2019 RisingSTAR Award Winner To Foster Inclusive Automation

The RisingSTAR Award was introduced to help stimulate innovation and encourage new ideas in the software testing industry through support and mentorship. It is about encouraging new voices and developing future leaders in testing. The winner of the RisingSTAR Award receives mentorship from many of the most influential testing minds who have come together as a supporting group to help develop the winning ideas for the benefit of the wider testing community.

Entries for the 2019 RisingSTAR Award were encouraged from across the globe. Testers and quality professionals submitted a wide range of potential ideas which were narrowed down to four finalists; Brendan Connolly (United States), Luca Finzi Contini (Italy), Lokesh Gulechha (UK) and Wayne Rutter (UK). Following voting by the panel of RisingSTAR supporters, Brendan Connolly, Senior Quality Engineer at Procore Technologies in Santa Barbara, California has been announced as the 2019 RisingSTAR Award winner.

Brendan always knew he wanted to program, having grown up on 80’s 8bit video games, he dreamt of writing his own. When he first started in testing, it was all about manual checking, tools were limited, and waterfall was the default. He found the introduction of Agile a breath of fresh air and used his development skills to improve his testing which began his mission to help make testers’ lives easier. Brendan regularly contributes to open source projects and is passionate about testing at all levels.

The 2019 RisingSTAR Award winner describes his idea as “Inclusive Automation – to foster, support and promote automation that integrates exploration, collaboration, monitoring/observability, reporting and ultimately the human tester into a holistic solution to help teams succeed in the agile/devops world.” Brendan believes that automation in its current state is a highly exclusionary activity. It excludes tests that don’t fit well into the confines of headless execution. It excludes those testers that cannot code, encouraging a class divide between ‘manual’ testers and SDETs or automation engineers. It excludes the monitoring and observability data that teams are increasingly relying upon.

In his acceptance speech at the 2019 EuroSTAR Software Testing Awards night, Brendan shared that he “would like to build, demonstrate, encourage and enable automation that draws people and teams together. Providing a holistic approach to an automation enabled testing strategy. Ultimately driving a healthier and more robust approach to automated testing that is inclusive of the diverse range of team skills, while shifting automation from something testers run towards something testers use. Helping teams to reduce the number of expensive and brittle end to end tests and have a deeper focus on tools that facilitate quality.”

To learn more about how Brendan plans to do this, see his winning entry here on EuroSTAR Huddle. Over the coming year, as the 2019 RisingSTAR Winner, Brendan will be provided with an ongoing platform on Huddle to share updates on his progress as he receives mentorship and develops his ‘Inclusive Automation’ idea. He will also have an opportunity to present the overall concept and updates at the 2020 EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference in Antwerp, Belgium.

As we look forward to 2020, the RisingSTAR Award team supported by EuroSTAR Conferences, James Lyndsay and Bart Knaack, invite you to submit your idea for consideration. The testing community is built on powerful ideas, and contributions from within the community are key to its future development. Great ideas can come at any time and to get your testing ideas flowing, the 2020 RisingSTAR Award is now open for entry. If you have a great idea that could change the testing world, don’t wait, submit now! For more details see the RisingSTAR Award entry page.

About the Author


I’m part of the EuroSTAR Community Team. I love the outdoors and will always be up for swimming in the sea, climbing a mountain or yoga on the beach! If you see me at the EuroSTAR Software Testing & Quality Conference, I might be helping our keynote speakers or taking photos to share on social media. Do say hi and we can talk sci-fi or baking .. the choice is yours!
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