PML#005 - On a growth journey

TL;DR - Lots of interesting company developments, albeit within a three-day week for me, so mostly a tale of a busy week ahead. 🗞

As I mentioned last week, I had a couple of days off planned for the end of the current week, to coincide with my best friend coming to visit us. That's why this blog post is dropping much later than intended, and why it's surprisingly short of actual accomplishments from the week gone by!

Last week's goals: 2/3 completed

  • Attend the Testers' Hangout. Not a huge surprise that I didn't get to join this week, what with already trying to cram a week's work into three days. Having now only successfully managed this in 1 out of 4 attempts, I'll drop it from my goal list going forward, although I've still got automation in place to let me know when an impromptu gathering might be happening.

  • ☑️ Complete the first draft of my Space Camp session outline. I got to exactly where I wanted - I had a discussion with Joyce on Wednesday to walk through the first draft, and as hoped/expected, the summary is "it's great, but there's too much material to cover in the time available". So we've worked to pare it back somewhat, and my next job is to finalise it (with documentation) so that I can share a potential release candidate with the team; this will likely take a couple of weeks, as it's primarily a background job for me.

  • ☑️ Have a rational discussion about team communication. Since setting this goal at the end of last week, I've had several productive conversations (and taken actions) in this area. Primarily, I'm focusing on my own communication, and hoping that some of this passes to my team by osmosis. This has included some boundary-setting, making it clear when I'm willing to be flexible (most of the time) and when I'm not able to sacrifice time unless it's an emergency (family time).

A busy week in the Postman world 📈

In my previous two roles, an impromptu All-Hands company meeting would undoubtedly mean an announcement of a large-scale restructure, a departing executive, some involuntary redundancies, or some combination of all three. So it was a blessed relief when we had a Postman gathering this week to coincide with the announcement of Series D funding which boosts our company's valuation to $5.6 billion. It's a massive sign of market confidence in our current offering as well as our roadmap, and there were many virtual high-fives, but now comes the tough task of delivering on our vision. Nobody said that it was going to be easy, but news like this is re-energising and it seems that we've all got the wind in our sails at the moment.

Since my last post, I've also had my first 1-2-1 meeting with the company's new Head of Quality and Performance, Kenji Kiuchi. It was a refreshing introduction as our values seem quite closely aligned, to the extent that I had to keep reiterating that I wasn't trying to be a suck-up when I agreed with his points! Among our discussions, I broached the subject of trying to set boundaries for myself to avoid over-working and burnout, and we exchanged some stories of our respective experiences in this area, which came with some reassuring words which buoyed me somewhat.

So there were a lot of goings-on during Thursday and Friday while I was on holiday, which means that I'm expecting a packed week ahead. And with a UK public holiday in the following week, it might be a situation that I encounter again when I return for my Week 7 update!

Next week's objectives 🎯

  • Complete my Space Camp collection (apart from finalising documentation). This is quite a straightforward task - I've got a list of feedback from Wednesday night's discussion with Joyce, but I've been out of the office since then, so I just need to go back and apply my intended changes. By that point, the majority of the remaining work will be tidying up the built-in documentation to support the workshop; I'll make a bit of headway into that, but it's probably going to be a bit of a slog.

  • Create outline for companion Space Camp blog post. Alongside the webinar that I'm running, there are various concepts that I want to talk about in long-form on the Postman blog. As I'm putting the finishing touches to my workshop material, I'll be pulling out key points and adding them in note form to a draft blog post; I'm probably not going to have time to complete the blog post next week, but I'd like to have the structure in-place that's just waiting to be padded out.

  • Get a local Postman application build running. A bit of a cheat this, because I've been tasked with testing something which won't get very far unless I'm able to complete this objective! (That said, the person whose work I'm testing is on holiday this week, but regardless of whether I'm able to get that piece of work done, I'm going to ensure this task is completed.)

  • Crack at least one of my team's long-running test failures. I've been slowly chipping away at some red automated checks which seem to have been problematic for months, but the low-hanging fruit has all been dealt with. What's left is hard to analyse, so I need to pair with developers to understand what the remaining checks are supposed to be doing, whether they're providing value, and how (and when) we can fix them. Primarily a communications exercise!