2017 – 3 weeks in.

A little belated, but I can get away with posting ‘Happy New Year‘ as this is my first post of 2017.

So, here we are, about 3 weeks in to the year and a lot has happened already:

  • I have taken on a new role in my company as Director of Quality Engineering – essentially Director of the QA function, for a different brand to where I worked before so this has opened up some new and exciting opportunities for me within https://www.flightglobal.com.
  • I recently joined the BCS and am hoping to get involved in their mentoring scheme for new conference speakers – I’d love to give something back to our testing community!
  • An article which I worked on late last year has been published in Test Magazine http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=f785b07c-90bd-42be-b7fb-832c6c6bdd86 – and they have done a cracking job of the presentation and layout (thanks 31Media). Its all about where we should focus our efforts as testers when looking at honing our skills, so I would love to hear any feedback if you do happen to read it.
  • I am speaking at Testing Showcase North in Manchester in February on the subject of Tester Training, in a similar vein to the magazine article, but of course delivered as an interactive talk. Details available here http://conferences.unicom.co.uk/testing-showcase-north/.
  • Then a week later I am joining my colleague Bhagya Perera https://bhagyagdm.wordpress.com/ in London at the inaugural UKStar event to deliver a session on ‘The Communication Bridge’, which I am very much looking forward to as well. More details here https://ukstar.eurostarsoftwaretesting.com/.
  • Oh, and in May I will be speaking at the National Software Testing conference in London!

I cant believe how busy it’s been already, and that is without the workshop that I am running with my new team next Friday, and our ongoing QA Chapters that we run in-house.

But I am not complaining, I get bored easily (something that I am not proud of, as I wish I had more patience overall!), so doing a lot of things is good for me. One of my old team asked me last week how I found the time to do so many things. I do wonder myself sometimes, but my reply to her was that it comes down to having an in-built passion to do something of benefit. No-one can be forced to do anything extra – we have to want to. The secret is to find something that excites you, helps you grow as an individual, as well as in terms of job related skills. Giving something back by helping others where you can (it shouldn’t be just about personal gain), and making a difference – these are important to me, and I really hope that 2017 is even more awesome than 2016. Of course that depends on the amount of time and effort I am prepared to invest, so the incentive lies with me – but that’s what is good about it. I am in control and can do as much or as little as I feel capable of doing.

So, watch this space 🙂

Oh, one final thought – my job title is now Director, not Manager, but I think I will leave the site titled as ‘Musings of a Test Manager’, as I still think it sounds good to me. I tried thinking of alternatives, but ‘Doodles of a QA Director’ doesnt really have the same ring!



First off, Happy New Year!

It’s been about a month since I last posted something, and with the Christmas holiday I did think it would be better to wait until now before restarting.

So, one full day back at work and the holiday seems a distant memory already, but there is something to look forward to, and that is the UKTMF, for Test Managers.

UKTMF is the UK Test Management Forum, which has been around for 10 years, meeting quarterly in central London, and the 45th session is on Wednesday 28th January from 1.30pm GMT. It was run single handedly by Paul Gerrard up until last summer when he asked for volunteers to help, and I was one of a number of people who stepped forward, and am now a ‘friend of the forum’ helping out where needed, so I will declare an interest right now.

I do not intend to use this blog to promote attendance by Test Managers at every one of these, as I think you would soon get bored, but there is a specific talk that I would highlight, and that is by Stephen Janaway, on ‘How to Focus On Testing When There Are No Test Managers’.

Over the past few years there has been a trend moving away from having Test Managers performing the traditional role. With Agile teams, testers are often reporting in with the other Agile team members into another role, such as Product Owner. This then leaves us (who have spent years in testing working our way up to Test Manager level) to wonder where our careers will go next. Stephen has been through this and can give us an interesting perspective on how his role has changed, and I hope this will open a discussion as to how we need to adapt to the changing role of the Test Manager, and to look at skills we have that are transferable to other roles within IT.

The cost is £20, plus VAT, which is great value for an afternoon session. There are three parallel talks at 2pm and three more at 3.45pm – you decide on the day which ones to attend. And there are refreshments, and drinks afterwards.

The other talks are equally as good, and Joanna Newman will be doing one at the same time as Stephen’s on how to attract, retain and motivate ‘millenials’. I will be very torn on the day as I’d like to go to both!!

If you’d like to book a place, then here is the link: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/test-management-forum-wednesday-28-january-2015-tickets-14988876132

Thanks for reading!

The Internet of Things part 2 – a UKTMF update

The Internet of Things at the UK Test Management Forum.

Today (30th July) I was at the UKTMF in London, run by Paul Gerrard – soon to be run with assistance from a group calling ourselves ‘Friends of the Forum’.

Mike Bartley (CEO at TVS) did a superb talk on the Internet of Things, focussing on the functional testing side, whilst Declan O’Riordan talked about the security needs.

The IoT is going to be a phrase that we hear a lot about. In fact it would not be an understatement to say that it is going to revolutionise the way in which we live.

It’s definition is “Interconnectivity of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing internet structure”.

Up until now, interaction with the internet is done by humans, via computers, smart phones, tablets etc. The IoT moves on a stage further, to devices which connect and pass information without human intervention.

A great example that Mike shared was a smart fridge. A bottle of milk will contain information regarding the type of milk, how much is in the carton and its sell-by date. The fridge will scan and send the information to a server. An app on a device will the receive a message from the server when the milk has reached a certain level, or has been used up, or has passed it’s sell-by date, telling the homeowner that he or she needs to buy milk. Of course it may be that an automatic order is placed instead, and milk is delivered before the person knew he or she needed it!

That’s just one example – another is the use of driverless cars (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28551069) for the story. It’s a great idea, but of course there will be concerns around safety, but by far the greatest concern for us as humans is privacy and security.

The BBC ran another story today about apps that control home devices being easy to hack into (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28569342). Nobody wants a burglar to hack into an app that contains information about the householder being on holiday! There are other considerations as well – if a fridge can tell you when to buy more milk, that can apply to other foods as well – e.g. beer. Could we be in a position where the app tells us we have drunk too much beer this week? Or passes this information on to insurance companies (who put up premiums), the health service (who may refuse treatment) and goodness knows who else, where we really will live in a 1984 style ‘nanny state’ with no privacy. 

The IoT has amazing potential, but sadly like any new invention, it won’t take long for someone to spoil it by using it for evil purposes. Look at how long it took from the first airplane flight to planes being used to drop bombs and kill people! therefore our privacy and security have to be baked in, and this is where Declan raised an important point – the usual way of doing something new is to build, test, release, get hacked, go back and add security, and play catch-up.

If we are going to do this properly and learn the lessons of the past, we have to build in security from the beginning, otherwise it’ll be yet another great invention that people do not feel they can trust. Remember, this will not just be about someone hacking into your Facebook account or worse, your bank account – this is information about the way you run your whole life will be going backwards and forwards. Where you shop, what you buy, your habits, your hobbies, your car and journeys you make, when you are on holiday etc. We really cannot afford to get this wrong!

It is a subject that for some reason has grabbed me, so I will be delving into this a lot more.

Mike Bartley – http://www.testandverification.com/about-tvs/tvs-team/dr-mike-bartley/