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I would like to share today my thoughts and experience from the “Testing” conference Testing United Bratislava 2018.
Conference was organized by company KRONE Consulting and despite the fact it was KRONE’s first conference, my expectations were pretty high. Mainly because I had a chance to talk to the organizers before the conference during the preparation phase. Their plans, energy and several nice features were very promising and inspiring.
I really like the way how KRONE utilizes the potential of our region. Their strategy to organize conference in 3 different capital cities Bratislava, Vienna, Prague, each year in different city may result into a really nice results.
Before I will start with the content itself, I would also like to share my experience from the conference organization point of view. If everything works, nobody would notice, but in case things are going wrong, it may destroy participant’s experience a lot. In this case Everything worked very well. Location of the conference in a heart of the old city center, in hotel Carlton, was a good choice. As a vegetarian it was also nice experience for me as I had absolutely no problems to keep my eating preferences. What I also enjoyed was a fact that conference itself was not crowded and in a very friendly atmosphere.
The main topic of this year’s conference was “Future of software testing”. Really interesting for me. I am in a software testing environment almost 15 years, out of which more than 10 years in test management, test lead or test consultant position. Of course I see changes that happened in software testing industry. Trends moving from pure waterfall projects towards more iterative or Agile ones, increasing numbers of the “Data” related projects, DevOps,…Nevertheless I do not have a crystal ball and I am not able to predict the future of testing. There are much more experienced professionals that can see the trends in much larger context. And I was really looking forward to see them in person during the conference..
Before the conference, I have chosen presentations that I didn’t want to miss in any case. I was mainly interested in the following ones.
I would like to share with you my 5 takeaways.
I understood from the very first presentation from Tomasz Dubikowski that following words will be heavily used during those 2 days of the conference (Buzzwords)
But as Tomasz also mentioned, few years ago, everything was about Big Data. Today…? We got used to it. It is not a “Big Data” anymore. It is just data. . And we can expect that this will also happen to current buzzwords in 5-10 years. But for now… those are the mainstream topics of the day in IT world.
Tomasz himself is not a tester, he is rather a development leader, nevertheless he was advocating importance of testing quite heavily. I agree with his attitude. We are facing still more and more complex systems integrated together. Keeping quality high is very important, it is not easy and requires highly competent people. Every single of us working in testing industry should be the testing advocates and spreading this message. It is really important that all customers, project managers, stakeholders or anybody else involved would understand this message. Being a good tester is really valuable role and service. We should be proud of what we are doing, let’s be proud of the fact that we have Quality is in the “heart” . Let’s share this message.
All of the speakers emphasized an importance of testing in the future. Please notice that I didn’t use tester, but testing. I did this on purpose. This is actually one of the changes that is most probably in from of us. Quality should be in responsibility of all involved. Regardless if it is project manager, developer, tester, of business analyst, each of us should have quality in our DNA. In such case, it is not important who will execute testing activities. Let’s take some examples. Unit testing is usually done by developers, automation, or performance requires technical skills and can be done either by developers or technical testers, acceptance testing can/should be done by end users of business users.
Following takeaway is connected with the third one. Being a really good tester requires wide range of different skills. Of course, nobody can be an expert in everything, but having a basic knowledge of different skills is very helpful. We should invest time and build our personal “T-Shaped” skills profile. Meaning that we should build our expertise in one or two skills but not forgetting also other skills that can increase our efficiency in testing. You can see it like following:
Each of us is unique, being SME means for each of us something different. Being able to work in a team and being good team player will become still more and more important skill.
To be honest, this one is the most important for me as a test manager, and was the key driver for me to attend the conference.
I had my own view of the test manager role in “new” IT world and how it fits to a DevOPS or Agile models. I wanted to confront my view with the view of the visionaries in software testing industry.
I was bit skeptical after first presentations. I also saw from my own experience that role of the test manager is jeopardized in the world of DevOps and Agile. But the more presentations were told, the more optimistic I was. It is obvious that role of test manager has become an obsolete in projects with one or two scrum teams. However once there are more than just one or two scrum teams, the necessity of the test manager and his value is increasing significantly.
Most probably there will be a shift of responsibilities and required skills for a test manager. As many of the speakers said, future role of the test manager would be rather in the area of mentoring, coaching or helping individuals and teams to become more efficient and to reach the expected goals and quality. It will be rather less of doing the detailed planning, defect management or micromanaging daily work of the test team (which will maybe not even exist in DevOps organizations). Nevertheless there will be a strong need of having good interpersonal and communication skills.
There were 2 presentations that I have enjoyed a lot, discussing this topic. One done by Richard Taylor (GB), and the second one by Alon Linetzki (IL). Alon shared really interesting statistics. He was checking and collecting job descriptions for testing positions for last 12 years. The results…the complexity of required skills is growing. In 2014 Alon noticed that need for managerial skills dropped down and were not required as part of the job descriptions. As mentioned above, small projects with one or two scum teams didn’t see a need of having a test manager role. They were able to survive without this role and skill set.
However from 2018 things changed, needs for test managerial skills came back in high level scale. Having the role that serves as an “umbrella” for testing, mainly in a big projects or transformation IT programs become a necessity.
Our future can only be as dark or as bright and shiny as we will allow it. We all are in charge of our own future, we are the only responsible what will happen to us.
This is not valid just for testing….
Let’s create our own plan for building T-Shaped profiles