Plato Elevate Winter Summit has been announced (Dec 7th-8th)

🔥

Back to resources

Learning From Your Mistakes

QA Team
Strategy

13 October, 2021

Phillip Derosa
Phillip Derosa

Global Director of QA at OneSpan

Phillip Derosa, Global Director of QA at OneSpan, believes that every pitfall is a learning opportunity in disguise.

Problem

One of the things that I’ve found to be true over time is that we don’t always learn from our mistakes. Some people are content to simply fix a bug and to call the problem solved. The customer is happy, and service is restored. Some companies fall into the same trap. They don’t learn from their mistakes, they simply fix the mistakes that they’ve made previously.

While keeping the server running is important, something that is often forgotten is how the team got there in the first place. How do mistakes like this occur? How can they be prevented in the future? They say that every defect is a treasure if you’re able to go back and to find the root cause.

Actions taken

Once the root problem has been found, you can take a closer look at how the issue got involved in your project. How you manage the problem matters more than anything else. We want to always be learning from the mistakes that we’ve made.

All people are human. All people make mistakes. It’s not about management reports and all of that. It’s about the people who surround the issue and the conversation that they have as they try to understand the mistake.

Learning from this and learning about the impact of their mistakes should be a top priority. So often, the people who work directly with the product are disconnected from the actual business side of things. They may have refactored some code without telling anybody or have made some sort of last-minute change that felt like a good idea at the time, breaking something inadvertently in the process.

Sometimes, these things find their way into production and cause a problem. The person who was refactoring code likely had good intentions, not realizing that what they were doing could break the business. Shielding people from their mistakes and the pain can be a natural instinct when leading, but in life, people learn by doing.

Now, the root cause of the problem can finally be addressed. It’s easy to blame the messenger. The reality of the matter is much more complex. Rarely is a loss completely pure; there is usually some situation or factor that could have been prevented or accounted for.

Lessons learned

  • In QA, you tend to get a lot more flack. We’re supposed to be the ones responsible for catching mistakes before they get too far ahead of us. Creating visibility and transparency when it comes to the nuance of the domain helps executives see through the noise and contend with the heart of the problem. Hindsight is 20/20. It is never simple to make the perfect decision at the moment.
  • Once you have had a chance to examine your mistakes, you can begin thinking about how you can do better in the future. By bringing it to the Scrum team, everybody gets a little better. You remove the management telling you what to do and it puts the onus into your hands to learn and to improve. I think that everybody wants that, in a general sense.
  • The bottom line: we all make mistakes. Let’s learn from them. I try to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. There are always new ones waiting right around the bend.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

What it takes to become a great product manager

19 November

James Engelbert, Head of Product at BT, shares his deep understanding of the traits of a successful product manager and how to get aligned with the organization’s path to success.

Product Team
Personal Growth
Leadership
Strategy
James Engelbert

James Engelbert

Head of Product at BT

The art of managing up

19 November

James Engelbert, Head of Product at BT, shares how managing up is all about being an excellent manager to bring the best out of a team.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Managing Up
Internal Communication
Strategy
Stakeholders
Cross-Functional Collaboration
James Engelbert

James Engelbert

Head of Product at BT

How to Scale Product Teams for Empowerment & Impact?

5 November

Prasad Gupte, Director of Product at Babbel, shares his insights into the challenges behind successfully growing a team.

Customers
Product
Scaling Team
Strategy
Users
Prasad Gupte

Prasad Gupte

Director of Product at Babbel

Changing Brand Perception

25 October

Nikkho Shandittha, SVP of Product at Amartha, shares how he changed the way customers viewed his company through strategic decisions.

Customers
Product
Strategy
Nikkho Shandittha

Nikkho Shandittha

SVP of Product at Amartha

What to Do When You Don't Have a Product Vision

25 October

Nikkho Shandittha, SVP of Product at Amartha, highlights how creating a product vision can help prioritize and make better decisions for the near future.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Product
Roadmap
Strategy
Nikkho Shandittha

Nikkho Shandittha

SVP of Product at Amartha

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.