What to Do with Too Much Test Documentation: An Interview with Fiona Charles


JV: People could feel that they're being attacked.

FC: Exactly. Think about what the message is and how you're going to substantiate it. Think about why you want to deliver it in the first place and what good outcomes you're trying to achieve and what bad outcomes you're trying to avoid or prevent. Think also about who it is you should talk to. It might not be the obvious person. It might be someone else. It might be someone who could be a better ally for you. It might be that you need to go over somebody else's head.

So you really need to think about that very carefully, and then, of course, how are you going to say it and how are you going to deliver it. Are you going to just sit in a chair and talk, or are you going to stand up at a white board and demonstrate with perhaps a diagram or a timeline or some other thing some of the things you're talking about? So, there's quite a bit of preparation, I think, that you can do.

JV: Once again, that's context. Given the context of the situation, you can sort of figure out the best way to say it. Get it quiet. Put a white board out. Maybe that's the best way to go, or maybe if you're dealing with someone who's a little bit more hotheaded, you talk in a little easier manner, I suppose.

FC: Oh, you need to watch your body language, too. You don't want to come on too strong and look aggressive. At the same time, you don't want to look like a wuss and as if you can be bullied. As I said, I gave a webinar on this this morning, and it'll be up on the EuroSTAR site. If people want to know more, they can go there and have a look.

JV: Very well. All right, Fiona. I think that about does it for our time. Thank you so much for being here with us. It was great having you on; a very informative conversation.

FC: Thank you, Jon.


FionaFiona Charles is a Toronto-based test consultant and manager with thirty years of experience in software development and integration projects. Fiona is the editor of The Gift of Time, featuring essays by consultants and managers of various professions about what they've learned from Gerald M. Weinberg.

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