Bashing the Myth of the Lonely Tester
How much fun did Qualitest have at Test Bash? ALL the fun. Read on to find out why!
This year, Test Bash was held for the first time in New York, and a group of lucky Qualitesters were fortunate enough to attend! We had an AWESOME time at the event. We met some amazing people, and came back to work completely refreshed and pumped up about software testing. I love this community that we are a part of, and how willing everyone is to mentor and assist others. But don’t just take my word for it; here’s what other Qualitesters had to say!
I came to this conference with little knowledge of software testing; therefore, it was really beneficial for me because it gave me the opportunity to learn more about the topic. However, speakers also gave important advice that applied to more than just testing. For example, I noticed that a common theme amongst presenters was that communication and relationships are key aspects in order to be successful. These concepts can be applied to any area of life and truly are necessary functions. They also stressed learning and sharing knowledge. I really appreciated it when speakers were able to broaden the horizon like this because it offered a way to bridge the gap between the testing world and society.
The majority of the speakers were very insightful, engaging, and encouraged audience participation. I think that people were able to get so much out of the experience because it was interactive. My favorite speaker was Helena Jeret-Mae who shared her story about the process of learning to believe in herself and trusting herself. I think that a lot of people can relate to her struggles and it was very inspiring to see how she overcame them. I really enjoyed this experience and I am grateful for the opportunity to attend!
Joseph K Robinson:
We received insight on the importance of Collaboration between the testers and developments with the thought of understand each other’s value to the process. There was important insight relating to proper communications, so that people get a better understanding on who we are and what we do as testers. There was a reoccurring theme of getting people to recognize us as testers and the importance that we bring to development process.
Two speakers inspired my thinking. Tanya Kravtsov, an automation manager, diagrammed the ideal automation scenario and confirmed as well as tempered my suspicions about this phase. For one, yes, your scripts need constant maintenance and they should very much complement, not replace, exploratory testing. The other speaker, Ray Arell, worked at Intel and within the context of not falling prey to Agile vs. Waterfall pedantry, demonstrated the strengths of a Dynamic SDLC model as a third option. He also encouraged us not to jump into a development/ testing task from a simplistic, “a then b,” ultimately blind and pitfall laden frame, but rather from an exploratory, “disturb the system” and discover complex relationships standpoint.
I found the talk “Find Bugs Before Writing Code” really drives home that point that I feel is key to QA professionals — good testers can have a huge impact before the first line of code has been written. In additional to the project planning and early design phases, we should be very active in the technical development to increase our product knowledge and to push the developers to think like a tester (not just blindly writing code to the specs). We can bring so much more value if we are seen as more than just “testers”. We have a unique perspective that eclipses managers/analysts/designers (who often don’t see the technical details) and devs (who are usually focused on a specific technical silo). We see the whole picture and the impacts of vague requirements, hasty design, bad prioritization, improper use of talent, and much more.
The speakers at TestBashNYC had a lot of great information and one of the points in particular struck a chord with me.
“Write emails to your colleagues as if you’re the one receiving them.”
This is something I always strive to do before I hit send. While some issues are minor and easily comprehended, we often run into complex scenarios that require a little more finesse in their explanations. Rereading what you’re about to send will help reduce clutter and get straight to the point. Sometimes individuals forget that they have been testing a service for hours on end but have to communicate with an individual that has never touched the service before. As a result, the person on the receiving end of the email may be completely lost unless you get straight to the point.
Overall, I had a great time at the conference. I had the chance to listen to great talks by leading individuals in the field and also had the pleasure of meeting them afterwards.
There were excellent talks by leaders in the field who generously shared their experiences and knowledge. There was also opportunities to interact with software engineers from different companies and learn from their experiences. Each talk had valuable take-home points that I think is important for every software test engineer to consider. In addition to the technical talks, there were also presentations aimed at enhancing leadership and interpersonal skills such as the talks on ‘How to Be an Outstanding Leader’ and ‘How To Succeed With Difficult People’. I enjoyed hearing about the challenges faced by individuals in leadership roles as I feel these would be immensely helpful for me in future. Towards the end of the conference there was a section were participants were invited to come forward and give a “99 sec talk” on topic or experiences they think would benefit the larger software testing community. Talking advantage of this opportunity, Nausheen and myself decided to participate. We thought it would be an excellent chance to talk about our company and the mantra for our success “Test beyond the obvious”. We put together a quick ’99 sec’ skit driving this concept. Overall the experience was extremely rewarding and provided me an excellent opportunity to learn and reflect on strategies we could bring back home.
What I learned from this adventurous day is that when you take a step towards learning and towards your community – there are no bounds. New ideas, thought processes, different approaches – even if I am able to implement or practice ¼ of what I learned I think I will be able to contribute significantly in the software testing domain.
Test Bash – we can’t wait for next year!