Mirek is standing for election to the AST board 2023.
I’m Mirek Długosz (pronunciation), I’m a software engineer and I specialize in testing.
I’ve been passionate about open source since I first heard about it, back in 2005. In the past, I have contributed translations and testing work for Debian, KDE, LibreOffice and many smaller projects. These days I mostly contribute code.
Between discovering open source and getting hired as a software engineer, I pursued master’s degree in sociology. I rounded it off with a bachelor degree in computer science a couple of years later. I firmly believe that “Methodology of Sciences” is the most professionally relevant class I have ever taken.
I first heard about Context-Driven Testing at a local conference in 2016. Later I read “Lessons Learned in Software Testing”, which greatly influenced how I think about testing, and from which I draw to this day. I joined AST in 2022 – I was looking for ways to become more involved in the testing community.
I’m always happy to talk about testing, open source, software engineering and related topics. Feel free to drop by at my website and get in touch with me.
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?
AST is one of the oldest, if not the oldest organization focused primarily on testing.
On the one hand, AST has a vast repository of knowledge and artifacts (articles, slides, recordings etc.) that has been created in the past 20 years. I feel preserving them is an important part of the AST mission.
On the other hand, current mission as stated on the website is very forward-looking and open-ended. I think it is important as well and we should not lose sight of it.
I am already participating in preservation efforts, by helping to reorganize past CAST pages on the website and by coordinating the initiative to archive slides from presentations at Association for Software Testing events. I intend to continue, and I plan to learn about other areas where similar work is needed.
As for the already established mission, I think focusing on testing practices provides the greatest opportunity for some quick wins. I would like to see group testing sessions (recorded or not), challenges, note sharing and hands-on reports.
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?
I strongly believe in openness, transparency and remote-first approach. I think AST could contribute more to the community at large by working on these areas.
Openness means opening the organization for people with different backgrounds, different roles and from different countries. AST is Association for Software Testing, not Association for Software Testers. I think there is a lot of value we could provide to people outside of traditional testing roles, if we can reach them.
I really like the “pay what you can afford” model introduced two years ago, as it significantly lowers the barrier of entry. But in my ideal world, an act of becoming an AST member would be a formalization of an already established relationship, not a prerequisite for working together. I would like to see more opportunities for people who are yet to join.
Transparency applies primarily to everything that is happening in the organization. A simple example would be a public archive of the AST newsletter. I know of open source foundations that publish detailed reports from each area of work, as well as minutes from all formal meetings. Even if it’s not the right fit for AST, I think it is worth considering.
For remote-first, I know from personal experience how great of an enabler it may be. I spent my childhood in a small town in Central Europe. Getting broadband revolutionized my life – suddenly I got access to a huge body of knowledge, learning materials and relationships that were non-existent in my town. I learned programming, I learned testing, I joined communities, I got a good job, and now I am running for the Board of a US non-profit – none of that would have been possible without the Internet. 20 years from now, I want thought leaders of the future to credit AST as one of communities that helped them to grow and become who they are.
Finally, I see a gap between what AST says it provides to members, and what is actually happening. We need to have an honest discussion about what we can reasonably do, and commit ourselves to doing that. As a Board member, I want to lead by example.
3. In what ways have you supported the mission of AST?
In just last year:
- I prepared a new version of WHOSE website
- I helped with cleanup and reorganization of AST website
- I coordinate the initiative to archive slides from presentations at Association for Software Testing events
At work and learning communities I am part of, I try to direct people towards resources prepared by AST members. “Perfect Software” is my go-to recommendation for people early in their careers.