Developing Testers - What Can We Learn from Athletes?

I've been asked to present the closing keynote at this year's Eurostar Conference in Manchester on December 7th.

Here's the abstract:

When it comes to improving the capabilities of our testers, if you believe the training providers brochures, you might think that a few days training in a classroom is enough to give a tester all the skills required to succeed. But it is obvious that to achieve mastery, it can take months or years to acquire the full range of technical and inter-personal skills required.

Based on my experience as a rowing coach, this keynote describes how an athletic training programme is run and compares that with the way most testers are developed. An athlete will have a different training regime for the different periods of the year and coaching, mentoring, inspiring and testing are all key activities of the coach. Training consists of technical drills, strength, speed, endurance and team work. Of course a tester must spend most of their time actually doing their job, but there are many opportunities for evaluation and training to occur even in a busy schedule.

Developing tester capability requires a methodical, humane approach with realistic goals, focused training, regular evaluation, feedback and coaching as well as on-the-job experience.

You can see the presentation here:
multi-page HTML file | Powerpoint Slide Show

I originally created this presentation for the BCS SIGIST meeting on the Ides of March.