By @SimonCocking great interview with Finn Lorbeer Quality-Specialist  who is speaking at the Quest for Quality event in Dublin, October 4th and 5th. The event, hosted by Comtrade Digital Services, will examine software testing in the platform economy world. Buy tickets here.

1 min pitch for what you are working on at the moment

I am working at a consultancy called ThoughtWorks. Currently, I am working with Daimler on the first digital offer for buying a car in the automotive Industry. (Making an offer for a car before it is actually ordered is something unique to the German market)
We are not only bringing innovation to the Germany market but also trying to influence Daimler to a faster paced delivery.

For this project we derive our roadmap from a distinct product strategy and ship every commit of code to production. We want to learn quick and react on changes fast. This is certainly a huge step forward for this industry.

How was the last 12 months? What worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?

Personally, I have been working with 4 different software delivery teams, partly staffed in Düsseldorf, Pune, Gurgaon and now Berlin. While I did not find the time to travel to India it was most certainly an intense time to consult the ThoughtWorks teams for only short times in order to help them improve the quality of their respective products.

Since the beginning of this year I am now permanently staffed as we started a new project with Daimler. Here, I certainly underestimated how long it takes to find a working infrastructure and technical setup. I also learned that “getting all the tests right from the beginning” just makes no sense when you do a lot of prototyping and when your integrations change on a daily basis. But then at least I now really understand why a lack between functionality and test coverage is almost inevitable.

What are your plans for the future?

My wife Melanie I just received our first child, Michel. He already occupies much of our time. For 2 months now I have reduced my working hours to spend more time with my family. In Winter we will travel for 2 1/2 months and then I will spend another 4 months at home being a full-time daddy and I am very much looking forward to that.

I hope that I can continue my work at ThoughtWorks in the weeks and months in between the time off. I want to keep thinking and discussing the opportunities of a quality “assurance” that starts very early on and involves much more than only “testing”.

I keep claiming that I will finally find some time to write more blog posts once I stay at home, but looking at the past few weeks I have some doubts that Michel is so enthusiastic about sitting at the laptop as I am 🙂

What will you be talking about at Quest for Quality?

I will explain why and how testing itself does not improve quality: Whatever system is under a test (e.g. Software) does not change its state. Thus, a system under test is not evolving or changing under test. The quality can only be improved afterwards – where at best the result of the testing helps to give a direction where to improve what. But that is a shame: the people who are most passionate about Quality cannot improve it?

At ThoughtWorks Germany we have spent quite some times with all QAs to identify fields where we can actively influence the quality. Additionally I want to view at a broader picture and discuss the quality of the entire product and not only the software inside.

Thus, in the talk, we will discuss how to influence the overall product quality from an engineering, a business, a process and the team perspective.

What inspired you to attend?

I was at the conference last year and I liked it a lot. So naturally, I come back. It’s even better that I get the chance to visit a city that has been on my travel-list for some time that I just did not yet manage to travel to.

Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?

I am fortunate to work in a company where a number of influencers work or did work in the past, like Martin Fowler, Sam Newman (wrote the book on Microservices), Jason Huggins (developed Selenium many years ago), Jez Humble (who wrote the book about continuous delivery), and recently Kief Morris wrote about “Infrastructure as code”. In this environment I am surrounded by a lot of input, ideas and developments so that – to be honest – I have to do very little extra effort to keep up to date.

How can people find out more about what you are working on?

I post newest ideas and thoughts on my blog: www.lor.beer
However, with the new family I only managed to share slides of talks, conferences and meetups. It may take another couple of weeks until the next comprehensive post.

Anything else you’d like to add?

How I see my role? I am not a “tester” much less a “Quality Assurance” person. I consider myself something like a “Product Quality Specialist”: I cannot assure, I can only help teams to build better software. To build better teams, have the right culture a fast paced process and business requirements that enable to build a resilient architecture. Ultimately, I want to build a high quality product, not just a high quality software.

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