To celebrate the relentless passion of testers, BrowserStack is honoring some of the icons in the testing space—those who push the industry forward by sharing their knowledge with the community at large through their thought leaders.
Antoine Craske is an experienced software engineer with over 10 years of experience. He’s passionate about technology, strategy, system design, organizational leading, structuration, and development. He regularly contributes to open-source communities and blogs as he believes we can evolve faster by sharing, learning, and co-creating with others.
Tell us about your role as a Director of Technology Transformation at La Redoute.
It is a transversal role contributing to making our vision of being the Homelife platform a reality by leveraging technology. The position is a pivot between the multiple business and technology teams with the objectives to guarantee the overall consistency of the technology landscape, align teams on key transformation milestones, and accelerate the transformation.
The challenge of the role is to enable the business transformation milestones by balancing short-term and long-term objectives and identifying trade-offs and the impact of decisions. Testing is everywhere in our activities, and we are evolving our practices towards the paradigm of Quality Engineering. We regularly publish articles here at laredoute.io.
What innovations/trends in the space of software development are you most excited about?
I am passionate about Quality Engineering. It represents the necessary transformation from software engineering to something much more valuable and impactful. It is about aligning the entire system of software production in the paradigm of total quality to stop trading-off quality for speed but access to Quality at Speed. Even if the same starts with “Quality” and can make us restrict its meaning to the evolution of “Quality Assurance,” it impacts the entire software production ecosystem.
Quality Engineering leverages structuring changes happening with architecture, for example, by including many quality requirements by design and ensuring their effective implementation. It is also an opportunity to generate and use a massive amount of data coming from software lifecycles that are today not leveraged by most organizations.
Finally, the evolution towards platform engineering of infrastructure services such as SRE, security, or observability are all interesting trends showing the increasing maturity of the software industry.
What are some passion projects you're currently working on?
My main passion project is the QE Unit, the Quality Engineering community. It is a place to federate the software actors convinced by the power of transversality and who want to deliver Quality at Speed in their organization. This year we published an ebook for defining Quality Engineering, and I focused on the newsletter, Slack, and articles around the Quality Engineering framework MAMOS. New events and other surprises are in preparation.
My second passion project is Cerberus Testing, a 100% open-source test automation platform. I started the first lines of code in 2011 to accelerate the quality and speed of our e-commerce and CRM software delivery at La Redoute. We are a group of more than 40 contributors, organizing meetups and providing training and plans. Our aim is to accelerate the deployment of test automation in the Quality Engineering context of continuous delivery pipelines and continuous monitoring, among others.
A more recent passion project is Test Automation Camp which offers e-learning as a service for test automation. It enables people to leverage test automation with or without prior knowledge, even enabling people to pivot from other careers.
Can you tell us about the book/s you've authored?
On Defining Quality Engineering: Thrive your business with Quality at Speed Software
It is an e-book sharing the definition, shape, and implementation framework of Quality Engineering. The book is co-authored with Rémi Dewitte, who I truly appreciate as a person and a professional. The passion we share for quality engineering is incredible!
Apart from that, I have written more than 150 articles on the QE Unit, Cerberus Testing, and Test Automation Camp blogs.
If not software testing, what would your alternate career choice be and why?
My initial goal was to be an orchestra maestro. I studied music up to a professional level with the saxophone as my main instrument. I had to make a choice between a license and a Master's degree in Technology. I chose the latter, considering I was quite interested in the field. Even today, I would make the same decision, but would enjoy being either a researcher or writer, ideally something combining both!
What are you reading/learning right now? What made you interested in this?
I dedicate time to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in the software industry. That can range from industry newsletters to following people sharing interesting content to going at least once per week to a meetup or watch in the replay.
I read one or two books per week, reading multiple sources on the same subject to gain varied perspectives. I alternate between business, architecture, software, leadership, inspirational, history, psychology, or even thriller or fiction books from time to time.
In recent times, I enjoyed reading ‘Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products, Practical DataOps: Delivering Agile Data Science at Scale' and ‘Software Architecture: The Hard Parts - Modern Trade-Off Analyses for Distributed Architectures’.
What's your favorite software testing quote of all time?
"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of meeting the schedule has been forgotten." – Anonymous
I believe this quote represents the traditional pitfalls of organizations trading off speed on many occasions, feeling the cost of their accumulated debts afterward.
A second favorite quote representing the need to address the entire software system to also change the organizational culture for Quality Engineering is:
“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”— Aristotle
What advice would you give to other QA/ Software Engineering leaders?
My main advice would be to stay curious. Learn about product management, software engineering, operations, DevOps, and automation, and take the time to develop expertise. Avoid becoming a generalist. I believe we should all dedicate at least 2 to 4 hours per week to keep up with the market and industry trends to improve our skills.
Organizations need people who can work across the end-to-end software lifecycle, combining multiple skills acquired over their careers. People who are able to learn from other areas, cross-links, and improve global performance over local minor optimizations are the ones who can make significant contributions.
What's a fun fact about you that most people don't know?
I have a twin brother, and one day in college, we switched classes. No one noticed! We are not working in the same industry today, so it would be harder to repeat that.
(Responses have been edited for clarity.)