This week I realized it has been ten years since my passion for testing was ignited. My career started sixteen years ago as a programmer working on telecommunications software. I quickly moved into a leadership role and was overseeing our collective product life cycle from the RFP stage with potential buyers through implementation and support. I enjoyed six years with the same company and gained tremendous insight on the analysis, design, development, testing, implementation and support of enterprise scale, integrated applications. On a whim in 2001 I decided to check out an opportunity in another city.
During the interview it became apparent that they had a serious challenge with their testing team. They were projecting significant growth to support the multi-million dollar project and needed an experienced manager to take on the team. Although this was not what I had applied for I began to seriously consider it. At this point I envisioned the greatest benefits of this opportunity to be gaining experience in a new company, in accepting my first contract role, and in the overall complexity and scale of the initiative. Never at any point in time was I overly excited about the prospect of leading a whole team of testers.
It is important to clarify that up to this point in my career testing was something the programmers were responsible for. Having programmed a great deal early in my career I knew this was an important responsibility and I had always taken great pride in the quality of my work. However, I had never worked with anyone who viewed software testing as a profession. I decided to take Test Manager opportunity and my perspective on software testing was about to be transformed.
Projections for the size of the testing team began to grow and finally settled on 30+ members. To help establish the practices of the group a local consultant specializing in testing practices was hired to partner with me. In my early meetings with the consultant I was impressed with her passion and realized how extensive the field of software testing was. In the months that followed I was surprised by the extent of the challenges facing the testing effort; from tester’s skills to management perceptions. My immersion into software testing ignited a passion for advocacy that I could never have foreseen.
For the past 10 years I have focused on the leadership and management of software testing teams and improving organizations ability to deliver valuable software. I have experienced the gamut from small to large scale organizations, minimum to extensive support for software testing, 1 person to 40+ person test teams, and waterfall to agile practices. A great deal of my energy is expended on the advocacy of context relevant software testing and quality management practices. The majority of my advocacy has been within organizations and my local IT community until 2009 when I began presenting at conferences in North America and eventually internationally.
I remain as passionate as ever about the craft of software testing and have an over arching passion for software quality management as espoused by Jerry Weinberg. My journey has been filled with immense learning and the opportunity to meet some of the incredible voices in the software testing community. I am excited to see where the craft of software testing goes in the next 10 years.