Tester and PM: The two way road with Anca Rarău at TdT Cluj

On the first Wednesday of each month it’s tradition for the testing community from Cluj to gather around for intense testing related discussions followed by more chilling discussions involving beers. Or tea.

On July 2nd, we invited Anca Rarău, Senior Project Manager, at TdT Cluj to discuss about the interaction between the project manager and the tester. Quite a new approach for the members of the community, that lately have been wandering between automation frameworks, security testing tools, occasionally going back to the basics of testing, to eventually return to cool or fresh testing techniques and methods.

Why would we even consider such a topic? Personally, I was convinced by its value a little time ago, within an internal event, when Anca has made her case on how should we, PMs and testers, help each other. So I invited her to continue her research on a larger group of testers having various backgrounds, experiences and a reputation of critical thinkers.

The topic was divided into two sections. First, Anca presented the qualities of a good enough tester and, furthermore, ones that an excellent tester should have, as per her perspective. Then the focus changed and the testers answered the same questions with respect to the project manager role. The second section was even more pragmatic, as we went through the most important project management knowledge areas to stress on the ways the tester could and should help the project manager. And for the equilibrium in the universe, we ended with the ways we would like to be helped by the project manager.

If, at first, the agenda predicted some common sense discussions, the more we got into the subject the better we realized how helpful it was to have such a nice structured memento from a PM. For more than 2 hours, we went with Anca through 5 slides of expectations and action items and countless examples: some from her, with how-to’s or how-not-to’s, some from the participants on how-should-I or what-is-the-best-approach. Looking over the feedback we received, Anca was really appreciated for the real live situations she based her arguments upon, for the steadiness she stated her opinions and handled the most skeptical participants. (More feedback, kudos, pictures and follow up discussions are available for the group members on Meetup.)

As we checked the 27th local Meetup, we proudly achieved another goal we had, of inviting more non-testers talking with our testers. And we are ready to return the invitation to our peers’ communities, just drop a line. In the meanwhile, we are preparing for a cooler, summer adequate meetup, involving beer. Or iced tea.

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