Rex Black at SQA Days-17: “Do not chase empty fantasies, but focus on gaining experience”

    In May you will participate in SQA Days-17 - a major conference in the software testing in the CIS and Eastern Europe. You will visit this conference for the first time as well as Belarus. What are your feelings and expectations? How do you prepare for this trip?
    In May, you will be participating in SQA Days-17 - the main conference on software testing in the CIS and Eastern Europe. You will attend this conference for the first time, as well as the country Belarus itself. What do you expect from the trip? How do you prepare for her?

    RB: I'm looking forward to seeing Minsk, and hope to have time to see the major museums and cultural sites. I always like to learn about the people, the culture, the art, and the food when I visit a place. As for the conference itself, I am going to prepare a new keynote speech, especially for the event, designed to cover topics I think the audience will find interesting. I'm also presenting our very popular one-day seminar on risk-based testing, which has been used by audiences around the world to learn how to apply this powerful testing strategy in real-world situations.
    RB: I look forward to the moment when I can see Minsk, and I hope that I will have time to visit the main museums and see cultural monuments. I always like to learn something new about the people, culture, art and national cuisine of the country I visit. As for the conference itself, I’m going to prepare an introductory speech specifically for this event, which will, in my opinion, touch upon topics of interest to the audience. I will also present our very popular one-day training on risk-based testing, which has already been presented to various audiences around the world, so that people can learn to apply this useful testing strategy in real situations.

    You will make a keynote talk within the conference as well as a workshop before the conference. Could you tell about it in more details?
    Before the conference, you will conduct training and will also be presented as part of the main conference program. Could you tell us more about this?

    RB: At this point, I'm still working on the presentation. I'm researching the specific audience so that I can focus on topics relevant to them.
    RB: At the moment, I'm still working on my presentation. I will research specific audiences to be able to concentrate on topics that are relevant to them.

    You had to work before in this region. How do you assess the software market in the post-Soviet countries?
    You have previously worked in this region, how do you assess the software market in post-Soviet countries?

    RB: Clearly, Eastern Europe is an important location for software development, especially near-shore development for European companies. The strong legacy of science, technology, engineering, and math education and industry left by the Soviet era provides a strong advantage.
    RB: Obviously, the territory of Eastern Europe is an important place for software development, especially in nearby European companies. Remains from the Soviet era, discoveries in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, education and industry are an important advantage for them.

    Many consider your book "Critical Testing Processes" to be very interesting. That is the book that is read in one breath. But at the same time, it is noted, that it is written in a very difficult language, which can be understood only the professionals. How do you think, maybe it is possible to write a book about software testing in plain language, so that everything would be clear even for an IT unenlightened person?
    Many people find your book Key Testing Processes very interesting. A book that is read in one go. But at the same time, it is noted that it is written in a very complex language, which only professionals can understand. Do you think it is possible to write a book on software testing in simple language. So that everything written is understandable even to an unenlightened person in IT?

    RB: As a matter of fact, I have published two books that are more targeted for entry-level people: Foundations of Software Testing and Fundamentos de Prueba de Software. The second book is in Spanish, but the English text could also be translated into Russian, if the market were there.
    RB: In fact, I have published two books intended for entry-level people: Fundamentals of Software Testing in English and Fundamentos de Prueba de Software in Spanish. If necessary, the book could be translated into Russian.

    Generally you deal with large projects. It is believed that many invented and described in your book processes are impossible in the realities of small companies. Do you agree?
    You work mainly in large projects. There is an opinion that many processes invented and described by you are unacceptable in the realities of small companies. Do you agree with that?

    RB: Certainly the project described in Critical Testing Processes is large. When dealing with smaller projects, while the same processes generally are important, removing formality and streamlining processes is necessary.
    RB: Of course, the project described in the book “Key Testing Processes” is large and serious. Elimination of formalities and optimization of processes are important when working with small projects.

    The whole process from the beginning of the planning to the project completion is described in detail in your book. What kind of force majeure does occur more often in the process, and how can it be solved better with minimal losses?
    In your book, the whole process is described in detail: from the beginning of planning to the completion of the project. And what force majeure most often arise in the process and how are they best solved with the least losses?

    RB: The most frequent disruptive forces for testing come from external factors such as poor upstream development and QA practices. However, test organizations can create problems for themselves, too. For example, by not managing test data and test environments properly, bugs are missed and false positives occur. As another example, trying to manage large, complex testing efforts without the necessary tool support can result in significant inefficiencies.
    RB: The most frequent force majeure occur during testing due to external factors such as insufficient data development and poor quality assurance. However, test organizers can create problems for themselves. For example, not managing the flow of test data and the testing environment properly, they will miss some errors and a false positive will automatically occur. Another example is the attempt to manage large and complex testing without the necessary instrumental support, which will lead to a significant decrease in efficiency.

    Being a tester, the first few years you "had to fight just to survive". Do you have any useful advice for beginners? What would you say to your son, who has just graduated from high school and going to follow his father's steps?
    As a tester, you “spent the first few years fighting just to stay afloat.” Do you have any universal advice for beginners? What would you say to your son, who has just graduated from high school, and is going to follow in your father's footsteps?

    RB: Well, I have two daughters. I don't think they intend to become testers, but, if they did, I'd suggest the following:

    - Get a computer science degree, and know how to program

    - Get ISTQB certified, starting with the Foundation. Move to the relevant Advanced level after three years.

    - the Do not follow fads, But an INSTEAD focus on: best practices, the which are Proven over time

    - the Read AT Least a three books on testing a year, Including books by the authors the who disagree

    - Don't follow any single guru, don't believe in “schools of testing,” don't do anything that closes you off to the whole range of ideas in testing

    - Learn a variety of test tools

    I think that a tester who did those things in the first five years of their careers would be well-positioned for success.

    RB: Well, besides my son, I have two more daughters. I don’t think that they want to become testers, but if they did want to, I would advise them the following:
    -Get an education in computer engineering and learn to program
    -Get an ISTQB certificate, starting from a basic level. Three years later, reach an advanced level.
    -Do not chase empty fantasies, but instead focus on gaining practical experience that will justify itself after a while
    -Read at least three books about testing a year, including books by authors who share other ideas
    -Do not blindly follow any one leading expert, do not believe in "school test" does not do anything that would prevent the implementation of the ideas in the testing
    -Explore large number of tools for testing
    I think that testers who follow this owl there during the first five years of his career, there will be every chance of success.

    Recall Rex Black will conduct a training " Risk-based Testing " on May 28 in Minsk. She will also deliver a keynote speech "Test Estimation "and a master class" Case Studies in Success with Free Test Tool "in the framework of the SQA Days-17 conference , which will be held in Minsk on May 29-30, 2015.

    About Rex Black
    With over thirty years of software and systems engineering experience, Rex Black is President of RBCS (, a leader in software, hardware, and systems testing. For twenty years, RBCS has delivered consulting, outsourcing and training services in the areas of software, hardware, and systems testing and quality. Employing the industry's most experienced and recognized consultants, RBCS conducts product testing, builds and improves testing groups, and provides testing staff for hundreds of clients worldwide. Ranging from Fortune 20 companies to start-ups, RBCS clients save time and money through higher quality, improved product development, decreased tech support calls, improved reputation, and more. As the leader of RBCS, Rex is the most prolific author practicing in the field of software testing today. His popular first book, Managing the Testing Process, has sold over 100,000 copies around the world, including Japanese, Chinese, and Indian releases, and is now in its third edition. His eleven other books on testing, Advanced Software Testing: Volumes I, II, and III, Critical Testing Processes, Foundations of Software Testing, Pragmatic Software Testing, Fundamentos de Pruebas de Software, Testing Metrics, Improving the Testing Process, Improving the Software Process , and The Expert Test Manager have also sold tens of thousands of copies, including Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indian, and Russian editions. He has written over fifty articles, presented hundreds of papers, workshops, and seminars, and given about seventy-five keynotes and other speeches at conferences and events around the world.

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