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Posted February 23, 2016

Women In QA


I’ve been in QA a little over a decade now, and there is so much to learn as the field constantly evolves. To stay current, I have to carve time to learn, read, and see how others are adapting to our changing world. With so much material available, let me point you to some of the people I like to keep up with. And since next month is Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at the ladies in QA!

Women to Follow

Lisa Crispin. Janet Gregory. Two of the more prominent names in the testing world. They are two women I like to follow in the QA world, whether through their books, conferences, blogs, or tweets.

Lisa Crispin, a tester at Pivotal Labs, is perhaps one of the most well-known testers in the world. She specializes in helping testers find their place in Agile teams, and guiding development with business-facing tests. As with many others in QA, she started testing to fill a need while in tech support, and has been a huge contributor to the testing world ever since.

Lisa co-authored (along with Janet Gregory) two of the books (among many others) that have guided me the most in my career of late: Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams (Addison-Wesley 2009), and More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team (Addison-Wesley, 2014). If you read nothing else, make sure you check these out.

Bonus: If you follow her on Twitter, you might also get a picture of a donkey or two in your feed every now and then.

Janet Gregory, an Agile coach with DragonFire, as mentioned above, co-authored two of my favorite books that help me lead my teams and drive my strategies to this day. Her passion is promoting Agile quality processes in software development. I love that she is a programmer-turned-tester, and helps testers transition to an Agile world and find their way in it.

Mary Thorn is the Director of Quality at Ipreo, and is passionate about building and continuously improving her test teams. I’m particularly interested in her as she is from my area (yay Raleigh!), and I will be seeing her at STPCon Spring 2016. I’m also hoping to see her at TISQA in Chapel Hill coming up shortly (if I can get the budget approved). While she doesn’t have the heaviest online presence, she does speak often in the testing/Agile community and is the chief storyteller in Bob Galen’s “The Three Pillars of Agile Quality and Testing” (RGCG, LLC 2015), which has been a key factor in my approach to new feature testing with my teams (read it!)

Elisabeth Hendrickson is currently VP of Engineering and Big Data at Pivotal, helping individuals and organizations discover how testing can increase their agility by providing fast feedback and boosting visibility. Until 2012, she was Founder and President of Quality Tree Software, Inc., where she provided training and consulted with clients in areas such as exploratory and Agile testing, determining best test strategies ,and organizing test efforts, etc. My favorite post I’ve read from her lately (and hope others in my own organization take note of) is "I prefer this over that" — an expansion on one of her tweets. So much of it just hits home to me.

Why I like them

What’s not to like? No, really — I have to say I have a tendency to lean towards those who know Agile, know testing, and know the difference in building quality in vs. testing quality in. I love learning from practitioners that see value in both manual and automated testing. I still have a long way to go, but if I can become half the tester and Agile champions that these ladies are, I will feel successful.

Feb 23, 2016
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