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Community Spotlight Presents Jan Jaap Cannegieter

  • 07/03/2014
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

The Community Spotlight is a 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 Jan Jaap Cannegieter. Jan Jaap recently released an eBook called Situational Testing for the EuroSTAR Community.

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1. Name

Jan Jaap Cannegieter. Officially my first name is Herman but everybody calls me Jan Jaap. And nobody knows why, not even my parents…

2.Where are you from?

The Netherlands

3.Where do you work?

At SYSQA B.V., a contracting and consultancy firm with 180 employees, specialized in requirements, qualilty assurance, testing and process improvement. With our services we bridge the gap between business and ICT and make sure ICT-projects are successful.

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

My first testing I did in projects in which I implemented ERP-systems at local government organizations. We didn’t call this testing but checking, verifying, making sure it works or judging whether this was what the users wanted. It was highly unstructured but I loved it. Then I found out there where actually companies specialized in this!

After a couple of years in testing I moved on to quality assurance and later process improvement, especially CMMI. About 10 years ago I specialized in requirements but never really left testing. In the last 5 years I spent about 50% of my time in testing an 50% in requirements. I love both disciplines just as much.

5. How many times have you been to EuroSTAR?

Four times, three times in The Netherlands, once in Manchester. On two of these occasions I was a speaker; once in Manchester, once in The Netherlands.

6. What’s your favourite hobby?

Football, reading, writing, astronamy and watching movies. I wrote 10 books about QA, process improvement, testing and requirements and I hope to publish my first thriller this year. I play football, I train the team of my 10 year old daughter and often go to matches of my favourite teams; Ajax and Almere City FC. Next month I’ll go to a match of Schalke 04, in Germany with three friends. That will be the days!

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

Requirements analysis would be the logical answer, but that doesn’t have to be it. Right now I’m a Scrum Master and Delivery Manager at a highly technical and innovative company; DinamiQs ( They develop and deploy a virtual desktop platform. Very complex, state-of-the-art technology and a very energetic team. I think working in a project, with a small, enthusiastic team is my cup of tea. But it even doesn’t have to be ICT. Deadlines, working together to achieve results; that makes my heart beat!

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

Working 10 years in a discipline doesn’t mean you have 10 years of experience. When you learn something new in your first year and repeat that 9 years you have in my point of view 1 year of experience. Keep learning new things and use this in practice. When you think you are at your top, you have been there and on your way down.

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

Wow, what a terrible question! About a hundred people? Karen Johnson because I appreciate her very much for her personality and I think I can learn a lot from her about testing. James Lyndsay because I can learn a lot from him when we talk about managing exploratory testing. Geoff Thomson because I always have a great time when we work together and I think he is very good in managing his environment. Derk-Jan de Grood because I love the way he works together with others and get energy from him. Lynn MacKee for the same reasons. Lea Stockley, I don’t know her personally but read some articles and I like the way she looks at testing. The last 10 junior testers that started at SYSQA because I love the energy, naivety and openness of novice testers. Henrik Andersson, because I like his vision on session based testing. Gitte Ottoson because I love her energy, openness and professionalism. Elisabeth Hendrikson because I can learn from her about exploratory testing. Mauri Edo from Spain because I like him very much as a person and his eagerness to learn. Huib Schoots to see how long we can work together before we get in a (non-physical) fight. And Rolf van der Steen from Finland and Joost Vlaar from New Zealand with who I did projects in the past and I still regret they emigrated. And the next program chair because I would like to be in the program committee once.
Too many great people to choose!

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

A sparerib express restaurant (always fully supplied), sunmilk and my ereader with wifi.

11. What is your favourite motivational quote?

Personal results = motivation * (skills + knowledge + experience). It’s all about motivation.

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

Once I was test manager in a very big project at one of the biggest banks in the Netherlands. The project team had 6 test coordinators and about 60 testers, the project was very far-reaching for the bank and essential for their future. The previous test manager left the project overwrought and testing was chaotic, testing was the bottleneck in the project had a very bad reputation by the rest of the project. The complexity from a testing point of view was very small, from a management and political point of view extreme. Especially when some of the best test coordinators and testers had to leave the project because they exchanged pornography over the company’s network two weeks after I started (believe it or not). Above that I found out that 5 out of the 6 test coordinators didn’t have the skills to do their job properly.

In this project I developed management and political skills in a pressure cooker. I had to replace very nice, sympathetic people with the wrong skills for their position. Sometimes you can’t be nice to be successful. After half a year we implemented the first increment, which was the biggest and largest of all increments. Testing wasn’t the laggard any more, program management and most project managers where happy with the changes they saw. But I also made a lot of enemies and to be honest I damaged some people. After increment one I left the project, almost overwrought as well (maybe I actually was).

I learned you need to have superb management skills and political skills to be successful as test manager in a big project, test skills are relatively unimportant in a project like this.
And I never want to do this again.

Connect with Jan Jaap

w13 - jan jaap cannegieter_120x154Twitter: @jjcannegieter


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