Q1: Why are you an AST Member?
I became a member because I was attending CAST. I stayed a member because I realized that it is a great forum to grow as a test professional. It has fantastic training, great events and one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended.
Q2: How do you intend to promote diversity within the AST? How could AST promote diversity, of all kinds, within our own organization and within the wider testing and technology communities?
This is a great question, and very complex. To keep my answer reasonably short I will focus on two aspects.
The first is to make sure we strive to be inclusive and diverse regarding things such as gender, age, religion, ethnicity. This goes on all levels: the board, trainers, members, conference programs, webinars and who/what we choose to promote. That does not mean we should lower standards, but it does mean that we might need to work a bit harder to improve over time. This includes things like making sure we don’t settle for a group that all share the same characteristics. Try to find nominees from different groups. Try to promote different groups in our webinars. Try to get speakers from different groups. It might be more work but if it’s important enough we should put in that extra time.
It also means we need to constantly work on balancing making people feel comfortable and included and making people feel allowed to have a healthy debate.
The second is diversity of experience/thought. There is a huge gap between the people that are active in communities such as AST, on Twitter or in academia and the rest of the testing world. We need to find a way to bridge that gap and find a way to be more inclusive to them as well. That means we might have to look inwards, reflect and try to identify ways we can make it easier and less intimidating for those people to move towards us.
Q3: What do you think the AST board has historically done well, and what do you think needs to change?
As a rather new member, I don’t know the history too well. On the downside, it means I can’t give a really good answer without making assumptions. On the upside, it means I’m not burdened with any potential old conflicts. To build an organization such as AST and get it to the size and status it has today, it takes a huge amount of work and dedication. So that means the board has done a lot of great things. I also know that a lot of work has been done in the recent years to modernize material and make the organization and the conference(s) more inclusive, up to date and to bring other aspects of software development into the fold. That is work I really applaud and hope to get to continue working on. As to what must change, I wish I knew more about the history to answer that. I can think of two things:
To reduce our environmental impact, for example by having board meetings primarily digital.
To promote ourselves better. I was almost 10 years into my testing career before I even heard of AST and I know too many testers out there who have no idea we exist.
Q4: If you are elected to serve on the board, what is your vision for the future of AST and what do you hope to accomplish as part of the board?
I hope to get to continue the work on diversity that has already come a long way and bring in new perspectives. I would love to work on spreading the knowledge of AST and promote its excellence. Hopefully I would get a chance to be involved with either the different training tracks or with CAST.
I would also hope to learn a lot from the other board members!
Q5: Many people come to be AST Board of Directors candidates through a long history of community involvement. This community involvement usually involves teaching, creating and running peer conferences, creating and running regular conferences, and working with commercial entities.
Q5A: These are all wonderful and valuable activities, but they might create conflicts for board members. One problem is that a board member spending time helping a personal conference to thrive means less or no time spent on AST events. The other problem, and the more important one, is that knowing program and financial information of a personal event will affect decisions made for AST events and initiatives and vice versa.
Q5B: Please describe any current initiatives you participate in that might affect your ability to serve on the AST board, and serve the AST membership
I have been director of the steering board of one of the Swedish schools for higher vocational education, IT-högskolan, where we were responsible for forming the curriculum, admission and examination of students. This was extremely educational and great fun in many ways, but I stepped down in 2019 to free time for other activities. I see this as a very valuable experience in working in other boards in the future.
Since 2018 I am also one of the organizers of Swetugg, a Swedish .NET conference taking place in February each year. From my experience last year, which was my first year as an organizer, it is a very well organized team with a core of senior members handling the complex areas and a larger group taking on as much or little work as they like in the areas they are interested in. Since my main interest is diversity (both in topics and speakers) I worked in the program committee. Of course, there was a period when we worked on the program but apart from that the work load has been very low, short regular skype meetings and a few on-site meetings and then the 2 days of the conference. It has taught me a lot about running a conference, putting together a program and what speakers and attendees appreciate so again: An invaluable experience.
Q6: What is your vision for the future of AST’s training program?
I would love to work with the schools in Sweden to bring out training into their curriculums. A lot of the schools have very outdated and old-fashioned material and getting them to use the AST material would increase the quality a lot. I’m sure there are situations like this in other countries as well, but I could use my local network to get this ball rolling.
And at the same time, I would love to work on getting the knowledge of BBST to the clients, the ones who hire and buy consultants. To make them see that a completed BBST-course is a stamp of approval that says a lot about the level of expertise. I don’t know how to do that but it’s something I would like to explore.
Q7: (Optional) Would you like to provide a short (250-400 word) introduction to go on your candidate page?
Lena has officially been working with testing for about 10 years and before that as a software developer for about as long. She found testing by chance but found it to be an intellectual challenge she could not refuse. Since then she has worked on basically all levels, from a single tester in a small team to Head of Testing, and currently she is consultant manager at Lemontree, a consultancy firm focusing on testing and automation.
Her passion is in continuous improvements, both on an individual level but also in teams and organizations. She is an avid believer in “what if…” and believes in small nudges over big changes.
She has been speaking and doing workshops internationally since 2017, debuting at Copenhagen context with a talk about mind mapping, with a wide array of topics: from bug advocacy and visual models to security testing and trend analysis.
She lives outside of Stockholm in a house filled with gaming stuff.