to prevent