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The Inaugural Assurance Leadership Forum Scotland

On Thursday 21st February 2019 ROQ hosted the first Assurance Leadership Forum (ALF) in Glasgow, Scotland.

The ALF has been successfully running for almost 15 years in London and around 18 months ago, ROQ recognised that there was a need for a similar event in the North to cater for the demand of senior software testing professionals outside of London. This led to ROQ launching ALF North in Manchester and as this was a huge success, we decided to take the event even further North – to Scotland, and it has had a fantastic response.

The event is designed to provide a forum where senior IT leaders – particularly those directly involved in software quality, testing and assurance – can discuss the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis, share ideas and celebrate successes. The event took place at The Studio, beside Glasgow Central train station in the city, providing a convenient and welcome setting for the attendees.

Paul Gerrard, co-founder of the ALF, opened the afternoon by providing a brief history and vision for the event. He also went on to discuss an exciting new project that he is currently working on, which challenges traditional training material and looks at the soft skills that are so important for testers today.

We then split into two tracks where Anna Mcmillan (Test Consultant at 2i Testing) and Bryn Coulthard (Senior Strategy Manager at NCR Corp) took to the stage. Anna spoke about the evolution of testers and how we must adapt to keep up with current demands. It is clear that the role of a tester is not extinct, but it must evolve and that also means that we must accept that tools are there to help us become more productive – not replace us. Next, Bryn told us about his varied experience and how his background as a tester has provided strong foundations for all the different roles he has had throughout his varied career. He described how much things had changed since his first role in testing - particularly in recent years, where we have seen exponential rate of change.

In the second track sessions, Lynn Purcell (CYBG), gave her opinion on the changing role of a tester and provoked a debate on what the future tester might look like vs what we see today. Jonny Fletcher (ROQ) gave a talk on Test Automation and the importance of taking a pragmatic approach. He pointed out that unfortunately, people have become sceptical about test automation - probably due to previous bad experiences. But by using a pragmatic approach and keeping the end goal in mind, you can achieve the results you desire.

We encourage an open discussion at ALF events, so that we can help overcome the challenges that are faced by coming up with new ideas. This is the part that our attendees enjoy the most as it leads to the best outcomes. The common theme throughout this discussion was change. It is very clear that there is a lot of change and uncertainty ahead and we, as custodians of quality, must adapt in order to drive the quality message forward and continue to have a positive impact to software delivery.

We are always on the look-out for new speakers to contribute to these events – if anyone is interested in speaking at the Glasgow or Manchester event, please get in touch with marketing@roq.co.uk  

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