Meet UKSTAR Speaker – Stephen Janaway

Now in our Meet the Speaker Series we hear from UKSTAR Speaker Stephen Janaway.

Stephen will be presenting his session ‘Moving Into Software Management Gave Me a Different View of Testing‘ on Tuesday the 28th February at 3:30 p.m.


How did you get started in software testing?

I started my career as a developer at Ericsson but, after a couple of years of getting regularly frustrated when my code wouldn’t compile. I started helping out the testing team. Once there I realised that testing was far more interested and varied, and I could get a much better overall view of the products as a tester.

So I made the move permanently and some or all of my career since then has been testing related.


Who inspires you?

Inside of testing then I owe a lot to Jerry Weinberg, Michael Bolton and James Bach.

I spent a long time as a tester in a large organisation thinking I was doing great testing but after taking a Rapid Software Testing course I realised I still had so much to learn (And still do!). These guys have done so much to push the testing industry forward. To help us all explain what good testing means and why good testing is not just about the act of testing itself, but about the investigation and discovery process. They’ve inspired me to look at areas outside of testing, such as psychology in order to understand how we use software and how I react to it as a result.

I’m also regularly inspired by all of those within our industry who give their free time to help improve the software testing craft.

Outside of testing then, as a very keen cyclist. I’m inspired by Dave Brailsford and the work that he’s done at British Cycling and Sky with the idea of aggregation of marginal gains. We should all take time to discover where we can make those small changes that, when added up, can really make a big difference.


What do you see for the future of software testing?

The future is bright I think, but it will be different.

The age of simple manual checking is becoming rapidly left behind.  Those times we spent weeks writing test cases that most people never followed anyway is fortunately going away too.

Testing is becoming a far more investigative, information uncovering exercise. Whether that is investigating software, documents, code or processes. Testers are finding themselves in the unique position where they can help their teams to own the quality, rather than work with the misguided belief that somehow they own it themselves. Testers will need to become quality coaches and let go of more of the actual testing.

This represents a real change and together with the increase in test automation, positions testers in a far different place than before. I think as a result, that we will see less old style testers, as manual checking declines and test automation activities are picked up by developers. But those testing roles that remain will be far more embedded and critical to team’s processes than ever before. Testers will need to get better at explaining how they add value, what that value is, and why that value is not something that can always be automated.

Those involved in testing will also need to understand how to guide their own careers more. use and contribute to the external testing community more, as the traditional Test Manager roles start to decrease, as an inevitable response to the role out of agile, cross functional teams, with single managers.



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