GATE No. 2: A transpection report

Two weeks ago the second GATE workshop took place in our offices in Munich. Unfortunately some of the participants couldn’t make it. So, there were the three of us, Meike Mertsch, Alexander Simic, and myself. Although we were a bit low on energy in the morning, the day turned out to be a wholesome day of transpection – or if you prefer, we did a lot of test chat. Here’s what still sticks with me from the day.

Tester vs. Programmer

In the morning we had a lot of discussions around the topic of testers vs. programmers. I don’t know what happened in the conversation, but at some point we reached the understanding, that we usually have testing programmers, and programming testers. In the past I mostly thought about how to convince testers to become part of the development. But two weeks ago it clicked for me in my head why that is indeed not the purpose. Looking back to two examinations from Elisabeth Hendrickson, there are close to no job ads for testers alone. Companies look for testers who are also able to do some coding, at least.

As it turns out, the thinking that we just need to teach some testers how to become better programmers, or how to test better, does no longer look like a business model to draw on. With the uprising of agile methodologies, with test-driven development, and developers doing unit testing, the biggest struggle lies in getting programmers and testers to understand each other better. I ended up with the understanding, that we need to teach programmers that have become test-infected, and tester that have become programming-infected, how to become better at whatever they are doing right now, or trying to do tomorrow. At least I draw a bigger growth hypothesis to this problem right now.

BBST, RTI, and testing courses

We talked a lot about different courses. Alex and I went through most of BBST, Alex was an onsite participant at the Rapid Testing Intensive (RTI) course, I was an online participant. We exchanged thoughts on different courses between each other, exchanged our experiences. Especially to me the onsite vs. online experiences from RTI were pretty interesting. I see some potential for future improvements there, and I am quite convinced the Bach brothers will contribute their share to future RTI courses.

On BBST, I exchanged lots of ideas. This was quite interesting to me since the next day my Test Design courses started, and I am close to half-way through it right now. So bare with me if I don’t update my blog that often right now.

Test coaching

Last, but not least, Alex and I talked a lot about test coaching. I have taken nearly two lessons with James, and he is actively more involved with him right now. We exchanged our experiences with the different experiences we had, and where a possible future for test coaching might lie.

Especially based on the premise that I mostly deal with testing programmers and programming testers, there are a lot of interesting conclusions to draw from this.

What about the future?

Oh, the main topic was the future of testing. We talked about certifications, different courses, how the landscape of testing in Germany looks like, and the like. It was quite inspiring, but there are not many conclusions that you can draw about the state of the art in software testing in Germany based on the observations of three people. Anyways, we took the opportunity to learn a lot from each other. Unfortunately Meike left in the afternoon, but I had five to six more hours of conversation with Alex in the biergarten, after having talked for about six to seven hours at our office already. Overall, it was very inspiring.

What about the future of GATE? Well, we also talked about that, and we hope that we an attract more folks next time. We will definitely settle the date with an eye on the traveling plans from some well-known folks. So, stay tuned for further announcements. I also hope that I will find out how the DEWT-guys do it next month when I will join them for their second workshop in the Netherlands.

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One thought on “GATE No. 2: A transpection report”

  1. Thanks for an interesting report Markus :-)
    I especially would have liked to be part of the “testers vs. programmers” discussion.

    Personally I think we simply need more testers that are good at …. testing (a very broad definition), and that become test specialists and are passionate about testing in general or some specializations of it.

    We need more good developers out there. At least developers have some sort of general understanding as a collective into what it takes in becoming a good developer (again broad definition).

    Then there is a place for those few people who genuinely are interested in development and testing combined (aka. test developers).

    But each of the three roles should be allowed to be good at what they have passion for and used accordingly. We need diversified teams with different roles and skills.
    We shouldn’t try to shoehorn each and every individual into becoming a stand-alone cross-functional “Übermensch”… thats what cross-functional Teams are for.

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