1. Please share your vision for the future of the AST, and how would you help to accomplish this vision in case you were part of the AST Board of Directors?
In my mind the future of the AST lies in our passionate community of professional software testers who view testing as a skilled, relevant and essential to software products. As an organization we need to bring together those passionate people to discusThe AST’s mission is to advance “the understanding of the science and practice of software testing according to Context-Driven principles.”s and share solutions (approaches, heuristics, decisions, models, software, etc.) to many of the challenges faced by software products and teams.
As we start to gather in person again, the AST can expand our support for peer workshops and gatherings. While online events can be fun, nothing replaces getting people into a room to discuss and solve a problem. It creates long lasting bonds that communities thrive on. The AST Board needs a position dedicated to this community organizing so it stays a priority.
2.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?
In the last few years the AST has undergone a big transformation in making our message much simpler so that members and non-members know what we stand for and why. We’ve improved our communication with members and have started to better understand our own role as a professional organization.
There’s more work to do there, so that our role in the community at large is easier to understand and support. As a board we need to keep up this progress despite the potential turnover of new board members (in a new election).
3. Many people come to be AST Board of Directors candidates through a long history of community involvement. This community involvement usually involves teaching, creating and running peer conferences, creating and running regular conferences, and working with commercial entities. Please describe any current initiatives you participate in that might affect your ability to serve on the AST board, and serve the AST membership.
I do have a long history of community involvement and most of it comes through or includes the AST and greater the context-driven community. I teach BBST classes, organize the CAST conference and handle as many tasks as I can related to running the organization and supporting our members.
When I speak at conferences or in slack channels I often promote the value and ways my involvement within AST has helped boost my career.
I don’t have any initiatives that might affect my ability to serve on the AST board.
4. In what ways have you supported the mission of AST?
I regularly work to understand the changing practices and challenges within software testing by applying a context-driven approach to my work. I do this by studying the craft, understanding what problems I face, what problems peers face and after discussing potential solutions, I contribute to the discourse within our community to make it better. All of this is done on my own.
I also work within the AST to support its mission through education and conferences:
Education is an important way the AST continues to apply its mission. Last year we (the AST) found a way to build upon the value we bring to BBST® by partnering with Altom. Altom owns the BBST® brand and has access to the latest materials and a new platform. Our combined community effort means BBST® can grow better over time.
Bringing people together to share and discuss solutions to problems is another important way the AST continues to apply its mission. Throughout the pandemic and even when we’ve had to cancel our conference we’ve found ways to bring people together to confer.
There’s more to do an in better ways, but I believe they all support the mission of the AST.
5. (Optional) Would you like to provide a short (250-400 word) introduction to go on your candidate page?
Chris Kenst is a QA Engineering Manager at Promenade Group and has been improving software quality for over a decade. He is President of the Association for Software Testing, a global non-profit for software testers, and enjoys teaching and contributing to the testing community.
Chris likes to talk and write, both of which you can learn more about at Kenst.com. He also created and maintains an open source list of software testing conferences and workshops. You can find him online at most places @ckenst.