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Alexandru Rotaru’s Community Choice Submission

  • 02/05/2012
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

alex-roturu-small_160x151Presentation Title: Going Against the Stream

Company: Altom Consulting

Country: Romania

This is the story of my software testing company’s challenges over the past 3 years, of the testing experiences I’ve had and the changes I’ve made when it comes to my overall approach to software testing. Working with both clients and potential employees that know all about “best practices” in software testing and offering offshore testing services when most of our potential customers think that
our only advantage is our price might have been sometimes frustrating, but it has also been enlightening. This is the story of my company’s struggle to resist the temptation to cut corners ‘just this once’ and the lessons I’ve learned from this experience.

I have a peek at a concrete story of a shift from scripting to exploratory testing acquiring insight on the importance of context and the need to reconsider the concept of “best pract the importance of continuous learning and of keeping an open mind.


One year ago, Petteri Lyytinen, one of the co-authors of “How to Reduce the Cost of Software Testing”, told me a story about his visit in Romania in the early 2000s: a friend of his that barely spoke English tried to describe Petteri the situation of the country, and came up with the following phrase: “Old man, no change, very much problem!”. When I heard this, I immediately realized that this guy, even if he spoke so little English, was able to give him a very accurate description of those times.

Several days later, while talking to Ru, one of Altom’s co-founders, it came to our mind that most of the problems we encountered while working as testers on different projects in Romania, Finland or UK could have been described using the exact phrase! Even if Software, and especially testing, is a young industry (at least in Romania, but I think also in Europe), there are people that have an “old man attitude”, that are reluctant to change and try to build software as if they were in a factory producing consumer goods.

I had, more or less, the “old man” attitude before starting Altom: scripted testing, quality gatekeeper, mindset on documentation, talking about best practices and standards. While xworking on different projects, with different companies, we realized that this approach didn’t work for us very well, and that we had to adapt in order to survive as a company during the economic crisis.

There are lots of books that talk about change. Personally, I believe in the power of one: if we want to change the perception on testing and how it is approached, each of us should do something about it. Each of us should analyse their work, reach out to the testing communities to see what others are doing, then think about how they could improve their work and act on it.

This is what we have tried to do at Altom, and this is what my talk is going to be about: the challenges we encountered, and the changes we made to move away from this main stream of “old man” attitude, in order to enjoy our work more, to learn more about testing and to provide more valuable information to our clients.

I co-founded a software testing company because I wanted to get better at testing, and I feel that I’m doing that. If you want to know more about the path that took me to this point, then vote for my presentation!

I discovered testing in 2005, but only in 2008, when Altom was founded, I began to be more and more interested in how to get better at it. Co-managing a service providing company for the last 3 and a half years has been a great learning journey which helped me better understand the tester’s role as a service
provider for the project / product team, and also made me want to be more effective in my testing.

I am one of the cofounders of “Tabara de Testare”, a Romanian software testing community that aims to provide a context where testers can exchange and challenge their ideas, and learn from each other.


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