Reflections of the Diversity of Testing in NYC

April 28th, 2016 by inflectra

We had the privilege of attending the first Test Masters Academy Conference in NYC this week. The focus of the event was on Test Management Agility, with speakers providing insights from companies as diverse as Johnson&Johnson and Spotify. We thought it would be interesting to recant some of our key takeaways from the event.

Testing Requires Thought

Many people consider testing to be a 'check the box' activity, make sure all the automated tests pass, make sure all of the manual scripts have been run, 100% regression testing done. In reality to be an effective tester you need to think intelligently, assess the risks, look for what has changed, what has been missed by the formal tests. Tests are not the same as testing.

Testers Need to Get Involved

With the adoption of agile methodologies and the near certainty that agile itself will be evolving and morphing in the years ahead, testers need to make sure they are part of the conversation. Don't wait until the code is written and the plans are set, testers need to be involved in the creation of the user stories, in the pre-planning. When a new feature is discussed, ask the question - how will this be tested? Don't accept blank stares as an answer, don't accept 'that's your job Mr Tester?'

Don't Fixate on Job Titles

Depending on your methodology, company size, organization and culture, testing will be done by people with various titles, tester, test manager, qa manager, delivery manager, developer, testing coach, business analyst. It is not important who is doing the testing, it is important that real testing is being done.

Usability is Not About Bugs

When people think about usability, the often end up trying to fix every single UX bug (this text does not line up correctly on my iPhone), but there is a cost, for every time spent fixing a minor UX bug that 99.9% of users never see, is time not spent adding a desperately needed feature or improving the usability of a whole scenario. Instead of fixing that text, you could have shaved 10 seconds off the user signup process that affects all users.

Automate Intelligently

Automation is not about just pushing a magic button and suddenly all of your screens are tested and all your scripts get executed. It is about using the power of computers to automate the mindless repetitive tasks that computers do best (deploying the application, logging in 100 times with every combination of username/password).

However testing is about assessing risk, looking for patterns, expanding your knowledge of the application and using that to test the application, find the new issues that no one has seen before but are critical to the system.

Automation tests passing is a necessary but not sufficient condition to release software.

Sneak Peek of Spira 5 

In addition to the speakers and workshows, the event also was an opportunity to give NYC testers a look at Spira 5 running exclusively on iPads to demonstrate its new fully responsive user interface:

The feedback from attendees was positive and we had lots of good ideas (thanks Richard Bradshaw)  about how to better support exploratory and session based testing.

You can see the live updates on our Twitter feed (

conferences test management agility

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