A conversation with PNSQC Keynote Mirjana Kolarov
PNSQC Marketing Team recently interviewed upcoming Keynote Mirjana Kolarov, who will be presenting in October, on “Is there room for Test Strategy in Agile?” She has more than a dozen years of experience in testing, including as a Test Architect, is currently the Delivery Director at LeviNine, and, together with two colleagues, co-founded the first testing community in Serbia (Test’RS club). In this Q&A session, Mirjana shares her expertise on strategy and architecture, her commitment to producing better ways to test, and her passion for clearly communicating processes, deliverables, and expectations.
PNSQC: Your keynote is about Test Strategy. You mention in the description that we can’t just have a strategy template. Why is that?
Mirjana Kolarov: If we want to be agile, we must be agile all the way — that also includes our documentation, of which Test Strategy is a part. Templates are usually misleading. If you give someone a template, they will fill it in with content and that’s it. They wouldn’t look for anything extra. If you don’t give them a template, they will start thinking about what is really important.
PNSQC: Do you find resistance to this method? Tell us about a time when creating a Test Strategy was difficult. How did you get past that?
MK: The main challenge is time. People usually have this as an excuse: “I’m too busy with my tasks,” “It will change anyway”… And the real struggle is how to start. You can get past it by supporting the team and explaining where to start and what to look at. This is what my presentation is about at the end.
PNSQC: Is it ever necessary to test the Test Strategy?
MK: Hahaha — good one. Of course. We are testers, we use critical thinking all the time. You must evaluate your strategy all the time.
PNSQC: Any tips on identifying key factors to observe to help create Test Strategies?
MK: Just to name a few: the architecture of the system, skills of the team members, any regulations, main business requirements. Think about what is important for you when you test one feature and then expand it to the whole system.
PNSQC: What are the differences in using Test Strategies in Waterfall vs Agile?
MK: Based on my experience, Test Strategy for waterfall used to be a big document that no one reads. In Agile, it can be anything — even a sticker on the wall. And Test Strategy must be agile also, so constantly reevaluate it.
PNSQC: What was one of your biggest challenges as a Test Architect?
MK: Building another test architect at my company. That is my main goal and biggest challenge.
PNSQC: The theme of PNSQC 2021 is Quality Coming Together. Can you describe some of the differences and similarities you have experienced while working with teams from the EU and around the world?
MK: The only difference I see is a time difference. [Everything else] is easier to overcome. Each nationality brings its culture and way of working to the table, and I love it. The similarities are that all team members are smart and educated and are working towards the same goal.
Thank you, Mirjana! For her upcoming talk, she will be discussing detailed methods to improve testing, based on a tailor-made test strategy. Be sure to tune into Mirjana Kolarov’s keynote presentation at PNSQC 2021, this October 11-13. Subscribe to the PNSQC newsletter for the latest news about speakers, workshops, and conference tracks.