How did I wake up and tried to awaken the testers at my company?

On the first week I started to work as a software tester I looked around on wikipedia on the subject, it didn’t touch me too much. I might have been just too new to the field to resonate.

After a year I found a reddit jobfair thread and from there the software testing/quality assurance subreddit, but it seemed to technical to me at the time. No talk on the softer skills.

Then after two years into my current job I googled software testing. I regret not remembering the motive behind this exactly, but this way I found the most popular video, the open lecture one from James Bach from Estonia.

I then, of course, quickly identified the Context-Driven guys. They resonated with me very well, because I have a non-IT background (sociology) and never went near the ISTQB. Until then I thought I’m a second-class citizen in the society of the testers.

My real interest in testing sparked when I realised that we build something and then even we forget it’s behaviour. And then everyone comes to the tester when they want to see the bigger picture. When I realised that the developers are not necessarily smarter than me. And they also don’t know what they have built.

After reading up and virtually talking to the testing community out there online for a good half year, I thought it’s time to talk to my own colleagues and see if we have things to share. Here is how I went about it:

I thought starting out with a video, something to watch then talk about would be efficient to see where we are. Most of the testers around me are older and I felt that I have nothing new to tell them (yet) and don’t yet have enough self-confidence.

So I almost shitted my pants a few times on the way, but I got out there and in a span of two weeks I talked to every tester at my company (12 person out of 70) and everyone’s direct superior. I asked the testers if they would feel like watching a talk on testing during working hours and asked the superiors if they would allow it. No one said outright no, but also no one asked what would be it really about after I described the video in a few sentences.

Three days before the screening I sent out an e-mail only to the testers to remind them and booked the room for 15 o’clock on a Friday. No team had nothing to ship that day. That’s a perfect time for a laid back session before the weekend, right? I didn’t order pizza. That was a mistake? 3 out of the 12 people came (plus me). We watched James Bach’s CAST keynote from 2014, we laughed a bit, talked about ISTQB, a bit about our role, it felt great actually talking about testing after two years at my company.

Not too much has followed unfortunately. I looked for videos that are similarly to James’ video is a good and entertaining video and general enough talk on testing. Any recommendations?

Few weeks later I invited everyone to a local meetup, organised by the local ISTQB (they are the only ones in Budapest who do something), no one came with me, and then I got a pretty good testing challenge (where the expected result from me that a Web UI should behave as “used to” after a major refeactoring), started a conversation about it through the emails I collected, but no answer came, even from the colleague on my team.

Now I’m stuck – I talk with two other colleague in the organisation about testing, just sit next to them and talk through some current issues, giving each other test ideas. One of them has just left.

Not so long ago we had an all-office meeting where one of the developer didn’t know what the sales team is doing. That gave me an idea to prepare a set of slides to talk about testing to other roles in the company. It should be about our day-to-day work, but also a general talk. Or should it be some kind of workshop? Some kind of fun and interactive way showing the mindset of a tester? Any input on this would be much appreciated. I’m hoping it will help the other testers to respect themselves a bit more.

This is where I’m now. We shall see.

UPDATE: Not too long after finishing this post I quit my job. My journey in shaping a testers community at my company has almost nothing to do with it.

Lead picture from James Lyndsay’s Black Box Puzzles (puzzle 6a).