What do you think of these Community Mission and Value Statements?

I’ve been a member of MoT for years and recently started as a CommunityBoss. It occurred to me in this role it’s important to revisit some questions:

  • Why does this community exist?
  • What value does the community enable for the business of MoT and to the community itself?
  • How might we capture this in a simple format for reflection?
  • How might ambitious statements guide, support and evolve the direction of the community and the relationship it has with MoT (the business)?

So @heather_reid and I set out to explore Jono Bacon’s Mission & Value Statements exercise.

What do you think of the following? What resonates and what doesn’t? How might it help you and others? If you could re-write them, what would you say?


Community Mission Statement

The Ministry of Testing community exists to co-create better testing through meaningful connections between members, to enable the education and growth of people interested in the software testing craft.

Value Statements for the MoT Business

  • We want to provide high-quality content that is available to our community members/pro customers.
  • We want to streamline the process and reduce the cost of generating engaging content.
  • We want to broaden our ability to connect community members with connections, content and forums that benefit them.
  • We want to enhance how we encourage people who are unfamiliar with the software testing craft, about the benefits it has to their career, team and business.

Value Statements for Community Members

  • We want to ensure members have a rewarding and engaging community experience.
  • We want members to actively influence the evolution of the community.
  • We want active contributors to be acknowledged for their contributions.
  • We want new members to feel welcomed, to know how to get started, and discover a level of participation that works for them.
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I think these are spot on, apart from being a really pleasant and welcoming community MoT is also useful in terms of professional learning and intellectually stimulating as well!
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Thanks for reading and sharing your feedback, @mirza. :grinning:

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The What/Why/How of an organisation is always in fashion.

For people who want to have a laff on the whole wordsalad that you can get sucked into Mission Statement Generator & Examples | HoneyBook

On a more serious note, I am lately a fan of an annual review of the mission statement. Keeping it fresh and with unexpected elements especially in our “lockdown deprivation” is key. Something I’m no doubt sure a lot of members here are using as a channel, some for creativity, some for learning, and I hope that for some it’s still just helping as usual. MOT has become a bit of a sanity escape for some. (I mean a sane place to escape too.)

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Oh boy, I hope you all wont bring out the pitchforks, but here goes anyway. Disclaimer: I’m not here to offend or troll. What follows below is my honest opinion about how I look at testing, the future of testing and where MoT might fit into that.

I think the software testing craft is slowly being phased out. I know that testing has been declared dead many times (I don’t think that will ever happen), but I do think the dedicated tester has seen its longest time. I think that’s fine. There is plenty for us to do out there that contributes to raising quality. And that’s the key point I think.
My goal is to raise quality by any means possible. Testing is one of those means, but it’s one that, like I mentioned before, is slowly starting to dissolve and losing its effectiveness more and more.
So what I expect from a place like MoT is a way to help with this transition. Plenty of members have probably run into this at some point. Right now I have the feeling that we focus mainly on being proponents of testing and trying to protect the testing craft through our community. When I look at the value statements I see that we’re mainly focussed inwards. We have a nice community about a subject, everyone who’s interested is very welcome to join, and as long as we can keep this going we should be happy. This is not sustainable as the outside world is still moving on and won’t wait. Every time someone get’s on a soapbox and talks to me about why testing is so important I have an increasingly harder time with incorporating that (mostly true information) into what I actually do on a daily basis. The value of testing is increasingly diminishing and we need to look for other ways to increase the quality of our daily work.

So for MoT I expect a change of focus and a broadening of the scope / horizon. Break past the testing bit and focus on how to become a quality raiser in conjunction with the outside world. What do we need or what can we do in order to still deliver high quality outcomes when the dedicated tester is no longer around?

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I read that it’s your honest opinion and I respect that and here is mine: I work as a consultant and from what I see ( in Belgium ) is that there is so much bad code out there, the need for testers is now greater then ever during covid. A lot of people are sitting at home and are browsing the internet which leads to more bugs being found by customers.

I just feel that people outgrow the tester role as you mentioned. I don’t know many testers who are 40+ for example. They all evolve into quality managers / test managers or coordinators or do something different.

So I’m not disagreeing with you I just think people leave there role and move on, instead of the ‘global tester is disappearing’ .


@simon_tomes I like the statements a lot!!!

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I only been a tester for 15 years now @hylke , but before that I still remember a time 15 years earlier when people suggested programmers might also someday not be needed. I was writing drivers 15 years ago, and I still have a clear memory of a System-Integrator came showing me a tool that kind-of worked like a driver, using some drag-drop and automatic algorithm detection. It clearly only worked in 20% of the cases… but all things start small. I mean you just need to take a look at the github copilot project (which I don’t actually profess to even understand.)

Just this week, on MOT, we have had 2 separate topics about codeless automation-test tools, and the state of that art proves, that codeless automation is not going to be a thing for a while yet. But for me my 15 years have been a gradual move

  • from automating tests,
  • to understanding customer-value and quality,
  • to understanding accessibility ,
  • and lately to understanding product-risk and SDLC.
    All of these are things that computers get spectacularly wrong. I have seen people start to conflate SRE (site reliability engineer) with Dev-OPS lately too, a worrying question when ever more, our job descriptions are specializing, not generalizing. The day we don’t need testers, is the day we don’t need coders and scrum leaders either. Facebook and Microsoft have both proven that that experiment to remove testers is flawed. I just don’t think one person can cover all of the bases in one cranium worth of space in the ever more complex world we live, and not explode. Good software products are very rarely doing one thing, nor built by just one person. Engineering leads at Microsoft, who probably never wanted to cover all angles, probably never read things like the Six thinking Hats Six Thinking Hats – De Bono Group - which explains how big the problem is. Selling software for just one purpose only, is a unicorn dream lately. I don’t know anyone who can cover all of the bases to get software product delivered, in just one person-type.

But I do like your assertion, and I’ll definitely bring a shield and a very large water bucket, to help fend off pitchfork wielding hordes. I think a lot of us are looking to increase the value that the test engineer brings.

/edit
Why you need a real human tester who is not under pressure What is good evidence - Griffin Jones - YouTube

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Hi @simon_tomes,
Have you considered that testing is only mentioned once? Consider if “the software testing craft” can be replaced with “the community”. How does that change the value statement to you? Could it hold for any community? What makes it different to other communities?

One small thing “active contributors to be acknowledged” - what you do is more. You reward the contributors. Consider tinkering with the wording, if you haven’t already.

Have you tested it by reversing the lines to see, if the opposite would be absurd. Perhaps removed a few lines to see if it’s consistent. … I’m just thinking out loud, they are good so far I can tell :slight_smile:

Remember that the MoT is about co-creating smarter testing - not testers. Perhaps we could do more to embrace those that have it as an activity, not an role. … it’s a bit a chicken/egg thing: if there’s not content for them, they wont show up and contribute.

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more of a stylistic thing but stood out to me

One thing was missing for me that I think is special about MoT was the social aspect. It’s something I have heard from other people as well. Yes, we make useful business connections and discuss topics and stuff. But especially in Slack and at conferences you can get human interaction and support, especially for the remote workers and lone testers. Being the only tester in a team always fighting for recognition of standard business practices can be hard. MoT can give you the feeling that you are not alone, that there is a bigger community out there and connect you with people that are as passionate about quality than you are.

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@conrad.braam – thanks for sharing, it’s great to hear the MoT community is about creativity, learning and a safe space to escape to. Good to read about your experiences.


@hylke – thank you for sharing your thoughts on the future of testing. It’s very cool that the statements invoke this response. Feels like there are challenges ahead for sure, and as we’ve seen in some contexts the importance of “testing” has diminished. Yet there’s something interesting happening across the globe - a resurgence of what testing actually means, why it adds value and how it fits with various approaches to building and deploying software. Take the recent rise in the “Automation In Testing” movement and the amplification of what exploratory testing really is and how it fits in with a modern approach to amplifying quality awareness. Plus the ever growing importance of security, performance and accessibility.

There is indeed much to be done and plenty of opportunities for folks to learn and build personal relationships over an ever increasing wave of exciting topics and specialities – both via our similarities and differences.

Thank you once again for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. It’s very much appreciated! I’m glad you feel this is a safe space to share your thoughts and ideas.


@kristof :raised_hands:


@jesper Thanks for all your excellent ideas! Nice idea to consider using “community” instead of “software testing craft”. Perhaps we could just shorten it to the following as it mentions testing towards the start and helps make it relevant to a similar interest. What do you think?

The Ministry of Testing community exists to co-create better testing through meaningful connections between members, to enable the education and growth of people.


@sles12 – Excellent feedback and thoughts, thanks for sharing. How about?

We want to broaden our ability to connect community members with people, content and forums that benefit them.

We want to ensure members have an engaging community experience where they can realise a sense of belonging and support– that they are not alone.

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@simon_tomes Maybe leave out the “that they are not alone.”? Sounds a bit negative and desperate for a community mission statement. Or rephrase it more positively like “where they can realise a sense of belonging and support– that they are part of [something].” Options could be “a larger community”, “a group of quality enthusiasts”, … Really better a finding something not perfect than coming up with a solution - sorry.

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Thanks for sharing your feedback, @sles12 . Very helpful.

This is great!

It’s inspired the following idea:

We want to ensure members have an engaging community experience where they can realise a sense of belonging – that they are part of a welcoming and supportive community.

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Here’s the latest based on all the super helpful feedback. What do you think?

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