Know your TestBash Speakers: Alan Page

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  • October 13, 2016

In most of the conferences, you attend the talks by various speakers and then wonder why did you attend some of those talks. At the same time, you also like few speakers and go – “Wow, I think our interests match. Let me have a chat.” This series of blog posts is an attempt to introduce you to some of the TestBash Philadelphia 2016 speakers and ask them few questions related to the talk/work.

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Today, we introduce you to Alan Page. For those who have not heard of Alan, here is a brief introduction about him from the speakers page at TestBash Philadelphia 2016.

Alan Page has been building and testing software for nearly 25 years. He was the lead author on the book How We Test Software at Microsoft, contributed chapters for Beautiful Testing and Experiences of Test Automation: Case Studies of Software Test Automation , and recently published a collection of essays on test automation in The A Word. He also writes about a variety of software engineering subjects on his blog at http://angryweasel.com/blog.

Alan joined Microsoft as a member of the Windows 95 team, and since then has worked on a variety of Windows releases, early versions of Internet Explorer; Office Lync and Xbox One. Alan also served for two years as Microsoft’s Director of Test Excellence. Currently, he’s working on a brand new collaboration application for Microsoft.

His talk is titled: Testing without Testers (and other dumb ideas that sometimes work)

Sahi Pro: Many testers are scared about losing their jobs. What would be your advice to them?
Alan Page: If you are a tester who purely executes functional tests and does little else, you should probably be very worried about losing your job. That kind of testing just isn’t useful or efficient anymore.

However – if you’re a tester who can provide value to the product by finding holes and identifying risk; and you are a tester who can take on testing or quality related (e.g. reporting / data analysis, analysis tools, build / deployment, or other tooling), you will have a long career in software engineering.

Testing is certainly changing, but it’s not quite dead yet. As long as you love to learn and aren’t afraid of taking on new challenges, there’s no reason to be scared.

Sahi Pro: How would you define quality?
Alan Page: 
I’m a fan of the Weinberg definition, but I think it’s over-used these days, so I’ll paraphrase it and dance around it a bit so it doesn’t seem quite so redundant.

To me, quality is the engagement, connection, and use I get from a product. It’s personal – what’s quality to me, may not be quality for you. I have quality knives at home – they are easy to use, I feel comfortable using them, and I miss them if I’m using knives elsewhere. My knives are nice, but they may not provide enough use for you to consider them quality knives.

In software, quality comes from the same criteria. The software I consider to be quality software is software that I use frequently; software that is easy for me to use; and software where I don’t get frustrated – even if there are bugs. As a counter-example, consider that it’s certainly possible to have bug free software that has no value to users – I, for one, would never consider that to be quality software.

Sahi Pro: Congratulations on the 40+ episodes of AB Testing. What was the motivation behind starting this podcast series?
Alan Page:
 Brent and I have known each other for many years. We used to connect every week or so as part of a group of senior testers spanning Microsoft. A small group of us would get together in sort of a lean coffee style every week or two and talk about what was going on in our parts of Microsoft. Brent and I always had a good banter, and we used to threaten to start a podcast so everyone could hear us talk about software.

Eventually, we took the threat public and started the AB Podcast. I can’t believe we’re approaching episode 50 already, but we enjoy doing the podcast, and are both surprised and ecstatic that we have so many listeners.

Podcast link: http://angryweasel.com/.ABTesting
Blog: http://angryweasel.com

Thank you for your time, Alan. We appreciate your contribution to the software community and best wishes to you and the conference.

Hope everyone has a good time, listening to Alan speak about “Testing without Testers (and other dumb ideas that sometimes work)”. Do tweet and blog about the conference and share the learning with the software community.

About Sahi Pro:
We  are one of the micro sponsors of TestBash Philadelphia 2016.

Sahi Pro, the flagship product of Tyto Software, is a simple yet powerful test automation tool that enables Quality Assurance and Testing teams achieve high efficiency and productivity in their test automation
process. Features like multi browser support, good recorder, automatic waits, inbuilt frameworks, and automatic reporting reduce the team’s effort and technical expertise required, ensuring faster delivery cycles, especially in Agile environments. Over 400 enterprise customers across diverse industry verticals like Banking and Financial Services, Healthcare, IT Services, IT Products, Retail, Media & Entertainment, Telecom and Government are achieving high ROI with Sahi Pro.

Visit sahipro.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

Watch this space to know about our next TestBash speaker… Any guesses? 🙂

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