In gesprek met Dorothy Graham

Speciaal voor heb ik een aantal vragen gesteld aan Dorothy Graham. Dorothy heeft meer dan 30 jaar ervaring in softwaretesten. Ze komt oorspronkelijk uit de Verenigde Staten en haar eerste baantje was het ontwikkelen van testtools. Nadat ze was geëmigreerd naar Engeland werkte ze zeven jaar als ontwikkelaar en samensteller van trainingen voordat ze verder ging als onafhankelijk consultant. In 1988 richtte ze Grove Consulting op en in de 20 jaar die volgde bouwde ze met Grove een uitstekende reputatie op. In 2008 verliet ze Grove om weer aan de slag te gaan als onafhankelijk consultant. Dorothy was Programme Chair van de allereerste EuroStar conferentie in 1993 en ook van de afgelopen EuroStar in Stockholm. Ze is mede auteur van de boeken “Software Inspection”, “Software Automation” en “Foundations of Software Testing”.  Dorothy is een wereldwijd veelgevraagd spreker voor conferenties en evenementen. Ze ontving in 1999 de European Software Testing Excellence Award. Hieronder staan de vragen die ik aan Dorothy heb gesteld en haar antwoorden. 

1. Was EuroSTAR 2009 how you expected it would be, or more?
EuroSTAR 2009 was even better than I had expected, and I had high expectations! I have heard good feedback about the presentations, and the admin works like clockwork! The EuroSTAR team think of everything and ensure that the conference runs smoothly. We were very pleased that so many people attended, especially in the current economic climate! My favourite track presentation was the SuperTesters – they were fantastic! I was also very pleased to see and hear about people connecting with people. Wandering through the expo at coffee time one day, 2 people said they had just introduced themselves to each other. Someone else said that the conference had a nice friendly atmosphere – I was very happy about that. The white-boards also worked much better than we expected and proved an interesting focal point. 

2. In what way is the test community changed between the two times you were Programme Chair?
One thing that it hasn’t changed is that friendly atmosphere – I think this has been a characteristic of testers since the first testing groups I have encountered. Maybe it’s because testers used to feel a bit out of the mainstream and under-appreciated at work – when they come together and find that others are in the same boat, it’s great. I think it’s really good when people who are competitors are still on good terms personally with each other, and I don’t think that happens a lot in other disciplines. Of course the things we are testing have changed a lot in the past 17 years! No one would pay €5000+ for a black and white screen computer with 40MB today! The proliferation of consumer devices, from mobile phones to games to book readers has been a big change, and these all need to be tested. Applications and environments are far more complex. I wonder what things will be like 17 years from now? The biggest changes to the testing community are that there are many more testers around now, and testing has become a respectable profession with its own qualifications and career paths. Choosing a career in testing was still rather a novelty in 1993! 

3. Where there any new innovations or ideas presented at EuroSTAR 2009 of which you think can become a success?
 Lee Copeland pointed the way for many new innovations in his keynote. Perhaps the most significant will be testing in the cloud and crowd-sourced testing. Testing in agile projects was a popular subject. In terms of the conference itself, I think the Test Lab was the most significant innovation in the programme – thanks to Bart Knaak and James Lyndsay who did all the work for that! Starting on Tuesday with all mini-tracks was an interesting experiment – I will be interested to hear what people thought of that. 

4. Is this the right format for EuroSTAR or should there be changes to keep the conference attractive and innovative?
I think the current format works well – it has changed slightly over the years. It was a shame that the Gala Evening had to be cancelled this year, but the current economic climate meant that it couldn’t be justified financially. Let’s hope it’s back next year! The EuroSTAR team will take note of the feedback from the evaluation forms, and I’m sure that next year’s Programme Chair, John Fodeh, will have some great new ideas too. 

5. What’s next? What are your plans?
 I am currently working on an update to the Software Test Automation book with my co-author Mark Fewster. We plan to publish a book of case studies first, and then to update the “how to automate” part of the book. (There is information on my web site if anyone reading this may want to contribute!) I now consider myself semi-retired, and plan to be at home (working on the book) for the next couple of months. I do enjoy speaking at conferences and events, and have a few of them lined up for later in the year. I also enjoy singing, and look forward to concerts with my choirs and small groups, including Bach’s B minor Mass in February. 

Dorothy Graham
software testing consultant, speaker and author
Programme Chair for EuroStar 2009