What do you think, are there any real heroes in the field of software testing? Are there people you admire as an expert in testing? I think that everybody has his own examples, a (rol) model he or she will look up to. Are there people you follow via Twitter for these reasons? This can be caused by different things. You like the style of presenting, writing, the knowledge somebody has or other things.
What can we learn from each other? What can the new generation of ‘heroes’ learn from the older generation? But more important how can the group of old heroes hand over their information? There are differences between those two groups as you can read in this post.
This post is the follow up of a discussion I had (via the old traditional email) with Jan Jaap Cannegieter. He wrote an article in the Dutch newsletter of Testnet.org (click here and go to the 5th page for the Dutch article). (Our friend Google can help you with the translation)
TestNet is a Dutch organization for testers in the Netherlands. You can find their site here. It’s a Dutch organization with more than 1500 members from the Netherlands that are all testers.
I can summarize this article in a couple of questions:
- Are there new (young) heroes in the testing field in the Netherlands?
- If there are new heroes, where are they?
- How can is occur that these old heroes do not know who the new heroes are?
My answer is short: there are new heroes! But, you have to search at other places to find them. People that read this and other blogs are already searching at the new places. But there are a lot of test expert (at least in the Netherlands) that aren’t reading blogs or other types of media.
Before we give an answer at the questions of Jan Jaap, let’s point out the differences between these two groups.
Differences between old and new heroes
If you don’t agree with this table let it know, so I can make a better one. The better quality we have, the better answers we can give at the questions of Jan Jaap.
|Write books||Write blogs (video’s/podcasts/twitter/social media)|
|Read books to gather information||Read blogs to gather and directly share (and other new media)|
|Use email for question, 1:1||Use twitter for question, 1:N|
|Use conferences to spread information||Use twitter to spread information|
|Face to face meetings to work on projects||Tools like Google Wave SocialText to collaborate|
|Do research before they write/speak||Read one or two blogs and have their opinion|
|Are grouped around the test expertise in common||Are grouped around topics like: usability testing, game testing, testing augmented reality|
|Visit /speak at test conferences||Visit speak at conference that are about all different test topics, and have a test part.|
|Same people||Other people per topic|
I realize that some of these statements are from an extreme point of view. And I know that there are a lot of people that are old heroes that are for example using the new media. But as Jan Jaap says, there is a large group that isn’t aware of this new generation.
What the old generation can learn from the new one
- There is more than only traditional test conferences, send proposals to other types of conferences to share your knowledge in these branches.
- Use blogs/videos/podcasts to share your knowledge to the new generation they don’t read books anymore.
- Use the power of the crowd, feel free to ask questions to the world, and see what they answer you (for example Twitter, forums and LinkedIN).
- Use open source and freeware tools (ignore the advertisement) to share an collaborate, mechanisms like Google Wave, Google Docs, Mindmeister.com are very useful and free.
- Search for the younger generation, they need your knowledge to do a good job in the less traditional testing branches like game testing, security and usability testing.
- Give new speakers a chance at test conferences, give them a speaker slot even if you haven’t heard about them in your world.
- Combine new and fresh ideas with the old testing stuff that hasn’t changed the last 15 years (my older colleagues always say: there is nothing new, we’ve already done this for 15 years).
What the new generation can learn from the old one
- Do some real research before you write and publish an article/book/post or something else. Compare researches with each other and create your opinion about a topic.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel again for other branches, what the old heroes have written is useful (with a small translation) for new branches.
- If you write a blog post, write down the pro’s and con’s of a certain topic. Often you only see the pro’s of a topic in posts.
- Read books and articles in traditional magazines, however nothing is new as the old heroes says, it is often useful information.
Dear Jan Jaap,
In my opinion there are for sure new heroes in the testing field, but we have to look further than only our traditional testing conferences. My suggestion for the next events (for example the TestNet autumn event) to the board is: make a program with people that haven’t spoken at an earlier Testnet event or Eurostar conference. However I think we’ll see more and more new speakers at the TestNet events.
And other suggestion is to introduce coaching/mentoring (of course only digital) to spread the knowledge between those two groups.
Start a blog, make a Twitter account, Google Wave, LinkedIN account, to receive and share knowledge. If you do this, realize that it takes some time (a year for example) before you will experience the real profit from it.
Please let me know what you opinion is about this topic (so we can learn from the old heroes)!