STARWEST 2020 Leadership Summit Session: The Tester’s Role - Balancing Technical Acumen and User Advocacy


Friday, October 4, 2019 - 8:30am to 9:45am

The Tester’s Role - Balancing Technical Acumen and User Advocacy

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Melissa Tondi discusses the changing landscape of the role of testers, the challenges of hiring, and a way to shift the pendulum back to balance technical acumen with a user advocacy role. Melissa leads a thoughtful discussion on what makes a good tester, how test leaders can continue to promote our profession, and how to accentuate the value testers bring to organizations. She identifies factors that caused the test/QA role to become mainstream and how it shifted to become more technically focused. Melissa helps fill in the gaps with a test strategy that incorporates a solid automation strategy which allows for balance between supporting the development efforts while equally emphasizing user advocacy tests. She will identify areas that have traditionally created overhead and inefficiency - like matrixed team members, automation strategies, and regression testing.  Present recommendations on how to make those areas more efficient and lean. Also, she take a deep-dive on test automation success and defines who is affected by automation. Where automation belongs in the SDLC and when it should start​. She will also Identify the pitfalls that impact successful automation​, and give you specific recommendations on how to address these pitfalls​.

Melissa Tondi
Rainforest QA

Melissa Tondi has spent most of her career working within software testing teams. She is the founder of Denver Mobile and Quality (DMAQ), past president and board member of Software Quality Association of Denver (SQuAD), and Consultant Manager at Rainforest QA, where she assists companies to continuously improve the pursuit of quality software—from design to delivery and everything in between. In her software test and quality engineering careers, Melissa has focused on building and organizing teams around three major tenets—efficiency, innovation, and culture – and uses the Greatest Common Denominator (GCD) approach for determining ways in which team members can assess, implement and report on day to day activities so the gap between need and value is as small as possible.