"Without a decent test management tool, I would have had to clone myself..."
In this blog series, we speak with test managers and test coordinators from various industries. At Testersuite , we like to hear the various views on testing and what keeps a test manager or test coordinator busy. In this edition, meet Bart Kuunders, project manager at Samsung SDS.
Just a heads up: Who is Bart?
My name is Bart Kuunders. I am 39 years old and live in Maasbree in Limburg. When I'm not busy with my work, I like to travel. Consider that my greatest hobby. Oh yes, and of course a passive football fan.
Travelling, fun! What kind of travel should we think about?
Well mainly travel to non-touristy places. Think of Iceland, Greenland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, etc... Nothing organised but just go and explore on your own. Looking for the hidden paths. By now I have been to about fifty countries. We try to make a trip every year. For next year, we plan to travel for three months.
"Fleeing from a herd of 40 elephants"
Then you must be experiencing something?
Yes, indeed! I was once on La Réunion, an island near Madagascar. There they have the most active volcanoes in the world. Very spectacular to see them spew. Especially when you walk up such a volcano in the dark. One misstep and it goes wrong. There are regular fatalities. But hearing a lion roar 100 metres from your tent in South Africa and coming face to face with a hyena at night is also something special. Or fleeing from a herd of 40 elephants that are heading towards you. Then you are away from your daily routine for a while. That is how you restore your balance.
Did you want to become a test manager as a child?
No! Who says yes to that? I never used to think I wanted to become this or that. I never thought about it. It was by chance that I ended up in logistics. I studied business management and graduated in Eindhoven. For my graduation, I could choose between commerce, administration and logistics. I chose logistics as the least bad of the three. In hindsight, this turned out to be a good choice. I have now been working in logistics for 17 years, 11 of which as a self-employed person. Mainly as a supply chain management consultant. That is quite a broad field. From operation management to supply chain management. Think, for example, of the implementation of a WMS like the one at Samsung SDS. In short, the entire project management within logistics. Everything from A to Z. And I do this all over the world. And there again, the link with travelling.
How did you get into IT?
Logistics and IT go hand in hand. IT is becoming increasingly important. You can devise and/or improve a process, but it must also be implemented. This means that you have a concept that needs to be tested before implementation. The bigger and more complex the project, the more intensive the testing needs to be. To a certain extent, this can still be done without tooling. I have done that in the past. But when you are testing with 25 people, like now, a tool is very important. You have to know what you are doing. This is how I came to be closer and closer to IT. I am often the link between operations and IT.
"What will we test, when and how?"
What are your testing challenges as a project manager?
Actually, it is about getting and keeping full control over the testing process. Making sure people are working on the right things. Setting priorities and keeping track of shifts. What are we going to test, when and how? In what complexity and with what depth? What devices are used in a system and how do we test them? This goes on continuously.
It may be obvious, but without a tool this cannot be done.
True, without a test management tool I would spend 110% of my time on test coordination. I would be busy with Excel, Word and shared documents. That goes well for a few days until things are overwritten, things disappear in the mail, etc. Then you spend 15 hours a day running behind the times. Then you are working 15 hours a day and you are running behind the facts.
You benefit greatly from working with a tool because you know in real time where you stand and what people are working on. Everyone makes sure their workflow is empty at the end of the day. So I have full insight into the defects on a daily basis. The follow-up then also lies directly with the right person and so you test as efficiently as possible. Whether one uses exploratory testing or the UI, everyone is forced to log defects in the same way. Testersuite solves a lot for me in that respect. It allows me to stay "in control. By customizing Testersuite to our needs, it is the perfect tool for me to meet aggressive timelines.
What are the most important milestones you have achieved at Samsung?
In Q4 of last year, we at Samsung SDS started with the implementation of a new WMS system Cello (Cello is a WMS package developed "in-house" by Samsung SDS). Firm targets were set for this. This project went live on the agreed date. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but the feedback, both internal and external, was excellent. Without a decent test management tool, I would have had to clone myself...
"I see strangely enough still a lot of 'old school' test cycles..."
What does the future look like for the test manager?
Funnily enough, I still see a lot of "old school" test cycles in the logistics industry. By that I mean testing with Excel, Word, email attachments, et cetera. Tools like Testersuite are the future because you can manage and streamline test cycles very well. At many companies where I have worked, I do not see that they are already using test tooling there. There is still a lot to be gained with a tool there. With a structured testing process, you could have avoided nine out of 10 problems in production by solving them before going live. This results in significant savings because solving problems in production is much more expensive. Testersuite forces you to work a certain way. Fuller and more efficient. You don't have to keep reinventing the wheel.
And automated testing?
If you want to go from Excel to automated testing, you have no idea what you are doing. That step is too big. You first have to grow in test maturity. If you do take that step as a company, you will either cause yourself a lot of trouble or you will have found the egg of Columbus. That is what I would like to know.
First of all, go and see what the test cases are in your project. What steps do you go through and what are the exceptions. That has to be determined by people. That cannot be automated.
Of course, there is a future in automated testing. But first you need to move away from your 'wooden-rope-Excel-test cycle' towards a proper test management process. To take this step, you need a test management tool. Then you can look at which parts you can test automatically. And don't forget that automated testing also costs maintenance and management.
A critical question from the Testersuite team, what could be better?
In the preliminary stage, you can customise according to your own needs. That is great. However, the customisation is not yet sufficiently reflected in the reports. It would be nice if you could also use your own fields in the reports. The standard reports look nice but are just not enough in that respect. It would help me as a test manager if this were to be changed.
(Editor's note: A completely new dashboard will be rolled out at the end of June 2019. In it, the custom fields can also be used. A new version of the reporting module will be released after the summer in which this is also the case).
Anything else you want to say?
I am very happy that we chose Testersuite at Samsung SDS. It has brought what we had in mind. It is supported within the organization and all employees see the benefits.
Do you have interesting experiences in the testing profession that you would like to share? Let's talk!