Stop moaning – Be the change!

You feel like this
You feel like this

People moan, it’s a natural thing. It is a way of reacting to difficult situations where we are not able to change outcomes. By moaning, we feel some relief in sharing our discomfort with our friends, family and colleagues.

I confess; I have a problem with moaners because I don’t believe there is anything positive about it and it doesn’t really cut it for me. If I am not happy about something and moan about it, I normally become angrier rather than feeling any better. If I am really unhappy about something I would rather rant for 5 minutes, than moan all my life.

People see you like this
People see you like this

I am sorry to say it, but testers are in my experience the worst category of moaners in IT, maybe at pair with tech support people, but I’ll focus on testers here because I am one.

Testers moan about developers that don’t understand the customers, moan about business analysts that can’t write requirements, moan about managers that don’t give them enough resources, moan because they talk and people don’t listen, moan because sometimes they are paid less than developers, moan because the environment is not working, moan because they find bugs, moan because they don’t find bugs, moan because the application is delivered late to them, moan because the quality of the application is not to their standard and find just about another thousand reasons to moan about.

While I can understand moaning coming from a junior or mid-level tester that has say 1 to 8 years’ experience, I cannot understand, accept or condone a tester calling himself a “senior practitioner” that moans about any of the above.

Senior practitioners are like moaning rock stars, they have all they need but keep on moaning
Senior practitioners are like moaning rock stars, they have all they need but keep on moaning

One simple reason: a real test practitioner is able to face up to every single one of the moaning causing issues and is well able to change them.

Dear senior test practitioner, It is not acceptable that if management doesn’t give you enough resources, you are not able to influence them into understanding that they are making a mistake and need to release more resources, it is not acceptable that the developers don’t understand the needs of the customers and you are not able to come up with a solution that can minimize or even completely resolve the issue.

It’s NOT acceptable.

If you want to call yourself a senior practitioner, then act like one; influence and change the environment you are not happy with. What’s the point in moaning? You will bring down the rest of the team with your negative whiney attitude, won’t resolve anything and will piss off everybody else outside your team that is so unlucky to have to listen to you.

Senior Moaner – “Yes but management don’t understand!”

This is the ultimate answer of every senior moaner. The reality is different though, in fact 60% of the moaners didn’t even talk to managers to suggest a solution, 15% of them have tried and failed because they weren’t able to make their point and influence management, 20% have tried but management were right all along and they keep on moaning hiding the truth, finally 5% of them have tried repeatedly and appropriately to influence managers, but management are actually stupid and don’t understand.

Moaners Distribution among Senior Test Practitioners
Moaners Distribution among Senior Test Practitioners

Now look at that chart, where are you? If you are in the 5% that already did everything they could, but hit a rubber wall, then I suggest you change job before your moaning alienates you from the rest of your team mates, your wife and friends, in the other 95%, simply stop moaning, do something meaningful with your job, be brave and BE THE CHANGE you moan about!


7 thoughts on “Stop moaning – Be the change!

  1. Very interesting. I’m curious about what source you used to identify the four types of moanings being given off by senior-level software testers. Also how much data did you gather? It seems probable. I agree that there is a lot of moaning or complaining and not a lot of doing. When I get in a tough situation, it helps me to try and find a solution. That usually means talking to many different people or teams. I’m often able to come back with answers. My organization has a very different dynamic from most however, and if testing takes a lot of time we don’t have then they do respond with more resources. They’re very responsive to Testing needs.

    • Hi nathandelane, the source is my experience and the percentages are not intended to be exact but were meant to make readers laugh a bit and subsequently reflect on their own approach to moaning or doing. There is nothing scientific about this article, but there is a lot of truth.
      It’s great to hear that your organization listens to people and in doing so allows you to do your job properly without having to moan about it.

  2. You’ve hit the spot with this one!

    For those who find themselves in the 15% who are unable to make their point with management, there are three possibilities to consider: it’s them, or it’s you, or it’s the combination of them and you. To find out which, observe how other people get their point across. Ask around, particularly among the non-moaners who share the same management as you, and see what they think … remembering not to ask leading questions or give too many hints what you are expecting them to say. If you’re a software engineer (in the broad sense) then your people skills probably aren’t at the “ideally suited for a career in HR” end of the spectrum, so maybe some coaching on people skills would help. On the other hand, maybe your management are further down at that end of the spectrum than you are, in which case it’s time for you to start coaching them!

    If it’s the combination of them and you, there might be friction because you don’t make your points in a way that makes it easy for them to receive. I found that understanding the Myers-Briggs type indicators helped me with one particular relationship (with me in the role of manager in that instance). I’ve just been reading Introducing NLP (O’Connor & Seymour) and found the metaprograms section in chapter 7 enlightening. Moaning that they’re wrong won’t help you … observing their behaviour more deeply and experimenting with different ways of communicating might help. If you moan about someone too much, you start to think of them as a problem rather than a person, and that will just make things work.

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