EuroSTAR: Hot Topics Panel

At the EuroSTAR conference Lee Copeland moderated a panel of experts answering hot topics in our profession. Among the experts were Julie Gardiner, Tim Koomen, Rob Sabourin, Michael Bolton, and Antony Marcano. Here are some answers from the panel.

How is Agile testing different?

Antony Marcano
Rather than finding bugs, in Agile we try to prevent introducing defects in first place by collaboration. Testers help to advance the whole team.

What is the t ester’s role in Agile requirements?

Michael Bolton
What’s the tester’s role in any project? We are testers for hire. We can see the application, and we hope to identify what people perceive or hope about the product in an empirical manner. Any other form of testing is silly. Critical thinking and helping people.

Julie Gardiner
In an Agile environment we have to move our mindset and our skills. We still bring challenging questions as well as critical thinking.

Antony Marcano
My experience was different. On Waterfall projects I was not giving much influence on the requirements. My experience in Agile teams has been that he has giving to test the idea before we call it a requirement.

Michael Bolton, Rob Sabourin, and Antony Marcano discussed the difference between testing and checking, and its application to acceptance testing. Bolton explained

How can we ignite passion in others?

Antony Marcano
If you are not passionate about your job, and never been, maybe it’s time to change your job. One of the most important thing is to bring fun back to the job. Passion follows naturally from bringing fun back into the team.

Rob Sabourin
I love testing, but what I found one method that seems to be effective is to tell others what we are doing. Testing is a challenging activity, and it can be presented as something that is hard.

Michael Bolton
how can we ignite passion in people? In first place, don’t take the passion out of them. Don’t use process which take the passion out of testers.

Why are we still testing like we did 20 years ago?

Michael Bolton
Because we got hostage of people who don’t know anything about testing. Managers confuse testing with counting bugs. The notion that testing is a mechanical process, is wrong. We need to raise the awareness about “How much of testing is unscripted?”

Antony Marcano
I don’t think all people are testing like 20 years ago, some people are, but some people don’t. The problem outside of testing think that testing is a job that anyone can do. So they hire whoever they find. We need to focus more to express the value of testing inside a project. And raise the topic that there is more intellect behind the thing we do.

Must all testers have development skills?

Michael Bolton
It would be great if more developers had more development skills. To answer the question, no, but it is good to have them.

Can we have too many testers on a project?

Antony Marcano
Of course we can have too much of anything on any project. There is a point where too many people slow you down. On most projects there are not enough testers.

Michael Bolton
How many eyes in our head do we need? When you test, you want to know something. There are couple ways of doing this. If you perceive you need more testers, or if you perceive if you got too many testers, what is the information you receive? There is a fallacy that is slipping in here. The model people have is that testing happens after the product has been developed.

How as testers can we lead to successful testing in our organization?

Julie Gardiner
It’s all about attitude. Just do it. Bring the whole team together.If we want change to happen, we have to lead by example.

Michael Bolton
We are services to the client, to the project. We don’t tell our client what they want to have for dinner. If you say pain, then it’s important to take an empathic position. We don’t run the project. Go to where the pain is, take an empathic position, and help people to overcome it.

What’s the most important skill for a tester?

Michael Bolton
Recognizing there is no most important skill.

How do we get technical executives the value to go to testing conferences?

Antony Marcano
I would use my own holiday time to go to conferences and share my knowledge with my colleagues.

How can we help testers a not so frightened picture of Agile?

Rob Sabourin
I was teaching a couple of days of course on testing in Scrum. At some point people were furious about it and left the room. I found out that everything I was saying was in first person, and taking people out of their comfort zone. I turned the course into a collaborative exercise, and helped testers to see a brighter future. You have to stop with the familiar and have people see a different future.

Please note that I was not able to cover everyone that was said. I tried to keep the things that were most meaningful to me. So there is surely bias in the citations here.

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