“Dear Younger Me” by Iris Pinkster O’Riordain

Welcome to the fifth in our series of open letters from members of the EuroSTAR Software Testing Community to their 28 year old selves.

The EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference is celebrating 28 years of the testing community coming together this year. That is 28 years of knowledge sharing. 28 years of an incredible community providing support to each other and 28 years of growing together.

We introduced this series of open letters to celebrate the many amazing members of our community. We encourage you to take a few minutes to read each of the letters and perhaps you will learn a valuable lesson or pick up a good tip for your own career.

Each letter is different and contains what the author felt is most important to tell their 28 year old self. Our fifth letter is from Iris Pinkster O’Riordain, the 2017 EuroSTAR Programme Chair and a continually supportive mentor and trainer for many in the community.


Dear Younger Me….

Testing, Test Management, Test Advice, do you know what these terms mean? Probably not, but I know now. And you know what…I think you chose the perfect career for you. Let me take you back to the future…

You just finished your study of Economics at University and are ready for new adventures. One thing you know, your job shouldn’t contain too much economy and it should contain IT. And that is where your testing career started.

It was all coincidence, but the outcome couldn’t have been better. I know at the start you didn’t have a good idea of what testing was all about. At that time (yes a pretty long time ago) testing in the Netherlands started to get booming, so there was a lot to explore. And exploring and coming up with new ideas is something you like and that you are good at.

During the years I learned so much more. I started off with writing test cases and tried to automate some (that was not my strongest skill). While doing this I found out that interaction and communication with functional designers, users, management and developers is very important (and is one of my strongest skills). You need input from different angles to understand their viewpoints and risks and create the best possible tests to provide the most relevant information. Bringing these people together and breaking down walls is a key success factor in testing.

Another realization is that every situation needs a different approach, but always using risks and quality as starting points. While learning all the above, the assignments you do will change: from more operational to your first job as a Test Manager, towards giving advice on test (process) improvement. All different things come on your path and there were many.

Below is a small summary of the things to come (you might not believe them and I still find them sometimes hard to believe):

  • Write books on testing
  • Being in a Lamborghini for a book launch of one of them (still have wobbly knees thinking of that)
  • Doing great test assignments (one of the more special ones was being involved with the introduction of the Euro)
  • Speaking at various (international) test events and winning prices with that
  • Program Chair of EuroSTAR

You probably wonder how you will get there. And to be honest I don’t know exactly, but here are a few tips that might help:

  • Be open for new things and learn every day
  • Meet up with fellow testers and learn from them
  • Share your experience with others and they will share them with you (and so you both learn)
  • And when you don’t do your job with a smile on your face, it is time for a new experience

Although all the above sounds pretty generic, it is what brought you where I am today. And I am enjoying every day of working in testing, so you will do something right.


Iris Pinkster O’Riordain will speak at EuroSTAR Online this year and you can see an intro to her talk if you are available to attend.



About the Author


Iris Pinkster - O'Riordain is test advisor at Professional Testing and has experience in testing and test management since 1996. She co-developed Logica's method for structured testing: TestFrame ®, their test management approach and TestGrip, the method on test policy and test organization. She is co-author of the books published on these topics. She often speaks at (inter) national conferences. In 2007 she won the EuroSTAR award for “Best Tutorial”. In 2017 she was Program Chair for EuroSTAR.
Find out more about @irispinkster

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