Commitments - "This is what I plan to do the next year and how you will know whether I am doing it" - are a vital part of the career development process here at Microsoft. Annual reviews and promotions are largely based on one's execution against one's commitments as well. Theoretically some or all of a person's commitments are aligned with their manager's commitments, which are in turn aligned with their manager's commitments, and so on all the way up the line to Steve Ballmer. I have never done that. My commitments reflect what I am interested in doing. That my commitments generally more-or-less align with my group's goals is in some respects an accident.
Several of us senior testers post our commitments on an internal website so that other testers can see all of the things we do. It occurred to me that people outside of Microsoft might find this interesting too. Forthwith: my commitments for the next year.
1. Establish Test Automation On Macintosh
I have been prototyping a process and framework for writing automated tests on Macintosh. This commitment is about taking what I have learned and building the for-real foundation for my team's test automation efforts on Macintosh.
2. Identify And Resolve The Most Important Problems
This will be my primary focus: working with people in my group to solve problems that matter to us.
3. Grow The Team
Mentoring/coaching/teaching is what I most enjoy doing. Each of my commitments is really about mentoring and helping people learn.
4. Help Customers Be More Successful With Their Testing
This is effectively my previous commitment writ large. (Or my previous commitment is this one writ small; take your pick.) This commitment covers blogging, Tester Center, and mentoring people outside my group, as well as the consulting I do with teams across the company. Another way to put this commitment is "Talk testing with whomever will listen to me"!
This is what I'll do (said young Gerald McGrew) to support my group (and you) in all that we do. At least, this is what I plan to do today. My experience is that commitments tend to change over the course of the year. I am curious to see what I really end up doing this next year!
*** Want a fun job on a great team? I need a tester! Interested? Let's talk: Michael dot J dot Hunter at microsoft dot com. Great testing and coding skills required.