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RE: [XP] QA Engineer Job Description

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  • Kay Pentecost
    Hi, Matt, First thing to do is get a copy of Johanna Rothman s book _Hiring The Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets & Science Of Hiring
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 1, 2005
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      Hi, Matt,

      First thing to do is get a copy of Johanna Rothman's book _Hiring The Best
      Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets & Science Of Hiring
      Technical People_
      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0932633595/qid=1107295252/sr=1
      -1/ref=sr_1_1/103-4149881-4357413?v=glance&s=books
      , got to ITConversations and listen to her interview, and check out her
      blogs at http://www.jrothman.com/weblog/htpblogger.html and
      http://www.jrothman.com/weblog/blogger.html

      I just recently starting realizing how *valuable* her thoughts are, and I'm
      working my way through all her writings.

      Kay



      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Stine, Matt [mailto:matt.stine@...]
      > Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 3:50 PM
      > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [XP] QA Engineer Job Description
      >
      >
      > Hi, all.
      >
      >
      >
      > I'm working with a team that really lacks any "formal" process (i.e.
      > we're doing XP, or we're doing RUP, etc...), but that is slowly
      > migrating toward somewhat of a "homegrown" agile process -
      > we're a small
      > team (8 members) doing greenfield development, custom integrations,
      > maintenance, etc. on multiple projects in parallel. At any rate, I've
      > been charged with writing job descriptions for a new subgroup to our
      > team - Quality Assurance Engineers. These guys will take on
      > tasks that
      > encompass all or part of the tester, coach, and tracker roles
      > described
      > in the white book, as well as wearing the customer hat at times
      > (stepping in to a very busy biologist's shoes and translating
      > his needs
      > into geekspeak).
      >
      >
      >
      > Anyway, I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions as to
      > what types
      > of things I should include in these job descriptions, as well
      > as things
      > I should avoid.
      >
      >
      >
      > Thanks!
      >
      >
      >
      > Matt Stine
      >
      > Software Engineer/Web Developer II
      >
      > Hartwell Center for Bioinformatics and Biotechnology
      >
      > St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
      >
      > 332 N. Lauderdale St.
      >
      > Memphis, TN 38105
      >
      > 901.495.4602
      >
      > 901.495.5108 Fax
      >
      > 901.495.3978 #1314 Pgr
      >
      > matt.stine@...
      >
      > http://www.hartwellcenter.org
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
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    • Ron Jeffries
      ... I m wondering whether you re asking a lot of one job description, and at the same wondering what is driving a small team like yours to move toward such
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 2, 2005
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        On Tuesday, February 1, 2005, at 3:49:55 PM, Stine, Matt wrote:

        > I'm working with a team that really lacks any "formal" process (i.e.
        > we're doing XP, or we're doing RUP, etc...), but that is slowly
        > migrating toward somewhat of a "homegrown" agile process - we're a small
        > team (8 members) doing greenfield development, custom integrations,
        > maintenance, etc. on multiple projects in parallel. At any rate, I've
        > been charged with writing job descriptions for a new subgroup to our
        > team - Quality Assurance Engineers. These guys will take on tasks that
        > encompass all or part of the tester, coach, and tracker roles described
        > in the white book, as well as wearing the customer hat at times
        > (stepping in to a very busy biologist's shoes and translating his needs
        > into geekspeak).

        I'm wondering whether you're asking a lot of one job description,
        and at the same wondering what is driving a small team like yours to
        move toward such specialized roles. Please tell us more about your
        current situation.

        I'm not as entranced by the tracker role as I was in the early days
        of XP. I think it works far better when the team uses its planning
        and standup meetings, and its physical togetherness, to do tracking.
        I can see that with multiple project in parallel, one might want an
        overview. Does the team have a manager who might do this?

        Maybe I'm saying that a job description that's hard to write is a
        signal that it might not be a new person that we should be looking
        for. Anyway, I'd like to know more about what's going on there.

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        I could be wrong, of course. It's just not the way to bet.
      • Stine, Matt
        ... small ... I ve ... that ... described ... needs ... Ron, I think I may have over summarized the responsibilities of these guys. First, let me expand a
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 2, 2005
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          >Message: 6

          > Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 07:18:30 -0500

          > From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>

          >Subject: Re: QA Engineer Job Description

          >

          >On Tuesday, February 1, 2005, at 3:49:55 PM, Stine, Matt wrote:

          >

          >> I'm working with a team that really lacks any "formal" process (i.e.

          >> we're doing XP, or we're doing RUP, etc...), but that is slowly

          >> migrating toward somewhat of a "homegrown" agile process - we're a
          small

          >> team (8 members) doing greenfield development, custom integrations,

          >> maintenance, etc. on multiple projects in parallel. At any rate,
          I've

          >> been charged with writing job descriptions for a new subgroup to our

          >> team - Quality Assurance Engineers. These guys will take on tasks
          that

          >> encompass all or part of the tester, coach, and tracker roles
          described

          >> in the white book, as well as wearing the customer hat at times

          >> (stepping in to a very busy biologist's shoes and translating his
          needs

          >> into geekspeak).

          >

          >I'm wondering whether you're asking a lot of one job description,

          >and at the same wondering what is driving a small team like yours to

          >move toward such specialized roles. Please tell us more about your

          >current situation.

          >

          >I'm not as entranced by the tracker role as I was in the early days

          >of XP. I think it works far better when the team uses its planning

          >and standup meetings, and its physical togetherness, to do tracking.

          >I can see that with multiple project in parallel, one might want an

          >overview. Does the team have a manager who might do this?

          >

          >Maybe I'm saying that a job description that's hard to write is a

          >signal that it might not be a new person that we should be looking

          >for. Anyway, I'd like to know more about what's going on there.

          >

          >Ron Jeffries

          >www.XProgramming.com

          >I could be wrong, of course. It's just not the way to bet.



          Ron,



          I think I may have "over summarized" the responsibilities of these guys.



          First, let me expand a bit on our current situation:



          St. Jude Hospital basically has 3 different communities: Administration,

          Clinical, and Research. Our software development team is within the "IT
          Division" (even this

          is an oversimplification) that services the Research community (we also
          have systems/operations,

          bioinformatics, and desktop support teams within this division). We are
          responsible for the

          types of work I described above. Currently we are in the midst of one
          "enterprise-scale"

          development project and a handful of small-to-medium size projects, as
          well as maintenance,

          integration, and customization work related to past and present
          development and legacy apps -

          in other words, we have way too much work to do.



          If we only had one project at a time (I wish), we would be a
          poster-child for agile processes -

          small team, rapidly-changing requirements, "XP-friendly" development
          room, etc. The multiple

          projects plus maintenance aspect forces to customize things quite a bit.



          At any rate, our biggest handicaps right now are in the areas of
          requirements management and

          quality assurance. We struggle with writing testable requirements,
          which in turn leads to

          difficulty writing acceptance tests (embarrassingly, we tend to not
          write these at all). Testing

          is done in a rather ad-hoc, unrepeatable manner. It is impossible to
          track progress in terms

          of failing and passing tests. We do have quite a bit of unit testing in
          place, but that is only

          half of the ball game.



          So, essentially these folks will be explicitly in charge of mitigating a
          lot of these problems.

          Very close to what Lisa Crispin described in Testing Extreme Programming
          for testers. Add to

          that the fact that this person will also be in charge of overall process
          improvement and direction

          (teaching the XP/Agile practices, understanding what is working and what
          is not, etc.) in

          Cooperation with the group leader, who is so tied up w/ "meta-business"
          type tasks that he

          has little time to "Coach."



          Anyway, I hope this stream of consciousness has given you more insight
          into what we want

          out of this position.



          Let me know what you think!



          Thanks,





          Matt Stine

          Software Engineer/Web Developer II

          Hartwell Center for Bioinformatics and Biotechnology

          St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

          332 N. Lauderdale St.

          Memphis, TN 38105

          901.495.4602

          901.495.5108 Fax

          901.495.3978 #1314 Pgr

          matt.stine@...

          http://www.hartwellcenter.org





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