So, while one of these futures scares a lot of testers, the other one is encouraging them to learn more about their craft. In the light of the new software development, we will have to find our spot. It will no longer be possible for a tester to hide behind test-case templates or foster following a test plan document only to find out that the product is unusable for everyone. I still think that testing is disrespected by others involved in software because there are too many out there who do a terrible job at it.
So, to answer your question, I don't see a specific role in software craftsmanship for testers, but I see the great value that we will bring in teaching and mentoring in the years to come. I see hope in the aspiring generation of software developers—that includes programmers and testers.
Zeger van Hese: Speaking of teaching and mentoring, you're doing your fair share of teaching and mentoring testers. What are your biggest challenges in that?
Markus Gärtner: My biggest challenge in teaching and mentoring testers right now is that I don't know what particularly I do that helps other testers grow. There, I said it! And, it's a fact. I do some things that help other people while others refuse to listen to me. Of course, this is all right. I don't listen to anyone else on the street either. While writing this, I started reading Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. I haven't read too far right now, but what I understood is that I seem to be doing something intuitively right.
I notice what I have done with [software tester] Michael Larsen: I left him alone, encouraging him whenever he needed it, but I kept out of his way whenever he was doing the right thing—whether I believed in it or not. That's what I try to do with most testers right now: Keep out of their way. Unfortunately that's a terrible business model to start with.
Zeger van Hese: You'll be giving a workshop called "Beyond Testing" at CAST and Eurostar this year. Any thoughts on that?
Markus Gärtner: I look forward to both conferences. At EuroSTAR I really look forward to what I enjoy most about conferences: the networking (and the beer in the evening). When I am among other great testers in our industry, most answers come to me easily.
"Beyond Testing" is based on some nuggets that I found fruitful for testing. Long ago, I started digging into other topics than testing wisdom—topics like complexity science and psychology—and I found some pieces that are not very well known among testers. I see a lot of value in these fields, and I think we can learn a lot by combining these with our profession. That's what the workshop will be about: complexity science, psychology, and how we can relate that to our daily job in testing.
Zeger van Hese: Thank you for the chat, Markus.