We learn as long as we live, and we can do it properly only if we listen carefully. Listen to understand, not to respond. Listen so you can have the whole picture, and not only bits of information you won’t be able to put together. There is potential in everything if you just pop a question, share a smile, tell your own experiences and keep your mind open.
Meet Radu. We call him The Great Listener – our team nominated him as the best listener on the team.
As a tester, you have to listen a lot, according to Radu. The more and the better you listen, the easier you work will get. He shares below some of his thoughts about being QA Competency Lead (and listener). Enjoy!
Describe your work in a line.
“Trust and verify”. That’s the mission of the testing team – they trust devs for having done their jobs well, but then they verify every little piece of work.
How did you find out listening matters?
I noticed that, during meetings, there are always some dominant voices – of those people who lead the conversation. They don’t necessarily have the most relevant opinions, but they cover the other voices in the room. Some people lose the moment to say their opinions and usually I’m the one who gives them the chance to talk again. It’s important to listen everybody’s point of view. In most cases, decisions become obvious after talking to each other.
I spend an important part of the day removing obstacles.
One tip you use for efficient listening.
There are people very enthusiastic, who tend to share lots of details about their work. Usually, I lead them to the answer to the question: “When is it going to be ready?” And here, people find it difficult to estimate the amount of time they need to finish tasks. So this is the moment when I try to help by giving them choices: maybe 2 days? A week? Three weeks? It’s easier for them to choose from a range of possibilities.
The patience to listen and the patience to explain
It’s 5 years since you’re here. What convinced you to stay a Qualitancer?
The nicest thing in all this time is that I didn’t feel I had a single job. I worked on many projects and didn’t get bored. That’s what I love most. Moving from a project to another changes everything. The testing basics stay the same, but all the other elements are different when talking about various industries – banking, e-commerce, healthcare, CMS.
What do you think made your colleagues vote you as the Great Listener?
I think I’m good at listening. It’s nice now I have a confirmation. Maybe because I’m chill and calm, and people feel at ease when talking to me, they find it convenient to share their thoughts with me.
What’s your daily routine?
Early morning: I take a 50-minute walk to work, while listening to audio tapes
Start of work day: I answer emails & initiate some others
Rest of the day: I try to get rid of blockers
I spend an important part of my day removing obstacles. I try to help someone in need, or find a person to help, so that in the end we get rid of blockers. Also, I explain things and I listen to other people in order to better understand and then explain further. Usually, I have the patience to listen and the patience to explain.
It’s not paranoia if you’re right. You must have a serious dose of doubt regarding anything, and not take an opinion for granted.
Tell us more about your work as a tester.
A crucial thing is knowing what you have to test. And you barely figure it out from documentation, which is either incomplete, either focused on a single aspect of the project and doesn’t offer the whole picture. That’s why it’s recommended to talk to many persons – product owner, stakeholders, business people. It’s important to listen to everybody, especially to the end users. I try to understand the need, so I can therefore come up with many solutions to that specific need. I have to know WHAT a client wants, but even more – WHY he wants that.
Your recipe to stay focused.
I put my headphones on and I’m trying not to listen anymore. Loud music is ideal, Rammstein for instance – I don’t understand the words, so it’s just perfect to stay focused.
The best life advice you’ve been given.
“It’s not paranoia if you’re right.” You must have a serious dose of doubt regarding anything, and not take an opinion for granted.
Keep up with the news about our Magnificent Six! We already know two of them – Radu, The Great Listener, and Dragos, The Captain of Ownership. Four more to come, representing each of the other Q values – Thriving Space, Naturalness, Building Trust and Aiming High. Stay close!