My name is Ursula Beiersdorf and I work for the direkt gruppe in Hamburg in Germany. Before, I have been working for EDS, HP, HPE, DXC for more than 25 years (including a couple of mergers of acquisitions…). Those were great years as they offered me a variety of many different projects with different roles and responsibilities. These all let me grow into a role which I like to call test management and consulting. For me this role includes the responsibility to setup a testing approach for a project and then also to deliver. Lead a team of testers and try to deliver quality work. My projects were usually large, v-model shaped and pretty often spread across different locations, including best shore.
I actually like this role as it includes:
- Discussing with the whole project team (incl. dev lead, project management, operations,..) a meaningful approach for quality and laying the basics
- Understanding the overall picture of the project and the goal to be reached
- Elaborating and teaching the approach to reach the goal
- Managing the team to reach to goal while collaborating with others
- Setting up a tool environment to support the team’s work
So there is a lot of working with others in it. Discussing and competing to reach a common understanding of what is good. Learning of what is needed and could be done. And start early in a project. I also enjoy the power of test management tools to support a large team. I was lucky enough to use different tools here, for example the HPE ALM Suite and the IBM rational suite.
Based on that experience and attitude to achieve a holistic improvement I also had the chance to prove that leading a whole project from a quality perspective delivers great results. While I enjoyed taking that responsibility, I also learned that I prefer being closer to the quality people. My kind of enthusiasm is better suited to impress other quality people. Work is much more fun then.
Obviously with this team attitude I ran across the agile methods, even much earlier than my company got projects where this was requested. So I had to learn this elsewhere. Apart from books and articles I read and trainings I took, I chose two ways: participate in and organize meetups with a group of testers in Hamburg (XING Software Test User Group Hamburg, StugHH) where about 80% agile folks are around. And we have fruitful discussions about anything in testing but also about the organization of test in context. But I am convinced that any kind of learning has to be supported by doing what you learned, so I took an internship at XING in an agile team. Also, since then, I am trying to use as much as possible of the agile mindset, as the project allows. A great example would be to include many of those methods of giving feedback to product and people even in a more traditionally oriented project. Once in a while I go to conferences on testing. So I guess while I am more traditionally oriented, I feel at home in both worlds.
I love sharing knowledge. This really is a recurring theme in all of my activities. I do this on project level, I organized knowledge sharing sessions with in HPE, trying to bring people together from many different teams, and I strongly support the StugHH, being one of the moderators. I benefit, and others benefit as well.
Being thankful for all the opportunities I have and had a work, I want to give back. One of the means for this is the knowledge sharing. Another means is to help also people outside work. Coaching mathematics in a class of refugees at a local school was my way of trying to give perspectives to not so privileged for some time in 2016/2017.
Finally, a pretty strong part of my personal development was shaped by my family and hobbies. Being a mother of by now 2 grown ups definitely has influence on my leadership style and also made it easier to stay mentally fresh and open minded. Since I was young, I play the Cello in an orchestra. This is joy and responsibility. Dancing the Tango Argentino makes me sensitive for small impulses. Enjoying my garden and sailing gives me peace at mind. I think, all fits together.
But I guess it is always like in the poem with the blind men and the elephant: whatever part of me you see will give you a different result. And I like it that way.