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!

The Internet of Things

Last Thursday (26th June), I was involved with the Unicom organised Next Generation Test Conference at the Lancaster Hotel in London. My role was to enjoy the day, and then at 4pm take part in a Q&A session with four other test managers in a ‘Topic Guru’ panel session which was to run for just over an hour. I must admit to enjoying the questions, and the time flew by – luckily the other panellists were very open and I think we shared the answers well between us.

But there is one thing I particularly want to mention, The day got off to an interesting start with a talk about ‘The Internet of Things’, an expression I hadn’t heard before, but the whole theme of the day was looking to the future (of testing and other things too).

I need to do some more research around this, but what I took away from it is that we need to stop thinking about systems and applications, and start thinking about people – yes, human beings like you and me! It’s about the way in which we interact with the internet to gain access to the amazing amount of information available to us. It makes perfect sense, as although we write systems to perform tasks, run batch jobs, do uploads, downloads, schedule reports etc, the end result is that data in some form or another is going to be looked at by a person, and a decision made on the basis of that data, whether it be a business or commercial decision, or a personal one, such as which insurer you should choose based on the cost of insurance provided by a man dressed in a seafarers uniform, a nodding dog or a cute furry animal!

As testers it’s easy to look at a user story or requirement and think ‘Ah yes, the system should do x when the user presses y’. Fine, but we should be questioning what the user needs to get out of this interaction in the first place. We design systems that are complex, clever and look great, but often it’s the least technical person who comes along and asks why they need to press 5 buttons just to create a simple report or add in some data, and they would prefer to do this with as little interaction and navigation as possible.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this subject – I feel it is one that can run, and run, and run……