"With test management, the focus is more on quality. That is why I chose the testing profession".
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 of Let's Talk About Test, meet Ronald de Haan, test manager at Sanquin.
Heads up: Who is Ronald?
My name is Ronald, I am 48 years old and live in Veenendaal. I have a daughter of 11 and a son of 9. In my spare time, I like to go mountain biking. That is, I try to keep up with it. There are beautiful routes for cycling in our area. I also like to hike in the mountains. I once did a four-day hut hike with a friend. This has become something of a tradition and now we go hiking every year for two days at an altitude of 2,500 to 3,000 metres.
Did you want to become a test manager as a child?
No, I had not thought of that in the cradle. In my later HEAO education (Management, Economics and Law) and at previous employers, I was more on the track of Finance. By working in SAP environments and projects, I became more interested in IT.
"The most important thing is to get stakeholders on board and to establish a risk-based testing process.
But you ended up in IT?
I started working in 1997 and came into contact with SAP. This was then implemented at my first employer. My next job was at VA Tech Elin Holec. There, they had switched from BAAN to SAP. I fulfilled the role of functional administrator and key user. Within SAP FICO, I set up the entire asset module and the process surrounding it. Following that, I worked for five years as a business analyst with SAP at NUON. Again in the role of key user.
When did your love for testing begin?
Eventually you feel the need for more challenges. This is why I consciously opted for SAP consultancy at Sogeti. Actually, it was not so much focused on testing. My first assignment at Sogeti was as test coordinator at Essent Milieu. I grew from this role. In a subsequent assignment, I became quartermaster for a System Integration Testline. In about three years time I have fulfilled the role of test engineer and/or test coordinator in various projects. That is where my love for the testing profession originated.
I made a temporary move into project management, but this turned out not to suit me. You have to deal with other areas of interest. Project management is more concerned with money and time. It is a different field which I enjoyed less. With test management, the focus is more on quality. That is why I have chosen the test profession.
Funnily enough, I took the opposite route. I started from practice and substantive SAP knowledge, combined with a dose of common sense. Only then did I obtain my certifications.
You are now a test manager at Sanquin. What challenges do you face as Test Manager?
The most important thing is to get stakeholders on board and to establish a risk-based testing process. You cannot test everything in terms of time and money. That means testing based on risk. You have to be efficient with time and resources. Organising this is always a nice challenge.
How, for example, does the organisation view quality management and testing? How well is it embedded in the organisation? You work with many external parties and that can be difficult if not everyone is familiar with the quality requirements within the change and release process. Everyone needs to be aware of this. Testing is only one aspect of quality management.
"Stakeholders must be able to rely on your expertise"
So for you, testing is part of quality management?
A test manager always has an active role within QA (quality assurance). There are many factors that influence a successful test process. Amongst others, you depend on the test maturity of the organisation. The right stakeholders need to be involved from within the organisation. Everyone should see the importance of a good test process. As a test professional you always take an independent position. The stakeholders should be able to rely on your expertise and that you are able to give solid quality advice. As a test professional you advise the project manager or steering committee who will make a decision based on your advice.
What do you think the future holds for the test manager?
The traditional roles of test engineer and test manager are fading for a large part of the projects. Within an agile environment you are the team member with the cap of test expertise and focus on content. Furthermore, in the future the test manager should have more and more knowledge of test tooling and test automation. Nowadays I see the role of the test manager more as a chain director within complex IT environments because overall test management will always be needed.
What will be the future of test automation?
This is important and is becoming increasingly important. Especially if organisations want to work more agile with a short time to market. Manual testing will never completely disappear and depends on the environment you are in.
Isn't automated testing looking through a tunnel?
If you think that automated testing is going to solve everything, then the above statement is true. You need to look closely at your testing process and its maturity. How do you record everything, how good are your scripts and do you want to/can you automate everything? Is the volume big enough? You can want to automate everything, but if there is no proper ownership, everything will get bogged down after a few months. You do need to manage and maintain it. But automated testing is certainly not the holy grale.
Agile is not always the best solution. For some types of projects, a waterfall approach remains a better solution; this applies to SAP/ERP projects in many cases. An Agile approach sometimes creates islands.
"You are the quality conscience within the project".
What has Testersuite brought you so far
In my current project, we started with Defectsuite(ed: since then, Defectsuite's services have transitioned into Testersuite FREE). This provided a transparent findings process. The reports provided clarity on the number defects and severity. Because Defectsuite's service ended, we switched to Testersuite. We have now set up Testersuite . From December we will start testing. Setting up learned that Testersuite has a high ease of use and with that we were able to quickly set up the testing process in Testersuite .
I have worked with several other finding tools in the past, but the simplicity in setup and use of Testersuite makes it powerful. If you spend a day on it, you'll quickly get the hang of it. Testersuite is intuitive and very strong in preventing a complex testing process.
A critical question from the Testersuite Team, what could be better?
At this time I have no points of improvement for Testersuite. We were sorry to see Defectsuite discontinued. However, the cost for Testersuite PRO was not such a problem so we quickly switched. As a result, TS is now the first test management tool within this project.
What would you like to give to starting young test managers?
As a test professional, you must want to be the spider in the web. Knowledge of processes and the business in combination with your test expertise is of great importance to be successful. That is your most important contribution. That requires flexibility. You must not have blinkers on and want to interfere in everything. Asked or unasked. You are the quality conscience within the project.
Let's talk about test!
Do you have interesting experiences in the testing profession that you would like to share? Let us know about it! Let's talk