Integrity #3: A Testimonial

Oliver Erlewein is an automation specialist. He’s respected in the Context-Driven Testing community of New Zealand and has been an agitator pushing back against the ISTQB. After some years of frustration with bad management he finally went independent. Now he’s back to full-time work. He posted the following as a comment:

Starting 2014, I have given up my self-employment and joined a (sort of) start up. I didn’t think I was ever going back to being employed but this was worth it. I have found a company that respects my professionalism and listens to what I say, where I am responsible for what I produce and get the full control of how to go about it. I and the task I do are respected. The word integrity doesn’t get used here but it is a place that actually has oodles of it.

Every now and again I hear the sentence “you are the expert so what do you suggest we do?” or “do what you think is right, you are the expert” ….and they mean it exactly like that. It makes for a completely different working environment. It motivates, it invigorates and it makes working fun. It puts heaps more pressure and responsibility on me but I am happy as taking that on board because I am convinced that I can do it (even if I still don’t know how right at this moment).

Although this shop is not agile (but more agile than a lot of the shops out there that call themselves agile!) they do something that is one of the main success factors for agile: They re-introduce back the idea of responsibility, professionalism and craftsmanship into (IT) work. And that motivates. I feel like I can call bull**** if it is appropriate to do so or get traction on subjects I think are important.

So although it meant I made a career change away from my original trajectory I made it consciously towards a more ethical work life, where integrity and being the best you can actually counts for something.

Thank you for sharing that with us, Oliver. It goes to show that there are good managers out there who understand craftsmanship and leadership.


5 thoughts on “Integrity #3: A Testimonial

  1. In Bangladesh, where the craftsmanship is yet to judge on craftsmanship scale, its very difficult for
    most of the developers getting the credibility and also the responsibility to taste the ‘Integrity’; so for the QA its the impossible thing.
    But, in such ambience of the software industry Bangladesh, i have recently joined a company where i have the feeling like what Oliver Erlewein is experiencing.
    And, James you know the person with whom now i am working now. He’s none other than Sajjadul Hakim.

    And, Oliver Erlewein , Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have been experiencing this feelings for last 2-3 months, but couldn’t express that in words.

    [James’ Reply: I have great respect for Sajjadul. Please tell him to update his blog once in a while!]

  2. Workplaces where integrity is expected and valued never have to use the word. It’s like air. Nobody talks about it until there isn’t any.

    [James’ Reply: I suppose that happens. I don’t talk about integrity in my home life for exactly that reason. It’s just not under any pressure or threat.]

  3. I have been working with a start up company for a very long time and the reason that it remains a start up and small in size is because the candidates here are not selected just for their technical skill set but first because they are good human beings with integrity and morals. My company believes in investing in good humans because they can be trained for technology, but how can you train a technologist to be a good human being?

    Like Oliver says, when the management relies on your skill set, it adds a pressure in a positive way and you work towards ensuring that their faith in your skills remains intact. My manager always says that you do good work because that is who you are not because you want to impress somebody or some one is watching you and your work.

    I am so happy to read last couple of blogs that talk about an individuals integrity and I am very happy to tell that I do work for such an organization!

  4. Hey Oliver.

    Good news! Look forward to some interesting ERs at the next KWST

    Great to know that there is going to be another context driven shop in NZ.



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