The Testing Show Podcast – Making QA Strategic

I recently found a new podcast about testing. The Testing Show podcast. This show appears to come out every 2 weeks, and is a panel discussion hosted by Matt Heusser and Michael Larsen.

The show usually starts with a news segment, where the panel discusses some major software bug that happened in the previous couple of weeks. Then, the panel moves onto a topic for that session. The topic that spurred me to write this was “Making QA Strategic”.

At first, the session sounded like it was going to be a complaint about how testers should be taken more seriously. “We have the knowledge, if they would only listen to us”, is too often a refrain amongst the testing community – delivered as a complaint.

However, that sentiment quickly faded and the bulk of the podcast was about testing professionals giving their advice on how to make the testing team more strategic. Here are a few examples:

Josh Assad: “I try to build partnerships with my customers”. He told a story where he traveled to the customer site and spent a week building relationships and figuring how to optimize his testing to fit into the customers acceptance practices.

Jared Small described the value of his team as staying focused on customers and helping the entire team stay focused on the customer.

Jarad also mentioned that a big part of his role is to stay on top of industry trends and what is happening in the software test community.

Matt Heusser described an interesting model, the Swiss cheese model of risk. No one technique will eliminate all risk, in any economic fashion, but combined efforts for automated tests, manual tests, and production monitoring – when taken together will greatly reduce overall risk.   I’m not sure that I can describe how this relates to Swiss cheese, but it sounded good. Maybe I should eat lunch before listening to podcasts.

Matt also described the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) model, as applied to doing a gap assessment of the team. Identifying the gaps between your existing team and the ideal is a great way to determine improvement goals.

I also really liked Erik Davis’s approach to innovation. He stresses the importance of trying new things and keeping the ones that work. I believe testing & quality is a field with tons of opportunities for innovation. As I like to say, there is literally an infinite amount of testing that could be done, but a (very) finite amount of time.

Take a listen if you enjoy podcasts. I’ve subscribed and will be browsing their archives. Another cool feature, they have the full transcript on the web.

Well done.