Tester meets CI System

Lessons learned when applying my testing skills to a CI System

Testers are capable of improving more than just the product under test even if they’re not “technical”.

What happens if a curious tester meets a Continuous Integration (CI) system and decides to take care of it? Is that even possible for someone who isn’t “technical”?

When I started my current job I didn’t know the domain, I didn’t know the product but I did know about testing and feedback loops. Since I wanted to provide value to the team right away I began to improve the things I knew. Analyzing the feedback loop turned my attention to our CI system. In this talk I’ll look back on the past eight years and report my experiences on how I made a positive impact on the CI system.

The audience will learn which possible changes in our CI system I could do myself, which ones I needed to collaborate on with others and which changes turned out to be mistakes. Stories from my experience:

- Asking “do we need this all the time” resulted in a hugely improved feedback time

- Not running all tests all the time turned out to be a good idea

- Migrating our build system from legacy technology (Apache Ant) to modern technology (Gradle) was a team effort and worth it

- Enforcing code coverage metrics was a mistake and resulted in unexpected problems

I will explain how typical skills of a tester can be applied in more areas than just the product the users see. These skills include asking critical questions, measuring, observing and the willingness to improve things. In the end I will explain how all of that happened without me becoming a bottleneck in a new area.

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