Get outside your comfort zone

The testing community is awesome. There are so many friendly faces. So many people reading things, discussing things, watching things, and developing their ideas. As the communities grow stronger the people you spend most of your time with are likely to be similar to yourself. Maybe you all belong to a similar school of thought. Maybe you’ve worked on projects together before, or attended training courses or conferences together.

It’s great.

Or is it?

The problem is these people are likely to be very similar to you. They share your ideals, and your ideas. You start to think that you’re in the majority whereas is many cases you’re not.

When was the last time you read something you disagreed with? Or attended a conference that wasn’t solely about your craft? Now I’m not saying that you have to go out there and engage everyone in debate. You’re not looking to convert these people, or even to change your own opinions. Broadening your view might simply give you something to measure your ideas against.

If you’re an agile advocate do you really understand why not everyone is into it? Do you know why testers are often excluded from projects? Have you asked a developer why they haven’t attended a test conference? Have you asked yourself why you haven’t attended a design conference?

We all work in development and yet we all hold these independent, and often incompatible views. Look up and see the world that your work fits in to. It might just make you a better tester.


Tester connections

In 2011 I had coffee with someone who would go on to make a massive difference to my life. That person was Rosie Sherry. We were having coffee before one of the Cambridge Tester meetups that Rosie ran. It was one of those meetups where James Bach just happens to be speaking. One of those meetups that seem to be special to the Ministry of Testing family.

Over the years Rosie has personally introduced me to amazing testers. She’s organised events and created online communities that have led to me knowing so many more great people. Many people comment on how strong the UK testing community is. That strength comes from having someone like Rosie cajoling, encouraging, and quietly connecting us together.

The TestBash conference has turned into an event where you can hear great talks, but also a place where you can catch up with or meet some of the world’s best testers. It was at TestBash that I met my Weekend Testing co-facilitators Dan Billing and Neil Studd. A year later I got to know my awesome co-tester Kim Knüp.

Over the years I’ve been encouraged to write articles for The Testing Planet, film things for The Dojo, contribute to The Software Testing Club, speak at TestBash, and host Masterclasses.

I don’t think I’m the only one who has appreciated, and benefited from all the hard work that Rosie puts in to create an amazing testing community. Maybe today is the day that you return the favour by buying a TestBash ticket, signing up to the Dojo or even contributing some of your own ideas.