Saturday 18 April 2015

Women in Testing who Keynote

There has been a lot of discussion recently about women keynote speakers at testing conferences. If you haven't been following along, here are some of excellent and thought-provoking opinion pieces that have been published on this topic:

As a woman, I like to see women in keynote speaking roles. I feel they are more likely to speak about experiences that I can relate to. I like to hear from my role models in the community. I feel that having women keynote speakers sets the tone of the conference as clearly welcoming for women attendees, which improves my networking experiences.

As a conference organiser, I know it can be hard to find speakers outside of our own professional network. Because we tend to feel most comfortable with people like us, our professional networks tend to contain a high proportion of people like us. If we only utilise our networks to select keynote speakers we are likely to end up with a set of speakers that is not very diverse. And I'm not just speaking about gender diversity, or simply physical diversity, but also diversity of ideas.

That said, I feel some sympathy for organisers who feel they don't know who to ask. I wanted to do something practical to help. So I've compiled a list women who are experienced speakers, many who have delivered previous keynotes, to consider for keynote positions at your next testing conference.

I have tried to offer suggestions from around the world. If these women are unavailable, or you feel that they aren't suited to your conference, they are still likely to have a network from which they could suggest other awesome women in their region. Get in touch with them to expand your horizons and those of your conference attendees.

If you are not a conference organiser but you would like to hear from these women, you could suggest them as a speakers to your local conference convener or organising panel. Be proactive. Create the change that you want to see.

Don't tell me that there are no fantastic women in testing who can keynote at your event.


Alex Schladebeck

Head of Test Consulting at BREDEX GmbH, Germany
Twitter - @alex_schl
Example Talk - EuroSTAR Conferences: What Agile Teams Can Learn From World of Warcraft

Amy Phillips

Head of Test at Songkick, United Kingdom
Twitter - @itjustbroke
Speaking History
Example Talk - London Continuous Delivery MeetUp: Testing in a Continuous Delivery World

Anna Royzman

QA Manager at Liquidnet Holdings Inc., USA
Twitter - @QA_nna
Example Talk - Software Test Professionals: Anna Royzman on Tester Awareness

Anne-Marie Charrett

Lead Test Engineer at Tyro Payments, Australia
Example Talk - EuroSTAR Conferences: Coaching Software Testers

Christin Wiedemann

Regional Manager at PQA Testing, Canada
Twitter - @c_wiedemann
Example Talk - A1QA Interview with Christin Wiedemann

Dawn Haynes

Principal Trainer & Consultant at PerfTestPlus, Inc., USA
Twitter - @dawnmhaynes
Example Talk - CAST 2013 Keynote: Introspective Retrospectives: Lessons Learned and Re-Learned

Denali Lumma

Senior Manager of Engineering at Salesforce, USA
Twitter - @denalilumma
Example Talk - San Francisco Selenium MeetUp: Keeping Selenium Tests 100% Blue

Dorothy Graham

Software testing consultant, speaker and author, United Kingdom
Twitter - @dorothygraham
Example Talk - STAREAST 2012 Keynote: What Managers Think They Know about Test Automation

Elisabeth Hendrickson

Engineering Director at Pivotal, USA
Twitter - @testobsessed
Example Talk - AgileEE 2011 Keynote: Agile Testing, Uncertainty, Risk, and Why It All Works

Emily Bache

Software Developer, Consultant, Conference Speaker, Sweden
Twitter - @emilybache
Example Talk - EuroPython 2014 Keynote: Will I still be able to get a job in 2024 if I don't do TDD?

Fiona Charles

Software test consultant, teacher, writer, speaker, Canada
Twitter - @fionaccharles
Speaking History
Example Talk - EuroSTAR Conferences: Thinking Strategically About Testing

Gerie Owen

Business Solutions Analyst at Northeast Utilities, USA
Twitter - @gerieowen
Example Talk - Belgium Testing Days: How Did I Miss That Bug? Overcoming Cognitive Bias In Testing

Goranka Bjedov

Capacity Engineer at Facebook, USA

Isabel Evans

Independent Consultant, United Kingdom
Example Talk - EuroSTAR Conferences: Working Ourselves Out of a Job A Passion for Improvement

Janet Gregory

Agile Coach and Process consultant at DragonFire Inc., Canada
Twitter - @janetgregoryca
Speaking Engagements
Example Talk - AgileVancouver Keynote: I Don't Want to Talk about Bugs - Let's Change the Conversation

Johanna Rothman

Management Consulting, USA
Example Talk - StarWest 2012 Keynote: Becoming a Kick-Ass Test Manager

Karen N Johnson

Director of Mobile Quality at Orbitz Worldwide, USA
Twitter - @karennjohnson
Example Talk - StarWest 2012 Lightening Talk

Katrina Clokie

Automation Test Coach at Bank of New Zealand, New Zealand

Lanette Creamer

QA Engineer at Sinclair Broadcast Group, USA

Leah Stockley

Independent Context Driven Testing Consultant & Trainer, Singapore

Lisa Crispin

Tester at Pivotal Labs, USA
Example Talk - Agile Testing Days 2012: Debunking Agile Testing Myths

Liz Keogh

Lean / Agile Consultant, United Kingdom
Twitter - @lunivore
Example Talk - ACE! Conference Keynote: Superheated Test Tubes and Anti-Bumping Granules

Louise Perold

Test Lead at Rand Merchant Bank, South Africa

Lynn McKee

Software Quality Professional, Canada
Speaking History
Example Talk - EuroSTAR Cofnerences: Inspiring Passion in Test Teams

Maaret Pyhäjärvi 

Test Specialist at Granlund Oy, Finland
Speaking History
Example Talk - Scan Agile 2015 - Breaking Illusions: Testing is your most valuable asset!

Maria Kedemo

House of Test, Sweden

Nancy Kelln

Owner and Principal Consultant at Unimagined Testing, Canada
Twitter - @nkelln
Speaking History
Example Talk - Interview on CASTLive 2012: Robots, Heuristics and Oracles

Parimala Hariprasad

Delivery Director at PASS Technologies, India

Selena Delesie

Management Consultant for Leadership & Agile Practices, Canada
Twitter - @sdelesie
Example Talk - Square Pegs in Round Holes

Trish Khoo

Test Engineer at Google, USA
Twitter - @hogfish
Example Talk - CAST 2014 Keynote: Scaling up with Embedded Testing

Ulrika Malmgren

Quality accelerator at Magine TV, Sweden
Twitter - @Ulrikama
Example Talk - Web5Conference: Amplify your awesomeness with testing

NOTE: If you would like to be added to or removed from this list, or have any links or details updated, please let me know via email - katrinaclokie at gmail dot com - or leave a comment below

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Testing Hierarchy in Agile

Agile teams are small. Often this means that they only include one tester - sometimes two. Though the tester should not be the only person performing testing activities, they will probably be the only person in the team with testing as a specialty.

In a large agile development organisation there will be many teams, each with their own tester(s). These testers are likely to possess a common set of skills. Ideally they will be people who can ask good questions, will work collaboratively with other team members, feel comfortable working autonomously, be capable of using tools to automate checks, and have strong critical thinking skills.

In my experience, the testers who excel in these roles are often at an intermediate level in their career. A junior tester may not have the confidence to operate independently, or the breadth of skill required to participate successfully in varied tasks. A senior tester is generally interested in leadership opportunities that aren't easily available in small delivery-focused teams, or they simply get bored and seek a bigger challenge.

This can mean that an effective and successful testing discipline within an agile organisation is relatively homogeneous. A number of different teams with the same requirements for testing may result in a pool of testers with broadly the same levels of experience and skill.

By contrast, in a waterfall development environment the test team will generally have a greater diversity in experience and skill through the use of differentiated job titles, job descriptions and organisational hierarchy. The structure in a waterfall organisation will usually dictate a clear career progression for a Junior Test Analyst to develop through to a Senior Test Analyst, a Test Lead, a Test Manager.

The absence of testing hierarchy in agile makes career progression murkier. The homogeneity of skills demanded from testing may reduce the opportunities for testers to learn from one another. So, how do you challenge agile testers to grow?

How do you support junior testers in agile?

How do you challenge testers to diversify and sharpen their testing skills?

How do you create meaningful opportunities for seniors to lead?

I have some ideas, but I am curious to hear whether others have seen similar challenges. What are your opinions or experiences with the absence of hierarchy in organisation-wide agile testing disciplines?