Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WWII and Test Management

I've been on a WWII kick again, reading a lot about the war. Eisenhower's job was to decide on the strategy - do we attack Germany in one concentrated punch (Montgomery's plan) or do we attack along the entire front (Eisenhower, Patton's plan). Patton's job was to figure out how to implement--he had to sit and watch as Montgomery's punch plan failed in places like Arnhem. Then he got to decide strategy for crossing the Rhine and driving for the win - Berlin or the Eagle's Lair? Once these decisions were reached, they were carried down the chain of command - there was a big marshmallow layer of bureaucrats who procured supplies, managed replacements, etc. and then - and then there were the lieutenants.

The senior leaders (generals and majors and such) are the test managers. High-level strategy, supply mangement, personnel. They're negotiating at a high level with PM or dev on things like engineering process and such. They may be fighting over budget and headcount, too. The lieutenants? These were the boots-on-the-ground leaders who took initiative and got things done. They trained for D-Day for over two years, learning to climb cliffs and take out bunkers. The day after D-Day, they encountered hedgerows and had to make up a new strategy on the fly - and good thing, too, that they did it--there were there, in the heat of battle, and they knew what worked and didn't. They called in support from the Navy or Air Force. These are your test leads, the folks rallying the troops. They're the folks who should decide to implement MBT or PICT or the likes. They're the ones who need a great working relationship with dev leads (something I'm not doing great at right now myself - need to work on that). They're making sure the privates are moving along, they're training new leaders, and they're calling for sacrifice at appropriate times.

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