I recently attended a women’s conference with the theme “What is your Legacy?” Before I get back to my onboarding new testers series I am writing a few postings on testers who I believe are leaving a legacy in the testing field. It is important to understand that you do not need to be a consultant or own your own business to make a difference. Testers in the trenches can influence change not only in their organizations but also in the testing community. In part one I discussed a few testers that I admire for different reasons. Of course this is an endless list as each of us will admire different leaders. There are many well known leaders such as Cem Kaner, James Bach, Michael Bolton, and many many others. But my focus is more on the testers in the trenches and how they are leaving a legacy that have inspired me! I hope that you realize that everyone can have a legacy. Today I am sharing a few more testers. And think about your legacy – how will you be known – and how are you known presently?
I became acquainted with Darren through Twitter and was immediately impressed with his approaches for challenging how testers approach problems. He would tweet asking if anyone was interested in participating in a testing challenge that he was facilitating with his team. Different problems were identified such as “the world could end in 5-minutes” and “testing the future”. Testers would have a time-box to complete the assignment and would provide how they approached the problem, then Darren would meet with them and create a mind map with all the solutions and ideas. You can find his challenges on his website. I have used these challenges as part of my training program as they are a fun way to learn and you will find where you fall into thinking patterns that need to be broken. Plus it shows the power of teamwork over individual, silo testing. As a team we are stronger by bringing together different ways to approach the same problem. I remember when Darren started to blog about using mind maps to write test plans, test ideas, and test cases. It was very interesting to me since it was a lean way to capture information and visually was easy to read. He wrote about mind mapping in Tea-time With Testers and I found an opportunity to use them in test planning and execution. What I witness was testers around the world adopting mind maps as a way to plan and manage the complexities of testing. I don’t know if Darren realized the impact he would have with his blogs and articles but imagine if he did not blog about his ideas with fear they would be rejected.
Michael Larsen is an endless supporter of the testing community. He is a Black Box Software Testing (BBST) instructor. BBST is a challenging software testing program that I have not yet attended since it is always filled before I have a chance to enroll. My understanding from Michael and from the BBST website is that it is a blended learning approach using videos lectures, quizzes, different homework assignments, and a final exam. The homework and the exam are peer-reviewed. Every participant in the course reviews work submitted by other participants and provides feedback and suggests grades. What I really like about this approach is that you demonstrate your skills through various activities and at the end of it if you pass the course it really means something! Michael also maintains his own blog with interesting postings from book reviews, software testing techniques, and information on conferences. I love Michael’s book reviews because it has helped me identify books for my testing team. Michael also is a facilitator of Weekend Testing Americas and as the chapter has grown more facilitators have been added. I do admire how much Michael gives of himself to the Testing Community and his own beautiful family.
Elisabeth has extensive experience as a developer, tester, manager, and quality engineering director in a variety of companies ranging from small startups to multi-national enterprises. You can learn more about her through her Test Obsessed blog. I love her book Explore It! Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing. It is a small book in size but it is packed with valuable information and you only need to read a few pages to be inspired on how you might approach a testing problem differently. This is a great book to be part of your journal club to slowly work through the material to determine how it influences your testing and how you view testing. Take your time and do not rush the reading. Instead read a few pages and let the information sink in before moving on. I also love her book There’s Always a Duck. It is a collection of her postings from blogging and other places she published. It is a great collection of stories and information spanning her 15-years of writing. I love how she brought together this information in an e-book format making it easier to read and locate information. Elisabeth is a gifted writer and both books are important contributions to the testing community as they hold a wealth of information based upon her experiences.