QA or the Highway 2016 – Speaker Series – Featuring Matt Heusser

QA or the Highway

The one day testing conference, QA or the Highway 2016, is scheduled for February 16th, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio.

There are some excellent sessions and speakers listed for the event.  Like last year, I thought I would reach out to those speaking at the event and ask them a few questions.  A number of the speakers graciously took time out of their schedule to respond.  Leading up to the conference, I will be featuring those speakers and their responses.

The first speaker to respond was Matt Heusser.  Today he is kicking off the “QA or the Highway 2016 – Speaker Series.”


1. What attracted you to speaking at QA or the Highway this year?

I’ve been to QAOrTheHighway since year one. It’s reasonably close, allows me to connect with old friends and meet new ones, and has a sincere, hardworking, honest Midwestern feel that I personally find very attractive. Coming to the conference is not a tough decision.

2. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s conference?

I’ve been a Karen Johnson fan since, I don’t know, 2006 or so. I was really pleased to see her announced as a keynote. Also, I really wanted to attend Joe Our’s ATDD tutorial. My daughter has an event that means I can’t get into town until noon on the 15th, so hopefully I will be able to get the cliff notes, prepare in advance, and show up halfway through.

3. What piece of advice would you give conference attendees to maximize their experience at QA or the Highway 2016?

Pick your sessions in advance – but don’t pick all of them. Or at least, if you find a conversation in the hallway particularly powerful, don’t feel obligated to go to a session.  Find value where you find it!

4. What are your favorite reading references (books/blogs/etc) that have helped your grow as a testing professional?

I got a lot out of Lee Copeland’s Test Design Book. Paul Jorgensen has a book on testing with a lot of great design content, but it is a bit of a slog. The Heuristic Test Strategy Model, by Bolton and Bach, is a free download PDF that is something like 14 pages long. Troy Magennis has a lot of material on prediction that influenced my course, Lean Software Testing. Of course, if you don’t want to dig through old books, you could just check out 🙂

5. What do you enjoy about the testing “field”/what keeps you in testing?

“We, the willing, are doing the impossible, for the ungrateful. We have been doing so much for so long with so little that we are now qualified to do anything for nothing” was a short poem that used to hang on the wall when I was a military cadet. To put that more seriously, the job of testing involves drawing conclusions from a finite number of test ideas drawn from an infinite number of possibilities. It’s incredibly challenging, new every morning, and a total blast.

6. What do you think is the most important skill(s) software testers should have?

Traditional liberal arts thinking skills will get you pretty far. This got me to thinking so much I did a twitlonger on it:

7. What advice would you give to new testers or to those looking to find their “testing spark” for reigniting their passion for testing?

Get involved in local meetups,  come to QaOrTheHighWay. Follow me on twitter @mheusser and most of the other speakers at the conference. Software is going into not just phones, but drones and thermostats and refridgerators – software with a text or graphical user interface, software that can access the internet. The world needs us; let’s get out there and save it, one more time.

Matt will be speaking on the topic of “Agile-Test Evolution: Changing Test Strategy Over Time”.

You can find Matt’s session information or more information about QA or the Highway 2016 by going to the following links:

Some other Notables:

Twitter: @mheusser

Matt has written for a number of blogs, be sure to watch for his posts at any of the following sites:

Excelon Development
IT Knowledge Exchange
Search Software Quality

Matt is co-author of the book “Save our Scrum” with Markus Gärtner.  His evolving book can be found for download on LeanPub.