Well, that was fun. I just delivered a talk about Self Healing Automation (spoiler: not really, much more opportunistic and using agents to help build a dynamic locator switch statement but that's nowhere near as cool sounding ;) ). Good group, great interactions, thanks to those who attended.
The next session is with Gwen Iarussi and we're talking about how to build a Quality mindset. Gwen focused on the past forty years and how we approached quality and software delivery, how the tools and processes we used developed and grew over those decades. The challenges we face today are similar but definitely "faster". We need to consider scalability as organizations often grow quickly and what worked one year will be wholly inadequate the next. More data, more interactions, more people, more, more, more! Always more!!! With this increase in infrastructure, knowledge of tools and tooling that we had last year is out of date already (not completely but there's a lot that happens in any given year).
"The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life" -- A.R. Bernard
When we talk about replacing QA with automation, they are talking about replacing the human brain with machines. It's important to realize that machines are repetitive and exact but remarkably stupid without being told exactly what to do. Humans are slower, less prone to dealing with repetitive tasks but we can come up with so many interesting avenues. Our brains are pattern-recognition machines, in that we are very quick to catch on to patterns and then be able to anticipate what comes next.
We can learn and believe a lot of things and how we approach the way that we learn and focus on tasks gives us the impulse to succeed or to hold us back. Neuroscience has shown that we all bring unique perspectives to our interactions. Our experiences both inform how we look at our approach to quality and, likewise, how we approach testing.
Who uses our product? What is most important to them?
What is critical for my company's survival?
What tech do we need to invest in or understand what we already have?
What tools and heuristics can help me make sense of what I am seeing?
Continuous Learning is critical to success. When we stop learning, we stop progressing. Areas like Systems Thinking, Design Theory, Human Psychology, Learning about the world, Cognition Games, and Testing Disciplines/Methods are all important areas to study and understand.
Knowing these things is not enough. We have to actually know it and use it. that means we need to be at the table, "the room where it happens". In short, we need to be engaged and involved. If we are not, it's our loss.