In this blog series, we speak with testing professionals from various industries. At Testersuite , we like to hear the diverse views on testing and what keeps a test professional busy. In this edition of Let's Talk About Test, meet Sander Hassert, Test Professional and Independent Consultant Healthcare
"The incident culture clouds everything"
Heads up: Who is Sander?
I am Sander and I live in Den Dolder with my partner and three sons Sem (15), Loek (12) and Boet (3). My hobby is cooking and good food. You can safely say that I have a culinary background. I can often be found in the catering industry. In that respect, you could say that I have had a bad year. The same goes for my cooking club. There are six of us and we alternate between starters, main courses and desserts. One time it is Greek, the next it is Turkish, etc... But, yes, because of Corona that has stopped too.
Did you want to become a test manager in primary school?
No, that is not the case. At that time, I did not know about the existence of software testing. My father worked in a bank and I wanted to become a bank manager. So I walked around in the financial sector for a while. This was mostly IT-related. I once worked at Allianz. The management wanted to build their own administration because they were fed up with software suppliers. We sketched the design on the back of a cigar box. A Chinese development organisation in Almere helped us with this. This resulted in a straight-through-processing policy administration with links to external parties such as asset managers. For those days, at the beginning of this century, that was very fancy. That is where the foundation was laid for my further career in the testing profession.
How did you get into the testing business?
I worked at Achmea for a long time. There, I was doing more and more testing. I was mainly occupied with coordination. In other words, directing the test process. I am not a tester. I am more of a manager. Since 2008, I have been working on a self-employed basis. This involved consultancy in all kinds of areas and within numerous organisations, such as BinckBank, the pension world and Rabobank. Via Achmea, there was a real focus on IT in connection with a large migration in which I was involved.
How did you end up in the healthcare sector?
That is pure coincidence. Looking for a new assignment, I got into a conversation with Boris Corvers of Salves. That's how I ended up at RadboudUMC. That's where my first encounter with Testersuite began. We were first meeting with another party. I walked out of that meeting; I didn't think their story was very strong shall we say.
"That's because of the intrinsic motivation of the people you work with."
Why did you stay in healthcare?
I find it a nice world. That is because of the intrinsic motivation of the people you work with. You don't often find that in other industries. In a hospital, you work on the IT side with people who came from the healthcare sector and went into IT. You really notice that they still have patient care at the back of their minds. That creates a different atmosphere. A patient must be cared for safely and well, and the data must be correct. That is the core of a hospital and that intrinsic motivation among hospital employees is a very nice business ethic.
I worked for RadboudUMC for two years and it was a pleasure to work with those people. We did a good job of testing there. We introduced agile working and they still like it.
How aware is the healthcare sector of the need to test?
What you see in hospitals is that they are very alert to what is not going well and how they should solve it. However, this is very much focused on incident management. That is, of course, the core of a hospital. As a result, there is less focus on identifying risks and reducing them. If you test well, you reduce the chance of risks and errors. Then there is also less incident management.
Because the focus is on intervening in case of incidents, people are less aware that risk management should be part of the test plan. If you do that better, you are less concerned with repairing the damage you cause by not testing properly. That is a cultural thing you have to break through.
Is it true that in the health care sector, testing in the broadest sense of the word does not happen enough?
Yes, testing is often decentralised. One works per department or different EPD teams. Everyone carries out their own test(s). As a result, you miss a lot because every team works differently in an application and therefore also tests differently.
It is best to let users test only in their own knowledge area as they are used to. You then start testing more in scenario form so that they get knowledge of the process before and after. Then you create overlapping knowledge of the testing process.
An EPR system such as HiX comes out with hotfixes every fortnight. If you do not test properly, you will not find an error until 4 hotfixes have passed. Just try to pick up an error then.
How do you handle such a change in the testing process?
I have adapted this by dividing the testing into scenarios in which everyone tests from their own expertise. As I said, a hospital is broad and diverse. When, for example, Microsoft releases a new patch, you test the entire chain. But focused on that goal and that is what is often lacking. People often test without understanding the purpose of it
A test scenario can encompass an entire pathway that a patient goes through. From admission, treatment, medication, care to discharge.
"The incident culture clouds everything."
So, is there a need for a culture change with regard to testing in healthcare institutions?
Yes, let's first get the testing right and get an overview. Then you can start to put things in place and innovate. What I want to say is that if you start testing from processes, you create calm in the organisation. The incident culture clouds everything.
How do you deal with this in practice?
When I start a new assignment, I first make sure that test tooling is used and preferably Testersuite. The application Testersuite offers a test management process that you have to think about in advance. In Testersuite you create the basics first and then you bring the culture to rest. That helps you test better and really solve problems. That's sometimes a bit of a switch for healthcare organizations.
What milestones have you achieved with different clients?
At RadboudUMC, the milestone is that the quality of testing and change management has improved tremendously. In addition, the ISO certification of GLIMS was set up using Testersuite . At ZonMw, I supervised and streamlined the implementation of a new system. I look back on that with pleasure.
What role does Testersuite play for you?
If you want to operate well in a hospital, guarantee quality and maintain an overview, I will not do an assignment without test tooling. In my current assignment we are going from customisation to standard content from Chipsoft. This means that 350 tests with multiple test cases in Word and Excel are available. How am I going to secure and manage that without a good test management tool?
A critical question from the Testersuite team. Where do you see opportunity for improvement?
What you run into in hospitals are the many releases. Testersuite could play a more active role in working with standard content. Sharing content between organizations (hospitals) is perfectly possible in Testersuite. It would be even better if Testersuite facilitated that as well.
"...first understand and secure what needs to be tested".
What does the future look like for the test professional?
I do not believe that much will change. Test automation is much in demand. My response is always: first of all, understand and safeguard what needs to be tested. See through the risks that exist. Then you will see that actually nobody knows what is being tested. Testing is mainly done on the basis of release notes. As a result, nobody knows what really needs to be tested and has an overview of the testing process.
What is your advice to other test professionals?
When you test, you have to stand behind it. Go for quality and if you don't like something in a test, don't approve it. Don't be afraid to say no, that is what you are hired for. Never blindly agree to a live passage.
Anything else you want to say?