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Brett Gonzales – Tester of Excellence

  • 06/10/2011
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A nomination for Brett Gonzales as European Tester of Excellence 2011, received from Peter Morgan and 317 others

Brett Gonzales is a giant of the testing industry, with an impressive list of achievements. He was the driving force behind the ill-fated IQESBT Indeterminate Certificate in Software Testing, with its new exam format – multiple choice essay style questions. The first exam, in February 2008, was unfortunately hampered by operating difficulties, and the 14 candidates were perplexed by a printing error on the 7,892 page question paper, stating that the exam was 4 hours in length, and not the 4 days that they had been expecting. Thereafter, the exam-marking software was unable to cope with the multipage answer sheets, and Brett ended up marking all of the papers himself. This was very labour intensive and results were finally available in June 2011.

He has been Track Chair at EuroSTAR for 14 years, including the time that a presenter was selected that could not speak English. Fortunately Brett was able to provide simultaneous translation into both Esperanto and international sign language. His suggestion of issuing delegates with red cards, and the speaker leaving the stage if there were 6 red cards shown at the same time proved controversial, and only lasted for the one conference. This unfortunately ended the hitherto promising speaking career of 4 testers, two of whom still require daily treatment, whilst another went on to become a prominent lion tamer.

Brett was also a Track Chair in the year when insufficient people volunteered for this task. He found himself performing the role in two adjacent rooms at the same time. All worked well until the closing question section with none in either room. He therefore used those he had prepared earlier, but unfortunately muddled his questions between the two sessions. The speaker whose title was “Test Automation within Fixed Price contracts” was asked ‘What was the key success factor in implementing Software Inspections?’ In the adjoining room, the question to the “Introducing Reviews in the recycling industry” presenter was ‘Doesn’t Test Automation with bad test processes just produce rubbish faster?’

Brett is a member of the Nigerian Association of Kindred Ethernet Developers (NAKED) and was the first to achieve a distinction in the Software Testers Authentic Risk Knowledge exam (STARK). He modestly seldom includes these qualifications amongst the numerous other letters after his name, although colleagues sometimes mischievously ask “Have you seen Brett Gonzales STARK NAKED?”

This last year (2011) Brett broke his own record and had 49 submissions for EuroSTAR, including no fewer than 12 for keynote addresses. Inexplicably, none of these appear in the 2011 conference program. The quality of Brett’s previous submissions is well known in the testing community in general and to EuroSTAR delegates in particular: see articles from December 2010 [/blog/2010/12/14/the-first-submission-for-eurostar-2011.aspx] and May 2010 [/blog/2010/5/18/eurostar-submissions-%E2%80%93-the-one-that-got-away-.aspx].

Editor’s note: This is the first time that we have received an endorsement by so many for the same individual. Not only are there 7 winners of this prestigious award amongst the “317 others”, but many of those who have been EuroSTAR Program Chair have added their name to the list. Those endorsing the nomination of Brett include the total program committee from no fewer than TEN EuroSTAR conferences.

It is the policy of the EuroSTAR team to ask the Program Committee to review submissions for the European Tester of Excellence award, augmented as necessary by up to four previous winners. However, those from the same country as any person nominated are rightly excluded from the judging panel, in order to avoid the possibility of bias, as are those who proposed any candidate that year. Brett has lived and/or worked in all but three of the countries of Europe (somehow not having touched Monaco, San Marino and Lithuania in a work context). The sole contacts that EuroSTAR has in two of these countries are among the “317 others”, part of the impressive array of testers who have given their unqualified backing to this nomination. The EuroSTAR team therefore has to decline this entry as there is no-one (not even one) of an unbiased nature who can be asked to join a judging panel.

The nomination process for the 2011 European Tester of Excellence award opens on 16th September, when consideration will be given to any individual (except Brett Gonzales – for the reasons listed above). The award will be presented at the EuroSTAR 2011 Gala dinner on November 24th, at the close of EuroSTAR 2011 in Manchester.
Finally: It is hoped to have the last part of the Brett Gonzales story, “Brett Gonzales – The Final Chapter”, available in The EuroSTAR newsletter at the end of 2011 or early 2012.

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