In this blog series we talk to 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. Meet Dorian Meijs, test manager at the Koning Willem I College in Den Bosch.
Originally I am a business economist but I have been in ICT since 1986. First as a programmer/analyst and from 1998 in the testing profession. Last year in September I started as test manager at the Koning Willem I College. This is an ROC with over 12,000 students and more than 1,200 employees. My job is to set up and organise structured testing.
When I started in 1984 on the helpdesk of a computer centre and later as a programmer, the testing profession did not yet exist at all in IT. It did happen, but it was different. There was no structure, method or test plan. Nothing at all. You tested as you thought you should. I kept track of my defects on a sheet of paper. We made bets with the developer for a Bossche bol. If we found a defect , he had to treat us. If we didn't find anything, we had to treat him. There was no method, but it was fun! There was no structured testing at the other employers either, although there was sometimes a quality control department that monitored what was built and reported back 'defects', but everything was done to the best of my knowledge and belief. Eventually, in 1998, I ended up at Van Lanschot Bankiers. They were seriously setting up a test department there, using the TMap test method. It went from 'you just do something' testing to structured testing.
"We used to have bets on testing. We got a Bossche bol from the developer if we had a defect !"
In the past, development was slower, nowadays it is very fast. You have to move quickly with the market and the importance of good and structured testing is increasing. That importance eventually came to everyone's attention, also because the use of ICT resources kept increasing and now we can't really do without them anymore. A digital timetable, for example, is indispensable for students these days. This means more chains, more risk of failure and therefore more and better testing. There is often not enough time to carry out extensive testing, so you have to prioritise. Automated testing can help, but before you can use that, your test process has to be in order.
Testing did take place at the Koning Willem I College, but each in its own way. There was often little or no structure, not substantiated and often too much or too little testing took place. There was no uniform way of recording defects and test cases. Excel, Word and e-mail were used to record matters. Test plans and release advice were not made. I was hired to professionalise the test process.
I try to create awareness and get everyone on the same page. I do this by giving presentations about the use and necessity of structured testing. I also set up a vision and test approach, make templates and help people in practice. I use Testersuite as a test management tool. At first we only recorded defects for two pilot projects. Testersuite immediately improved efficiency and structure and saved time. After that, I continued to use Testersuite in small manageable steps. For each project, I look at what is necessary and possible. A number of projects only work with the registration of defects and a number of projects also use test cases, test scenarios and test runs to prepare and execute their tests.
Testersuite is very user-friendly and intuitive. You can work with it almost immediately, even if you have no ICT background. Because everything is in one tool, you no longer have any confusion about the status of defects or people working with different lists. It is also nice that you can adjust the setup to your organisation and that gradual input is possible. Because it is a SaaS tool, we can give external suppliers easy access so that they can pick up the defects they need to solve. Users only have access to the projects they are authorised for and are only allowed to perform the tasks they are authorised to perform. So an external supplier can only pick up defects and a project leader can only view issues and not make changes. What is also experienced as pleasant is the simple way of adding screen prints, for example, the beautiful graphs from the reports and the clear and simple way of performing and repeating test runs. Even end users can work well with it. The strength of the tool lies in its simplicity and flexibility. At the Koning Willem I College I have a large group of enthusiastic Testersuite users.
"A test manager looks at the test maturity of the rest of the organisation, stands one step above it and can take people with him".
I want to do a lot more here at the Koning Willem I College, we are only at the beginning of an improvement process. Perhaps in the future there will be a special test team and, where possible, test automation will be used. But first the test process must be in order, the people must be sufficiently trained and must be aware of the usefulness and necessity of structured testing. Testersuite helps with that, but so do good templates, a clear approach, good management and the timely involvement of the test team in the projects. My challenge is therefore to further professionalise testing here.
The first tip is that a test manager should not run too fast. If everyone in your organisation is still cycling, you should not be driving a racing car. You should join them, maybe on a racing bike or an electric bike, and later maybe on a scooter. A test manager should look at the test maturity of the rest of the organisation, be one step above it and then take the people with him. If you go too fast, people will drop out. My second tip is that a user-friendly test management tool is indispensable to reinforce your approach and to get people on board. In that respect I am very happy with Testersuite.
Do you have interesting experiences in the testing profession that you would like to share? Let's talk!