Assurance Leadership Forum 25 July 2018

The 58th Assurance Leadership Forum took place on Wednesday 25 July 2018 at the conference centre at Balls's Brothers, Minster Court

Guest Programme Chair: Kevin Palmer of Edge Testing

Sponsored by QA Symphony








Jayathira RAO, FCA: “A Different Dance: The Quest for Ultimate Balance”

Jay's slides are here


Paul Gerrard, Gerrard Consulting: "Test Management Without Test Managers"

Paul's slides are here


Simon Norrington, Senior Sales Engineer, QA Symphony:

Macro Trends and Useful Testing Tools That 'Get It'

Simon's slides are here





Julius Mong, Professional Services Manager, Eurofins Digital Testing: “Testing in the Digital TV world”


Andy Redwood, Test Manager Deutsche Bank: “Tales from a Test Manager”

Ben Fry and John Shortt, Founders, Expert Thinking: “Assuring your migration to a cloud enabled environment”


Drinks Reception



Abstracts and Bios:

Paul Gerrard, Gerrard Consulting: "Test Management Without Test Managers"

Whether you are the tester in a team or running all the testing in a 10,000 man-year programme, there are test management activities. But increasingly, responsibility for testing in projects is distributed to smaller, Agile teams. There’s no need for a test manager as such – but some of the activities of test managers still need to be done. Perhaps the team jointly fulfil the role of a virtual test manager.

This session proposes a set of logistics-neutral test management disciplines in software projects. If you have an oversight or assurance role over teams without test managers, these are the disciplines to watch over.

In the team, rather than specific behaviours and templates we need to focus on the goals, motivations, thought processes, the sources of knowledge and the principles of application. Here’s the deal in a nutshell: here are some interesting questions to ask. You need to get the answers from your own customers, suppliers and colleagues and decide what to do next.


Paul Gerrard has conducted consulting assignments in all aspects of software testing and quality assurance, specialising in test assurance. He has presented keynote talks and tutorials at testing conferences across Europe, the USA, Australia, South Africa and occasionally won awards for them. He won the Eurostar European Testing excellence Award and in 2013, won The European Software Testing Awards (TESTA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is Principal of Gerrard Consulting Limited and is the host of the UK Assurance Leadership Forum.

Ben Fry, John Shortt, Expert Thinking: “Assuring your migration to a cloud enabled environment”

Everyone’s doing it. Very few are doing it well. Cloud, that is. Migrating to cloud is far more than moving assets from one tech stack to another. Yes, that is critical to success. At the same time as migrating your assets (network and infra, VMs, platforms, databases, storage, etc.), you’ve a very real (once in a lifetime) opportunity to rationalise and optimise your estate. Moving to a cloud enabled environment isn’t so much about technology itself but how it’s used, provisioned and consumed. You need to change the way you work – the proverbial cloud or digital transformation. Migrating to a cloud enabled environment presents huge potential benefit that very few are realising. Never before has the need for assurance in the purest sense of the word been an absolute must. 

Ben Fry, John Short and the rest of the Expert Thinking ( team help organisations maximise the value and benefit of their investment in cloud. The team brings together decades of experience successfully delivering ‘cloud’ in many different forms to mid-market and global enterprises, government and non-profit organisations, and helps clients successfully implement the technology, reengineer processes and coach teams to use cloud in anger, unlocking the real power of cloud to deliver real business benefit.

Jayathira RAO, FCA: “A Different Dance”


Rediscovered in 1905, a 2350 year old book, the Arthshastra, describes the guidelines used by ancient Indian kings and emperors to administer and nurture a vast country. Using the example of Jay’s ancestors’ fief, a small area in South India covering about 5000 sq km and 350 villages, this workshop simulates the challenges of running a kingdom using these guidelines and explores the similarities between the administrative principles of the ancients and the principles and values of the agile manifesto.

Working in groups of 4-6, participants will explore their understanding of agile principles and values by playing roles (king, chief minister, finance, defence and agriculture) and working as a team to run a small fief.

The simulation takes place over several years and introduces scenarios such as peace, drought, floods and war. Faced with these scenarios, participants will decide how to balance short and long term needs by allocated fixed resources, managing time and effort, and forecasting output. They will consider how each of these contribute to the growth and sustainability of their kingdom, along with the well-being of their subjects.

After each scenario the results of the team’s actions and decisions will calculated and parallels with contemporary agile methods will be discussed.


Simon Norrington, QA Symphony: “Macro Trends and Useful Testing Tools That 'Get It'”

In the past decade, the field for testing and development tools has been both growing and changing at a rapid pace. Testers were previously limited to a handful of expensive, complicated tools, but the market is now full of several affordable, effective, and easy to use products. In this presentation Simon Norrington shares: 

  • The 5 most important test tool macro trends.
  • Examples of popular tools that are capitalizing on these trends.
  • With increased importance in the adoption of updated testing tools, it is more important than ever to stay current and capitalize on these trends. 

Simon Norrington has over 20 years of experience in IT, with the last 12 years in the Software Testing arena. Simon has worked for IBM Rational and Hewlett Packard before joining QASymphony. Simon is a Certified SAFe Agilist and a Certified ScrumMaster.


Julius Mong, Professional Services Manager, Eurofins Digital Testing: “Testing in the Digital TV world”

In this talk, we will explore the approaches and challenges in testing for the digital TV world, and how conformance is the key to the best viewer experience 

Julius manages Business Development and Professional Services at Eurofins Digital Testing who are experts in providing QA solutions and consultancy to key players in digital TV worldwide.


Andy Redwood, Test Manager Deutsche Bank: “Tales from a Test Manager”

As I contemplate retirement, I feel it’s time to give up some of the tricks of the trade I’ve learned whilst doing this job for the past 31 years. 

How did I fall into testing? How do you suddenly find yourself in charge? How does in charge of one project morph into being the Global Head of Testing for an organisation? What was my skillset and what is it now?

This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me…whomever’s out there!

Andy is a senior testing practitioner managing test teams and test projects within an Investment Bank. He’s been a Test Specialist for more than 30 years.

Generally assigned to the Finance sector and usually the projects nobody else wants to do, Andy has navigated some of the largest testing project ever undertaken for some of the largest organisations on the planet.

He has been Head of Testing for Merrill Lynch Fixed Income, Credit Suisse Securities and JP Morgan Core Technology. Under contract he has helped BP, Oracle, Reuters, Bupa, Centrica, RBS, BT, SEB Bank, Swedish Stock Exchange, South West Electric, Halifax Building Society, TSB Bank, Dorset County Council, Datamatics, Deutsche Bank, Liverpool Victoria, Manpower, and UBS, try and improve their Testing Service.

Andy has a personal industry profile and is a regular public speaker at international conferences. He was Chair of the UK ISEB International standards Panel in 2003/4, the UK representative to the International Board in 2003. In 2004 he founded the ISEB UK Executive Committee at the request of David Clarke, the Chief Executive of the British Computer Society.

Andy was awarded the EuroSTAR Award for outstanding contribution to the Software Testing Industry in Europe, in December 2005, following a previous nomination in 2003.