Turning a burning platform into burning ambition

20th Februay 2017

Companies have two New Years, the calendar New Year starting on January 1st and Financial New Year, in our case starting on 1st March 2017. Amongst other things, the new Financial Year means time for Performance Appraisals.

Our journey with Performance Appraisals is documented in our blog

The heading “…managing people for high performance” summarises our thinking and doing in Performance Appraisals.

In 2000 Mtom shifted to being a pure play testing company, 6 years after starting the testing journey. Similarly, we start 2017 as a Software Quality Engineering company in Lean, Agile and DevOps.

Thus our 2017 Performance Appraisals are about managing our employees, within our customers, for high performance in Software Quality Engineering with Lean, Agile and DevOps. Personal Success Plans will identify and set goals for New Year.

Our Performance Appraisal changes to enabling that performance and measuring our progress.

The Why, How and What of this shift to Software Quality Engineering is explained on our website, DevQA being an abbreviation (acronym?) for Developer Quality Assurance. It symbolises building quality in, rather than the common approach of testing for quality at the end.


The Burning Platform

Software delivery has undergone a fundamental shift to meet the demands and challenges brought about by digital disruption and the rising cost of ownership of code in a changed economy.
The approaches to software delivery have changed, and will continue to change, with DevOps, Agile and Lean as key drivers of the HOW change will happen.

As a result, the IT skill requirements of 2018 will differ from the past 10 years. Whilst the core competencies of coding, business analysis, testing and operations will stay, the context in which these skills are applied is changing. For many this change is revolutionary because it disrupts what we do today.

In the changed world, the traditional approaches and tools for building and rewarding value are being recognised as being ineffective.

Big corporations are doing away with performance appraisals and annual reviews. GE and Accenture have published this on LinkedIn. ING Bank’s transformation to a DevOps culture has changed their IT job definitions and skills requirements.

What has not changed is that software is delivered by people and so the demand for people with skills in software delivery remains.

As someone who has chosen to be in software delivery as a Tester: –

  • Do you have a clear picture of what is relevant for the future world of Lean, Agile and DevOps?
  • What is of interest to you in remaining relevant?
  • How are you going to “future proof” your career?
  • How will you be recognised for the value you add?
    This question is near and dear to our hearts as testers for we have borne the brunt of the lack of understanding of the value of what we do.

As someone responsible for software delivery within an organisation

  • How do you engage, equip enable those who deliver?
  • How do you evaluate and reward the value added?

Where do you want to be?

The Desired Future

The Desired Future State is always fuzzier than the burning platform. We sum up the future state as being the cost effective and timely delivery of software that delights customers, in a sustainable way;
the job satisfaction that comes with being successful.
This is congruent with the new delivery approaches of DevOps, Agile and Lean. I see the future state as the desired outcomes of Lean, Agile and DevOps.


The Journey of Transition

This transition is no different to the change our company embarked on in 1994 when we introduced testing as separate discipline in the Software Delivery Lifecycle. Our journey required us to understand what to do, to develop the competency within people and figure out how to transition people and teams. Lean, Agile and DevOps is not revolutionary to us at Mtom, rather a natural progression of what we do and how we do it.
What we need to do is figure out what you want to do in the new world outlined. Our Personal Success Plans are designed to help you in the figuring out and then enable you to make the change. DevOps is positioned as a change in culture. Our interpretation is that we change what we do and how we think about Software Delivery. You will find that new thinking in our Personal Success Plan.(Browse the web (Google) for Chief Transformation Officer to understand the investment large corporations, in particular banks, are making in changing culture in IT delivery).
The cultural change we bumped into in our testing journey was as significant then as it is for DevOps. In addition to the cultural change of introducing testing into software delivery teams, there was the South African cultural change. I still have the presentation from one of our employees describing what it was like as a black female from a rural area coming into a white male dominated, high-tech banking environment.

Turn your burning platform into burning ambition. Start your Personal Success Plan to become a master craftsman in Software Quality Engineering.

We introduce Personal Success Plans to enable people to gear up to meet the new demands of successful software delivery.
Our approach is incremental and takes into account the current performance appraisal process.

We need you to make the investment and work with us to get to the exciting place of DevOps.