Breakpoint 2020 is a 4-day virtual summit on everything testing. We're bringing speakers from the best dev and QA teams to talk about building QA processes, automating at scale and best practices for success with tools and frameworks.
Featured today is Alexandra Schladebeck, CEO and Head of Quality at Bredex GmbH. Alexandra is a passionate tester whose favorite topics are quality, agility and humans. She views the world through the curious eyes of a tester and loves learning new things.
Alex shares her knowledge and experience in workshops, coaching sessions and as a speaker or keynote speaker at conferences.
How did you get introduced to testing?
I’m a classic “fell into testing and loved it” person. My introduction was through writing user documentation. We’re talking way back when things like automation and continuous integration weren’t standard. So writing the documentation basically involved (involuntarily) testing the latest versions of the software.
I started getting involved in the development meetings so I could know what new features were coming up. I’ve never been one to keep quiet(!), so I asked questions, provided opinions… and that was the start of a lifelong love for testing and quality.
What does your role at Bredex involve?
As the Head of Quality, I’m responsible for our strategy–what do we need to learn to be prepared for our customers’ quality challenges of tomorrow? I work with our community of test consultants and developers to learn and practice techniques, tools and methods.
I coach, mentor and teach people within the company and do the same for customers. I love bringing quality topics to new groups of people and consulting them on how to improve! I gather and share ideas at conferences and encourage others to do the same.
Basically, I enable others to improve their quality directly—or through the support of our test consultants. As one of the company's CEOs, I’m also jointly responsible for the strategy of the whole company–and making sure that the people within it are supported and professionally developed. Both roles are challenging, and I love them.
Can you give us a sneak-peek into your session for Breakpoint 2020?
I’m going to take a holistic look at quality, and how everyone in the team is responsible for it. When I say holistic, I don’t just mean the quality of the product, but also of the processes and the human interactions within the team.
Despite taking a very high-level approach, I will be giving concrete examples of what methods and techniques help teams towards a better whole, i.e., team quality.
What would you tell people looking to change careers to testing (as you did)?
I guess I count as a career changer, but tech was my first real job. Nevertheless, my main advice is to always keep learning. Ask questions, research, ask more questions.
One way to keep learning is to be involved in the testing community, which is full of amazing people and role models–and many ways to learn from them. Get involved on Twitter, in online courses, at conferences. Despite my titles, I still identify as a tester–and the strong community is one reason for it.
Have you worked on any side-projects recently?
I try to do pairing sessions with various people in my team and in the company as often as possible. So I’ve been doing some pair programming and testing on some of our internal tools.
I’ve also helped out at a remote design sprint that our UX team did, and I’ve been organizing remote tester meetups with Huib Schoots and Bart Knaack. My other side projects over the last months have been sport and gardening. 😉
What are you reading/learning right now?
I’m reading and learning about communication and leadership. I love working with and helping humans–and I always want to improve communication for myself and the people I work with. I’m currently reading “the art of action” and “rising strong."