I understand why dog food companies are not run by dogs. Dogs can’t talk. They are bad at math. They are liable to chase squirrels during meetings. They eat the paperwork. Dog food companies can’t ask a dog to design the recipes. The people running them just have to gaze into those puppy eyes and guess what they will settle for.
But I have, throughout my career, not understood why companies making software for testers don’t put serious testers in charge of designing it. I have many colleagues with opinions about what they need. No one seems to be listening.
Then, Grigory Melnik called. He’s the Chief Product Officer at Tricentis.
I know Grig from years ago when he gave a presentation at the Workshop on Training Software Testers. It’s not hyperbolic to say I savaged his presentation. I think I told him that I didn’t recognize that he was even talking about testing. (When I critique people in that way, it’s because that’s how I want to be critiqued. I’m good at what I do and I want to be held to the highest standards. Still, the normal reaction is for speakers to call me a bully, get their friends to call me a bully on Twitter, or otherwise complain that I’m disrupting their talk.)
Grig’s actual reaction shocked me. He showed up at the same conference, the following year, with a talk that knocked my socks off. It expanded my imagination about what could be done in testing research. I’ve been telling this story about him ever since.
What Grig called me about, recently, is a little part-time gig: imagining the future of test tools. They are calling me a Technical Fellow, which is impressive but rather vague. The actual role is to work out the details of real-life tools that ought to exist to support context-driven testers, then help that vision survive the inevitable compromises that come with running a business that sells software.
So, I’m still running my consultancy and doing my online training. I’m still available (except I can’t consult for competing test tool companies while I’m doing this). Maybe this will develop into more of a full time thing or maybe it will end. I’m not always an easy guy to work with. We’ll see.
What I can promise you is that they would have to pay me a lot more money if they want me to praise tools that I don’t believe in. I value my reputation for irritable honesty. I’m not saying I would never sell out, but geez, they would be crazy to pay me that much. The economical route for Tricentis is to actually listen to me and build great tools for serious testers.