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Community Spotlight Presents Derk-Jan de Grood

  • 03/05/2013
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

The Community Spotlight is a brand new feature on the EuroSTAR Blog which brings to focus those who matter in software testing industry in Europe – you, the members of the EuroSTAR Community!

We want to give you the chance to get to know more about your peers throughout Europe and share your own experiences, career highlights and some fun facts with the testing community by taking our Community Spotlight interview.

This Community Spotlight features Derk-Jan de Grood has been to 8 EuroSTAR Conferences and is also one of the 2013 EuroSTAR Community Leaders.

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1. Name

My name is Derk-Jan de Grood


2. Where are you from?

I live in the Netherlands, born and raised there.


3. Where do you work?

I work for Valori, with is a full service provider with a very strong focus on software testing and business-IT alignment. I feel quite comfortable with Valori, because it’s in the DNA of the company to focus on people aspects and putting professionals in their strength in order to get more out of the individuals as well as the teams. In my opinion that is a crucial way of working if you want testing to be successful and appreciated.


4. Can you tell us how you got involved in testing?

Like many people I kind of rolled into the profession. I recently wrote a nice blog about my ‘dream’ job (which wasn’t testing) on the EuroSTAR blog. Funny enough all the things I was loking for I found in my testers-job.


5. How many times have you been to EuroSTAR?

My first EuroSTAR was in Cologne, 2004. I was quite overwhelmed by all the people I met and information I got. I also remember telling my boss, who was with me, that I wanted to be on stage telling my test story as well. Fortunately, I was selected for the Copenhagen 2005 conference and gave my first international presentation. I think I only missed out on the 2009 conference since. I think that makes 8 in total.


6. What’s your favourite hobby?

All my hobbies are favourite, that the thing with hobbies. But when not testing, I like to play as a Barista. That’s is a fashionable term for someone that knows a lot about, and enjoys coffee. Furthermore I like to make music. I play various instruments and also like to play around in Garageband on the Ipad.


7. What would you have been if you weren’t involved in testing?

There are many jobs I could feel comfortable in. maybe that makes testing such a good profession. It is quite versatile. I is tempting to say I’d be happy as a professional Barista, but I guess I would get bored too quickly. Maybe I would have been an architect. Not software, but nice buildings. I think a lot of the skills testers need, are useful in this profession also.


8. Have you any advice to give to a young tester or someone just starting their testing career?

Do not be shy of technical stuff. Take time to learn your basics. Even when a manager is banging on the door and want you to hurry, do not get distracted from investing in your IT skills. It will pay back in the later stages of the project.


9. If you could do a project with one other tester/developer/programmer who would it be?

Hmmm.. There are many people I like to work with. It will depend on the type of project and the setting. Unfortunately the times that I could select my own dream team have been limited. But I’d love to create a team that is driven by passion for the trade, not afraid to show its vulnerabilities and ask the others for help and are creative. But than people that do not jump up and down all the time, but surprise you with completed tasks are fantastic to have in the team. Last year I wrote the Jubilee book for the Dutch Test association with a couple of Dutch colleagues. We had great fun, and I would redo this without hesitation.


10. If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you like to have with you?

A non-battery operated instrument, A good friend to exchange experiences with (or if we’d have endless time) have philosophical conversations with and a freight load of coffee


11. What has been your biggest software testing challenge so far?

Wow, there have been many challenges. Some technical some organisational. I think I find challenge in each assignment that I do. How do I know I tested all that is important? I want the organisation to change, but how do motivate the teams to go support the change. Sometimes test managers ask me for guidance with respect to current trends. Easy to give them some overview, but it is challenging to give them a advise that holds value for their situation. This week I started a new assignment as an over-all test manager. A lot that needs to be done, there is little time, high business impact if we fail and yet much to be determined. This might be the biggest challenge. But like any mountain you want it climb. Standing at the foot of the mountain, changes the perspective. Ask me again if a am nearly at the top….

Furthermore I agree with Paul Gerrard: “The toughest challenges in software testing have little to do with software (or testing). They are concerned with organisation, culture, politics and commercial interests. That is … people.”

12. Where can we find you?

Check out my blog.
Follow me on twitter (@DerkJanDeGrood) or tap me on the shoulder when you see me at a conference.

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