Had fun answering some questions for the EuroSTAR Conference Community Spotlight…enjoy!
Where are you from? I grew up around Chicago IL, but currently live in Connecticut, just outside of New York after spending around 7 years in London and 2 years in Singapore.
Where do you work? Barclays Bank
Can you tell us how you got involved in testing? I think of the start of my testing “career” was when I joined a company called Spherion which had a Software Quality Management practice which specialized in testing. They had written a methodology, training, and a support network you could tap into for advice and mentoring. Their approach was basically the V-model and very rigid with lots of documentation filled with wonderful stuff like “phase containment” and test case counting. Working my up through the ranks from a test analyst, to automation engineer, to test manager, to practice director, I had to learn all that stuff well enough to go into the business-side of running a testing practice. That’s very helpful now as I know the arguments for factory style commoditized testing inside and out, as I’ve used them all!
How many times have you been to EuroSTAR? Twice, but a long time ago. I used to be more involved in the “public” testing industry as a consultant attending and speaking at conferences, etc. But around 2001-02, I became very disillusioned with the whole testing industry. Maturity models and certifications were really coming into their own then and I couldn’t articulate it then, but it really felt shallow and distracting – almost anti-intellectual. As well, the testing conference circuit is unbelievably boring with the same people saying the same things over and over and over again, so I receded from public life, stopped attending conferences and just focused on building my own teams. I think Michael Bolton has done a terrific job in putting together an incredible program for EuroSTAR this year, and I am really excited to be attending.
What’s your favourite hobby? Right now, most of my down time is spent working on the Software Testing Education Program (STEP) with a great non-profit called Per Scholas. If you want to learn more or get involved, please take a look and let me know as we could always use some help.
Have you any advice to give to a young tester or someone just starting their testing career? A good tester to me is humble, curious, honest, and knows how to construct a good argument. My advice to anyone wanting to be a great tester is question everything, read A LOT, and get involved in the CDT community. Even if you don’t subscribe to everything that the CDT community believes in, it is a great place to debate, sharpen your arguments and learn. It can be a bit intimidating at first through its reputation for rigorous debate, but I have never seen a group of people more genuinely concerned for the betterment of testers.
If you could do a project with one other tester/developer/programmer who would it be? I’m very lucky to work with some brilliant testers like Tony Hall, tester extraordinaire Iain McCowatt, Leah Stockley, Kshitij Sathe, and even Lalit Bhamare from Tea Time with Testers works for me, so I’m not short on talented people in our team, as well as training regularly with testing superstars James Bach, Michael Bolton, and Paul Holland. If I had to pick, I would say the people I would love to do some work with is Moolya and the Kung Fu Panda of testing, Pradeep Soundararajan – and we will at some point! Courage!
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you like to have with you? My wife and two sons, but if I didn’t want to strand them with me, I would have to say a copy of the complete works of Alexandre Dumas, a case of 25 yr old Macallan, and a large box of Partagas Lusitanias…might as well go out in style!
What is your favourite motivational quote? It has to be this one from Theodore Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”