The future of testing is distributed

This are my slides during my presentation on distributed testing at the ANZTB Test 2017 Conference in Wellington, New Zealand last Friday 5th May 2017.

Alister Scott - The Future of Testing is Distributed FINAL(1) 01

This conference is about the future, but to look at the future sometimes it’s best to start with the past

Alister Scott - The Future of Testing is Distributed FINAL(1) 02 Once upon a time there was waterfall…

Alister Scott - The Future of Testing is Distributed FINAL(1) 03

Along came ‘Agile’ which is about shorter feedback loops…

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But what happens next? What does testing look like in a post-agile world? That’s what I’ll be talking about today.

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I’ve been a tester for about fourteen years.

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I work for Automattic where we embrace the chaos. Buddah once said “Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.”

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What exactly does distributed mean? How is that different from remote?

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Distributed is a lot closer than you think. Some of us work in distributed ways without even knowing it. Katrina Clokie’s blog post about the testing team at Bank of New Zealand following an earthquake last year explains how her team temporarily adopted a ‘dispersed’ approach to working.

Alister Scott - The Future of Testing is Distributed FINAL(1) 09

What if you could choose to live and work anywhere you like? What if you weren’t constrained to a particular city or office? How would working with people from 50+ cultures every day change the person you are?

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Automattic and my team Flow Patrol demonstrate the future of distributed testing.

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Anybody and everybody tests at Automattic; before, during and after any release we do: all the time. If everyone tests all the time, how will you differentiate yourself as a tester?

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We need to get past the term ‘sprint’. There’s no hurry to work on these things, but don’t pause either.

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I painted a rose coloured picture about working in a distributed way. But with any good thing there’s some downsides and darksides. Luckily you can combat these with mindfullness and diligence. Being aggressively transparent helps a lot.

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Why limit yourself to an office? Prepare yourself, but always remember the best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.

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The audience erupts into loud and thunderous applause 👏🏻

Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.

11 thoughts on “The future of testing is distributed”

    1. There’s a book called Remote by the Basecamp folks but it’s more about remote work over distributed (Basecamp have some remote staff but a central office in Chicago).
      There’s a book about Automattic called ‘The year without pants’ which covers some of what I covered in this presentation, however it’s a few years out of date and written by someone who only stayed for about a year so I wouldn’t say it’s completely reflective of our current approach.
      I’ll think about whether distributed would make a good book to write 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Alister. I have read Remote by Basecamp this weekend and I can’t say I am impressed, I feel it was a series of strawmen office scenarios to prove remote is better and nothing really useful towards implementing it apart from the continuous suggestion of buying their tools that lasted over 200 pages…

        Like

  1. Hi Alister,

    you touched a little on the dark side of distributed which is something that holds me back from trying it out, I worry mentally it would be quite a challenge, simply due to less social interactions throughout the day. Is there a way you think is good to try this out?

    I’ve tried working from home a little bit and some open source work but I’m not sure they provide enough insight. Also, I do seem to be less productive outside the office but I don’t have a dedicated ‘work space’ which I think would help. Any tips or advice you could offer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Automattic does paid trials for all people who are successful at the interview stage for the reasons you mentioned, to see whether the person is a good fit and whether they would like that style of work.
      There are much less social interactions throughout the day, especially from time zones with less staff (generally UTC+) and so you really need to find social and community outside of work (meet ups, lunches with ex-colleagues/friends) – fortunately the flexible schedule means I can easily organise and attend these.
      But if you’re a very social person who likes to bounce ideas off others in person, this type of work wouldn’t suit you well.

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  2. Hey Alister, nice post! I’ve been working remote for almost 10 years as an automated tester. It was pretty rough in the early days as the only team member someone had to dial-in for standups.

    But now my 9 to 5 is with a mostly distributed team, which has allowed me to work and travel freely. We decided to #roadschool my daughter this past year and traveled to Spain, France and the Grand Canyon. It has been amazing to say the least!! We will be back across the pond in the UK next month.

    What I see in my future is building a 100% distributed team at https://cukehub.com. I look forward to planning the occasional team offsite at different destinations around the globe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Future is Already Here > Future of Testing is already here. My 2 projects already dead because of testing testing :( .. Well Nice Information.
    Best wishes
    Kirod

    Like

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