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Managing the Testing Process: Practical Tools and Techniques for Managing Hardware and Software Testing by Rex Black

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Chapter 9

The Triumph of Politics: Organizational Challenges for Test Managers

Office politics. We all use the phrase, usually to connote something negative about a coworker, department, or company. At one time or another, we've all undoubtedly made a comment such as this: “Oh, you know Jim—he's so political.

To some extent, I hesitate to use the term politics—the euphemisms management considerations or soft skills seem less negative—but the word is apt for three reasons. First, as a manager, you must be sensitive to political realities, some of which are unique to test management. Second, politics in the electoral sense is described as “the art of compromise,” and that is certainly an art you must master in a typical hardware or software development organization. Finally, politics is also the art of managing relationships that involve power, authority, and responsibility.

Don Quixote, Champion of Quality: What's Your Job, Anyhow?

Don Quixote, the immortal character created by Miguel Cervantes, is a minor Spanish nobleman who decides that he is by birth a knight-errant. Venturing forth on a quest with his squire Sancho Panza, he stumbles into a series of misadventures, jousting with a giant who is actually a windmill, and defending the honor of a maiden named Dulcinea who turns out to be a prostitute.

I admit that I've held some quixotic positions in my career. The most notable came with the title quality assurance manager. I considered myself the test manager, while everyone ...

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