“Dear Younger Me” by Derk-Jan de Grood

Welcome to the seventh in our series of letters from members of the EuroSTAR Software Testing Community to their younger selves.

2020 is the 28th year of the EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference and an incredible milestone for everyone involved. EuroSTAR was created as a gathering of European software testers and quality assurance professionals – a place to come together, share ideas, help others through sharing experiences and knowledge gained from successes and failures! Most of all, EuroSTAR is a celebration of community, a way to show support and help others to grow and develop and wow, have we all experienced so many incredible moments in 28 years.  These open letters are an acknowledgment of all that has come before and how each journey is important and adds to the community as a whole.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far and if you would like to submit a letter, please get in touch with us so we can help make that happen.

This week’s letter is penned by Derk-Jan de Grood, winner of the 2014 EuroSTAR European Testing Excellence Award. Derk-Jan is an experienced trainer in testing and his workshops are always much enjoyed by attendees at the EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference. He is continually contributing to the wider testing community and has published seven books so far focusing on agile.

Happy reading!


Dear 28-year-old Derk-Jan,

I write this letter to you at the age of twenty-eight. This means that you will receive this letter in the year 1999. A legendary year as the whole professional world is preparing for the new millennium. It’s is a great time for software testers since all the date fields in the old systems need to be adapted so the date counter will not jump to 1900. And, of course there is a lot of testing involved.  I know you are busy with that as well and since we have our birthday in November, the new millennium is approaching fast. Prince already warned the world with his song 1999 where he sings “two thousand zero zero party over, oops out of time”, so who knows what will happen. I do, of course writing this letter from the future. But I won’t spoil the fun for you. You’ll find out soon anyway.

In 1999 you have been working for two years. I know we used to look up to colleagues that had a few years more work experience than we had, but you have gained some track-record by now. Take the time to do various projects and explore the profession. Although there might be others that have a firm opinion, trust your own insight and follow your own pad. There is a lot of appreciation for someone that is enthusiastic, tries to make things as clear and transparent as possible and tells truth. So, do not be afraid to speak up and state your opinion.

I am trying to find some clever tips to give you. But to be honest, both the failures and the successes define the professional we have become. We will be calling that failing-forward in a few years from now. And learning, exploring and continues improvements will be fashionable.  Therefore, I would not really want you to change a lot. Just follow the pad, make mistakes and learn.

But there are a few things I want to focus your attention on. Technique will take a flight and internet will change a lot. The way we’ll develop our systems will change. So, when someone in the office starts talking about something new called Scrum. Pay attention. You will be involved with that big-time, so it’s worthwhile to experience it. Furthermore, when someone invites you to join the EuroSTAR conference, jump on the train. You’ll want to attend the event. As a matter of fact, you’ll participate in a lot of conferences. It will help you to define what you think is important in our profession and be a better professional. It will bring you friends, knowledge and inspiration.

Keep up the good work, stay healthy and have fun,

Your older self,


PS. Oh, and one last thing. Do not throw away any of your record collection. Believe it or not, vinyl will become fashionable again and you’ll regret throwing some of your old records away!!


Derk-Jan de Grood will be hosting a half day tutorial on prioritizing your backlog to make an impact at EuroSTAR Online this year. Get your ticket today and join Derk-Jan at EuroSTAR 2020 Online.


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About the Author

Derk-Jan de Grood

Derk-Jan de Grood works as agile transition coach for Squerist. He has worked for organizations like Nationale Nederlanden, ING Bank, DPD and Greenchoice and supported them in their Agile Transformation. He wrote several successful books and frequently publishes articles and columns for the major magazines. In 2014 he won the EuroSTAR Testing Excellence Award. In 2016 he published his 7th book: “Agile in the Real World, Starting with Scrum”. He is an experienced trainer, workshop host and a regular (keynote) speaker at conferences like Agile Summit Ibiza, Testing Uruguay, the Agile Testing Days and STAR conferences in Europe and America. On his own blog he shares his knowledge and experience for everyone to benefit. • Twitter: https://twitter.com/DerkJanDeGrood • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derkjandegrood/ • Blog: https://djdegrood.wordpress.com
Find out more about @derk-jan-de-grood

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