Simon Tomes Joins Ministry of Testing
4th May 2021

A sudden change of direction

I could feel the wind blast my face as I glanced at the trees rapidly shaking from side-to-side. My daughter could see the guilt on my face as she realised I had accidentally ignored the last thing she'd just told me. My mind had wondered and agreed with itself that it was time for a change. That cold walk in the park on my 2020 Christmas break forced me to revisit what I love doing. And I love testing and I will always be a tester, yet could I be hands-on forever? The answer was "probably not".

I had to find a way to tap deeper into the joy I get from community-based activities, stuff that I naturally enjoy doing. I love amplifying people and the things they do. I enjoy encouraging people to experiment with what they think might not be possible. I can't get enough of designing, curating and collaborating on all sorts of content that helps move our testing craft forward. So could I actually find a community manager type of role? Could I still stay in the tech world? Would this role help me explore my career ambitions? Could I possibly be brave enough to start my career again?

Time waits for serendipity

It's funny how things sometimes fall into place over a long period of time. I never ever for the life of me thought I'd become a CommunityBoss at Ministry of Testing. What an absolute honour and privilege. It's mind-blowing to be honest!

Yet this is why I love Ministry of Testing. It is the place that sees potential in people, gives them the opportunity to shine and supports them on a journey to see what's possible. I thank Richard, BossBoss, for that!

Heather, CommunityBoss, is just incredible and I wish her the best on her adventures into parenthood. I have some seriously mega shoes to fill and I'm incredibly nervous and excited about the prospect. My role, much like Heather has demonstrated so well over the years, is to ensure everyone in the Ministry of Testing community feels welcome, safe and heard. And I intend to do my best to uphold that statement.

A sense of fulfilment

I have a passion for exploratory testing and have been a tester since 2003, led teams of testers, QA people and developers. I've also been a scrum master, agile coach and delivery manager. I can't get enough of collaborating with folks to build brilliant things. I get to do that with TestBuddy, a product for exploratory testers that I'm Co-founder of.

Ministry of Testing embodies collaboration and it has given me a platform to contribute in many ways. I've facilitated MoT Essentials (Software Testing Clinic), spoke at TestBashes, published articles, hosted AMA's, created and commented on The Club posts and much more!

Every activity so fulfilling I feel confident this is the same feeling people get when they contribute. And I observe time and time again that the more we are willing to share, the more we learn. And the more we learn, the greater the likelihood we share. This is awesome and I'll place a heavy bet that you as a community member think this is awesome too. I also respect the financial rewards MoT consistently offer those who contribute. I can't think of another community that is so rewarding.

This new adventure will hopefully allow me to leverage everything I've learnt so far about what it means to be a good community member. And the next step is to discover what it means to become an excellent CommunityBoss!

The code of conduct

MoT's Code of Conduct is a powerful foundation for the community to thrive. It resonates so well and the values are utterly aligned with how I think a good community can grow and support its members.

"The Ministry of Testing is a forward-thinking and inclusive community that supports, celebrates and grows many aspects to advance the craft of software testing. We create inclusive, friendly, safe and supportive environments for all, based on treating all individuals as good human beings. Be human, kind, respectful, supportive, inclusive and open-minded."

Seriously, 100% THIS!

Let's go create to co-create

There are many exciting things happening in the world of testing right now, just look at The Club and the entire MoT platform. I'm very keen to support an environment that encourages exploration of so many things! Richard has exciting thoughts, ideas and plans on how the MoT community will play an even bigger part in all this. More info coming soon.

My first task will be to learn as much as I can from Heather as we've got a month cross-over before she goes on maternity leave. I'll put on my always-be-listening hat and get deeper into various parts of the community to spot opportunities for co-creation. Keep your eyes peeled for a "Community for Community Leaders" initiative which I aim to scratchpad and explore soon enough.

And throughout this I'll turn to a legendary set of principles from FounderBoss herself, the brilliant Rosie Sherry – without whom this community would not exist.

Rosie has always shared that a sense of belonging is the foundation for a thriving community. So I invite us to do things together to shape our sense of belonging and to see what's possible. I have a good feeling we might surprise ourselves.

I've love to have a chat and learn from you. Feel free to message or send me a DM on the MoT Slack.