It’s really that simple, yet awesomely profound. And a typical Gerald Weinbergquote, like my other favorites of his points:
No matter how it looks at first, it’s always a people problem (The second law of consulting)
You’ll never accomplish anything if you care who gets the credit
Things are the way they are because they got that way
Quality is value to some person
Regarding the last quote; which was later extended with “who matters, at some time” by Bach, Bolton. Once I had an argument about how to deliver quality. The other side held towards IEEE definition of delivering the expected. But even when he did, he failed to see that the unmeasured and irrational parts affected the value to the customer. I agree completely with The Cowboy Tester that knowing works of Weinberg is a measure of seriousness.
For many of us learning whether or not you know about @JerryWeinberg is a kpi for how serious you are about testing as a career and craft. You don’t have to agree with him, but you should know him.
Weinberg worked not only with testing, but among other things also consulting and organisational change management. I did not know that when reading “Making Sense of Change Management” (Cameron & Green 2012). I literally jumped up and started laughing while reading the quite serious elaborations to the Satir Change model – the authors found that Quality Software Management: Anticipating Change (1997) is a “masterly book on change, but with a title that might not appeal to everyone“. It might not appeal to change scholars, but definitely appealed indirectly to a lot of people in testing.
Recently (August 2018) Jerry died aged 84. Not a boss – yet a leader.
So far I have mostly thought that “Modern Testing” of the A/B testing podcast would never work in an enterprise context. But it seems some tools and existing approaches in the enterprises already fits well with the ideas of the concept.
The enterprise is all the privately owned companies that usually manufacture (non-IT) things – for either the consumer or other businesses. The enterprise sell and produce tangible products like windmills, power tools, dairy consumer products etc. The interest with regards to IT for the enterprise is that it just works, and supports business processes around order setup, order tracking and invoicing – and many other moving parts.
While I have heard of some organisations that have successfully implemented some agile and SaFe methods (in banking), the enterprise have a hard time to change mode of operations, as it usually comes down to actual production of things, logistics and hierarchies of command-and-control … and culture, most of all culture.
Some enterprises change towards being learning organisations, but still treat their IT in general as low-value and an annoying cost. It seems the IT departments and IT contractors have a challenge in talking about what they do to achieve the right quality for the businesses….
Que: The Modern testing mission on “Accelerate the achievement of Shippable Quality”. While MT is mostly a concept around transition of testing activities, it seems the concept applies to IT delivery teams in general. MT has 7 principles and some of these are:
5. We believe that the customer is the only one capable to judge and evaluate the quality of our product
Most enterprise projects I know off around implementing SAP, MS dynamics 365, EPIC hospital solutions etc, have a large reliance on end-user testing and UAT. Often there is no professional testers involved, as the best tester is the business experts themselves. Interestingly the principle #5 fit’s well with existing practices from the UAT space.
Another interesting MT principle is #6 around data analysis of actual customer usage. This requires some totally different tooling for the tester, than previously generally available (…besides shifting-right perhaps…).
6. We use data extensively to deeply understand customer usage and then close the gaps between product hypotheses and business impact.
Yet recently I was investigating Panaya Autonomous Testing for SAP. One thing I realized is that what the tool collects real user usage of SAP and then provides the ability to balance the testing activities based on that analysis. It is interesting to see a commercial test management product for the enterprises following new trends like the “modern tester”.
While it’s interesting how some of the concepts of modern testing are reflected in testing in the enterprise – and vise versa – the challenge remains for both the tools and concepts to be applied and accepted in more organisations.
It might not fit everywhere, but it might be a good fit in more places than you think it would.
Recruiting for testing roles these days should be mostly about curiosity, problem-solving and less about productivity and text book knowledge. Recruit for right brain skills – not so much operational process jockeys.
Similarly HFresearch have compiled an analysis that even on a management level the trend is to hire for creative thinkers over “operational experts that improve business performance and productivity”. Talent focus should be on right brain thinkers over – The wonks who spend all day staring at spreadsheets, focused on execution “left-brained” activities are less in demand .
But where do we find curiosity training?
If that is the skills we are looking for perhaps we should stop looking at university programs in computer science or engineering, when we want to recruit testers. I have a computer science master degree, and that was really theoretical and while it somewhat focused on problem solving, the lesson was rarely about thinking outside the box.
I think I would rather higher with business domain skills and train testing theory, than hire a process jockey with no experiences in besides textbook examples. That’s also how I came into testing myself, practical activities first – formal training later.
Perhaps it’s not as such important to have an university degree to get into testing. Though it helps 🙂 A diverse background is important, I know of librarians, laboratory technicians and humanities majors that bring good competencies to the testing field.
Finding one higher education that focuses on building curiosity, whole picture thinkers is hard – perhaps dungeons and dragons, as also discussed at the conference?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can perhaps solve some testing challenges, but not all testing. The testing vs. checking debateand all the shift-left of checking, have revealed that some of testing is about critical thinking and some…
The hyped mnemonic “DevOps” is equally true the other way around: OpsDev – that is, more and more work in the operations and infrastructure departments happens as development activities with scripts, code repositories and build managers. OpsDev is as tool-heavy as DevOps, and test involvement similarly pipeline focussed.