Steve Watson

Former Director Quality Engineering

Reed Business Information



Don’t just talk about automation, talk about testing

Testing (or Quality Engineering as a more popular term) is a craft, yet as an industry we seem to struggle to really showcase the work that we do.

When senior management hear the word ‘testing’, they often think about test execution and the cost involved. When we speak of automation, we play into that message, and talk of automation leads inevitably to thoughts of ‘costs savings’ and the drive to automation as the way to increase efficiency.

But automation is just a part of what we do as testers, and we need to stop talking just about automation, and start talking about testing – all aspects of it.

Focussing on just one aspect of our craft is devaluing the impact that testers have within organisations, and it’s time we changed our approach and showed the critical thinking process that goes on in the background. After all, why should organisations employ testers if they cannot see the value?

The 4 key points:

  • We will shine a light on the areas that are important, yet are overlooked/ignored/not discussed – and find out why,
  • We will challenge the way in which we as an industry project ourselves,
  • We will discuss how we can best showcase the value that we as testing professionals bring to our organisations,
  • We will commit to actively raising the profile of testing within our organisations.

I am an ISTQB certified Quality Engineering Professional with over 30 years of experience in Banking, Futures & Options Trading, Vehicle Leasing, Automotive Information and B2B publishing. My last role was as a Senior Quality Engineering Manager in Reed Business Information, part of RELX, a FTSE 100 company, where I managed a team of testers, and directed the overall testing strategy and approach across a number of products.


Within RBI I set-up and ran a ‘QA Chapter’ bringing over 80 global testers together from different RBI brands to encourage knowledge sharing.

Externally I speak at conferences, assist with the UK Assurance Leadership Forum, write magazine articles and blog here –

Currently I am in search of my next adventure in the world of Quality Engineering/Test Management.

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