What We Heard At StarEast 2017, Part 1

Here at Lighthouse, we’re awful passionate about software testing and quality assurance.  But even as thought leaders, we like to keep ourselves up-to-date on the latest cutting-edge insights and industry trends.  In that spirit, here are some of the most interesting things we heard at StarEast 2017.
What We Heard At StarEast 2017, Part 1

Here are some of the most interesting things we heard at this year’s StarEast conference in Orlando.
Stay tuned next month for part 2!

“An investment in knowledge always the best interest.”

Ben Franklin said that.  Despite the 227 years that have passed since his death, those words still ring true—without exception.

As experts in the software testing and QA industry, we couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we sent some of our best and brightest minds out to this year’s StarEast conference in Orlando.  After all, what good is thought leadership if you’re not listening to what other leaders are saying?

Here’s some of the most interesting things we heard.  Stay tuned next month for part two!

Catch the Test Automation Wave Now—Or Get Left Behind

Test Automation has been gaining ground in the industry for a long time now, and it’s finally reached the tipping point.  With the widespread adoption of Agile development, testers simply cannot keep up with the backlog of regression testing during a two-week sprint.  To effectively manage this process, testing teams should keep the following in mind:

  • Collaborate effectively with developers – To be successful in automation, everyone needs to be aligned on what business goals they’re trying to achieve. That’s why you need to be sure that your developers are working alongside your testers every step of the way.  The most effective teams out there are treating their automated tests as code, and building them to be reliable.
  • Maintain your tests diligently – The little things go a long way here. Be sure to automate tests below the UI to reduce brittleness (APIs are less likely to change and are easier to fix than UI) and retire tests that are failing often.
  • Use your time/resources effectively – Automation isn’t a can to kick down the road. Make sure you’re prioritizing automation activities and factoring time for it in your sprints and project plans.

The Hidden Costs of Offshore Outsourcing Are Not to Be Taken Lightly

It’s well-known that offshore outsourcing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (in fact, it’s a big reason why our Rural Software Testing has been so successful).  But as hidden costs like inhibited collaboration and security risks have gone a long ways toward sobering up the labor arbitrage that drove so many companies offshore in the first place.

  • Manage around productivity issues – There’s no getting around it—productivity will take a hit when you move testing/QA offshore. Your best course of action is to mitigate its effect.  Things like using web/video conferencing and managing time-zone disparities are great ways to keep everyone engaged, while managing expectations and providing 24-hour support when problems arise are good ways to insulate yourself f­rom major problems.
  • Select your vendor carefully – Be up-front about what you’re looking for. Insist on being able to interview and select your own team—and don’t accept empty promises as a substitute.  Strong contracts and SOWs can also help immeasurably in the selection process, and don’t be afraid to course correct and bring the work back onshore if it doesn’t work out.

Building a High-Performance Testing/QA Team is Essential

Things have moved fast over the last few years, and the proliferation of knowledge in Software Testing and Quality Assurance has grown exponentially.  Things that were once fringe topics, like transforming ad-hoc organizations into measurable, metrics-based, process-oriented teams, have now become mainstream practices.  It’s increasingly apparent that we’ve entered something of a “Quality Renaissance” of late.

  • Communicate expectations with all stakeholders and peers – Again, communication is vital. Whether it’s implementing an open door policy, taking your team out for weekly happy hours, or implementing a safe environment, it’s all about building trust amongst everyone working on the project.
  • You can’t manage what you don’t measure – We’ve been preaching this for years, but tracking metrics is the key to improvement. To enable things like Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery, you need to be tracking your team’s delivery on commitment, defect-removal efficiency (DRE), and their number of successful deployments.  If you’re interested in getting a baseline of where your team is, you should totally check out our True North Testing Assessment—it’ll tell you everything you need to know.
  • Motivate your team to facilitate growth – Building a high-performance team isn’t just about cutting-edge processes and tools; you’ve got to break down barriers and get everyone on the same page. It takes complete buy in to the organization and company’s mission.  Remember: 65 percent of an organization’s total improvement comes solely from its people.  To them, things like establishing feedback loops between developers and testers, promoting work-life balance and knowledge sharing, and allowing time for personal development are worth their weight in gold.

Did you attend StarEast?  If so, we’d love to hear your takeaways!  Drop a comment in below and get the discussion started—and stay tuned for part two!


Mike Hodge
Lighthouse Technologies, Inc.
Software Testing | Quality Assurance Consulting | Oracle EBS Consulting

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