January 2018

Let’s talk about test…

In this blog-series we interview test managers and test coordinators from various industries. At Testersuite we like to hear different views on testing and what the test managers or test coordinators are concerned about.  Please meet Adri van Setten van der Meer, test manager at the province of Noord Brabant.

Who is Adri?

I am Adri van Setten van der Meer and I have been working as a test manager for the province of Noord Brabant since 2014. In my private life, I have been happily married for 42 years. My wife and I have 4 children, in the age of 32 to 37 years. We have been blessed with 9 grandchildren and a tenth is on its way. It’s often a jolly business at our place. In my spare time I work for the local broadcasting as an editor, cameraman and video editor.

Can you tell us about your career?

I started working in 1977. After my training measurement and control technique (Electrotechnology) I started at Philips Medical Systems. It was very challenging and interesting for me, because at Medical Systems many techniques come together. Things like IT, mechanics, electronics, cryogenic techniques, High voltage, X-ray and so on. The first projects I was involved in, were the development of the first CT systems and MRI scanners.

I worked at the interface of development and production of medical systems. Even back then, we were working in a ‘scrum’ sort of way, only it wasn’t called like that at the time.  We had a physical space called the ‘War Room’, where we as a multi-disciplinary team discussed the progress of the project daily. On the walls, each discipline had a blackboard with notes about the different subjects, tasks and issues to be discussed each morning. A very interactive way of project development.

Prototypes were developed and built, which we had to test based on Requirements and regulations of external bodies. Our “Acceptance” test results were translated into manufacturing regulations. Manufactured medical systems were checked according to these manufacturing regulations, like performing a regression test.

We performed several types of tests, for example what we would now call ‘Proof or concept, Unit test’, System integration test, acceptance test and load & stress test. At the time, we did not have any test methodologies such as TMap or ISTQB but many elements of these methodologies we already applied.

 

“At the time, we did not have any test methodologies such as TMap or ISTQB but many elements of these methodologies we already applied.”

 

I left Philips in 1999 and started off in consultancy. I started as a project manager at CMG (later acquired by CGI). Because blood is thicker than water, in 2004 I returned to the business of testing. Since then I mainly perform test assignments for CGI clients. Currently as a test manager at the province of Noord Brabant. 

Can you tell us something about the province of Noord Brabant and your role there?

One could say that provinces are in between municipal authorities and the national government. The primary task of provinces is spatial planning (zoning plans, nature management etc.). The province of Noord Brabant has approximately 1000 employees.

I was hired to work as test manager/test coordinator for the Test Centre. The Test Centre is responsible for developing and maintaining a test approach within the province. Testersuite plays a significant role in this, because it ensures the security of the test approach within the province. The Test Centre advises and supports projects and departments in performing test activities.

At the test centre, I am also responsible for a project (Proof or concept) around test automation. We work with a tool called ICTestautomation by TrendIC. When we expand this project more widely within the province, we will probably also use the integration with Testersuite.

What your biggest challenge as a test manager?

My biggest challenge is to ensure that people keep the goal of testing in mind. People tend to find the way more important than the target. They do not always test the right things or get lost in trivial details. “A bookcase for a children’s room is subject to different requirements than a bookcase for a library “. Therefore, testing must be in line with the requirements being made.

How do you deal with that challenge?

By continually point out the purpose of testing to everyone. People are able to determine how to test quite well if they keep in mind their aim. For example, I keep telling people/testers that, as representatives of their colleagues they need to assess and demonstrate that the system works well enough to support their daily work. My motto is: “Want for the best but keep it simple”.

How is Testersuite used in testing?

Tester Suite is used to manage the functional and user acceptance tests. We do this in custom code projects such as the development of the depot management system (a system for the management of archaeological finds stored in the provincial depot). But also, large projects carried out by third parties like SAP HANA and Brabant’s diligence score for Livestock Farming, Testersuite is being used. The tests are prepared and executed in Testersuite and test defects are being registered, administered to and addressed by the developers.

As a test manager I also work a lot with tester suite. It is my main tool for preparing, planning and coordinating projects. I prepare the tests for the testers and I’m able to monitor and report on the progress and results.

 

“My motto is: Want for the best, but keep it simple”

 

What do you think of Testersuite?

I’m very pleased with the tool. Testersuite is very clear and well-organized and shows just the info you need. The Master list is a very powerful feature. This is where we manage our regression tests, so we can re-use them in multiple projects. Is just saves a lot of time.

My co-workers at the province of Noord Brabant enjoy working with Testersuite, for the tool is very intuitive. People invited to take part in testing are up to speed in no time.  In this sense, Testersuite fits in nicely with my motto! Because Testersuite is a Cloud Application, we can easily involve third parties in our way of working.

Also, the tool is developing rapidly, which is a big plus in my opinion. This way, customers can express their wishes and see them considered by Testersuite. This really goes to show in the development of the tool.

What does your future look like as a Test Manager?

In 2018 I reach the retirement age, so I hope to start enjoying retirement at the end of the same year. Until then I will keep working at the province and try to leave behind the test organization the best I can.

What developments do you expect in the field of testing?

Organizations are changing ever faster, and systems need to change along with them. Incorrect or unclear products are becoming less accepted. Testing remains very important and will become a bigger task within various disciplines. An ongoing search for early debugging continues to be an issue, for high recovery costs are unacceptable. Techniques such as “peer testing” (testing each other’s development work) and reviewing designs contribute to early debugging. This is quite often being underestimated.

Next to this, test automation is an important development, but is often overestimated. In my opinion, test automation doesn’t make sense for organizations with less than 6 releases every year. The costs of building and maintaining the automated tests usually transcend the benefits.

Do you have any tips for peer test managers?

My tip is simple: “Always keep in mind the purpose of testing “. Continue to ask yourself what a solution contributes to the goal.

 

Do you have any interesting experiences in testing that you wish to share? Let’s talk!

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