Quest for Quality: Anna Royzman on the future of software testing leadership

24 Jul 2018

Anna Royzman. Image: Quest for Quality/Comtrade

Anna Royzman of the Global Quality Leadership Institute answers some questions on the opportunities and challenges facing software testing’s future.

Established in 2015, the Global Quality Leadership Institute is a non-profit organisation that, founder Anna Royzman says, has a mission to become the world’s leading advocate for quality in technology.

“We are reaching our objectives by offering high-quality and up-to-date educational programmes for those working in the IT industry, including software testing and quality assurance professionals, as well as those in leadership roles,” said Royzman, ahead of her arrival in Dublin to speak at the Quest for Quality conference.

What kind of educational programmes do you run through the Global Quality Leadership Institute and what do they entail?

The Test Masters Academy is one of the most prominent programmes that we have. It is an educational initiative that runs software testing conferences throughout the year, including the Test Leadership Congress in the spring/summer and ConTEST NYC in the autumn. They bring together the best of the best in the field in a unique learning environment filled with innovative talks, lab trials of new technologies and experiential workshops.

Also in the works are: an online conference (at the end of September), webinars, round tables and expert interviews. Test Masters Academy is also partnering with passionate software testing experts to organise peer workshops. These ‘deep dive’ sessions are an opportunity to exchange insights and experiences that can benefit the professional community and advance the understanding of our craft.

You’re also the founder of NYC Testers and TMA’s Leadership Series meet-up. How important is it that there are communities meeting to share their knowledge and experience in software testing?

I believe that professional communities are the way to deliver continuous education, share knowledge and propel our profession forward. Not only that but the people who attend these meet-ups get to collaborate on ideas and network with like-minded individuals. They also help participants to discover and identify solutions to their existing problems at work and become more advanced specialists in their areas of expertise. Such experiences are invaluable when it comes to overcoming obstacles through digital innovation and building a professional career in the technology sector.

Your session at Quest for Quality is titled ‘Test Leadership of the Future: New Challenges, Big Opportunities’. Can you give us a taster of what to expect on this topic?

We live in unique times. Humanity, as well as businesses, is relying on technological developments to such an extent that our daily lives depend on it. The future calls for thought leaders to set the trends and embrace the changing landscape of software testing and quality. This goal requires forward-thinking individuals who are eager to innovate with ‘out of the box’ practices, along with the ability to accept new unknowns to provide the best products and services.

‘The future calls for thought leaders to set the trends and embrace the changing landscape of software testing and quality’

In this talk, we will review emerging trends, analyse new skills and discuss the latest practices that teams are using within the area of testing. Furthermore, we aim to consider the qualities of the future leaders who will influence and drive these teams towards success.

Nowadays, it is crucial for both people and organisations to be innovative and agile. The Quest for Quality conference and the work that Comtrade Digital Services does each day enables those in the industry to overcome obstacles, capitalise on opportunities and surpass expectations.

In terms of accepting new practices, products and services in software testing, do you think companies and teams are reluctant or quick to adapt?

I have witnessed both forward-thinking and conservative organisations. The fact remains that progress needs to happen and such change is ultimately driven by people. Companies not only need to empower their employees to adopt new practices and processes, they should be encouraging their teams to generate new ideas and supporting them in introducing the changes that can reap great results.

How can company and team leaders best equip themselves and their teams for emerging tech trends?

The first step is to educate the most passionate workers. Sending them to conferences is the most important decision that a leader can make. I believe that uniting professionals at events – such as Comtrade Digital Services’ Quest for Quality conference in Europe and Test Masters Academy conferences in the US – is a great way to share ideas and discuss new trends in technology and emergent IT community developments. Moreover, company bosses must become acquainted and mingle with industry leaders. Getting ideas from those who are shaping the sector is beneficial for any organisation and will lead to more effective practices.

What are the key skills in software testing that professionals need to start developing now?

I have observed the growing need for communication, facilitation, coaching and leadership skills. The reason for it is that there is a tendency in the industry to establish cross-functional teams (DevOps, Agile, XP) with the test specialist being part of the team. The quality practices, including the good testing practices, need to be adopted by the whole team – therefore, the test specialist needs to be a strategist as well as an advocate for quality and an influencer.

Anna Royzman will be speaking at this year’s Quest for Quality conference, taking place at The Marker Hotel, Dublin, on 3 and 4 October. For more information or to register, visit the event website.