Diverging from the typical topics of conversation around software quality, in this episode of Quality Sense, Federico has a conversation with one of the most friendly members of the testing community, Tristan Lombard, Community and Social Media Manager at Testim. You may have come across his social media posts in which he shares resources, cheers on devs and testers, connects people who he thinks can learn from one another, and so much more. It was thanks to Tristan that we had many of our other guests on the podcast, so it was about time to hear his story and learn more about, in his words, the importance of community, why and how testers can benefit from engaging with one, and how we can serve others.

Episode Highlights:

  • Tristan’s story of falling into software testing after his career in social work and how he brings his non-profit skills to the B2B world
  • Why all the hype around communities and how professionals can enhance their careers by getting involved with them
  • Why Testim bets on developing community and its potential to amplify value for all
  • Tristan’s top 5 recommended reads for software testers

Relevant Links:

Listen Here:

Episode Transcript:

Federico:

Tristan, how can I express my feelings right now? How happy, humbled, honored I feel having you here on the show. Thank you so much for sharing. How are you doing today?

Tristan:

Well, I have to say first and foremost, Fede, I really, really appreciate all that you’re doing for all of the listeners out there at Quality Sense, and everything that you’ve been doing for not just your teams at Abstracta, and also in our software quality community.

How am I doing? I tell everyone I’m living my best quarantine life. It’s the best we can do, right? I’ve got my plants, I’ve got my community, and I have amazing leaders like you. So overall, pretty good. Yeah.

Federico:

That’s the attitude. Great. Do you remember how we met? Do you remember?

Tristan:

Like it was yesterday. We’ll set the scene, y’all. I met Fede December 11th. I know this because I had to go back and look at my pictures. Yes. February 11th in 2019 when I was running our Selenium meetups in San Francisco, back when I worked at Sauce. I remember you wanted to collaborate and I just fell in love with your passion for community and how you were connecting people there.

We were supposed to do an event together and then, God bless America, COVID hit. But you left such an impression and we just stayed in contact. And then you jump start it, and now it’s 2021. It’s been almost… Yeah, wow. Yeah. I know. I know.

Federico:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, and I ask you this also, because this is part of our main topic of conversation today, which is related to how to take advantage of the communities. There are thousands of communities out there, and I believe that testers are not taking all the advantage they could, right? And you’ve been building communities even from scratch. So that’s what I’d like to hear, your experience and your perspective about the topic.

So you mentioned you were working on Sauce Labs Selenium test automation in the Bay Area and now with this team, right? It’s always related to software testing, so I wonder how you ended up working in software testing, particularly.

Tristan:

That’s a great question. I tell everyone I’m a recovering social worker that fell into test automation and community management and software testing. I was like, “I don’t know how this happened.” I will-

Federico:

Difficult to see a connection, but…

Tristan:

No, I think there’s always a connection. I think that from having a lot of my experience having been primarily working with homeless youth in San Francisco, I always tell people,

“If you can help someone dealing with a meth-induced psychosis, you can deal with any executive.”

TRISTAN LOMBARD

Federico:

Wow, yeah. 

Tristan:

No tea, no shade. But it’s true, right? It’s that I think that for me, part of my journey has always been, “How do I support others? How do I lift others up? And how do I build community?” That’s a number one aspect when it comes to community building.

I had graduated from Columbia, got my master’s, and I had been in nonprofit my whole professional career. I remember thinking, “I want to go where there’s a more resource-rich environment.” It can be draining when you have a 60 plus caseload of homeless youth dealing with different levels of mental wellness, homelessness. Having experienced homelessness myself when I was a teenager, I really wanted to have an opportunity to give back. And I felt like social work had really been my calling. I just couldn’t afford it anymore personally.

I remember a job had opened up at Sauce Labs around recruiting. A friend connected me with someone. I saw this woman named Anna Marie, who had her fun bun on top of her head, was so tired and exhausted and was like, “Help me. Help me scale our teams. We can start a diversity and inclusion program together.” And I was like, “I like all of that.” Social worker in me stepped up and I was like, “I’m going to help this woman out.”

Immediately once I joined, two weeks after at our holiday Christmas party, someone in marketing, a leader in marketing reached out and was like, “Come work for me.” And I was like, “I promised a year with Anna Marie.” So I helped recruit 118 people in one year, scale. Was always building community internally. But at that year mark, switched over to marketing, helped them relaunch, rebrand their customer community “Secret Sauce,” which is built around community and originated at a Selenium meetup. Shout out to Alissa Lydon and the others involved.

And then from there, I also ran our meetups. So continued to scale. But community has always been at the heart of it. And then Testim offered me an opportunity to start a community from scratch and I couldn’t say no to Oren and Ronit. Oren’s a dear.

Federico:

Yeah, totally. But what does a community mean to you?

Tristan:

Yeah, absolutely. For me, when I think about community, I’m always thinking about, “What is the value?” 

Our Testim community isn’t just around getting people more familiar with Testim. While it is a part of it, it’s agnostic of the automation tools and/or languages that you use. It’s about providing value for our community members and leaders.

TRISTAN LOMBARD

And I say my philosophy around community management and what community means is first, what opportunities for our customers are we providing to connect with our dev and product leaders and influence our roadmap? 59% of our customers that joined stated the number one reason why they joined this community was for that very reason. So by providing that value, we… That’s my first point.

My second point around what community means to me is it’s continuous learning opportunities through and through. Again, while we do provide opportunities for our customers, our community is open to anyone who’s passionate around software quality and development and using any framework and/or language. So I tell people it’s about continuous learning opportunities through and through.

What does that look like, that value? That’s pulling in leaders and shining a light on them, talking about introduction to test automation. Or what I’m really passionate about, those software quality advocates, right? Getting them the light, sharing best practices, making sure that we’re not just focusing content and learning for those who are starting off, but also those directors. I want to provide value for those directors and those QA leads and managers. Those are different forms of content, right? Those are different questions we’re asking.

We recently had a best practices and documentation for software testing, right? How are we continuing to improve software quality? And what are some great strategies? What’s your tech stack for improving documentation? We had Meredith Volk, director of technical content, come in the other day.

We did live events, right? Those live events, those smaller ones that you have where it’s like 20 people tops, I love those. I love those. People are like, “How many people showed up?” And I’m like, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Those are a numbers game. That’s a whole other thing, but how are we providing continuous learning opportunities?”

Sure, we also had an event where we had over 60 people show up to hear Michael Cohen, senior front-end developer at Hibob, talk about what test automation and team alignment means to him. Sure, love that story. It’s about creating different continuous learning opportunities, whether it’s virtual or online, right? How do we continue those conversations in the community after the event? Right?

By having those two value props, whether it’s about affording opportunities for our customers to influence our product roadmap, or having anyone attend one of our continuous learning opportunities and continue the conversation in the community, that’s how we provide value. That’s what a community means to me.

It’s about being continuously learning together, continuously supporting each other. And hoping too that for those that are a part of our community, that they’re continuously inspired to give back, whether it’s answering a question around, “Hey, how would you deal with this distribution of teams at your org, given some challenges around budget? How are you dealing as a manager with deployment pain, not just during COVID, but over a holiday, while we’re working remotely too?” And inspiring them to share and give back. That can look like a number of things.

But my number one thing around what is community is it’s making sure that you are always providing value as a community manager and you’re not doing it because this could lead to X amount of leads. We’re all in a business together. 

We’re not in a nonprofit, let’s be real clear. That said, it’s a community manager’s job to make sure that the community members, that we were advocating for them first and foremost, and the leaders in that space. And I believe that everyone is a leader. Whether you are a manager, whether you’re leading a project, we are all leaders. So I think about our community members as leaders and how am I helping them lead together.

Federico:

That’s amazing. I can tell part of my story about some communities I shared with you, I can tell that thanks to you and the communities you’re building, I met a lot of people. Even people that I interviewed here in this podcast, it’s thanks to you, because you connect to someone that you believe that she or he could share some knowledge or have something of value for other people. And in this process, I learned, this person learned, and the community learned! So that’s great.

Tristan:

It’s a side passion project of mine. Don’t tell anybody. Okay, spoiler alert. I call myself “stage mom” and I mean it through and through. Back when we had in-person events where I met you, it was a young engineer who had never done public speaking before. I love him so much. Shout out to Andrew. Love that guy. He had been talking about a topic he had never done before. Was so nervous he got hives on his face. It was so cute. Being there to help him celebrate him, that’s so important to me.

Behind a majority of these engineers that you’re seeing publicly speaking, there is someone supporting them. Whether it’s someone in marketing, going over the script, whether it’s a mentor, helping them coaching them, there’s always someone who helped people get out there. That’s what I love to do. I also just love to connect people, celebrate. It’s just something that I firmly believe in. I tell everyone, “My network is your network.”

Federico:

It’s about relationships, right?

Tristan:

Yes.

Federico:

The industry where we are is for business opportunities, for learning opportunities, and for so many things. Yeah, totally.

Tristan:

1000%. That’s one thing I also want to make sure that people touch on is y’all need to make sure that y’all are on your LinkedIn game, that you are doing your social media thing. I said this before to you, hiring managers these days, they’re not just looking at your CV, they’re looking at how many reposts you’re contributing to, they’re looking at what blogs you published, they’re looking at what speaking events you’ve done. They’re also looking at the size of your network. So network, y’all. It’s so important. Your LinkedIn speaks volumes. I can say this as someone who was briefly in recruiting. The recruiters are looking. They’re looking at all of that. So network, connect.

Federico:

Yeah. So we are talking about learning and connecting with people. What other things have you learned so far, being part of different communities? Because I am thinking, if I’m a tester or developer or whatever and I am planning to join a community, what can I expect from joining the community?

Tristan:

Yeah, I would say from joining our Testim community specifically, what you’re going to get is you’re going to get that VIP onboarding approach. I call it my “Mrs. Carter, Beyonce, let me cater to you VIP touch,” if you will. Open palm pivot. Yes. It’s always making sure that you know each person, you know their story, you know… When anyone joins, they get a message from me saying about our community, what to expect, which channels for learning around Testim. But not just Testim. Around software quality in general.

So I also ask them to share where they’re coming from, because I think that location, where we’re at, just because it’s virtual doesn’t change anything, it’s cultural, right? I want to know where they’re coming from. So I want to know, “Hey, are you coming from the Netherlands? Where is it?” And I have a whole list of people and where they’re sitting, and I connect them with one other person that ends up geographically close to them and someone that I think will provide value for them.

I also make sure that I share a resource for them, a continuous learning resource, right? So whether it’s an upcoming event that I think would benefit them in particular, whether it’s a blog, article, or a resource, or directing them to a few of the different prompts in our community.

And then what I also do on top of that is I check in with them. These are relationships, right? So I always tell people, “Hey, you can automate your tests. You cannot automate relationships.” I’m sorry. Shout out to Commsor though. That is incredible and has been a real, real help in helping us with analytics on the backend. Because I like to think I have a great memory. I can’t remember it all. Commsor has been incredible in terms of helping on the backend with some analytics so that I’m able to better deep dive into our community members.

And our community has been on Slack now since around June of last year and we’ve scaled. I’m about providing community opportunities for everyone.

The other thing too is that we have additional opportunities within our Testim community. Not just for anyone, but specifically for our VIP customers as well. While our community is for everyone, it was really important for me that we create communities within communities, right? So having a VIP product group channel where any of our customers can connect live with our dev and product leaders. Having a private VIP channel, Testim Labs, so all of our customers that are excited about experimental new features can try them out and share feedback.

And it’s not just for our customers, it’s for anyone. We have a non-private channel, but we have a channel that you would have to search to find. It’s our #DevOpsBookClub, y’all. This is something that happened organically where Niranjani, she’s a dev advocate at Lyft, she saw a post I did on LinkedIn about a book club recap and she goes, “Oh my gosh, Tristan, it’s been a long time. Do you have a book club? I would love to join.” And I said, “I don’t have one, but that’s a great idea. Let’s have a-

Federico:

Not yet.

Tristan:

… virtual coffee.” Yeah, exactly. And we started one. We read Accelerate with Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim. It was a huge hit. It was really cool to have a developer there and talk about why developers need to have the freewill to be able to choose their tools. It’s going to help inspire them. And having Lisi there, principal tester, talking about her own experience, and having a dev advocate like Niranjani and myself. It was a small group. It was a small group together having a discussion around a book. It’s those types of experiences that you can have in our community. It’s those organic relationships.

That said, I’m a little bit of a schemer. I founded a secret society at Sauce Labs with one of my friends called Ministry of Mischief. MOM for short. We solemnly swear that we’re up to no good for the good of all. So mischief, it’s in my nature for fun. So you’re always going to have a little bit of a saucy flare in the Testim community.

I love a good emoji. I have a channel just for GIFs, because sometimes right now during COVID, people are depressed, y’all. We’ve got good days and we have bad days, but bless us, we have days. It’s really great to have a channel where there are no words, just GIFs. You can say how you’re feeling. That’s kind of the sauciness.

We have a channel just for fitness, because during COVID… And this is part of my holistic approach to software quality, it’s people. How are we touching people at different levels? We’re not just here to help up level your test automation skills. We’re not just here for leaders to be able to provide best insights into team distribution, software quality, best practices. We’re also meeting people where they’re at. If I can inspire someone to get their butt out of their chair and go do a plank train challenge… Shout out to Lisa Crispin, by the way, who has been on that challenge.

This is the type of human touch in software quality that I really think is missing in our industry. I think that so many people are so focused on… How do I put this as gently to these listeners? Coming from social work and falling into this space, I have noticed some things about the software quality community. Cynicism, skepticism, a sense of entitlement in terms of their knowledge is the number one way to go. And I think it’s really important to bring out opportunities for human connection so that people can start to build relationships, so that they could be inspired to have more authentic conversations where we don’t try and put other people down, where we actually support people.

“You don’t have to have the right answer. You can just share your opinion and inspire others.”

TRISTAN LOMBARD

I tell everyone to expect in our community, I say one of my favorite things was having someone post a picture of their new Bluetooth-enabled grill and that they were excited to smoke some meat, and have someone else question, start talking about security testing and IoT devices, and it became a whole conversation. And I told myself, “Tristan, only in software testing does this happen. And only in the Testim community.” I love it. I live for it. Our community is for anyone who’s passionate about software quality and development. We have fun too though.

Federico:

That’s good. So for what you say, I think going back to the original question, what can you expect from a community? Basically many things. And if your expectations are not met, it’s just talking with you and you will prepare another channel or accommodate anything that is needed, right?

Tristan:

Absolutely. Yeah. I live to serve. That’s what I say is for community management, my number one thing is we’re in the service of others. And obviously, we have competing priorities, but at the end of the day, my Calendly link is one Slack message away. I tell everyone when they join, “I’m a Slack message away. Let me know what you want, the content that you want. Hey, maybe you’re interested in doing public speaking.”

Craig Randall, who’s been in the industry for 20 plus years now, he’s a director of QA, he’s going to be talking at one of our events. He reached out to me. He said, “I love these community events. Can I speak at one of them?” Absolutely, Craig. No problem. Let me shine a light on you. Stage mom here. You know what I mean? So there’s a number of ways that we can help people support them in their quality goals.

Federico:

What about the other way around? I mean, if I join, is there some expectation of me? Should I do something or should I…

Tristan:

I’m so glad that you asked that, Fede. What a great question. Yes, yes. Well, there’s a golden rule in community management, which I think is really important that we don’t talk about, that 90%, I don’t have the exact statistic for this in terms… I just don’t have an exact source for this. But usually what you should expect in a community as a community manager is that about 90% of the people will join and there’ll be no action, right? They’ll watch. They’re observers, right? Then you have probably about 7% to 8% who are more passively engaged. They may use an emoji. They may chime in once or twice. And then you have that two or so percent of those power users that we want to continue to inspire and cultivate.

So when you join our community, what my number one ask is always let us know where you’re coming from and let our community know how we can help you. That’s my philosophy.

My philosophy is not ask your community members what they can do for your community, ask your community what they can do for your community members, right?”

TRISTAN LOMBARD

That’s really important. We want to be able to have people know there is no expectation except letting a community know how we can help you. That’s how I think people really understand the value of our community.

I’m very clear that our community should be about continuous learning, continuous support, continuous curiosity, right? I want people to ask questions. I will say of course we’re going to have people from time to time that aren’t exactly sure how they can support and engage. I say a big part of it is put yourself out there. I’m always impressed how many people in our community as engineers are introverted even via Slack. It’s my job to try and help them and connect them together. Yeah.

The other thing I would say too is that hiring is a big passion for me as well. Career development is really important for me as well. Accessibility. So we have different channels and opportunities for people to connect.

My other thing too is that I’ve been a proud supporter of Ministry of Testing forever. I’ve been an emcee at one of their events. Shout out to Angie Jones for letting me have that opportunity. I’ve hosted their virtual event online. Shout out to Heather Reid and Richard Bradshaw. You both are treasures. 

So my number one point there is there are so many communities right now, and the last thing people want to do is join another community. I understand. I get it. But I still push people to do that, to take advantage.

What I’m learning in a thread of Ministry of Testing, what I’m learning from the Testing Tribe, what I’m learning from… I’m also in TechWell. I’m in, I think, over 162 groups combined when we think about Facebook, LinkedIn, forums, Slack. I’m in a ton of groups and I’m always looking for value in different places. So the number one thing comes back to relationships. How are you, as software quality leaders, leveraging these different communities to get insights that will help improve your quality practice?

One of the number one things I always recommend to a lot of these people out there… I was having a great conversation with Suman Bala, quality advocate at Sky, and we were talking about this idea around flaky tests and how to embrace them and what that looks like for software quality.

I’m going to get in trouble for this, but it’s true. Sorry. Yes, Testim is competing with Canopy’s test automation solution. That said, I do think that 100% of my automated tests pass 100% of the time. I think Alan Page said that, and I 100% agree with that. Not all of your tests are always going to pass. What are we learning? Angie Jones said this, right? Those tests that are failing, they’re trying to tell you something, right? Never trust a test that didn’t fail at least once.

I do think that how are you… It goes back to this topic, right? She was talking about flaky tests and how are we going to embrace them and learn from them, and I said, “Girl, put that out in the community. See what other people are saying,” right? Because if you’re going to be a leader, and you’re going to be inspiring others, and you’re going to be doing these presentations around the world, add the community component to it. Ask your community. Take those thoughts, you don’t have to agree with all of them, synthesize it. And when you’re doing a leadership talk, boom, this is what the community is saying, y’all.

So often software quality leaders are so wrapped up in their own narratives. So often software quality leaders are limited to a company that they’ve been at for maybe 10 years and risen up in that leadership. What are other people doing? You know what I mean?

It’s fascinating. My number one of my favorite things about working at Testim has been having the opportunity of connecting with so many of our customers, and also in our Testim community with people that are not our customers, and hearing like, “Hey, we’ve been doing it this way. It hasn’t been working. What do we do differently?” Right? That’s where this community comes in. Any community, not just mine.

Federico:

We all have our blind spots, and when we belong to a community, there is diversity. That’s probably the only way you can realize your own blind spots, right? And sharing what’s your view and asking for other perspectives, it’s-

Tristan:

Yes. And I will say as well, because let me be real clear, it’s not easy to put yourself out there, y’all. It’s not easy to put yourself out there, whether it’s getting up on a virtual stage or asking a prompt in Slack or on all these forums. It’s hard.

I have leaders, and I will ping them because I know what they’re doing out there in terms of what projects they’re working on, or I see a LinkedIn post, or I have a personal relationship with them and I say, “Hey, you should put that in the community.” And they’re like, “Well, I’m worried it’s not going to sound right.” And I go, “Give it to me. Let me wordsmith it for you. Let me massage it. That’s no problem.” It’s not just that we have so many people from around the world where English isn’t their first native language. I celebrate that. It’s that so many people in our communities, they’re not the best writers. That’s okay. That’s okay. You can write lines of automation. You can scale your teams. We don’t expect you to do it all. You know what I mean? So I’m helping people all the time formulate the prompt in the best way, and then tagging other leaders that I think would be interested in continuing that conversation.

Federico:

I think this is very inspiring also, what you are doing, Tristan, because it’s really important to have someone… I’m not an English native and I have a podcast in English. But you need these people telling you, “Come on, do it. You can do it.” We need, of course, that massaging in our messages and our work. And also people cheering us, right?

Tristan:

1000%, 1000%. I mean, I cannot tell you some of the abstracts that I have seen. Disaster. Disaster. And I’m like, “I love you,” and as we say in the South where I’m from, “Bless your heart. I’m going to help you though. I’m going to help you with that.” My goal is always to, like you said, champion.

This is part of what our software testing industry needs to change. We need to change and find a way to stop… We can be critical of others in terms of the approach to quality in software. We can ask questions for sure. Let’s do it in a kind way, let’s do it in a curious way, and let’s do it together as a community. I think part of that is leading with love.

There’s a Labor Bureau statistic from, gosh, I think it was probably like six or seven years ago, but it was talking about how by 2030, we’ll see a 20% increase in people in the nonprofit in the for-profit sector. And I always tell people, “Why is that? Why should you hire people from nonprofit?” And specifically, why should people that had nonprofit experience go into for-profit? I think the software testing community could really use some more social workers, personally, to help. But I do say it’s because we are resourceful. We’ve worked with people from any background. And I think on top of it, it’s our deep passion and appreciation for people.

I think that’s where community management really comes in there. We’re not here for ourselves. We’re here for other people. I really want to be there for that solo tester on a team that feels not heard and left out, partly due to COVID, partly because of management changes. They’re not sure how to position themselves as a software quality advocate for their teams. For that developer that’s really, really passionate about learning more about test automation and they don’t know where to start.

Don’t make the assumption, people, that developers know test automation. Please don’t. It’s not fair. Teach, learn together. There’s a role and there’s a place at the table for every single person out there.

It is also important that we’re challenging ourselves. We had an event with Mike Lyles, “Testing is not a 9:00 to 5:00 job” and it’s so important. Your company may be providing great education for you, opportunities internally. At the end of the day, it’s not your boss’s job to teach you everything. Your professional development is on you and your journey, and you can do that with peers and others. Read a good book.

I know that you had asked me what are some of the books that I’m reading right now. Why, Fede, I’m so glad you asked. Conveniently, I have my top five right here for you. Yes, I thought about this. Are you ready?

Federico:

Yeah, please go ahead!

Tristan:

You’re never inviting me back ever again. It’s okay.

Federico:

No, no. Actually, I’m thinking of the next session because there’s so many questions we still have to answer. But I’m glad you give this step forward because…

Tristan:

Continuous learning is important. This is something that you can expect, not just in our community. I think this is something you should expect in yourself. We have a DevOps book club in the community, but what I also wanted to say is make a goal for yourself, y’all. Make a goal. One book a month minimum, right?

So for me, Accelerate: Building and Scaling High-Performing Technology Organizations. Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, Gene Kim. Highly recommend this book. We’re still waiting for a sequel, Nicole. Keep us updated on your meeting with your publisher.

I would say as well… Oh my gosh, I cannot say enough things. For all of you software quality advocates, obvi, Leading Quality: How Great Leaders Deliver High-Quality Software and Accelerate Growth. Owais and as well, Ron Cummings-John. I am obsessed with this man. Erika Chestnut mentioned this book to me. I read it in one quick sitting over the weekend. I immediately reached out to Ron and I was like, “Ron, I need to meet you. I want to celebrate you.” Ron and I are best friends now. That’s the power of community. His book is incredible. I highly recommend it to software quality advocates.

When in doubt, y’all, as software testers, right, you’re quality advocates. Go back to the good book. The DevOps Handbook is my Bible for best practices. It’s very hard to understand every stage of the DevOps scene. New tools are coming out all the time. This book, would love to have another edition, it’s still a classic. I am obsessed.

I would say as well, my other good book, and we had Lisa Crispin on as well. Janet Gregory, you’re a queen. Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams. There is a lean edition out there, y’all, if you need it. This book has inspired so many people. This is my go-to. Highly recommend it.

Lastly, being a software quality advocate means that you are not just advocating for quality for your teams, you’re managing up too, right? You’re trying, as a director of QA, to figure out how you can advocate for more budget so that you get some more of those testers, right? And your dev ratio is right. How are you doing that as a leader to inspire your teams during COVID and remote work era? Right? It’s leading with bravery. It’s leading with vulnerability, y’all. This book, I have every Brene Brown book. Daring Greatly is the number one that I would recommend for you all. She’s got a podcast on Spotify. I highly recommend Brene Brown to everyone. Learn how to be a more vulnerable leader. It’ll make you a better one, a better software quality advocate. So those are my top five books for you, Fede.

Federico:

Amazing, amazing. I want to highlight one in particular, which is the only one which is not specifically related to our industry. I love all the work from Brene Brown. Vera, you know Vera from our team?

Tristan:

Yes. I love Vera.

Federico:

She’s always teaching us, bringing a lot of learning from Brene. It’s amazing. Yeah, changed the way I see leadership.

Tristan:

1000%. 1000%. Although, I will say, and this is controversial, sometimes shame can be a little useful. Maya Angelou says don’t call them out, call them in. So I like to balance a little bit of that all together. Yes.

Federico:

Tristan, one of the last questions for you because we are running out of time. If you have to think about advice on how to improve your quality sense, what would you say? How do you improve your quality sense?

Tristan:

Absolutely. For me, like I said before, you can automate your tests, you can’t automate relationships. When it comes to software quality, my quality sense, I continue to lean in for insights into others.

I think for me, it’s… I tell y’all, get a Calendly account. It’s going to be the best thing that you’ve done for your professional career. I’m serious. I mean that. I’m not getting endorsed by Calendly for this, by the way. Although, I would like a discount for next year.

My Calendly account has allowed me the opportunity to connect with now over, I think, 182 DevOps software quality advocates, test automation leaders. And I’ve learned from them better practices for advocating for quality. And mainly from these leaders, how you advocate up to executives, what that means. I think that’s a skill that we don’t have enough in our community.

We have a lot of great introductory work around introduction to test automation. Shout out to Test Automation University. You’re incredible.

We also need to have more leadership around the human part of it, right? Lara Hogan does a great job of this. I think there need to be others out there. How are we giving more opportunities for those QA leaders, for those directors to be able to manage upward and advocate for more quality?

So to answer your question, not in a short way, I’m self-aware, has been really, I’ve been leaning into these leaders and learning from them. And what I found from talking to all of these different leaders now is, y’all, no one has it figured out. No one has it figured out. And the ones that do, they’re faking it.

So don’t worry about it. Really what I’ve learned has been leaning into other leaders. I love my VPs, my directors, my QA leaders. I’m leaning into those people and I’m learning how they got up to the top and what they are doing to advocate for quality amongst and for their boards. I think that’s been really important. So my advice to anyone, how do you improve your quality sense, it’s learning how to manage up.

I like to think that my heart, my brain is a treasure chest of relationships and I will open them up to anyone else. I also keep them close to my heart as well. I really, really do genuinely love most of the people. Some of you, bless you. I do love everyone, but some I love a little bit more than others. It’s true. But I think how are we inspiring people together to learn and connect with each other.

I know that while COVID has been so hard and has devastated so many communities and has been awful, I’m not here to spin a positive, because it’s terrible, what’s happened. I will say the one thing that I am grateful for has been the deeper relationships it has afforded me. Not just with my teammates and not just with members of our community and leaders. Shout out to you leaders out there. You all are not licensed therapists, but you really are trying and I love you for it. On top of it as well is the ways that we’ve broken down the barriers of those in-person meetings and how we are coming together deeper on these meetups online, on Slack.

I know that we’re running out of time. I want to say, Fede, thank you so much for being such an advocate at Testim, and for all this you’re doing at Abstracta. If anyone wants to continue to grow together and learn, I highly encourage you to check out the Testim community. We don’t market. We don’t spam. Just continuous learning. Or attend one of our meetups in the modern test automation group. We’re always serving quality content to help you continue to be better software quality advocates.

Federico:

Amazing, amazing. I really like how you helped me interview yourself, asking the questions that I’m thinking.

Tristan:

I’m not going to lie, I live for a good interview. And I have to say, kudos to you, friend. I’m also really excited about all the other speakers that you have lined up in 2021. Y’all, this is going to be a major year for Quality Sense, so definitely enjoy every podcast that Fede has got coming your way. There’s some good stuff, y’all.

Federico:

Thank you, Tristan, for the interview, thank you for the introductions, thank you for the platforms that you are building, and please continue the good work.

Tristan:

I lead by your example, friend. Take care.

Federico:

Bye-bye.

Tristan:

Bye.


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