What do you think the AST board has historically done well, and what do you think needs to change?
Historically the board has done well advocating for education and skill development within the software testing community. Specifically, skill development with AST-BBST, collaboration and discussions with CAST and more recently by disseminating information via Webinars (something we should continue to do more of). AST now needs to build upon what we have and, where possible, accelerate. We’re already doing that in some ways with the board reaching out to members to volunteer their time on the projects we’ve already started. I love this and think we should do more.
Leaving AST-BBST alone I would say one big thing the board needs to work on / change is how wecommunicate the value of an AST membership. I love what AST does with BBST but outside of thatI’m not sure what value being a paid member gets or contributes to? How are we making an impact? I see this a lot with people becoming members to take the classes and then leaving.
Is there an area where you feel AST is lacking in its role as a professional organization? If so, what would you suggest doing to begin to change that and increase the value to AST members and the testing community at large?
I think an area where AST is lacking as a professional organization (along with other professional organizations) is with building an active community. Sure we’ve started a slack channel and we have conferences where we can meet up but what else can we do to bring members together in an active way? To be fair I know this is a hard problem and I don’t have any suggestions outside of perhaps learning from or collaborating with other successful communities like the Ministry of Testing.
Conflicts of Interest are not always obvious, but they can be insidious. Even if the Board Member believes they can safely navigate the conflict, the external perception of a conflict of interest could these conflicts worth identifying and discussing. Every Board Member will encounter potential Conflicts of Interest. What matters is how they are identified and handled.
While conducting AST business, if any potential conflicts of interest arise, you should be the first to notice the potential conflict. You might ask the rest of the board if you should be recused from the discussion and any potential votes. In other cases, you may need external perspective to see the potential conflict; the rest of the board may need to offer this help. The rest of the board would generally consider the nature and severity of the potential conflict, and decide whether recusal is appropriate. Here are some examples of potential conflicts of interest for an AST Board Member:
– You will need to vote on issues relating to the support, expansion, pricing, management of BBST. If you offer testing training as part of your professional life through any direct relationships or partnerships, you should consider how it might appear to have them make decisions about BBST.
– You will participate in planning CAST and other conferences. If you are involved in producing another testing conference, some potential conflicts could arise:Which conference gets your best ideas and energy?Could you participate in selecting a tutorial leader, speaker, or chair without the perception of a quid pro quo if you lead a tutorial, speak, or chair a conference someone else organizes? Another issue could arise from sponsorship for a conference, whether AST sponsors or AST is sponsored.
– AST provides Grant funds to non-profit meetups and certain conferences. Being a recipient and a giver at the same time could be an obvious conflict. It’s also worth considering some of the other angles mentioned in the previous example for conferences, specifically around quid pro quo relationships.
– Any employee-employer, supervisory, business, or mentoring relationships/partnerships a Board Member has can introduce a potential conflict. An example of this is if the person a Board Member has a relationship with is asking for grant money, applying to speak at CAST, or sponsoring CAST.
Please describe any potential conflicts of interest you could personally encounter as an AST Board Member.How would you recommend the rest of the board address these conflicts?
The only potential conflicts of interest I can imagine having is with teaching BBST. I’ve taught these classes on my own and with Kaner, Fielder and Associates. Although if elected I will definitely stop teaching classes outside of AST-BBST and refer anyone I meet to take classes with us (something I already do). I’d rather advocate for AST to teach them than any other place.
Otherwise I don’t see any potential conflicts.
Addressing conflicts can be challenging because we might not see them initially. However when they are identified we should make swift and transparent actions to remove these conflicts of interest. Board members should be treated like every other member and more importantly Board Members should think about the impact of their perceived involvement in such activities. As
someone potentially new to the board I would prefer if we had some published guidelines on how
to handle potential conflicts of interests along with some recommended resolutions.
How should AST promote diversity, of all kinds, within our own organization and within the wider testing and technology communities?
Like any change I would suggest starting small and with something we can control. One small but powerful example would be to regularly nominate a diverse set of members to the Board of Directors who we think would be successful but also represent our membership population. Doing this will set an internal standard for the organization and if we continue to improve it would set a leadership example for the greater testing community as well. It’s also a very visible action with a positive goal in mind.
If we fail to nominate an appropriate diverse group of individuals, we’ll need to do a retrospective and figure out how to address the problem. The standard will have been set. If we are successful with our nominations and the candidates are elected, we will have a diverse management team making smart decisions for our future. We also set ourselves up to be a leader among the wider testing and technology communities!