What do you think the AST board has historically done well, and what do you think needs to change?
I think that the AST does a terrific job of attracting all the brilliant minds of testing. I have attended CAST for years and I always find great value in the presentations and discussions that I have there. I think that as a non-profit organization we have to find a way to keep our membership engaged, not just on Twitter posting links and comments, but in Newsletter articles, web and podcasts and other media. Membership should feel that they can share their testing thoughts and discussions through the AST. Helping themselves and, in turn, the organization build community.
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 would like to build more community involvement. This involvement would not need to be hours upon hours of commitment; maybe a few minutes to answer a question of the week or participate in a weekly discussion topic. It could be a short article for the newsletter about how you found a crazy bug, maybe video of that crazy bug. A book review or notes on a presentation or class that a member thought was profound. If everyone did just one little thing like this, the return in time invested would be tremendous. I would like our membership to feel empowered to use the AST as a platform to share their ideas, thoughts, knowledge and experiences.
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?
- My Conflict of Interest Self-Assessment
I am not a paid employee of the organization.
I am not related to any of the other members of the Board of Directors.
In my capacity as a Board member, I have never promoted or suggested promoting the good or services of myself or another board member.
There is no business or for profit organization that I am associated with that could sell goods or services to AST that would result in a direct financial benefit for myself.
There is no property or other owned item that is leased from me by AST.
I suppose that I could run into the appearance of a conflict of interest if I were to ask my employer, Hyland Software to sponsor an AST event, as in Eric’s example. I do not believe that there is any way that my company or I could profit from that sponsorship. We sell business content management software to other businesses. We have our own in-house testing department. I believe that any sponsorship money that would be given to the AST would be given with no Expectation of benefit in return, it would be given purely to support the software testing community. I would have no problem stepping away from any sponsorship negotiation with my organization.
A couple of years ago the Cleveland area had a decent sized local software testing group that got together, it has since dwindled and I would not mind reaching out to that community again. I would not be comfortable asking for a grant to help me fund this new meet up without it seeming like a conflict of interest since I am on the board. I would not want to put the board in that position and would expect the board to turn down any grant request from a current board member, myself included.
I hope that my self-assessment shows that I understand what constitutes a conflict of interest and that the 2 examples that I provided display I understand the gravity of consequences that our organization could be subjected to. I prefer to avoid any such controversies while a member of the AST Board.
I would hope that the rest of the board would address any conflicts of interest with the same integrity that is described above.
How should AST promote diversity, of all kinds, within our own organization and within the wider testing and technology communities?
I feel that as an organization we are very diverse while the technology industry in general is not, as we have seen by the recent controversies at Google and Uber. It feels like this is a tale as old as time. The technology industry is not going to diversify overnight. I think it would be a terrific project for the AST to develop an educational program for students and minorities to spark interest in Software testing as a profession. My goal would be to develop this program that our membership could easily take back and implement through their organizations into local communities. I think it is important to engage the future generations of testers and AST members.