What do you think the AST board has historically done well, and what do you think needs to change?
I think that the AST board has successfully built up the financial health of AST. What the organization has been lacking is growth, and dynamism.
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?
AST is explicitly intended to be *the* organization for the CDT community, and has hosted very important gatherings for that community for several years now. However, many CDT community members and leaders are currently investing time and energy in other organizations and conferences instead of AST and CAST.
I think AST should consider a wider mission and audience for its initiatives. Being the organization and conference directed towards a specific community is already limiting, and even less impactful with the community just isn’t as interested in it. I want AST to support the science and practice for ALL software testers, not just the ones that are tightly aligned with the CDT community.
Finally, I disagree with the contention that AST’s mission is stale. I know that for several years now, 80% of the organization’s members have been members for three years or less. We continue to fill BBST courses, pay grants, and now run multiple conferences a year. I’m hoping to help revamp BBST courses and maybe even add more educational content if I serve a second term on the board.
I do think that after members complete the BBST courses they are interested in and attend a CAST or two and maybe even speak, a sense of “what have you done for me lately” seeps in. Ensuring that the opportunities for growth enjoyed by members continue to exist for future testers should be of significant value, even if it is not personally, immediately beneficial.
AST continues to provide very affordable training for testing, extremely low non-profit conference pricing with no selling of attendee lists, and opportunities for our members to speak and be heard at CAST. While we can improve what we do, we’re continuing to do good work for testing and testers.
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?
A) Please describe two or more potential conflicts of interest you could personally encounter as an AST Board Member.
I work for an employer that has hired significantly from the CDT community. I have interviewed people for employment that I might interact with as an AST board member. I should be mindful that my employer’s interests will not always align with the AST’s, and be very careful if I were to work for or manage an AST board member or volunteer.
I run a peer workshop called WOPR that is planning its 25th meeting next March, near CASTx18. While WOPR has never asked for money from AST, these competing interests require me to think through potential conflicts. For example, would I advance a speaker for an AST event who could be a host for WOPR?
B) How would you recommend the rest of the board address these conflicts?
The board should prevent me from supervising or being supervised by any coworker.
The board should refuse to consider any grant request from WOPR.
How should AST promote diversity, of all kinds, within our own organization and within the wider testing and technology communities?
AST should actively engage with the Agile community, and other testing organizations, even commercial ones. If we truly want to influence testing, we should welcome competing ideas into our spaces so that ours can flow the other way. In too many places – such as the Agile community – thinking about testing is being done without our input.
We should be a welcoming, professional organization known throughout the software development community, and amongst all software testers – even those we have differences with.