Keynote 2

Testing with Purpose: How Stories, Values and Kindness Make Testing Better

Kristel Kruustük

16:15-17:15 CEST Wednesday 14th June

I’ve watched, studied, and listened to hundreds of software testers all over the world; and I think we can be honest: being a software testing or QA professional is not glamorous, and often, it isn’t easy.

Outside of our growing, close-knit community, there are few accolades. Little realization or appreciation of how the work we do impacts billions of people every day as humans become more and more digitally enabled.  We are almost always a small, critical element of a much larger work.

I am not proposing that we engage in a pity party, or organize and demand more of the tech spotlight. I am proposing that we learn how to better Test with Purpose. Because testing with purpose is what I’ve come to believe will uplift the entire software testing community.

I founded my company to try to solve problems I saw in the freelance marketplace. Bug-based pay. A lack of learning opportunities. Isolation, and a lack of camaraderie as we go about our work. I would sit and test and wake up early to get onboarded onto runs and it was a never-ending racetrack; one that felt like it had little purpose.  What I’ve learned over the past decade of starting and building Testlio is that stories, values, and kindness can be transformational to our work, and create that purpose.

Stories of testers and testing help us to understand and identify gaps in the experience and fulfillment people encounter in testing. Listening to and telling the stories humanizes challenges, and allows us to grapple with those challenges rather than simply ignoring them or quietly bearing them.

Values are critical to any workplace, but they are priceless in an environment that can be as disjointed and widespread as software testing can be. If testing teams align around a set of values that set expectations for both the testers and the development teams they are a part of, trust and purpose will grow.  Kindness requires us to see individuals as a whole — thinking not just of the latest run or project, but as people who need support, learning opportunities, and have concerns and considerations outside work.  Taken together, these three elements can help us build Purposeful Testing. In my talk, I’ll explore each further using real-world examples, real people, and real stories.