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StarWest Expo

It’s been an exciting time for the software testing community! StarWest kicked off this week with many inspirational speakers and transitioned to an Expo. TestCraft is a proud sponsor of Starwest – one of the main conferences in the testing and QA sphere. It is a full week event with keynotes and technical talks by industry leaders and very influential professionals in the testing world. The focus of the Expo was on continuous testing (CT), the definition of testing metrics, cultural change in organizations, and surprisingly, story-telling! Read below a short summary of each speech – yes, we did the dirty work. 🙂

The life of a tester, from once upon a time to happily ever after – by Jennifer Bonine, VP of global delivery and solutions for tap|QA Inc. and Janna Loeffler, from Carnival Corp.

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Jennifer Bonine         Janna Loeffler

Jennifer and her partner, Janna, took the audience through an animated journey of a software tester’s life, from the early days of the industry until present times. They explored the evolution of testing as a profession, and how will the mentality of testing professionals change in the future. The audience got a fun “history lesson” on where some of the practices that QA managers and testers take for granted originated, and a review on times when testers and developers were separated and more of adversaries than collaborators. They finalized with a brief discussion about the present, where quality is everyone’s responsibility.

These days technology is moving faster than ever, Jennifer and Janna wanted to make sure the audience is focused on the things that will enable a successful testing career! They emphasized that AI is not the evil robot coming after manual testers – their jobs won’t be substituted. What manual testers need to do is leverage these robots and focus on the “artisanal testing aspect” which can only be made by humans. Meaning, be more creative in test design and architecture and let the machine do the repetitive work.

Testing outside the box – by Jon Bach, Program Manager at eBay

StarWest Expo

Jon Bach

Jon started off by speaking about the cognitive skills of testing and how they are being threatened by two major forces: the assumption that automation can replace all other forms of testing, and the non-acceptance of lower quality by consumers. He further explained how essential it is to connect teams who work in silos, bring customer insights to light, and track risks that no one seems to make time to think about.

Jon admitted that thinking inside the box can be a good thing. Why? Because boxes – being them desks, roles, or responsibilities – are useful by helping us focus and constraining us to be more effective and productive. He gave the audience a VERY uncommon perspective in life and professional career, which definitely makes testers reflect a lot about how they want to grow in the industry. Jon also elaborated on 3 opportunities – rhetoric, increasing influence, and elevating your craft – that testers need to take into account to be more valued in the development process.

A flight plan for your continuous testing journey: transforming the traditional testing COE – a talk between Adam Auerbach, Vice President of Quality Engineering at EPAM Systems, Alex Martins and Stephen Feloney from CA technologies

StarWest Expo Speaker          StarWest Expo Speaker

Alex Martins                         Adam Auerbach

This was the first technical presentation of the day and an interesting one, at that! The two panelists, together with the mediator, addressed major issues companies face when shifting to continuous testing (CT), and why this practice is so important, yet not completely understood or adopted.

The panel sees that there is a lot of progress being made on shifting left towards CT. However, There is no magic solution that is going to get you to a CT testing practice. There is a lot of discovery to be done as part of that journey. You have to try to learn from others – hear how their journeys were and get the pieces that will fit yours.

They emphasized that business need to align people, processes, and technologies. People cannot get distracted and only focus on the tools they will use to bring more automation and CT, employees and managers also need to realize the cultural impediments these changes will bring – there needs to be a change in mindset from within the organization.

CT is more than just test automation – and the cultural aspects of the change is one of the hardest parts to overcome.

DevOps/Agile Leaders vs Laggards: New Forrester research on what software testing practices and metrics really matter – by Wayne Ariola, A recognized leader in the software testing world

StarWest Expo Speaker

Wayne Ariola

Wayne advocates that the role of QA needs to shift! No longer can testers just be these individuals in between the code and the user – they need to be between the business (business goals) and the release cycle. He suggests that testers need to defend and fight for the business, why? Because no other time in history has the interface of software become synonymous with the consumers’ brand perception. Meaning, bad software quality relates to bad consumer perception, therefore QA has to be treated as a governance mechanism to make sure the image of the company is protected.

Software Metrics Worth Measuring: Aligning business goals to quality metrics – by Adam Satterfield, Director of Testing and Quality at Anthem


StarWest Expo Speaker

Adam Satterfield

Adam shared today’s key metrics software QA teams should be collecting, how to tell the story of your data, and how to better understand different audiences within your organization to deliver insights that matter. For him, QA teams have a huge importance for businesses because they provide information on the RISK of the application that is going out to our customers. In a sense, QA helps other departments understand the risk behind every new feature and development.

As a result, it is imperative for organizations to implement a more strategic approach to quality. A strategic approach requires QA teams to gather more comprehensive data on the value of quality tasks in the delivery pipeline. And it often requires a different approach to reporting, and a focus on metrics that helps the business measure release readiness and assess overall application quality.

5 Essential elements of a successful CT environment – by Eran Kinsbruner

StarWest Expo Speaker

Eran Kinsbruner

As software development shifts left, most teams focus on continuous integration and continuous delivery and neglect the important practice of continuous testing (very bad). Continuous testing ensures that your code not only works but that it is always in sync with operations, documentation, and all the other teams involved in the deployment process. Without CT, you really can’t achieve continuous delivery.

Eran went through 5 essential components of a successful continuous testing environment and how it can help you reduce risk, improve response time, and increase velocity. They are:

  1. Build a robust continuous testing plan (Leadership), including specification of projects, team sizes, technology, metrics, and others
  2. Build the foundation for your CT plan (Dev and Test Leads), including frameworks, strategies, automation tools, and others
  3. Start small and grow – start with small projects, make sure they are stable, and grow only then grow coverage and scenarios
  4. Manage and measure your DevOps pipeline
  5. Finally, leverage reporting and analytics through smart and integrated tools

Wrapping up

From CT to boxes, automation, cultural change, and storytelling. The talks were full of content where the audience benefited from top-notch insights from some of the main industry leaders. Already thinking about attending next year? 

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