Richard Paterson

Richard Paterson

Company: SAS Institute

Role in Company: Head of Testing, R&D Scotland

Country: United Kingdom

Presentation Takeaways

1. A better understanding of how social phenomena can undermine confidence / knowledge
2. Techniques for how to hack your brain to lessen nerves and improve communication
3. Increased confidence in the value that individuals can add to the test community, a list of techniques and suggestions to help them, and a desire to try.

Speaker Biography

I have over nineteen years experience in testing, test management and design. I have been involved in many aspects of functional and non-functional testing of Client-Server and Multi-tier Windows, Linux and Unix systems, as well as of embedded mission-critical defence systems. In this time, I have been actively involved in process and quality improvements and have striven to improve quality and efficiency where possible. I have been involved in IIP, ISO and CMM(I) Lvl4 audits and certification proceedings. I am an internal auditor for ISO9001 (Quality) and ISO27001 (Information Security) I currently oversee a test function containing over 20 Test Analysts who are embedded within Agile teams. I'm currently working on developing capabilities in the areas of automated functional, automated security, and accessibility testing. I built this team over ten years from 3 to 20+. As Head of Testing, I lead from the back, working to support, educate and mentor testers to achieve their potential and empower them to take responsibility for pushing forward their ideas. I have worked in traditional SDLCs like Waterfall and V-model but am currently working within an Agile environment. This involved creating an agile test process which has been certified as ISO9001 compliant. I have been involved in most roles during the software lifecycle and enjoy bringing my skills to whatever position I find myself in. While my main discipline is testing, I have done a lot of design and requirements capture work and have also done some development. Recently, I have started an Application Security program to ensure that application security is considered at each stage of the application lifecycle. The focus is on designing and implementing security in from the start, rather than testing it in later in the life of the product.

Presentation Description

Software testing as a field is arguably still finding its feet, and often struggles to find its voice. The more Testing events I attend, the more concerned I become that the Test community is in danger of becoming an echo chamber for the same ideas put forth by a small minority. That is not to denigrate those people or their ideas; far from it. However, as a tester looking to improve, I want to hear new ideas or different expressions of current ideas.

I think we can accept that the test profession has lots of creative, rigorous people doing great testing and coming up with new ideas. Those ideas might not be ground-breaking, or paradigm-altering, or thought-provoking…… BUT THEY MIGHT BE. And that possibility means it HAS to be worth the risk for people to put it out there, but we need to minimise that perceived risk. We need to lower the – largely psychological – barriers and harness the potential of this hidden army. We need to support them in talking about their experiences and what they’ve learned.

My talk focuses not on the logistics of making those people heard, but rather on helping them to find their voice, and to encourage them to let it out.

There are many reasons why people either choose not to talk about their testing, or don’t even consider the possibility. I will dissect some of these, and provide ways by which people can remove these barriers. This will cover things like Imposter Syndrome, the Dunning-Kruger effect, and how to lie to your lizard brain.

Having hopefully (re)kindled people’s desire and rid them of excuses, I will discuss the ways in which people can be heard, what mechanisms they can use, how to come up with things to share, and how to leverage other testers to help them.

Even if people don’t choose to put themselves out there, my talk will hopefully let them understand more about how their brain – the one true test tool – functions, how their negative thought processes are hackable, and to become more comfortable with being a tester.