What do you think the AST board has historically done well, and what do you think needs to change?
The AST has done well in positioning itself as the leading association for context-driven testing and its offering of the BBST courses has advanced many testers’ careers. Since our mission is to advance the practice of testing, our grant program has also played an important role. More recently the AST has done well with its rebranding, developing a new and crisp logo and a massive update on its website structure. We have also made a good decision in reorganizing the way we organize conferences. The AST has also done well with the decision to expand its CAST conference to Australia. That is one thing I am very proud of.
I still think that the AST as an organization is not yet international enough and it would be good if its membership number would rise significantly.
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?
The AST could put more efforts in connecting with academia, it is one area that has been neglected in the past years. Also, I believe we should reach out more to the developer community and help establishing context-driven testing as a valuable partner for developers.
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?
- Which conference gets your best ideas and energy?
Well, obviously CAST has always given me the best ideas and energy, even before I was part of the board of the AST. Another conference I have a high regard for is Let’s Test, both in Sweden and South Africa. More recently, I was impressed by CodeFest in Novosibirsk, which is a huge conference with almost 2000 delegates, delivering tracks to both testers and developers. Besides CAST, I am not financially or organizationally involved nor do I own any other conferences.
While on the board of the AST I do not plan to chair any other conferences. I do, however, frequently speak at other conferences and I believe that this should be acceptable for any person on the board of the AST as speaking at conferences for many of us is part of our profession.
- 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.
I run a meetup locally in Switzerland and I have no need, nor would I consider requesting grant money for my meetup.
A) Please describe any potential conflicts of interest you could personally encounter as an AST Board Member.
I run my own company, hence I will not encounter any employee-employer situation. None of my business activities (running a test consultancy in Switzerland) has any touch points with AST activities. Should there ever arise a situation where there could be a conflict of interest situation, I’d recuse myself from any decision making.
B) How would you recommend the rest of the board address these conflicts?
I believe in open and transparent communication within the board about any conflict of interest situation. I believe the board should constantly monitor COI situations and act accordingly. Since I have joined the board, that is exactly how it has operated its business during the past two years.
How should AST promote diversity, of all kinds, within our own organization and within the wider testing and technology communities?
The AST should make sure that its conference programme is as diverse as possible and also continue working with organizations such as SpeakEasy to allow new voices to be heard. As individual members of the board, each one should develop a high level of awareness for diversity and speak up about it.