It’s impossible to follow everyone in the software testing industry who’s active on Twitter and sharing useful information about software testing and quality. But if you start with these people, you’ll come up to speed swiftly.
A computer-generated list of “whom to follow” might identify the most popular people in the software testing community, or perhaps the most respected. But no automated tool can calculate the most interesting people writing about software quality, and it certainly won’t help you find any undiscovered “diamonds in the rough” — practitioners too busy doing the work to bother with self promotion.
It’s even more challenging to score people by the number of “Aha!” moments they produce, and to counter-score by the ratio of those “Aha!” tweets to more ordinary posts. What you want – or at least what I want – are the folks who make you think, the ones who are well-read and link to only the most interesting articles, the ones doing new and exciting things in software testing, and, perhaps, the people that challenge thinking. You might agree with them, you might not, but they make you think.
I don’t know every tester on Twitter, nor do I want to present my opinion as fact. If you feel that I’m missing someone important, tell us about it in the comments – ideally with the same format (who it is, the twitter ID, and why you think they’re cool). Then we can all become smarter.
I already told you about several people I follow in 25 Agilists to Follow on Twitter. Here’s the folks I care about specific to testing, in no particular order:
Tweets at: @JamesMarcusBach
Blogs at: Satisfice.com
Known for: A co-author of Lessons Learned in Software Testing, James cut his teeth on testing at high-tech companies in Silicon Valley in the 1980s and 1990s. James is probably best known as a co-founder and leading voice in the Context Driven School of Software Testing.
Why Follow Him? James has been managing test projects since I was in elementary school, including stints at Apple, Microsoft, and Borland. James’s contributions to the world of software testing include influential articles like “Software Test Automation Snake Oil” and “Explaining Testing to Them.” You may not agree with James, but two things are certain: If you follow him, you won’t be bored, and you will learn something.
Tweets at: @jbtestpilot
Blogs at: jonbox.wordpress.com
Known for: The other co-creator of Session Based Test Management (SBTM), Jon has been a voice of logic, reason, and experience in the test community for over a decade, including a long stints at Microsoft, Quardev, and, currently, as a director of test at eBay.
Why Follow Him? Jon finds the current thinking in the field, promotes it, and adds to it. If you want to know what the next big event is, or what trends to follow, he’s one to watch.
Tweets at: @lanettecream
Blogs at: TestyReadHead
Known for: Lanette’s deep skills in integration testing large application suites overshadow her side interests. So yes, some people come for the cats, glitter, and fuzzy slippers, but they stay for insights into how software fails and what teams can do about it. (She’s also an administrator on the Writing About Testing discussion list.)
Why Follow Her? If you are interested in the real struggles of a radically-transparent independent tester, you might do well to follow Lanette Creamer. Plus, of course, there are cats and glitter. (No, seriously.) Most lately she’s been working on testers pairing with programmers, and improving communications between the programming and test functions.
Tweets at: @sdelesie
Blogs at: selenadelesie.com
Known for: Working on at least three levels – management, contributors, and customers – Selena finds problems while enabling teams to overcome those problems themselves. She’s also a quiet voice of reason in a world of ideology-driven-rhetoric.
Why Follow Her? Selena often works with teams molding their test approach to combine an Agile Development approach and a problem domain that is its own special snowflake. She’s also an information radiator of good ideas.
Tweets at: @charrett
Blogs at: mavericktester.com
Known for: Coaching testers over Skype, along with working with startup organizations trying to do the best testing possible with limited time and budget. (Ever heard that one before?)
Why Follow Her? Based in Sydney, Australia, Anne-Marie brings a different perspective to her writing, along with information about an entirely different parallel test universe with its own conferences, ideas, and personalities. Follow Anne-Marie to expand your view of the testing world, if not your testing world view.
Tweets at: @michaelbolton
Blogs at: developsense.com
Known for: Co-creating the Rapid Software Testing Course with James Bach.
Why Follow Him? It can be tough to say what you mean in 140 characters; Michael helps you say it clearly and effectively. His quick wit keeps you on your toes, and, perhaps, when it’s pointed at others, entertained. Along the way, you might just pick up a few tips about software testing to use back at the office.
Tweets at: @MarkVasko
Blogs at: MarkVasko.com
Known for: Mark Vasko is a standout, social person, quick to pick up on another’s ideas and help them sharpen it in a positive way. (I’d say he’s quick with a joke, or a light up your smoke, but that would date me, wouldn’t it?)
Why Follow Him? Mark’s tweets are a combination of social discussion, which helps you find others worth following, and philosophical application. In other words, he tweets aphorisms that have direct application to his next project, his next weekend, and his priorities – and maybe yours as well.
Dawn Test Code
Tweets at: @dckismet
Blogs at: passionatetester.com
Known for: Her contributions to SeleNesse, the selenium-fitnesse bridge, along with work in the agile-test-automation space.
Why Follow Her? Dawn is perhaps one of the three most knowledgeable people I know who discusses practical, hands-on, doing-the-test-automation. Not just rhetoric, but hands-on details of how to do it well and lessons learned.
Tweets at: @chris_mcmahon
Blogs at: blogspot.com
Known for: The expression “don’t test for blocking conditions,” multi-disciplinary approaches to testing (involving a fair amount of automated tests, both at the API and the GUI level), the idea of software development as performance, work as initial customer/product owner for Selenesse, founder of the Writing About Testing (WAT) peer conference and mail list, and his talent for improvisation as a serious jazz bassist.
Why Follow Him? Eclectic tweets that blend testing, music, a little bit of theater and the arts, along with a fair bit of experience in the world of software delivery.
Tweets at: @mgaertne
Blogs at: shino.de
Known for: To test for UTF-8 compliance, you can just cut and paste his name, because those dots over the a, called an umlat, make Markus a walking internationalization test. Besides that distinction, Markus is perhaps the best-known European advocate for thinking, conscious testing combined with automated business checks as executable specification. (Some of his arguments changed my mind, and I’m a curmudgeon.) He’s also a black-belt instructor in the Miagi-Do School of Software Testing.
Why Follow Him? Plugged into the European test community, Markus brings a positive attitude, some fresh ideas, and links to lots of writing – plenty of which is his own.
Tweets at: @qahatesyou
Blogs at: qahatesyou.com
Known for: Sarcasm, witty humor… and making developers cry.
Why Follow Him? You need to lighten up your day while getting your creative destruction on. That’s all of us, right?
Tweets at: @lynn_mckee
Blogs at: qualityperspectives.ca
Known for: Her passion in helping organizations transform their testing practices, inspiring leadership and coaching style, and as an advocate for the craft of software testing. She is also known for co-founding the Calgary Perspectives on Software Testing Workshop (POST) and speaking at conferences internationally.
Why Follow Her? A frequent re-tweeter of good quotes, Lynn is another information radiator. She runs her own independent consulting business, and, for those considering taking the plunge, offers readers a fair bit of visibility into what that might be like.
Tweets at: @curioustester
Blogs at: curioustester.blogspot.com
Known for: Writing about testing with a curious, inquisitive slant, Parimala is a co-founder of the Weekend Testing movement.
Why Follow Her? Parimala ranks in the top half-dozen or so of Indian testers, and she got there through compelling, honest writing.
Tweets at: @nkelln
Blogs at: unimaginedtesting.com
Known for: Nancy’s enthusiasm about software testing topics, her personal integrity in the face of dysfunctional rewards, and challenging herself and others to improve, inside and outside of work. The rumor is that she can test with her eyes closed and hands tied behind her back; I’d very much like to see that.
Why Follow Her? Nancy attends a fair number of conferences, and tends to tweet sound-byte insights from the speakers. She also keeps you in the loop about upcoming events in the world of testing, including a few that are available streaming at no cost.
Tweets at: @gary_masnica
Blogs at: Gary used to post a bit on SoftwareTestingClub.com.
Known for: Working in digital media, testing interactive websites and games, including games on the Phineas and Ferb website.
Why Follow Him? Gary jumps in on some of the most interesting test conversations on Twitter. If you see him engaging with some folks, check out the whole story; it’s certain to be interesting, you find a few new people to follow. Also, Gary has been on both sides of the uTest system, both executing some tests for them in his spare time and as a hiring manager, working to acquire large amounts of crowdsourced testing in quick bursts. If you’ve been thinking about crowdsourced testing, he’s one to talk to.
Tweets at: @janetgregoryca
Blogs at: blogspot.com
Why Follow Her? Janet’s focus is on preventing bugs through creating executing specifications and using those examples to catch regression problems early. As such, she represents a specific school of software testing which should not be ignored.
Tweets at: @PeteWalen
Blogs at: rhythmoftesting.blogspot.com
Known for: His moderator role on SQAForums, his contributions as an invited voice for Ask the Expert on SearchSoftwareQuality.com, and his leadership in organizing the Grand Rapids Tester’s user group. Pete also tweets, blogs, speaks at conferences, and spent 20 years playing drums in a bagpipe band.
Why Follow Him? Considered the “old wise man” of software testing by some, Pete has earned his reputation by knowing what to say, when to say it, how to demonstrate it – and when to keep quiet.
Tweets at: @mkltesthead
Blogs at: blogspot.com
Known for: Serving as lead organizer of Weekend Testing Americas and producing the This Week in Software Testing podcast, Michael is also an instructor for the Black Box Software Testing courses and a black belt in the Miagi-Do School of Software Testing.
Why Follow Him? Follow Michael to stay in the loop about everything he covers – and he covers a lot. Follow him for updates about weekend testers, new podcasts, AST and BBST information (did I mention he just got elected to the AST board of directors?), blogs he’s reading, as well as book reviews and other material on his blog.
Tweets at: @sbarber
Blogs at: perftestplus
Known for: Performance test training and consulting, mostly through his company, PerfTestPlus, where Scott is the CTO.
Why Follow Him? All the best conference tweets, retweets, announcements, and a fair bit of his own insights make Scott a must-follow fellow.
Tweets at: @elenahouser
Blogs at: blogspot.com
Known for: Elena quit her day job to become a freelance tester, and is another black-belt in the Miagi-Do School.
Why Follow Her? Not everyone on this list is a testing rock star; a few of them are just in the process of becoming one. She’s already there. Follow Elena to find out about the techniques she used to become a uTest Gold Tester (one of the better public certifications, I might add: She actually found bugs), what’s she’s writing, and how she is growing professionally — all from someone who takes professional development seriously.
Tweets at: @gregmcnelly
Blogs at: blogspot.com
Known for: His work in co-organizing the Workshop on Performance Testing, and, more recently, in leading a change effort for a large professional testing group at Progressive Insurance.
Why Follow Him? Insights on performance testing, coaching, and insights into large organizations.
Tweets at: @Griff0Jones
Blogs at: griffinjones.blogspot.com
Known for: Thought leadership in the area of embedded, medical, and regulated software testing.
Why Follow Him? Griffin has been to all sorts of places that said, “We can’t do that here,” and made it work there. If you want to influence change in a change-averse culture, he’s one to listen to.
Tweets at: @tvaniotis
Blogs at: Thomas has a small website at tvaniotis.net.
Known for: A financial services tester, Thomas is soft-spoken. When he does take issue with something, people listen.
Why Follow Him? Thomas tweets on metrics, performance testing, ethics, how to do professional development, and the role testers could (or should) take on teams and in society.
Tweets at: @veretax
Blogs at: discoveredtester.blogspot.com
Known for: Commentary on other’s work in the test community
Why Follow Him? If you have an idea, an experience, or something to talk about, run it by Tim. He’ll sharpen your idea while giving you encouragement, and, if you need it, perhaps a little motivation.
Tweets at: @testobsessed
Blogs at: testobsessed.com
Known for: Her leadership and early adoption in Agile-Testing and Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD), including a Google Tech Talk on the subject.
Why Follow Her? Elisabeth tweets a refreshing combination of general insight about testing, automation, teamwork, as well as a few details about her life as an entrepreneur running Agilistry, a Silicon Valley software training and event space.
Tweets at: @adamyuret
Blogs at: contextdrivenagility.com
Known for: Blending ATDD, lean software development and context-driven approaches; also taking off three years (non-contiguously) to sail with his wife on a boat.
Why Follow Him? Adam is an up-and-coming software tester, trying to integrate ideas from lean software development like flow and limited work in progress in ways that actually make sense. He may succeed; watch him.
Tweets at: @Ajay184f
Blogs at: enjoytesting.blogspot.com
Known for: Co-organizing the Weekend Testing movement, and helping others organize local gatherings in Europe, Australia, and the Americas, Ajay is a black-belt in the Miagi-Do School of software testing.
Why Follow Him? Here is where you can learn all the happenings in Weekend Testers. Ajay tends to interact with people who are interesting, smart, and have something to contribute.
Tweets at: @Hexawise
Blogs at: Hexawise.com
Known for: Promoting tools and techniques to reduce the number of test cases you have to run using combinatorial techniques. Justin is among very few tool vendors who is actually a full-fledged member of the test community, participating actively at conferences, in discussions, on Twitter and so on. His company offers Hexawise for free to small companies and non-profits; Fortune 500 firms using Hexawise pay $50,000/year and up for the privilege.
Why Follow Him? Justin focuses on helping testers achieve as much coverage as possible in as few tests as possible. His conference presentations make complex ideas unfold clearly; see his “Vendor Meets User” presentation as well as Combinatorial software test design beyond pairwise testing. Justin is also occasionally funny. See, for example, Wil Shipley’s Mac Cops an Attitude.
Tweets at: @testertested
Blogs at: testertested.blogspot.com
Known for: Leading the context-driven software testing movement on the Indian subcontinent of Asia.
Why Follow Him? Pradeep tweets short updates on what he is thinking and experiencing. Learn about how a leader thinks, with a slightly humorous edge. You also learn a fair bit about testing organizations and meetups in India, an area that is becoming increasingly important in the global testing community.
We would be remiss if we left off two additional Twitter IDs (or at least my editor would chide me for the omission):
- my own (@mheusser)
- Software Quality Matters own @smartbear (which lets you know about new articles here on the site – that’s a good thing, right?), and
I could say nice things about them, but then you’d expect me to do so. Please check them (and me) out and decide for yourself.
If we had to re-visit this list in a month, making it 35 testers to follow on twitter, who should we add?