Meet the Speakers
PNSQC Webinar with Katy Sherman
The Sprint Is Too Short!
Katy Sherman software engineering manager quality assurance manager Premier Inc. to address Who Owns QA?
The three keynote speakers at this year’s conference come from widely varying backgrounds and cultures. Two are prolific writers, the third an insatiable seeker of difficult challenges. Together, they will provide conference attendees with a three very different opportunities to have their practices questioned, their testing and QA philosophies disrupted and their opinions turned on their heads.
Keynote speaker Penny Allen loves a new challenge and has moved from job to job over the last decade and a half in search of them. Rich Sheridan and Katy Sherman, director of software engineering, Premier Inc., are both writers as well as QA and development professionals. Sheridan has penned two books and Sherman has created a virtual library on LinkedIn with her many articles.
Sherman clearly enjoys a controversy; her presentation topic, “Who Owns Quality?” is guaranteed to create a stir. One need only look at the headlines of any of her LinkedIn articles to confirm that. Among the titles: Gender Pay Gap: It Is Not Your Employer, It’s Your Husband; The Truth About Full-Time Scrum Masters That You Won’t Like; and Why We Don’t Need More Women in IT.
The title Is Manual Testing Primitive? fairly begged for a close read. It’s a good one, all right, as Sherman puts to the test the opinion of QA consultant/evangelist Prashant Kumar that manual testing is a dead art.
“There’s definitely a very primitive tradition of having shared testing resources (often unskilled and cheap) who can go through the motions of executing test steps without understanding the application they are testing,” she writes in her May 2017 article. “This kind of manual testing relies exclusively on the process and hand-off documents. The primitive manual testers can take a business requirement or design document and mindlessly translate it into test cases. Will these test cases have value? Yes, some value, certainly. Will they improve the application and make it flexible, robust, secure and user-friendly? I doubt it.”
“Primitive manual testing can exist in an Agile environment if the cross-functional team sticks to the old-fashioned mini-waterfall and uses QA as cheap labor. The testers, in this case, do as they are told by QA manager or developers but wouldn’t venture outside the documented test steps, don’t own the application, don’t understand the business workflow, don’t have user perspective and don’t know how the software is hosted and operated.”
“The way to advance manual testing is two-fold. First, the testers must be a part of the development team that owns the product. Second, they should automate all tedious well-documented tasks in which both input and outcome are clear and straightforward.”
For details on reviving the art of manual testing, you’ll have to read the rest of the article.
“Sherman is a force to be reckoned with. Discussing her professional passions on her LinkedIn site, she lists “achieving agility through ruthless automation and modular architecture” as one. Ruthless automation? Sounds like the opposite of manual testing. Others include “breaking silos and promoting collaboration of Development, Testing and Operations under the cross-functional umbrella of Software Engineering” and “diversity of personalities, experiences, and opinions.” Among her speaking and writing goals: To “empower girls and women, and help them learn about technology and become engineers.”
If you’d like a sneak preview of Sherman’s Who Owns QA?, you might want to read her post on that topic which appeared on LinkedIn last February.
The subtitle is rather ominous: Testing in Agile: The End of QA as We Know It. But what she’s arguing is that QA testers and developers are merging into one entity. Here’s an extract from the article:
“The introduction of test automation and TDD shifted the balance of the traditional functional roles. These days testers are much more technical than they used to be. They write test automation scripts, incorporate those scripts into automated build and CI/CD process, write SQL queries, and even code. Developers, on the other hand, became much more involved in testing through the automated unit test and TDD.”
“Their roles are merging, creating a much bigger functional and skill-related overlap than ever before, but we still call them ‘developers’ and ‘testers,’ as if they are different alien species.”
“How about we get rid of the traditional titles? Instead of ‘developers’ and ‘QA,’ let’s call everybody a ‘Software Engineer.’ There will be engineers who mostly code and those who mostly test. There will be UI specialists, Database specialists, Testing specialists and DevOps specialists, but at the end of the day, the entire team will work together towards one goal – flexible, robust, user-friendly solution of excellent quality.”
As with her co-keynoters Allen and Sheridan, Sherman will be challenging #PNSQC17 attendees with “Who Owns Quality?” You can get a taste of her persuasion skills when she guest stars on the final PNSQC webinar this year. Sharing the microphone with be our own Phil Lew.