QA or the Highway 2016 – Speaker Series – Jess Lancaster

Our tenth featured speaker who will be at QA or the Highway is Jess Lancaster.

Jess_Lancaster31. What attracted you to speaking again at QA or the Highway?

I really enjoyed attending and speaking at QA or the Highway (QAOTH) last year. The conference provided an opportunity for me to connect with my tester friends and to make some new ones. Quite honestly, the reason I submitted to QAOTH again was the attendees. They were incredibly supportive of and engaged in my talk on the use of visual communication in software testing last year – how could I not submit again!

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

Connecting with other testers. I find that regional conferences like QAOTH are a great venue to connect with testers. And the sessions. I always pick up some nuggets of wisdom and new ideas to bring back to work and try out.

3. Since last year, what has been some of your favorite reading references (books/blogs/etc) that have helped your grow as a testing professional?

To tell you the truth, following top testers on Twitter has really helped me grow the most this year. I think it is the best way to keep up with what’s going on in the industry, check out links to articles and blog posts other testers find interesting, and to seek recommendations or ask questions. Who to follow? Start here.

Ministry of Testing is one of my favorite testing sites. At work, we have their testing blog collection RSS feed piped into our testers Flowdock channel. We get a regular dose of testing information every day!

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

My two greatest joys in testing right now are pair testing and working with a team of talented testers. As a manager I don’t get as much time to test as I’d like. Pair testing has been a great opportunity for me to get out of my office and connect with testers while providing value to the software teams. Pairing helps us share with each other test practices, product knowledge, and bug hunting skills. And then there’s the team. I work with a talented team of testers. Supporting their needs and helping them to become the best testers they can be keeps me happy 🙂

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

The top two skills that come to mind: curiosity and critical thinking. It is essential for testers to be curious. Seeking to understand a feature or a testing problem and following it through is key. Exploring and following a tester’s intuition yields real and interesting bugs. Critical thinking carried out from a testing perspective is essentially providing an objective evaluation of the software under test so that a judgment can be formed. Testers need to assess software and present their assessment to stakeholders so that the information to make business decisions is clear.

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

Plug in to the testing community. Nothing will get you charged up like plugging in with other testers. How to plug in? Well, I’ve already mentioned Twitter as a great resource to connect with other testers. But there are other ways. Attend a conference (like QAOTH and they aren’t just for learning! Make some friends!), local testers meetup groups (don’t have one nearby, start one), or start a book club with other testers at work. If you keep learning and challenging yourself you won’t lose your spark!

Jess will be speaking on a session entitled “The 30 Best, Free Testing Tools in 60 Minutes”.

You can find session information for Jess or more information about QA or the Highway 2016 by going to the following links:

You can also find Jess on Twitter @jessclancaster

Previous speakers featured from the QA or the Highway 2016 – Speaker Series:

Matt Heusser 
Bhupesh Dahal
Erik Davis
Karen Johnson
Pradeepa Narayanaswamy
Stan Jónsson
Matthew Eakin
Kelsey Shannahan
Joseph Beale