There’s always a lot to unpack after attending a software conference. Between full days of impassioned keynotes, sneak peeks at upcoming product features, case studies, demos, etc., it’s easy to leave with information overload. The most valuable thing a conference can reward attendees with is clear, actionable inspiration to take back to their own organizations and projects—and Accelerate 2017 gave its audience just that.
Tricentis founder and chief strategy officer Wolfgang Platz described the future of testing during his keynote, stating that Tricentis doesn’t just have the opportunity to build the single most innovative continuous testing platform on the market; it’s an obligation.
Testers are in the exact same boat. When you look at all that’s going on in tech, and what CxOs are tasked with delivering, there’s simply too great of a need for organization-wide commitments to software quality. Testers have far more than an “opportunity” to make a bigger impact within their organizations.
- What shifts are we seeing in tech today?
- The rise of DevOps from startups to the enterprise
- Confusion around what is and what isn’t digital transformation—and where to begin
- User experience encompassing speed, performance, reliability, and security
- New challenges around maintaining agility between distributed systems and teams
- Increased efforts to scale automation and increase their ROI
- Growing dependencies and constraints between new development and legacy apps
- Massive investments in AI/machine learning, robotics, and IoT
One could argue that each of these initiatives, singularly, presents an opportunity for testers to contribute to the success of its adoption. But most organizations aren’t trying to adopt one of these. Many CxOs are looking at how they can adopt them all, or how their products can help their customers do the same. And, with continuous testing being so vital to each of the above initiatives, testers are obligated to evangelize the role that testing plays in delivering positive user experiences to new audiences.
Todd Pierce gave one of Accelerate 2017’s most inspiring presentations, “What CxOs Really Think about Testing.” Most in the audience would likely answer that question somewhere between “negatively” and “they don’t think about it at all.” And, when Pierce asked the room full of testers at the start of his keynote, “How many of you have had conversations with CxOs about how you can be their biggest ally in unlocking and transforming organizations and achieving agility at scale?” not a single hand went up.
As Pierce detailed many of the current shifts listed above, he shared that “Boards and CEOs today are the most scared they’ve ever been about disruption and extinction, and there is true panic about where the competition is going to come from.” However, as Pierce pointed out, those who can help deliver agility at scale (like testers who can remove the bottlenecks that impede organizational agility) will absolutely be regarded as heroes by their executive leadership. Pierce then beautifully—and truthfully—drove this point home:
The biggest differentiator of success is you. I can’t stress that enough. Do not underestimate your importance and how critical you are to this masterpiece…Everything we do, say, and think matters and will either contribute to or detract from our success.
Pierce, and other CxOs who spoke at Accelerate emphasized the need for testers to understand their organization’s underlying business objectives and to then align their testing to achieving them. Insight Venture Partners’ Emmet Keeffe led an informative panel discussion where four CIOs all agreed that the digital transformation of software delivery was the single key to their success. The panelists admitted that there was definitely a great deal of fear around how to complete or, in some cases, even begin digital transformation. But, as some on the panel shared, they had new hope after learning how innovative testing strategies don’t impede or slow down innovation—they can actually accelerate innovation and offer strategic advantages. The big takeaway for many in the room? With the incredible demands being put on CIOs today, they are more than willing hear from testers about how they can make an immediate impact on accelerating innovation.
It’s up to testers to view those conversations as obligations, and not just opportunities.