Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Shifting to Quality Engineering - STP-CON 1 1/2 Handed #LiveBlog

Melissa Tondi is leading off with a keynote discussion about Quality Engineering (QE) and what it specifically means. QE is a mindset and an attitude.

These components help to make this shift:

- explicit and implicit info gathering
- tools and tech to craft a solution
- executing to the solution

Some interesting things to consider:

Ever individual owns the quality of the work they produce. They do NOT own the quality of the overall project. In short, we can only guarantee quality in the areas that we have direct control over.

Some changes are already happening, and there's a definite debate as to their validity:

- testing is not dead, but it is certainly changing.
- automation will not replace all testing, but it is a huge plus for the mind-numbingly repetitive tasks.
- AI and Machine learning will make testing irrelevant (I'm not holding my breath on this one at all ;) ).

Some of the shifts that I have seen in the testing world are moving from an ad-hoc approach to an ISO 9000 specific standardization. Good or bad, that was a change I lived through and I found some of it useful and a lot of it needless overhead. Later, I worked in much smaller teams where such an approach was complete overkill. Needless to say, I adapted to what those organizations needed. Technologies that were part of my everyday test environments (virtual machines, scripting languages, etc.) morphed into actual production environments. Agile became a mantra and something everyone said they advocated and championed, but actual implementation was wildly different in each company.

The point is that every year has given me something new to look at and consider. Every year some different approach has taken precedence and grabbed people's attention. I have been an enabler of good things and some dumb things as well. The key is that we can make the choice as to what we put forward and what we want to contribute to the process.

Some areas that we can make improvements and helping to make a QE shift are:

- showing our value
- putting ourselves into the circle of influence
- leveraging technologies and taking advantage of them
- locating inefficiencies and figuring out how to reduce them
- owning our own quality and letting other people own theirs
- stay curious, look for the implicit information and help make it more explicit.

Another good point Melissa makes and that I agree with is that this shift is more than just changing our work environment, but the broader community that we are part of. while it may not be practical for everyone to be a speaker or content creator, everyone can help change and build the narrative at a broader level. Engage with your broader testing community whatever and wherever it may be.

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