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July 2017

Let’s Talk About Test: an interview with Dorian Meijs

In this blog series we speak to testmanagers and testing coordinators from different branches. At Testersuite we are curious about the different point of views on testing and what keeps a testmanager or testing coordinator busy during a workday. Meet Dorian Meijs, a testmanager at Koning Willem I College in Den Bosch.

Hi Dorian, can you tell more about yourself and what you currently do?

Typically I am a business economist, from 1986 I have been working in the ICT branche. I started as a programmer/analyst and from 1998 I was active in testing. Last year in september I started working at the Koning Willem I College as a testmanager. This is a ROC (an educational institute)  with over 12.000 students and more than 1.200 employees. I am tasked with organising structured testing.

You have a lot of experience in testmanagement. What can you tell us about the history of testing?

When I started back in 1984 on the helpdesk of a computing center and later as a programmer, the testing field was non-existent in the IT. It did happen, but it was different. There was no structure, methodology or plan for testing. Nothing at all. You tested how you thought it was correct. I used to collect my findings on a piece of paper. And we used to hold bets with the developers for a chocolate pastry. If we found a bug, he bought one for us. If we did not find anything, we bought him a pastry. There was no methodology, but it was a lot of fun! At other employers that I worked, I noticed that there was no structure in their testing as well. Some organisations would have a department of quality control that supervised tests and bug findings. Eventually in 1998 I found my way to Van Lanschot Banking. They were organising a test department where they used the test methodology of TMap (now known as Sogeti). It went from ‘just wing it’ testing to structured testing.

“We used to hold bets during test projects. If we found a bug the developer would buy us a pastry!”

What happened then to the role of the tester?

In the past digital development was not as rapid as it currently is. You need to act fast on a growing market, and the importance of structured and valuable testing got bigger. Since usage of ICT resources rose, it was clear we could not live without anymore. For a student it is vital to have a digital class roster. The importance of valuable testing came to the attention of a lot of people. This means that we have a high chance of risk degradation, so we need more and better testing. Usually we miss the time for extensive testing, so you need to prioritise. Automated testing can help, but before you can set that up, your testproces needs to be in order.

You work at Koning Willem I College for almost a year. How did you start there?

Testing at the Koning Willem I college did happen, but it happened on their own way and terms. There was little to no structure, it was not substantiated at all. They tested too much or too little. There was not a set way of capturing bug findings and testcases. They used Excel, Word and e-mails to pinpoint issues and notify each other about them. Testplans and release advice were not made. I was hired to professionalize the testproces.

How do you achieve that?

I try to raise awareness and get everybody moving in the same direction. I do this by giving presentations about the benefits and necessity of structured testing. I created a view on test approach, templates and I help people understand testing by practice. I use Testersuite as a testmanagement tool. At first, we only submitted bug findings for two pilot projects. Testersuite directly made an impact for us with efficiency and time gain. After that I started to implement Testersuite in small steps. At each project I looked at what was needed and what was possible. For example, on several projects we only worked with submitting findings. Other projects we worked with testcases, test scenarios and testruns.

What are the best assets of Testersuite?

Testersuite is a very user friendly tool and it works intuitively. You can directly start with it, you do not need any IT experience. Because everything is in one tool, you do not have any confusion about the status of your bug findings or work with different lists. Another pleasant element is that you can adjust it to your organisation and gradually import documents. Because it is a SaaS tool external suppliers get easy access so they view the findings that they need to solve. Users only have access to the projects that they are authorised for and can only carry out tasks that they are accredited for. An external supplier with us can only look at the findings and a projectleader can view Testersuite but cannot modify. The upload a screenshot/image feature, the rapports and the simple and clear way of running and repeating testruns is something that I value from the Testersuite tool. Even end users can handle the tool really well. The power of the tool is in its simplicity and flexibility. At the Koning Willem I College I have a large group of enthusiastic Testersuite users.

A testmanager needs to look at the test-maturity of the rest of the organisation from the top down, and can lead people.”

What are your future challenges?

I want to do a lot more at the Koning Willem I College, but we are only at the beginning. Maybe in the future there will be a special team focused on testing and automated testing is implemented. But first our testproces needs to be up to date. Right now, the people are educated properly and see the use and need of structured testing. Testersuite helps with that. But other helpful things like templates, a clear plan and good management are vital too. My challenge is to professionalise testing even more.

A lovely challenge! Are there any suggestions that you want to share with current testmanagers?

The first suggestion is that the testmanager shouldn’t be too far ahead of his team. When everybody in your organisation is still riding on bicycles, you should not decide to ride around your race car. You step onto your bicycle as well, or maybe an even electric one, or later on a scooter. A testmanager needs to look at the test-maturity of the rest of the organisation from the top down, and can lead people. If you go too fast people will lose interest. My second suggestion is that a user-friendly testmanagement tool is crucial for your approach of getting people motived. I highly recommend Testersuite if a testmanager wants to achieve this goal.

Do you have any interesting experiences in testing that you wish to share? Let’s talk!

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