Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It’s About People!

This is an article from Jens Pas, the EuroSTAR programme chair for 2006 which was published in the first edition of the EuroSTAR Newsletter. It is entitled 'It's about people' and pays special attention to the importance of people issues within the testing profession.

You can view the entire EuroSTAR newsletter by clicking here

My biggest surprise when reading all the submissions was that so many people really sent in proposals very closely related the theme of the conference “Assembling the Dream Team”. Many of you have a lot of experience to share when we talk about people issues. Thank you for providing us with all this real life experience. You allow us to offer our delegates a very interesting and, most important, “human” conference.

Aside from the submissions, I also experienced what people can be and can do. As I already said, 20 reviewers and a Program Committee have voluntarily processed the submissions. In addition, many have provided us with great ideas we might want to incorporate into the conference to make it even more interesting, fun and innovative. Combine the lively EuroSTAR-community with the professional team of Qualtech, who manage this event, and you have a highly energizing cocktail. Everybody is very motivated to make this conference ‘the’ event of the year for the European Testing Community. It is this testing community that has given me the energy to try to distill a program that, I hope, you will appreciate. It’s a luxury to be able to work under these pleasant conditions.

If we look more closely at the topics people are proposing, you’ll notice a lot is about communication and the ‘issues’ this generates. It seems that, as opposed to the clear and well defined TCP/IP standards computers use to communicate, we, humans have a lot of trouble in understanding each other. When a computer has a communication hick-up, such as packet-collision, it simply sends the information again. When humans collide…well, they collide… and that’s about it. Communication stops.

On top of that, we seem to live in different worlds. IT professionals have their language, business people use another. Developers even have a different dialect it seems, compared to testers. So, we not only have the challenge of managing a communication process, we have compatibility issues.

I guess everyone has experienced what I describe above. This is confirmed by the vast amount of testimonials that came in with the presentation proposals. As I read through all these papers I saw that many people have found their own way of dealing with this challenge. Some use discussion techniques, such as the Six Thinking Hats of De Bono. We will address the use of the Hats for testing at the conference. Others perform a team analysis to improve communication and co-operation. And again others discuss the infrastructure that we need to be able to optimally work together. They propose frameworks for value setting of the team allowing organisations to assemble a team that has a compatible set of working values. There are even standards and certificates which can be deployed in your organisation to improve the interaction between people. All this will be discussed in Manchester.

Each of these solutions contributes to making a group of people a team that generate value. 1+ 1 = 3 as they say.

In the next edition of this newsletter, I look forward to being able to announce the official conference programme. Names will appear and I hope you’ll like them. After all, it’s all about people.

Let me conclude this first article by repeating a metaphor I used in Copenhagen, last year, when I invited you to come to Manchester:

Take two glasses of water, half filled. Pour the water of one glass into the other glass. You now have one full glass of water. The beauty is that you cannot see anymore which water came from which glass. They are stirred, not shaken, into a transparent homogeneous drink. Wouldn’t it be great if our software team would be like this glass of water, a Dream Team assembling great software.

I look forward meeting you in Manchester.
Best Regards


Read the entire EuroSTAR Newsletter by clicking here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like the program - it is high time we focused as a community on the people side of the house - good job - thanks - see you in Manchester!