I had the privilege on Wednesday October 13th, to be invited by Stewart Noakes, Chariman of the TCL Group, to attend “Testing in the Cloud“, a get together for professionals around the world to discuss, guess what, Testing in the cloud ! As I was leaving the event at the end of the day, Stewart asked me what was the most important thing I picked up during the day. The most important thing was of course the people I had a chance to discuss and interact with, as always I would say. Additionally, something really struck me during the day: It was the strong feeling that the Software Testing industry was changing, for the better. Listening to Roy Solomon (uTest), Tom Lounibos (Soasta) and James Whittaker (Google) I really felt I was in front of game changers ! People who truly believe they can make a difference in the industry, thinking outside the box, bringing innovation in an area of the Software Industry which probably needs it the most ! It felt so refreshing !
I had a chance to meet Doron Reuveni last year at GTAC but it was the first time I was meeting Roy, uTest co-founder. Listening to his presentation: “How Clouds, Crowds and Communities are changing the game“, I thought about the time I had discovered uTest and how it grew in only 12 months. What started as a cool concept to allow companies to complement some of their website in-house testing is today the most well-recognized Testing Marketplace for webapps, gaming, desktop and, in my opinion the magic bullet, Mobile apps. With the current explosion of Mobile apps, I can’t think of anyone else as best positioned as Utest to fill this huge gap. When you think about the number of mobile manufacturers, models, carriers, OS … The test matrix is mind-blowing ! Having a crowd to cover as much of that matrix as possible is for me a huge competitive advantage. Investors quickly got that these guys have a jewel and are regularly injecting money in uTest. In September, they’ve raised 13 millions in a Round C Investment. Impressive ! The business impact is real but they’re also very good at gathering the Software Testing community around them, interviewing software testing experts in their Testing the Limits series, running informative webinar, involved in Software Testing conference etc. I find their approach, model, attitude and openness very very refreshing. Game changers? You bet !
I’ve discovered Soasta at a similar time as uTest and it’s interesting to follow their similar path. While uTest revolutionized functional testing, Soasta really swept away everything we knew about tooling and environment for performance testing and reinvented it. During his presentation Cloud Testing: Performance matters more today than ever before, Tom Lounibos shared with us a bit of the history of Soasta and how he came with this idea of Cloud Testing. At the time, he merely wanted to solve a (very important) business problem and nothing available at that time (mostly LoadRunner or Silk Performer) was adequate. Tom was the CEO of Dorado Corporation (first SaaS based software application targeting Financial Services) and their servers were on the floor regularly due to lack of scalability and information available to pint-point the bottlenecks. So Tom asked his team: “How do you test for this kind of volume?” and well … LoadRunner, you know … Not so great So he decided to fix this problem and helped everyone else in the industry at the same time. Today Soasta helps customers such as Mattel, Chegg, NetFlix, TurboTax etc. to ensure availability and operational performance. All company relies today one way or another (some 100%) on online operation and as you know, low performance is lost revenue, lower page views, conversions or customer satisfaction. Soasta brings a silver bullet to performance testing as long as customers realize that they have no other choice but to plan for Performance Testing and shift from a process to a mindset (some have neither today !). When you’re able to simulate ten of thousand of users, banging on your application, coming from multiple real geographies and analyze in real time what’s going on at all application tiers and infrastructure, I think you’ve solved a very important problem. This problem is not going away anytime soon and Soasta challenge will be to cope for the new demand and ever increasing volume.
Great presentation from Tom ! I kept that quote in mind: “Testing was the bastard child of IT but now it’s the crown prince“. I think a lot of people in all industry start to realize the importance of Testing. It was about time !
Now take the power of the crowd and the smartness of Performance Intelligence and both Soasta and uTest are going to make a killing ! (no wonder they’ve announced a partnership !)
Last but not least, Mister James Whittaker himself. Best selling author, one of the most influential person in the Software Testing industry right now, an innovator and quite a character ! He gave us the honor to present for the first time the presentation he will give audience all over the world for the next 2 years: Turning Quality on its head. I don’t want to disclose too much of his presentation as it is on the GTAC 2010 agenda, but he shared with us why he thinks developers takes care of the trees (silo minded and that’s not necessarily a bad thing), watering them everyday, while testers see the whole forest and especially how all these trees interconnect and that’s why you can’t rid of testers anytime soon. Why he thinks developers should work 3 days straight without stopping and then take a short break. The cost of getting the code back in their head every morning is too high Some actually operate this way quite successfully. Why encouraging your best testers to become developers is a good thing as they can influence at the tree level quality. He also presented a testing HUDs currently in Beta within Google which will be made available really soon as open-source. Something he already presented at GTAC 2008 while he was working for Microsoft and blogged about it. But now, it’s getting real ! Last but not least, he presented us another tools which is also in Beta called Google Test Analytics which is supposed to help all team to calculate the risk factor of a given application to be released. I’m a big fan of risk based testing and I can’t wait to try this tool !
What does James think about the Cloud? Well, his presentation was running in the cloud within Google Docs and it crashed miserably right at the start ! James stated: “That Cloud thing is overblown !!”
It was the first time I was able to meet with James and it was so refreshing and inspirational. Not everything he says is a novelty (Surface testing is very similar to test coverage as an example) but his enthusiasm and passion toward testing is something you can’t forget and which should be shared by everyone involved in the fantastic realm within Software Development.
There are many other innovative and inspirational game changers in the industry today such as SauceLabs for example (Thanks to Jason Huggins!). We need more ! Problems in quality are not going away and we need every smart brain we can to prevent them !
The last thing I told Stewart as I was running to catch my taxi was: “This is the best time to be in Software Testing !” Thanks to him and his fantastic team for the organization of this event !
Update October 27th.
Stew uploaded footage from the event on the TCL Channel