Sunday 23 January 2011

The first London Tester Gathering of 2011

The first London Tester Gathering of 2011 was last week and seemed to go very well. It was pretty big, too many people for me to be able to meet everybody.

I'd arranged to catch up with some people there to talk about a few things and I didn't actually get a chance to catch up with them. Whoops.

Andy Slight did a great job in filling in for colleagues as the first person from The Test People who was going to talk couldn't and then the second couldn't either, I forget the reasons why.

He filled in by starting a discussion about testing and some of the issues which he had experienced and this lead to more discussion all around.

There were a lot of great conversations all around, I only managed to catch snippets here and there as I was doing a lot of meeting and greeting and catching up but I'm hoping a few of the attendees can add a few comments as to what kind of things were discussed.

I was talking to Nick White about job titles, I don't remember how it came up but I was quite strongly stating that I would not take a job with the title of QA as I believe it's incorrect. I think on reflection though it needs a little bit more thought because it also depends on how the organisation thinks about job titles, might be a blog post there.

The first Northern Tester Gathering was announced which is great news. It's in Nottingham on the 23rd Feburary and should be a great night.

Weeknight Testing was also announced as the next session is next week. Darren McMillan is facilitating this session and it should be a good one as they are all good.

Update: There is a picture of the sponsors details but I should also mention them here. Thanks to the sponsors for the evening:

The Test People
Michael Bolton
Steve Allott

There were a number of people there (myself included) who have attended RST and at least one who will do in April that was kinda cool.

There were a few announcements for people/organisations looking to recruit and hopefully a few responses.

Ese Oduyoye shared a few pictures taken on the night which are here.

All in all a good night which I enjoyed and it seemed like everybody else enjoyed as well.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I guess that means I won then Tony!

    It was a good chat, though I can't remember how exactly we got on to the subject, but it did bring up a good point. What is the most appropriate title for what we do?

    QA isn't quite right as you can never assure quality because there are always deadlines and there's always a point where you have to stop testing. Maybe if the A stood for analyst then that would be more appropriate; we determine whether the product or feature is adequate for release, whether technically (the code is good) or from a usability, suitability, reliability and performance point-of-view

    You were arguing the case for being a called a tester. Tester for me it too broad and too simplistic as it puts you on the list with people who simply run scripts without accountability or intelligence. I know you do a lot more than that, as does any engineer in our field...

    I think I'm going to go for a Quality Analysis Engineer as perhaps the best fit for someone who does manual testing, though I'm sure others can come up with a better term.

    Of course, the other part of my argument was that it didn't really matter as some agencies will put anyone with any related experience for a role regardless of the title...! Ultimately it's down to your responsibilities and experience that make you what you are

  3. Ah but then that comes down to your definition of a tester. I don't think a tester is a script monkey, if that is what you want then save yourself some money and hire a couple of college kids.

    To me being a tester goes much deeper than that and in fact for the most part a tester won't be using a script.

    I also would never determine whether a product is ready for release. I would provide information for others to determine whether it's ready for release because they are best placed to do so, they have the information to do so.

    I'll refer you to Michael Bolton's post too, it's a good read.

  4. "You were arguing the case for being a called a tester. Tester for me it too broad and too simplistic as it puts you on the list with people who simply run scripts without accountability or intelligence."

    Those aren't testers. Those are checkers.

    ---Michael B.

  5. Michael, I agree completely in that they are just checkers, but the term tester has become so abused that it has become the norm for people who run scripts to call themselves testers. From their point of view they are still testing functionality, albeit in an extremely basic and unintelligent form. I spend a lot of time reviewing CVs for potential candidates and it is a common misrepresentation of what the term tester should encompass. It ain't right, but it's out there and has momentum!

  6. Good hiring practices will cut through the crap.

    I'd agree with Michael & Tony on this, for me I'd be a tester always. I've no other way to describe the diverse roles I play in my team.

    A good example for calling yourself a tester is Alan Page who is a Director of Test Excellence at Microsoft. He still thinks a tester is the best word to describe him.

    Tony nice write up, hopefully we'll see some new faces on Wednesday.

  7. Note that I stepped away from my position on the Test Excellence team nearly a year ago now (long story, but the surface is covered in my blog posts from last year).

    Anyway, my business card says my job is "Tester / Thinker", and that's pretty much what I do. I tend to not worry about titles, and my feeling is that we'd be better off if that were a more popular opinion.

  8. This particular snippet is what stood out most to me in your reply.

    "Tester for me it too broad and too simplistic"

    Is it a broad term?
    Yes as it covers a multitude of unique skills unlike any other profession in our industry.

    Is it a simplistic term?
    Not at all, at least to those of us who know what a skilled tester can offer.

    I don't believe we should look to adjust our job titles to counter any bias that may exist in our industry, after all the real issue here is the (lack of) understanding about what's actually behind the title, not the title itself. Personally, I'd much prefer to simply educate those people that don't fully understand what we do, particularly those that think they know what we do, but don't.

  9. "Not at all, at least to those of us who know what a skilled tester can offer."

    And therein lies the problem; you have to know what the title actually means, rather than the title telling you what the role entails without needing further or indepth knowledge... This is why most titles are more specific and less broad as it tells you what the person actually does in a fairly succinct way. I guess for what we do it is hard to encompass that in a short title though!