Meet the Speaker UKSTAR 2018 | Viktor Slavchev

Next up in our ‘Meet the Speaker’ Series for UKSTAR 2018 is Viktor Slavchev.

 

Viktor’s profession is software testing and by that he doesn’t mean mindless clicking on UI elements, nor comparing result to predefined expected states. When he talks about testing or performing testing or teaching testing he always thinks of it as a scientific activity, process of evaluation of quality, exploration, of questioning, modeling, experimentation, risk assessment and gathering of information in general. In other words, Viktor takes software testing very, very seriously!

Viktor comes from a non-technical background – linguistics and he is very happy about that, since it provides him with a unique perspective and a lot of diverse experiences which are always something that is beneficial in software testing. In his previous experience as a software tester he was involved in many different projects related to mobile testing, testing of software products in the telco area, integration testing, test automation (even though he preferred the term “tool assisted testing”).

In general he is interested not only in the technical, but also in the scientific part of testing and its relation to other sciences like epistemology, system thinking, logic, problem solving, psychology and sociology.

Viktor is currently also a part-time lecturer in a software testing academy called Pragmatic, on topics related to exploratory testing, mobile testing and non-functional testing. In his free time he likes reading books, playing MMORPG games and practicing Japanese martial arts.

 

You can read more from Viktor on his blog: http://mrslavchev.com

Yann will present as part of a conversation session alongside Yann Person. Viktor will present his session ‘Ultimate Testing Survival‘ at UKSTAR 2018 in London.

 

1. What is your favourite testing book/blog? Why is this your favourite?

I am trying to read a lot of these, both books and blogs, I don’t think I can easily pick one favorite, but there’s for sure great books I can recommend to start with. A book that really impressed me and was one of my favorites is “Lessons learned in software testing” by Kaner, Bach and Pettichord. I think it makes a really good introduction to software testing for novice testers, explaining testing terms in understandable and simplistic manner, but also is a good refresher for experienced testers. Basically, it’s a book I’d recommend to anyone in testing.

As for a blog – I don’t really have a favourite, there’s so many of them with such a great content, but some that really make distinction and are in my “to follow list are“:

  • Michael Bolton’s blog – Michael needs no introduction, most of his posts bring a lot of knowledge and structure to testing terms that we use everyday, without putting too much thought in them, but I also love the way he invloves branches of science like sociology or critical thinking to testing, something I also like.
  • Keith Klain’s Quality remarks – Keith started this great podcast, interviewing interesting people in testing and so far it is awesome.
  • Bas Dijkstra – On test automation – I like doing automation, reading about it, but there’s so much content there that might confuse people. Bas, on the other hand, is one of the few people that’s giving a deeper understanding on why to do automation, not just the “tools and practices” low hanging fruit.

 

2. How do you keep up to date with the software testing industry?

By never being happy with what I currently know. ☺️ It’s a cliché to say how dynamic is technology, so I won’t say that, but let’s say we are bombarded with innovation everyday, so it is really hard to keep up.

On the other hand – testing is not “technical only“, it has a big part of social science-related knowledge to it. After  all,  we  are not simply producing code, we are releasing a product, we are producing something that should replace human interaction, therefore something that should make our customers happy and satisfied. This is not easy to achieve in technical means only.

So, how I keep up to date – by any means possible – I follow any possible feed of blogs in testing, I read community portals, books related to testing and technology in general – my favorite is Ministry of testing, it’s amazing how this small group of people created a portal that is so useful and keep it up to date, so in few years it turned to be an institution in the testing community.

Out of testing – I like to read books related to psychology, epistemology and sociology and make parallel how common patterns used in science and scientific research could be reused in testing.

 

3. What is the biggest misconception about testing that you’ve heard?

Misconceptions in software testing is something that I wrote about a lot and talked a lot over the years that I’ve been blogging – you can find some of it in the series Outdated testing concepts and Software testing is not… series, as well as Test automation – the bitter truth. I even made a talk for Testbash Germany called “”Worst” practices in software testing”, where I am also addressing some misconceptions about testing and mostly, people who promote practices being “the best” for any problem.

The biggest misconception, if I have to pick only one, is that testing can be and should be translated to simplistic set of instructions that anyone can “repeat” and that this is good enough to say we tested a product. Having this for granted, which many people in testing and software development do, consciously or subconsciously, we have few other misconceptions that cascade from this:

  • That anyone can do testing, as long as they follow the proper set of instructions
  • That we can automate testing completely, “end to end” and eliminate testers from the equation.
  • That we can measure testing efficiency by counting bugs, test cases and pass/fail rates and that’s the only viable source of knowledge about testing’s progress its quality.

My opinion, which luckily many other influential people in testing share, is that testing is an activity that is performed with purpose to provide information about the state of product’s quality and risks. The most common question that testers have to answer in front of their managers is: “Are there bugs in the product?“, but our managers don’t really care about bugs, some of them can even have a really loose understanding of what a bug is and that’s OK. They don’t have to care what a bug is, that’s our concern. What they are really asking us is – “Is there a risk for our product, our credibility or our customers, if we release now? Can we loose money or reputation, if we release the product in this state?” The person providing this sort of information can’t be simply anyone, following steps and executing instructions. This should be a person with expert knowledge about what quality is, how to assess risk and mostly, how to perform the needed actions to expose risks and eventual problems. And by no means this can be done by anyone or by an automated tool.

I guess you can take a look at the series listed above, for the long version of this answer. ☺️

 

 

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