“Dear Younger Me” by Rik Marselis

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

We are so excited to be celebrating the 28th EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference this year. It is a celebration of 28 years of the testing community coming together in an inclusive space, to share knowledge, support each other and grow. Our community spirit is incredible and it is shaped and nurtured by every single tester and quality professional that has been part of our 28 year journey. To mark this momentus anniversary, we have invited many of those instrumental in the creation and ongoing development of our community to write an open letter with words of advice for their 28 year old selves.

Each letter is different and contains what the author felt is most important to tell their 28 year old self and to remind their younger self what is worth fighting for!

Our third letter is from Rik Marselis, this year’s Programme Chair of EuroSTAR Online. Rik is regularly surrounded by robots as he researches the testing of intelligent machines and how to use machine learning to support testing activities as part of his work as a fellow of SogetiLabs. He is also rarely without his camera and has captured many magical moments at the the EuroSTAR Conference over the years.

We are delighted to have Rik as our Programme Chair for our first fully virtual EuroSTAR and invite you to read his open letter


Dear 28-year-old Rik,


I write this letter to you when you are still at the age of 28, which is in the year 1990. I trust this letter will enable you to make even better choices in your career and to even better contribute to delivering IT systems that are valuable to the people involved.

You already know that testing is an integral part of development of IT systems, since that was part of your programming education by a guy called Mark Wit as he stated: “no program is ready if there is no test set with it!!”.

What you also need to know is the broader perspective of Quality. And especially about quality and the three P’s:

  • Quality of the Product (because that’s what you are to deliver),
  • Quality of the Process (because when you have a good process the product is also more likely to be good)
  • Quality of the People (because good people create better products).

Quality is related to what is needed, so don’t strive for the highest possible quality but focus on “fit for purpose” products. And your process must strive to “right first time” creation of products.

As you have noticed already in practice, working in a small team and delivering your products in iterations, works well. Keep up that practice and extend it, it will become a common practice!

What you will also notice in your career is the importance of clear terminology, please work with your colleagues on definitions that align the communication of all involved. I assure you that it will really be worth the effort to create a glossary such as the TMAP glossary that you will see emerging in a couple of years. Also beneficial is the use of templates because they will make your work both more effective and more efficient, while also increasing the repeatability of your activities.

My last advice is to ignore people that say quality & testing is not fancy, real work or whatever, it’s a great field of expertise and you will definitely enjoy getting to know more and spreading the knowledge and skills. A good way to connect with like-minded people is to go to a new conference called EuroSTAR that will be first organized in 1993, put it on your calendar already !!

Have fun testing,


Your older self in 2020


See eBooks and a webinar from Rik on EuroSTAR Huddle.

About the Author


I am a management consultant quality and testing. It's not only my job but also my hobby. Apart from my work at Sogeti and its clients, I am also the chairman of TestNet (the independent association of testers in the Netherlands) and a workgroup-member of ISTQB.
Find out more about @rikmarselis

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