After taking on testing lead responsibilities, I find out that it’s difficult to strike a balance between time for personal creative work and time for support work. By creative work I mean research and study of processes, testing activities, and tools. It is work that I prefer to do most of the time because it is where I often learn something new. It provides insight about stuff that can lead to interesting changes and tools that might help us perform better and become more remarkable. Support work, on the other hand, is all about rushed, reactive but also important, short-term goals – helping a teammate solve a problem at hand, teaching others how our apps work, providing necessary information to people who need them, or taking on requests.
Often I lean towards filling my day with creative work because it is where I have fun the most but there’s never a day without someone asking me for help. Software testers and product owners go to me for help investigating issues and testing scenarios, and programmers look for me if they need business rules clarifications. Some days there’s just too many requests than I’d like to handle. Other times I get obsessed about a new tool or skill that I forget for a while to check the more pressing things at hand.
In the end everything becomes a matter of prioritization. I go right away if someones asks for my help. And if I have time to work a little on my projects, I do that.