🥧 Pie mail 55 - All about role models

publishedabout 1 year ago
3 min read


It's pie mail time again!

I hope you're all doing well as we approach the end of the year. For me the last couple of weeks have been a mish-mash of team events and Christmas parties.

In this world of remote and hybrid work, it's meant that my team(s) had a rare chance to see each other in person. It was a reminder of how lucky I am to work with an amazing bunch of people. Which will probably be the subject for my next email.

As for this week, I've been thinking about role models.... read on!

🥖 All About Role Models

You may not believe it by looking at my drawings, but at one point in my life I was an art student.

I never graduated 😅. But I did learn some things.

One early lesson was about copying. A lot of art students would be tempted to learn to draw by copying their favourite artists. It's logical - if I want to draw like someone that inspires me, it makes sense to emulate what they do.

But this was actively discouraged. We were encouraged not to copy our favourite artists, because...

If you learn to draw by copying another artist, you copy their mistakes too.

I think the same thing happens in tech.

I was working with one of my mentees last week, and they were struggling with saying 'yes' to too many things and becoming overloaded.

In a separate conversation, we had also talked about role models. The one person they identified as a role model just happened to be someone I knew quite well. Someone who I knew also struggled with saying 'yes' to too many things!

It turned out, they'd seen all the things their role model was doing, without seeing the struggle they were facing.

Role models are really important, but it's also important to have several sources of inspiration. Or, we may end up making the same mistakes as those that we're looking to.

My friend Ben used to tell me that if you take the six people closest to you, and mash them together, you get - you. In other words, you become like the people you spend time with.

I like to take this approach when looking to role models too. It's important to have a range of people to learn and be inspired by. Here's a breakdown of what I consider a good 'mix' of six people:

  • one person that works in the same team or organisation as me
  • one person that I don't directly work with - that is, external to my team or organisation
  • one person at the same stage in their career as I am
  • one person who is one or two steps ahead of me in their career
  • one person I know or am friends with
  • one person I don't know at all, or very well

This is a pretty rough guideline, and of course there'll be some double ups. But the gist of it is, to identify six(ish) people to serve as role models, and for them to be varied enough that we will be getting the best of them.

As an aside, as I write this, it starts to sound a little bit like Lara Hogan's manager Voltron - which is a great resource if you're looking for more inspiration!

So, who is in your pool of role models? Let me know!

🖥 Neat stuff from around the internet

📖 Read

  • CapGemini release something called the World Quality Report every year. I don't pay much attention to it. What I do look forward to though, is Dr. Lee Hawkins breakdown of it, which is a much more interesting read!
  • Thoughts on elevating product quality by Stammy. It's a long read, but worth your time. (Skip to the section "What affects Quality?" if you're really short on time)
  • A big long read from Jeff Patton about product thinking, which says some good things about balancing business needs and customer needs.
  • Last but not least, Mark Winteringham has published a book! Practically titled Testing Web APIs, it's all about testing web APIs. If you test APIs, this is for you. Admittedly I've only skimmed through so far, but it looks great.
    (this one is a tracked link, but I'm not sponsored for it or anything)

🎧 Listen

📺 Watch

🎮 Play

  • Advent of Code started last week. I missed day one, but I'm hopeful I can at least make a start. It's usually a fun challenge!

🎟️ Events coming up

State of Kubernetes 2022 (Dec 7, Auckland)

Tessa Davis and Emma Tordsson reporting on a study on how companies in New Zealand are using Kubernetes. Will be really interesting to dive in to some of these findings!

re:Invent recap (Dec 8, Auckland)

Lightning talks - four great guest speakers at the Auckland AWS community meetup this week. Head along and absorb some wonderful AWS experience.

HolidayBash 2022 (Dec 9/10, Online)

One for those of you in Europe-ish timezones, HolidayBash, the Ministry of Testing Christmas party is online again! If you're an MoT pro member, this is one you definitely want to get along to!

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