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Tricentis News

Tricentis welcomes James Bach as technical fellow

Model-based automation for 160+ technologies

End-to-end testing across the UI, business logic, and data layers

Test impact analysis

Neuro-optical visual testing engine

These are just a few of the software testing innovations that Tricentis is known for today. Tricentis’ core technologies have already helped testers at 1,800+ organizations transform testing for Agile and DevOps. With our tools, testers light the way down a dark, treacherous mountain road – illuminating the path ahead so that engineers, managers, and other stakeholders can understand where they are, what obstacles they’re about to face, and whether they’re at risk of driving off the cliff.

As the journey ahead brings a new set of twists and turns at unprecedented speed, these proven technologies will remain essential for lighting the way. New ideas, new discoveries, and even new approaches to testing will also be vital for successfully navigating the path ahead.

It’s too early to say what the testing platform of the future will look like, but two things are certain: Tricentis is committed to building it, and I’m passionate about ensuring it can benefit every tester, no matter how they choose to test or what they’re working on. And who better to help us light the way than one of the industry’s most esteemed luminaries, testing thinker extraordinaire, humanist, philosopher, epistemologist, and explorer with unparalleled commitment to professional integrity and excellence: James Bach.

I am excited to welcome James to Tricentis as an advisor and technical fellow, helping us build the testing platform of the future. 

Getting to know James Bach

For 33 years, James has been constantly challenging software testers, looking beyond all the shiny new objects and focusing on testing as a complex intellectual and creative process. He dropped out of high school because it was impeding his learning, started working as a programmer in 1982, then became a software testing manager at Apple and Borland. As James himself put it, “I like programming. But I like trouble even more – that is to say, I am interested in how and why things go wrong in complex systems.”

Since 1999, he’s been an independent consultant so he can “pursue his craft as a software tester without compromise.” James…

Even if you’re not familiar with his name, it’s fair to say that your testing practice has been highly influenced by his work. 

But to truly understand his impact, you really need to delve into his writing. James has published too many articles to list here. He penned an autobiographical account of his path to self-education. And he co-authored some of the most referenced books on software testing, collaborating with masters such as Cem Kaner (renowned software testing professor and author of the best-selling testing books of all time) and Gerald Weinberg (systems thinking pioneer…and James’ mentor).

A short essay, “The Role of Testing,” from the book Amplifying Your Effectiveness is all it took to capture my attention in 2002, when I was a university professor researching software testing and looking for better methodologies to introduce the testing discipline to Computer Science majors. It really stuck in my head. What impressed me was not just the multifaceted analysis of the role of testing, but also the evolution of James’ understanding of the role. It’s almost a Socratic dialog with self, examining postulations of whether the role of the tester is to find problems, assure quality, or analyze risk. While those are certainly part of testing, the ultimate goal of software testers is to “light the way” (yes, I admire this explanation so much that I’ve co-opted it). As James wrote in that seminal essay, “The role of testing is to bring vital information to light in support of the grand mission of creating great products and running the business.” This – at an accelerated speed – is what I see as our mission at Tricentis.

Uniting around a common vision: The testing platform of the future

Not long after I read that essay, we met in person at a boutique workshop that James Bach and Cem Kaner conducted on teaching software testing. Agile was in its infancy, and I was a university professor giving a talk on “test-infecting” future software engineers.

Even after I returned to industry and gravitated towards building dev tooling, we continued to meet and share insights at conferences. When I designed a technique of Game Videos and used it to promote reflection-in-action, James invited me to share it with the testing community. I was happy to hear that this technique made it into his repertoire of testing techniques as well.

Fast forward to 2020. Several decades into my career – after traveling from testing to all the adjacent disciplines – it was time for a homecoming of sorts. I had a vision for the testing platform of the future. I found that Tricentis shared this vision and trusted me to make it a reality. So I came on board as a CPO – and, naturally, one of the first persons I wanted to brainstorm with was James.

Here are some of the key tenets of the vision that I shared:

  • Focus on serious testers: I do not want to build tooling for people who do not want to think. I do not want to build tooling for people who do not want to take responsibility for what they’re doing. I do not want to build tooling for people who want to share pretty reports but don’t really care about the meaning of those reports. I do want to build tooling for real testers, serious testers who are committed to excellence in their craft.
  • Be Switzerland: The testing platform of the future must be the Switzerland of testing. Why take sides? Let’s embrace all the rival schools of thinking and testing. This means building tooling that’s highly configurable, empowering testers to easily enable/disable capabilities based on their needs and preferences at any given time.
     
  • Embrace diversity: I want to embrace all the diversity of the profession. At the tester level, this includes diversity in terms of experience, roles, automation expertise, and domain expertise. It includes the diversity of methodologies that you find in many enterprise projects. It means testing everything from microservices, to mobile, to mainframes – from packaged apps that support line-of-business systems to the embedded software and data that bring IoT devices to life. It means functional testing and beyond: performance and load, scalability, upgradability, security, accessibility, content, etc.

I was excited to share this vision with one of the industry’s top thought leaders. And James was excited to hear it. This was his vision as well. He just hadn’t (yet) found the right opportunity to make it a reality from a tooling perspective. I was looking for someone to have a productive brainstorming session with. I found a partner whose vision, commitment, and passion matched my own. He wanted to be part of our journey…and we couldn’t be more excited to have him on board.

James has made himself available to actively shape the future of the Tricentis Platform. This isn’t some “honorary position,” an empty title with no commitment. James is deeply engaging with us. He’s embedded in the team, rolling up his sleeves and working alongside us to bring this shared vision to life.

Share our passion? Then join us

This certainly isn’t the last you’ll hear about James, our vision, and the testing platform of the future. But if you’re as excited about it as we are, don’t just wait for news about what we’re working on. Join us and become a part of it! We are actively expanding our team and hiring around the world. [Browse career opportunities]. We would also welcome your feedback and ideas for the testing platform of the future. Please send them to future@tricentis.com.