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 occupies a test manager or test coordinator. Meet Dorian Meijs, test manager at the Koning Willem I College in Den Bosch.
Dorian, can you tell us more about yourself?
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.
You have quite a few flying hours in test management. What can you tell us about the history of 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 !"
What was the role of a tester?
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.
You have been at the Koning Willem I College for almost a year now. What did you find there?
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.
How do you make the testing process more professional?
I try to create awareness and get all the noses in the same direction. I do this by giving presentations on the usefulness and necessity of structured testing. I also set up a vision and test approach, create templates and help people in practice. I use Testersuite as a test management tool. Initially we only laid down 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 needed and what is possible. A number of projects only work with defects and a number of projects also use test cases, test scenarios and test runs to prepare and execute their tests.
What are the benefits of Testersuite?
Testersuite is very user-friendly and intuitive. You can work with it almost immediately, even if you don't have an 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. Another nice thing is that you can customize the setup for your organization and that gradual input is possible. Because it is a SaaS tool, we can give external suppliers easy access so they can pick up the defects they need to solve. Users only have access to the projects they are authorized for and may only perform the tasks they are authorized to do. So an external supplier is only allowed to pick up defects and a project manager is only allowed to view issues and not mutate them. What is also experienced as pleasant is the easy way to add 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 get along well with it. The strength of the tool lies in its simplicity and flexibility. I have a large group of enthusiastic Testersuite users at the Koning Willem I College.
"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".
What are your challenges for the future?
I want to do a lot more here at Koning Willem I College; we are only at the beginning of an improvement project. Perhaps a special test team will be created in the future and, where possible, test automation will be deployed. But first the testing process has to be in order, the people sufficiently trained and aware of the usefulness and necessity of structured testing. Testersuite helps with that, but also good templates, a clear approach, good management and timely involvement of the test team in the projects. So my challenge is to further professionalize testing here.
A great challenge! What tips would you like to give to current test managers?
The first tip is that a test manager should not go too fast. If everyone in your organization is still cycling, you shouldn't be riding in a race car. You should ride along, maybe on a road bike or an electric bike, and later maybe on a scooter. A test manager has to look at the test maturity of the rest of the organization, is just a step above it, and can then bring people into this. If you go too fast then people will drop out. My second tip is that a user-friendly test management tool is indispensable to strengthen your approach and get people on board. In that respect, I really like Testersuite.
Do you have interesting experiences in the testing profession that you would like to share? Let's talk!